Lexington, Ky. – Nov. 1
As they walked out of the ring after the last amateur-owner, 36 and over class, Katie Robinson was prepared to congratulate Nancy Hooker on the division championship. That is, until she heard the announcer call her and Rock Steady’s names to walk back into the ring for the tricolor.
“I really thought I was reserve!” Robinson said. The points between Hooker and Robinson were close—Robinson and Rock Steady won one over-fences class and Hooker and Castlewalk won the stakes class on the first day of the division. Then, in the stake class, Castlewalk won and Rock Steady was second. A win in the under saddle clinched the tricolor for Robinson.
Then, after she’s taken off her coat and started back up to the stands, she was called back into the ring for the grand amateur-owner championship.
“It was good, a surprise. I was just happy to be here,” Robinson said. As she spoke, tears welled up in her eyes. “It was really great, a perfect end to the year.” The win was all the more emotional because Robinson lost her younger horse, Arico, this spring. Arico, who had been amateur-owner, 36 and over reserve champion at the Alltech National last year, had a degenerative bone disease and was euthanized. “It has all been on [Rock Steady’s] shoulders. I am really proud of him,” she said.
Rock Steady is 14 thus year, so Robinson picks and chooses his shows carefully. “He is just a little older,” she said. “I have to think about the horse shows and where do I really want to go? As far as an indoor goes, there is no other ring like this one. I have to count my jumps, save them, and make them matter.”
The Alltech National Horse Show is the only indoor show she picked to attend this year. Her family, the Jacobs family, is instrumental in supporting the show.
A Grouch, But Good
After the championship presentations for the amateur hunters, there was an impromptu photo session with the Heritage Farm students—in addition to Robinson’s wins, Heritage’s Lexi Maounis earned the amateur-owner, 18-35 tricolor on her Sienna, and Callie Seaman was reserve on her Aha.
Maounis admitted that it’s a bit intimidating to ride Sienna, a mare with plenty of accolades with trainer Patricia Griffith to her credit, into the amateur ring. “It’s so nerve-wracking. I do feel a lot of pressure to do well sometimes. But she always gives it 100 percent. She’s amazing,” she said.
“She is very opinionated,” Maounis said of Sienna. “She likes to do what she wants. I’m fine with that though! We can do what she wants! She’s the best. She’s a little bit of a grouch sometimes, but that’s part of what makes her special. We love her no matter how she acts.”
Maounis plans to begin her freshman year at the University of Miami in January; she took a semester off to focus on riding. “This is amazing to have as my finale of the year. I got to ride and practice a lot, and I think that helped. If I’d been in school, I wouldn’t have been able to practice at all,” she said.
He’s Just A Winner
Daryl Portela wrapped up a remarkable season with the grand low amateur-owner and low amateur-owner, 36 and over titles. She and Winner have been champions in the division at Devon (Pa.), both weeks of the Lake Placid horse shows (N.Y.), the Hampton Classic (N.Y.), the Pennsylvania National and the Washington International.
“Its unbelievable,” Portela said of their record. She only showed Winner 18 times this year. “I just pick and choose our shows,” she said. “He doesn’t need to go all the time.
Though Portela had shown at the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden in the past, this was her first time in it at the Alltech Arena in Kentucky. “After Harrisburg and Washington I was pumped and ready come here,” she said.
Click here for full results of the Alltech National Horse Show.