Hunter Division Champions Crowned at Equifest II, WCHR Week

Wayne, Ill. – July 31, 2019 – The second day of World Championship Hunter Rider week began on Wednesday morning at the Lamplight Equestrian Center, where a variety of divisions concluded to crown their champions and reserve champions. Handy rounds and incentive classes captured the attention of spectators as they watched riders in the Main Hunter Arena and Hunter II maneuvered their talented horses to top placings throughout the day.

Dorothy Douglas and MTM Check In

Continuing their success in the Green 3’3” Hunter division, Dorothy Douglas and MTM Farm’s MTM Check In claimed the championship title after winning both over fences on Tuesday and placing second and third in Wednesday’s classes. “Checko”, as the 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding is known in the barn, has only been in the U.S. for three weeks. Although Equifest II is the geldings second show ever as a competitor in the hunter divisions and a new partnership for Douglas, the pair went around with ease, confidently meeting each fence and floating to fourth in the undersaddle. Douglas describes her role with MTM Farm as a dream job, giving all credit to Tracy Fenney and Mike McCormick for the talented horses she rides.

Dorothy Douglas and MTM Check In

Also representing MTM Farm in the Green 3’3” Hunter division was Fenney and MTM Personal Assistant. Scores of 87 and 91 led the 7-year-old Warmblood gelding to first and second place in Wednesday’s over fences classes, resulting in the reserve champion honors at the conclusion of the division.

Tracy Fenney and MTM Personal Assistant

As the first division of the day, the Green 3’6” Hunter division named Jennifer Alfano and Glade Run Farm LLC’s Kindred as its champion. Alfano piloted the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding to five consecutive wins, sweeping the division and scoring nothing below the 87 mark over the two days of competition. Kindred even earned a 90 in handy round, mastering the rollback turns and exercising patience to the long canter singles. The pair also won the $1,000 USHJA Green 3’6” & 3’9” Hunter Incentive with a score of 87.

Jennifer Alfano and Kindred

Holly Shepherd and Star Jewel were pronounced the reserve champion of the Green 3’6” Hunter division after scoring an 88 in the handy round for second place. In addition, the 9-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by EMO Stables received the reserve honors in the $1,000 USHJA Green 3’6” & 3’9” Hunter Incentive, earning an 83 from the judge.

Holly Shepherd and Star Jewel

Following the awards presentation for Alfano and Kindred, the Green 3’9” Hunter division took to the Main Hunter Arena. After a close battle for the top position Shepherd and Jerez Mail emerged victorious after taking the win in both classes on Wednesday, including the handy round where they scored an 83. The 7-year-old Warmblood gelding is owned by Micaela Kennedy and was very popular in the winners circle during the 2018 Chicago Festival of The Horse when he clinched two $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby wins.

Holly Shepherd and Jerez Mail

Rendering the reserve champion position in the Green 3’9” Hunter division was Amanda Thomas and MTM First Take, an 11-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Thomas. herself. On Wednesday, the pair took second in both over fences with scores of 81 and 80. Thomas expressed her gratitude for her horse on Tuesday and continued to share her appreciation for MTM First Take on Wednesday when she stated how pleased she was with his performances over the two days.

Amanda Thomas and MTM First Take

Over in Hunter II, the USHJA 3’ Hunter division, sponsored by Equine Healthcare International, finished with two final over fences classes. Winning three out of four over fences classes, Rachel Johnson and Prescott, Lindsey McDonald’s 15-year-old Selle Francais gelding, were crowned division champions while Thomas and Connie Fry’s Fanci That, a 10-year-old Hanoverian mare, took the reserve title.

Competition in the hunter ring at Equifest II continues Thursday, August 1, and will feature the $1,500 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby presented by Old Barrington Farm. This week’s highlight event, the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, will take place Sunday, August 4 in the Grand Prix Arena.

FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

Dorothy Douglas – Green 3’3” Hunter division champion

MTM Farm’s Team

On MTM Check In:
“He is an 8-year-old that we call Checko, I named him MTM Check In. Mike [McCormick], Tracy [Fenney] and I tried him in Europe about three weeks ago now. Tracy and I flew back with him six geldings and he was one that we met at the Amsterdam cargo terminal, loaded on the plane and literally flew over here with him. He did the 1.40m jumpers in Europe, but Mike and Tracy had the vision that he would make an amazing hunter. This is his second time ever showing in the hunters and I have only been riding him for two or three weeks. Now, we are here!”

On her rounds:
“I felt a little pressure coming in today [Wednesday] because my first round yesterday I got a 90 and then in my second round I scored a 92! I thought we were maybe a little smoother yesterday, but he still jumped amazing. Tracy was in the top few today and it was really cool to see all of our horses breaking into the high 80s and even reaching the 90s over these past few days. From a riding standpoint, I feel a lot of pressure because I know every horse Mike and Tracy buy are more than capable of winning.”

On Lamplight Equestrian Center:
“We have been coming here for the past four to five years. We love the facility, we love the owner, Nina [Koloseike], and I think Allen Rheinheimer does an amazing job. We show with Allen down in Jacksonville, Florida as well, so it’s nice that we are familiar with everyone. This show is kind of a warm up for us leading up to Kentucky Pre-Green Finals. Since MTM Check In is new to us, this show is perfect to get to know him a little bit and then head to Kentucky next week for a break and some light training before finals. This show is a great stepping stone for horses.”