DEVON, Pa.--The Brandywine Horse Show II hosted the inaugural USHJA Green Hunter Incentive East Championships on Thursday, July 5, at the Devon Horse Show grounds in Devon, Pa.
The win in the $5,000 3'6"/3'9" Green Hunter Incentive East Championship went to Sandra Ferrell on Hemingway, and Laena Romond on Traveller claimed the $5,000 3'/3'3" Green Hunter Incentive East Championship.
"The whole Green Hunter Incentive Program is awesome, and the fact that they're offering it now at even more levels is fantastic," said Ferrell, after claiming not only 3'6"/3'9" Green Hunter Incentive East Championship with Hemingway, but also the reserve championship with Moonshot, both owned by Stephanie Bulger.
"Hemingway's my boy," said Ferrell of the 8-year-old Hanoverian gelding she's ridden for four years. "He's an amazing animal, and he and I have a very, very special relationship. All of his talent is so God-given, there's very little to train on him so to speak. Really, he's probably one of the most balanced, centered horses that I've ridden in all the years that I've been riding. He has a beautiful rhythm."
FROM A FIELD of 10 entries in the $5,000 3'6"/3'9" Green Hunter Incentive East Championship, all jumping at the 3'6" height, Ferrell and Hemingway finished third in the first round with a score of 85, and scored 90, the highest score of the show, in the second round to take the overall win with a 175 total.
"It shows how great of a horse he is," said Ferrell of Wellington, Fla. "He had the highest score of the horse show in his final round today. He never went in there and got complacent or bored, he just rose to the occasion, which is awesome."
Keeping the competition close was another of Ferrell's mounts and the eventual reserve champion, Moonshot.
The 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding topped the first class with a score of 87 and was second in the second round with another 87 to finish just one point behind Hemingway on a score of 174.
Following the conclusion of the 3'6"/3'9" East Championship, 18 entries contested the $5,000 3'/3'3" Green Hunter Incentive East Championship, with the top 12 returning for the second round.
Taking the championship with a five-point overall lead were Laena Romond of Somers, N.Y., and Traveller.
Romond and the 7-year-old Warmblood gelding finished fourth in the first round with a score of 85 and scored 89 in the second round to win the championship with a 174-point total.
"He's a dream to ride," said Romond of Traveller, the gelding that she was competing for only the second time after Catherine Cowie purchased him in May. "He's just so comfortable and so light. He's the type of horse you feel like you want to just stay on and jump a million jumps on him. He's so much fun. We took him to one show before we came here, and we got to know him a little bit there. It felt like we really kind of clicked here this week!"
With a 169 cumulative total score, Ferrell again returned to the winner's circle to accept the reserve championship in the 3'/3'3" class as well, this time with Dapper, also owned by Bulger.
Both Ferrell and Romond plan to take their winning mounts to the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships, to be held Aug. 14-16 during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show in Lexington, Ky.
"We're looking forward to the Incentive in Kentucky, and it's really fun for the pre-green horses to have classes like this one today," said Romond following her win. "It's fun to have a few special events throughout the year, especially at such a nice place like this!"
The USHJA Green Hunter Incentive East Championships were judged by Rick Fancher of Louisville, Ky., and Chris Wynne of Virginia Beach, Va.
The East Championships was the second of five regional championships available to USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Program participants for the first time this year.
The USHJA introduced the opportunity as another benefit to enrolling in the Green Hunter Incentive Program, in addition to year-round stake classes and the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships.
The three remaining regional championships include the Central Championship at the Harvest Horse Show, Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2018, in Katy, Texas; Southwest Championship at the International Jumping Festival, Sept. 19-23, 2018, in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.; and the Northwest Championship at the Oregon High Desert Classic 2, July 25-29, 2018, in Bend, Oreg.
USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Program participants may choose which regional championship they would like to attend; however, horses may only compete in one regional championship per year.
Each regional championship is two rounds, and the combined total score for both rounds determines the winner.
Prize money is awarded through 12th place, and each championship will offer a minimum of $10,000 in prize money spread across all the sections offered.
Horses must be enrolled in the program to be eligible to participate.