Orlando Wins $5,000 Mane ’n Tail Hunter Rider Challenge
Bridgehampton, NY – August 31, 2023 – Twenty-one horse-and-rider combinations turned out for the new $25,000 Hunter Classic Sponsored by Green River Farm in the beautifully manicured Aspinall Hunter Ring at the 48th annual Hampton Classic on Thursday. Nick Haness of Temecula, CA, ultimately proved the one to beat as he swept the podium with his three mounts, Caristo, Queen Celeste and Private Practice.
The Hampton Classic, August 27-September 3, is one of the world’s most prestigious horse shows, featuring competitors at every level from young children in leadline to Olympic, World, and World Cup Champions. The Classic also has competitions for riders with disabilities.
Scoring a total of 187 points over the $25,000 Hunter Classic’s two-round test, Haness claimed top honors aboard Caristo, John & Stephanie Ingram LLC’s 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding. He also presented Glade Run Farm LLC’s Queen Celeste, a 12-year-old Holsteiner mare, for a second-place score of 186 points. His 180-point combined score on Private Practice, John & Stephanie Ingram LLC’s 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding, earned third.
“It was pretty exciting to ride Caristo and the others in this class,” Haness said. “It was a beautiful and fun day for a hunter classic. Riding around the ring here is always special. I think any time you have a successful ride is a good day, and to ride out with a 96 (in the first round) is super exciting.
“Caristo is a new ride for me and just an exceptional horse,” he added. “I think the atmosphere was fun with everyone watching as well as a bit of a challenge with the shadows coming out this afternoon. Going into the second round on a 96 added a little pressure, but I just focused on putting in a nice, consistent round to pull off a second nice score and ultimately the win.”
Haness and his mounts walked away with additional titles as the hunter judges continued to name division champions throughout the day. Private Practice earned the Ollywear Performance Hunter 3’3” Section A Championship, while Queen Celeste reigned supreme in the Performance 3’6” Hunter division.
“Queen Celeste is an amazing horse,” Haness said. “I’ve never shown her on grass before. It was a new element for us, and I think it made her jump that much better. She was great in the Hunter Classic, coming in especially sharp for the second round knowing we had to catch her barnmate’s score. She really came in this week and gave me every ounce of her heart, jumping phenomenally well.”
In the Ollywear Performance Hunter 3’3” Section B, Geoffrey Hesslink of Shelburne, VT, piloted Lily Sonneborn’s She’s All That to the championship title.
With the presentation of the $25,000 Hunter Classic Sponsored by Green River Farm, the third and final leg of the $5,000 Mane ’n Tail Hunter Rider Challenge concluded on Thursday with Holly Orlando of Wellington, FL, coming out on top. Riders competing in the Challenge accumulated points based on their performances in various divisions at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows and the Hampton Classic Horse Show.
Other hunter highlights included the Low Adult Amateur Hunter championships. Among the section winners was Sazerac, a 17-year-old Westphalian gelding owned and ridden by Elena Horowitz of Wellington, FL.
Gabrielle Pitts of East Hampton, NY, earned the Palm Beach International Academy Children’s Small/Medium Pony Hunter Championship aboard GHF Hamptons LLC’s Beyond the Bunny. In the Children’s Large Pony Hunter division, Fatemah Khalfan of Old Westbury, NY, rode Charging Steeds LLC’s Black Tie Affair to the championship.
For live show results, visit TheHamptonClassic.com.
Each year approximately 50,000 people – including many A-list celebrities – come to watch the nation’s best equestrian athletes compete at the Hampton Classic. Rated USEF ‘Premier-6’ for hunters and jumpers with designated FEI 2* and 5* classes, the Hampton Classic features more than 200 competitions in six spectacular show rings, the Agneta Currey Boutique Garden with more than 70 vendors, and a wide selection of dining options, all on its world-class 60-acre showgrounds.
The Hampton Classic’s FEI competition began Thursday, August 31, with the $10,000 Citarella Open Jumper CSI2* and $39,000 Flecha Azul 5* Speed Stake and continues throughout the weekend with eight 2*/5* classesfeaturing courses designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade. FEI competition also includes Friday’s $39,000 Wölffer Estate 2* Jumper Classic, $78,000 Douglas Elliman 5* Grand Prix Qualifier, Saturday’s $39,000 Open Speed Class CSI2*, and the $78,000 The Agency 5* Speed Stake, and culminating with the $78,000 Hampton Classic 2* Grand Prix and $425,000 Longines Hampton Classic 5* Grand Prix on Sunday, September 3.
Outside the show rings, families can enjoy unique shopping; hands-on activities, pony rides and petting zoo animals at the Kids Exhibition Tent; and many more fun activities during News 12 Long Island Kids Day (Saturday, September 2).
Daily admission to the Classic is $20 per carload. Admission is free on Monday; seniors and military are also admitted free on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Grandstand tickets for the $425,000 Longines Hampton Classic Grand Prix on Sunday, September 3, are $55 per person for reserved bucket seating. Grandstand tickets are electronic only; E-Tickets are provided thanks to support from Green is the New Blue.
For those who can’t make it to the show grounds, complimentary live webcasts of all Grand Prix and Aspinall Ring competitions air on the Hampton Classic website. Produced by ClipMyHorse.TV, the Grand Prix Ring livestreams are sponsored by Longines and the Aspinall Ring livestreams are sponsored by ClipMyHorse.TV. In addition, WVVH-TV, Hamptons Television, broadcasts up to five hours of competition and highlights each day during the Classic. These broadcasts can also be seen online at www.wvvh.tv.
For more information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show, please visit the Hampton Classic website at www.hamptonclassic.com or call 631-537-3177. Hampton Classic Horse Show, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation.