Lexington, Ky. – July 29, 2020 – Professional hunters took to the Stonelea and Claiborne Rings at the Kentucky Horse Park for the second day of hunter competition at the Kentucky Summer Classic, all contending for the Grand Hunter Championship, presented by Visse Wedell. Awarded to the competitor with the most points accumulated in the Green 3’3” Hunter, Green 3’6” Hunter, Green 3’9” Hunter, Green Conformation Hunter, High Performance Conformation Hunter or the High Performance Working Hunter divisions, it was Christopher Payne and Reign who jumped to the top of the ranks out of the six considered divisions on a total of 46 points throughout the two days of competition in the Green 3’3” Hunter division.
Payne and the 6-year-old Holsteiner stallion nearly swept the Green 3’3” Hunter division, winning every class but one. Judges rewarded the handsome bay stallion for his picture-perfect jump, scope and even pace as he met each fence. Payne spoke highly of Reign and his unusually even temperament for a stallion of his age, praising him for being brave and easy-going even after their show hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Owned by Lisa Levine and Stillwater Farm, Reign was imported in the fall of 2019. The talented stallion was an immediate success in the American hunter ring, winning nearly every class he entered in throughout their time at the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival. Payne is looking forward to continuing his campaign of Reign with hopes of moving him up the ranks and eventually competing him in the International Derbys.
Hunter competition at the Kentucky Summer Classic will continue Thursday, July 30, with the Large Junior Hunters in the Stonelea Ring and the Large Pony Hunters in the Claiborne Ring at 8:00 a.m.
Christopher Payne – Grand Hunter Champion
“He is a 6-year-old stallion we imported last fall. He went to Florida and we competed him in the Green 3’6” Hunter division three times there, then we weren’t able to show anymore due to COVID-19. We decided to get his Green status back and start him in the 3’6” division again next year. We decided to do this division for the Green Incentive. In the future, we would like to move him up into the 3’6” Green Hunter, and eventually the 3’9” Green Hunter and the Performance Hunter. He is so brave and so scopey that he would be a great derby horse as well! Everybody is always so surprised that he is a stallion because he is so easy going. He is such an easy guy and he is so much fun.”
On being Grand Hunter Champion:
“It feels really good. There are great horses and great riders here. It is very competitive so I feel very fortunate. I would like to say thank you to Lisa Levine at Stillwater Farm for letting me have the ride on such amazing horses. I feel very lucky to have someone that supports me that much.”
On competing at the Kentucky Summer Classic:
“Kentucky is an amazing facility. I have been here for years and years and the facility is just fantastic. The management is doing an amazing job with the current circumstances with COVID-19. They are being very diligent about masks, social distancing and all of the important things, so hopefully with the excellent job they are doing we will be able to keep going!”