Stewart And Pletcher Score Hunter Titles At Hampton Classic
Each trainer claims two tricolors
Scott Stewart has ridden many horses to hunter championships at the Hampton Classic, and this year he added two more titles, riding Everly to the High Performance Hunter Championship and Showman to the Regular Conformation Hunter Championship.
Everly also took the reserve championship in the Regular Conformation Hunter division.
The courses are always so great here, and it’s really a ‘show’ atmosphere. It’s definitely a special occasion, and we always look forward to coming here,” said Stewart, 49, of Wellington, Fla.
He said that his horses usually perform well in the Hampton Classic hunter rings, partly because he aims them specifically for it. “We try to peak for this show, for sure,” he said.
And some, like Everly, really respond to the show’s charged atmosphere and to the grass footing in the Anne Aspinall Hunter Ring. “I think horses jump well on this field. They like jumping on the grass,” he said.
Everly is new to the hunter ring, but she’s not new to the show ring. The 9-year-old warmblood mare was showing in the jumper ring until a month ago, owned by Spy Coast Farm and ridden by Shane Sweetnam. Stewart advised Dr. Betsee Parker to buy her to be a high performance hunter.
“She goes in perfect style for a hunter. But she likes to go with her nose out, which didn’t really suit her as a jumper,” said Stewart. “But she’s a beautiful horse and a beautiful mover, and I may do the hunter derbies with her in the future.”
Peter Pletcher, of Magnolia, Texas, also guided horses he trains to two hunter championships. He won the First Year Green Hunter Championship on Kingpin and the Second Year Green Hunter Championship on Romance. David and Becky Gochman own both champions.
Pletcher, 53, said that he hopes both horses will be future mounts for the two Gochman daughters, Mimi and Sophie, who are 9 and 10 years old. In the meantime, he’ll show them in the open divisions and Becky will show them in the amateur divisions.
Romance is 8 years old, and Pletcher said that his greatest strength is that “he’s a very steady kind of guy. He really focuses on his jumps, but he doesn’t worry much about the environment.”
Romance won both of his division’s classes on Tuesday but was third in both classes on Wednesday. Kingpin earned a third-placed ribbon on Tuesday but won both classes on Wednesday. Pletcher said he wasn’t surprised that Kingpin, 6, performed better on the second day.
“He went in the ring [on the first day] and went, ‘Wow!’ But today he was right on and jumped beautifully. We’re excited about the future for both of them,” said Pletcher.
Scott Stewart rode Everly to the High Performance Hunter Championship at the Hampton Classic. (Shawn McMillen photo)