LEXINGTON, Ky.--Scott Stewart of Fleminton, N.J.,rode Lucador to win The National Horse Show's new competition on Friday evening, Nov. 2, the $50,000 National Horse Show Hunter Classic.
His top score also earned him a one-year lease of an Audi from Audi of Lexington as well as the lion’s share of the Leading Professional Hunter Rider Bonus.
“I think it’s great and would like to thank Jennifer Burger, Mason Phelps and everybody involved," said Stewart. "It was really exciting, and I think to end the indoor circuit with such a great class has never been done before. I think it was something to look forward to and hopefully we will keep doing it in the future.”
STEWART AND Lucadorcontinued their winning ways as Stewart, of River’s Edge Farm, won the coveted Leading Hunter Rider Award for the 12th time in his career on Wednesday at the National Horse Show, while Lucador, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, earned his fourth career and second consecutive Grand Champion Professional Hunter title.
Horse-and-rider combinations awarded championships or reserve championships in their respective hunter divisions earlier in the week were eligible to compete in Friday’s $50,000 National Horse Show Hunter Classic, with participants competing at the respective height (3’6”, 3’9” or 4’) of the section from which they qualified.
The class, which counted towards Horse of the Year points, consisted of two rounds, with the top 12 returning for a second round from low to high score within their respective heights of 3’6” and 3’9”, with no 4’ entries earning a spot in the second phase.
The final average score from round one was added to the final average score from round two to determine the overall total final score and winner.
Two panels of judges consisting of James Clapperton, Daniel Robertshaw, Walter T. Kees and Chance Arakelian, saw 32 compete over Friday’s first round course, designed by Bobby Murphy, which was composed of a variety of natural elements.
Tracy Fenney and MTM Farm’s MTM Outbid led the way after the first round with a score of 89, but Stewart followed close behind with the 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding and a score of 87.25.
RETURNING for the second round, the top 12 combinations were tested once more in the handy phase of competition.
An unfortunate bobble in round two caused Fenney to slip down into 10th place in the final standings, which left the top spot open for Stewart as the final entry in the class.
Stewart stayed consistent and impressed the judges with another solid performance to finish round two with a score of 87.5 for a total combined score of 174.75.
Finishing behind Stewart and taking home reserve honors was Kentucky native Havens Schatt, from Georgetown, Ky., and Diatendro, owned by Kelley Corrigan.
Schatt finished the first round in fourth place with a score of 85 and received a score of 86.5 in round two for a total score of 171.50.
Rounding out the top three was Amanda Steege of Ocala, Fla., and Zara, owned by Frances Moppett, who were awarded scores of 86 and 84.5 for a cumulative tally of 170.5.
Steege and Stewart were the only two entries to qualify two mounts in the handy round.
Stewart also rode Dr. Parker’s Private Life to an 11th place finish, while Steege piloted Cheryl Olsten’s Lafitte De Muze to seventh place.
“I was excited to have two horses, and they are horses I know really well, so I was pretty confident coming in," said Stewart. "I was really happy with my first rounds, and then I had a little mistake in the second round with my first horse. I’m not really sure what happened actually, so that sort of shook me up a little bit. Lucador is actually not my first choice for this class because he’s not the best at handies; he gets a little playful usually. He held it together tonight. He tried a couple times, but we got it done.”