Lexington, Ky.—Nov. 2
Chablis is unique in more ways than one—for starters, he just set himself apart from the entire crowd of amateur-owner hunters at the CP National Horse Show by scoring the amateur owner, 18-35, championship and the grand overall title with rider Kelly Tropin.
“It feels incredible; I’m really proud of my horse,” Tropin, 26, said. “I’m really grateful to ride such an amazing animal. He’s a horse of a lifetime for me.”
The horse show is a good time for Chablis to mingle with his cohorts—he doesn’t have hunter friends at home.
“Not only is he my only hunter, he’s the only hunter we have in the barn,” Tropin said with a laugh. Tropin trains with Peter Lutz and Mary Manfredi in North Salem, N.Y.
“He’s our only hunter so he gets the same treatment and does the same exercises as the jumpers, and he does them better,” Tropin said. “He’ll do the same gymnastics as the grand prix horses or high amateur [jumpers].”
Chablis even dabbles in a bit of eventing to really get him geared up for the hunter ring.
“We have a cross-country course in the back of our farm, and to prepare him for a show, Peter will go galloping with Chablis out over the cross-country jumps to get him really going forward and bold and brave,” Tropin said.
The 8-year-old gelding is always plenty brave in the show ring but still manages to jump as if he has a little spook in him.
“I think what is so amazing about him is he’s such a careful, spectacular jumper but he’s not spooky at all,” Tropin said. “To warm him up for the class we almost do nothing. We want him fresh and a little explosive at the jump so he can walk in this ring and explode over the jumps, and I don’t have to worry about riding a spook or that he’s going to do anything wrong. It’s really unique for a hunter.”
Becky Gochman captured the amateur-owner, 36 and over, hunter championship aboard Catch Me. It’s “Snoopy’s” second championship of the horse show after capturing the high performance title with trainer Scott Stewart in the irons.
“It was a great way to end the season. Snoopy of course is the ultimate horse; he is just a blast to ride,” Gochman said.
It’s New York City-based Gochman’s first year showing Snoopy in the amateur-owner division, and she guided the gelding to two over-fences wins and the hack win to secure the championship.
“To me he’s just a wonder boy. He just knows his job and he wants to please, and he’s the cutest thing at the barn,” Gochman. “When he lays down in his stall he brings a little extra hay to his corner. He’s just a really smart horse; he’s smart about everything.
“Sometimes I feel like he’s just not real, because he just feels like I made him up in my imagination and he came true,” Gochman continued. “He’s really one of a kind for sure, and for our first season in the amateurs he’s surpassed all my dreams.”
Check back with the Chronicle for more from the CP National Horse Show!