Lexington, Ky.—Nov. 1
Virginia Fout’s amateur-owner hunter has a very special little exercise rider at home—Fout’s 6-year-old daughter, Logan Whetstone.
“He’s definitely a horse of a lifetime. My daughter rides him now and I finally took the lead rope off her,” Fout said. “She just walks and we do two-point but she loves him. He’s a lifer—he’s going to be with me forever.”
Fout picked up the championship in the low amateur-owner hunter, 36 and over, division at the CP National Horse Show, and she was also named overall grand champion of the low amateurs. Fout, who divides her time between her home in Los Angeles, Calif., and her family’s farm in Middleburg, Va., actually won this same championship last year, but she says that didn’t change her expectations.
“You expect nothing, hope for everything,” Fout said. “I’m just thrilled we were fortunate enough to repeat it.” They also claimed the same titles the week before at the Washington International Horse Show (D.C.).
Fout had to come from behind to pull off the win in the division after a not quite top-notch first day on Halloween. Fout jokingly chalks that up to her trainer Archie Cox’s Halloween costume.
“Archie had put his Halloween costume on and I said, ‘Are you going to wear that when you’re training me?’ And he said yeah,” Fout laughed. “He was like a knight in shining armor. I thought he was the Burger King man, and I told him, ‘I don’t think I can look at you with a straight face when you’re telling me what to do.’ ”
For the second day of the division, Cox was back in regular trainer attire and Fout was able to pull off a win in the hack and the over-fences classes to secure the championship. Aside from the wardrobe, Fout credits time spent forging a bond with Carma for their sucess.
“Last year was my first year showing him and it definitely took a few shows to figure him out,” Fout said. “He’s a hot horse by nature, but now I feel like we’ve formed an incredible partnership.”
Carma can have his moments in the show ring but the gelding knows when to put his babysitting hat on for Fout’s daughter.
“He loves her, I truly believe that they know when little ones are them because he’s so great with her,” Fout said. “We don’t have a fence around our arena and I about had a heart attack. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, if he takes off with her…’ but he’s just so good.”
Kendall Meijer picked up the championship in the low amateur-owner hunter, 18-35, division aboard her own Moonwalk. It’s a pretty great show name, but it doesn’t hold a candle to his barn name.
“I call him Gnocchi,” Meijer 26, said with a laugh. “I also have a dog named Penne.”
If the pasta-themed name doesn’t already have you in love with this horse, his performance will. The dapple grey gelding jumped in great form to pick up the win in Wednesday’s stake class and seal the deal for the championship.
“I was so nervous going into the last class. I was like, ‘I just have to keep it together,’ ” Meijer said. “I knew he did really well yesterday and I just wanted to end on a good round, and he did!”
Meijer has owned Gnocchi for three years, but this is their first year competing in the low amateur-owner division.
“He’s so much fun to ride. He has a great canter and a great rhythm so I just try and keep my cool, really,” Meijer said. “He does a lot of the work for me.”
This was also Meijer’s first championship win at the CP National Horse Show, and she won’t soon forget it.
“It feels awesome, unbelievable,” Meijer said. “I think I’m going to be smiling forever, just a permanent smile.”
Check back with the Chronicle throughout the week for more from the CP National Horse Show!