Red Panda and Hayley Barnhill Named 2010 USEF Junior Hunter Finals-East Coast Grand Champion

High temperatures made for an intense final day of competition for the USEF Junior Hunter Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park. Today’s classic round determined both Reserve Champion and Champion for each division, as well as overall High Point Mare, Reserve Grand Champion and Grand Champion. Today’s course was designed by Bobby Murphy and involved multiple bending lines, rollback combinations, a triple combination down the diagonal towards the in-gate, and finally a strong gallop to an oxer.

Small 15 & Under Junior Hunters were first in the order of go and it was 15-year-old Caitlin Ziegler aboard Safari making a comeback from the Handy Round to receive scores 87-86-86 for a total of 259 and the blue ribbon in the Classic Round. Ziegler and Safari, an eight-year-old Hanoverian, earned an overall score 634.5 points which was good enough to claim division championship. Shawn Casady and Scout, owned by Mattie Warsham, came out of the Classic Round in fourth and received the reserve championship prize with 629.5 points. Hanging on for third in the division was Meg O’Mara and Fernwalk, owned by Don Stewart, finishing with 622.5 points.

“It’s really exciting,” smiled Ziegler, “He was really good, really open and had a great pace. He was good in the handy but a bit slow. Today he was a little more in control.”

Ziegler continued, “We are going to go to Traders Point in Indiana next week and that’s all we’ll do for the rest of summer. Showing at the Kentucky Horse Park is great because you can have multiple events here at one time, the facilities are great.”

Next to go was the Small 16-17 Junior Hunters and 17-year-old Hayley Barnhill aboard mount Red Panda, owned by Shawn and Stephanie Ingram, had enough of a lead from the handy class to take home division championship with 658.5 points. Samantha Schaefer and 12-year-old Castle made a run for it by winning the Classic round with 87’s across the board totaling 261, but were just shy of overall points with 644 points and went home with the reserve championship ribbon. Rounding out the top three for the division was Leah Demartini and Glass Castle finishing with 619 points.

“I haven’t shown that horse in a while so it was exciting to get him back for this show,” commented Schaefer, “He is so sweet and tries so hard. He is a more experienced horse so he never takes a step without being asked.”

Champion Hayley Barnhill said, “Panda jumped spectacular today, he couldn’t have done better. There was a little pressure but he always jumps 20 so it went fine. Our next plan is to do Indoors.”

The Large 15 & Under Junior Hunters were one of the more wide open divisions of the finals. Thirteen-year-old Lillie Keenan and Chansonette Farm’s C Coast Z went beautifully in the Classic Round receiving scores of 87-83.5-84 and a 254.5 total. Yesterday’s Handy Round winner, Victoria Colvin and Way Cool, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker were awarded the division championship with 640 points. Shawn Casady and Cavello Farm’s Cachet finished just behind Colvin to earn the reserve championship prize with 634 points. Stepping in for third was classic winner, Lillie Keenan and C Coast Z with 617 points.

“We just bought him as an equitation horse not long ago and he was a grand prix horse in Europe so he has never been in any hunter final,” noted Keenan, “We decided to try him in hunters and it has gone well since. We just found out he made it to derby finals so that’s our next step.”

Division Champion Colvin commented, “I knew if I had a good round then I would get the overall championship. It feels really good. I’ve been riding him for a year and he is very easy.”

Finishing out the competition was the Large 16-17 Junior Hunters. Making a major comeback from the handy class was 17-year-old Taylor Ann Adams and eight-year-old Rosalynn, owned by M/M Ernest Oare, who earned scores of 90-89-92 during the Classic Round for a total of 271 points. They were the only horse and rider combination to receive a pair of 90s throughout the competition. The duo went on to claim division championship with a total of 633 points. Maintaining his position from the first day of competition, Chase Boggio and Rockford received the reserve championship honors with 624.5 points. Hayley Barnhill and Word for Word, owned by Boggs Hill took home the third place award in the division with a total of 619 points.

“All of her mistakes yesterday were mine,” said Adams. “Today, I just had to trust her to do the right thing and she did. That is what makes a good horse. We were champions at WEF and in Ocala but I haven’t ridden her since so I got on her the other day and forgot to just let her do her thing and trust her.”

Following the competition, High Point Mare, Reserve Grand Champion and Grand Champion of the 2010 USEF Junior Hunter Finals were named. Returning 2008 Champion and 2010 Small Junior Hunter 16-17 Champion, Red Panda was named overall Grand Champion with rider Hayley Barnhill. Coming in for Reserve Grand Champion was 2010 Small Junior Hunter 16-17 Reserve Champion was Samantha Schaefer and her mount Castle. Earning High Point Mare was Cachet, shown by Shawn Casady.

Grand Champion Hayley Barnhill smiled and said, “This feels awesome. I was hoping for this win and it’s so exciting to know that we finally got it. Next we will be going on to Indoors.”

The 2010 USEF Junior Hunter Finals-East Coast has commenced but the Kentucky Summer Classic has just begun and will run through Sunday, August 8, 2010. This week’s horse show is a World Champion Hunter Riders qualifying event and tomorrow the professional hunter divisions will award championship and reserve championship titles.

For more information about the Kentucky Summer Classic please visit www.KentuckyHorseShows.com