Lexington, Ky.—Aug. 16
The Kentucky Derby started with a field of 20 horses and riders. The Platinum Performance USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship will kick off Friday with 85 entries. The Platinum Performance USHJA 3′ and 3’3″ Green Hunter Incentive Championship? No less than 146 horses contested the final, and pronounced best of them all was Endeavor, owned by Callie Seaman and piloted by Patricia Griffith.
“I knew I had a chance, but it’s just an incredible feeling,” Griffith said.
In the final over fences trip of the three-round championship Griffith pulled scores of 88.5, 88.5 and 88 for a total of 265 to take the win. The first two rounds serve as qualifying rounds with the top 30 horses based on a combined total advancing to the clean-slate championship round. The win is special to Griffith given the lack of time she had to get acquainted with the 9-year-old warmblood. Seaman just bought the horse in May of this year.
“We did three shows before this, and to be honest I was a little nervous because I was here at [USEF] Pony Finals all last week, and he was at home,” Griffith said. She trains for Heritage Farm in Katonah, New York. “But my team had him right where he needed to be, and he showed up relaxed and was great; he was actually great in all the rounds.”
“He really has the most even expression and even way of going around of any horse I’ve seen in a long time,” Seaman said. “I think that’s what makes him so special. His rhythm never changes; his ears are always forward; it’s just a very classic, beautiful way of going for a hunter.”
Endeavor didn’t get a blanket of roses for his win, but you can rest assured Griffith and Seaman are pretty thrilled with their loot—the Green Incentive Championship offers unheard of amounts of prize money for green hunters. For the win Seaman’s entry walks away with $19,353.25, and that doesn’t include the $3,967.42 the horse won in the first two rounds of the championship.
Then there are the winning prizes from sponsors—a helmet from Charles Owen, saddle from CWD, tall boots from Parlanti, a show jacket and shirt from Essex Classics, breeches from FITS, a biometric monitoring halter from Nightwatch, and a rubberized flooring product from Envisian for either a horse trailer or a wash stall.
The class rewards riders and owners handsomely for showing what their developing hunters can do, and that’s big win for the industry in Griffith’s book.
“Before this there weren’t that many people buying these young hunters, and now they have something to look forward to and a goal for these horses,” she said. “Before this class it was just your normal run of the mill shows. This is such a great thing to have. You can buy the horse and gear the horse to this, and it just seasons the horses so well for the first years and for the bigger things to come, the derbies, everything.”
Click here for full results from the championship.
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