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May 12, 2014

Guarantee and Claire Azar Claim NAL/WIHS Children's Hunter Classic Win at Kentucky Spring Horse Show

Claire Azar and Guarantee
Lexington, KY - May 11, 2014 - Claire Azar earned the highest score in the first round of today's NAL/WIHS Children's Hunter Classic at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, and when she cleared the final fence of the second round she guaranteed her victory with the aptly named Guarantee.


The NAL/WIHS Children's Hunter Classic is a highlight event for riders, running as two rounds; the final over fences class of the Children's Hunter divisions counts as round one, and the top 12 highest scoring horses then return to jump the second round.

 

Azar, an Indianapolis, IN resident finished the first round in the Stonelea Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park with a score of 82, putting her a solid nine points ahead of Vyla Carter and her own Dallas, who would enter the second round in second place with a score of 73.

 

Carter and Dallas slightly bettered their first round ride over the second course, earning a score of 74 for a cumulative total score of 147, which would be enough to clinch the eventual second place honor.

 

Azar and Guarantee where the penultimate pair to return for the second round, and when their score was announced as a 78 for a 160 total it quickly became apparent that the victory was theirs. 

 

"He's great; he helps you a lot. I've been riding him for about a year and a half. He can be a little lazy, but he has days where he's fast," Azar said of Guarantee, who is fondly known as 'Joey.' "He's like a giant teddy bear. He loves treats."

 

Azar first started learning to ride with Abigail Blankenship at Treesdale Farms in Carmel, IN over five years ago, and she's been there ever since.  She has also been coming to Kentucky to horse show for much of that time.

 

"I love showing here because we've been coming for three or four years, and it just feels like home," Azar said. "I've been here so much that I'm really comfortable here."

 

Prior to the start of the Children's Hunter Classic, the Kentucky Spring Horse Show awarded its final hunter championship tricolors, one of which also went to Azar and Guarantee.

 

The pair earned the Children's 14 and Under Hunter division championship after claiming a blue ribbon over fences today and top placings in all five of the division's classes.

 

In the Children's 15-17 Hunters, the championship went to another Kentucky Horse Shows regular, Jane Brooks aboard her own, Lifeline.

 

The Cincinnati, OH native and her German Warmblood gelding dominated the division, sweeping all three of the wins in today's classes.

 

"He's a little cranky sometimes, but once you go around in the ring his personality really lights up. He's the kind of horse that if you just point him at the fence, he'll get you there," Brooks said of Lifeline or "Regis," nicknamed for the connection of both names to the formerly popular TV show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

 

Brooks has had Lifeline for five years, and in that time the pair have made frequent trips to the Kentucky Horse Park alongside Brooks' trainers David Belford and Christopher Payne of New Hope LLC.

 

"I love Kentucky Horse Shows," Brooks said. "It's so pretty here, and the atmosphere is great. Everybody's so nice and helpful."