By Tricia Booker
Lexington, KY - August 13, 2015
Tracy Fenney may be best known for her prowess in the grand prix show jumping arena, but during the $234,655 USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship her talents in the hunter ring carried her to the top.
She guided MTM Farm's MTM Personalized, a 7-year-old warmblood gelding, to the best performance in the Championship Round, earning scores of 91, 92 and 90 for the top check of $29,333.13.
"Wow," said Fenney. "Well, of course I get so nervous. It's so much easier doing the grand prix classes. I just feel privileged to ride against all those guys; they're so good. You hear about them and see them, and they're just amazing. What a great group of people to ride with."
Tonight's Championship Round was the grand finale of the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship. The First and Second Rounds took place August 11-12, with two courses of 3' or 3'3" fences suitable for Pre-Green Hunters.
In this third year of the Championship, 332 horses enrolled in the program. A total of 295 of those horses qualified to compete, with 160 entering the event.
The top-30 horses, with the highest combined scores from the first two rounds, returned today with a clean slate for the Championship Round over a third, beautiful course designed by Patrick Rodes, of Argyle, TX.
Tonight's judges included Linda Andrisani, Rick Fancher, Danny Robertshaw, Claudia Roland, Mike Rosser and Steve Wall sitting in pairs around the Stonelea Ring.
Fenney and her partner Mike McCormick, of Flower Mound, TX, imported MTM Personalized in March, and, fittingly, he arrived into a winning atmosphere. Fenney had just captured that evening's $25,000 Hildebrand Fund Grand Prix at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Texas and was eager to meet her newest hunter.
"He's just amazing and such a fun horse to have," she said. "I feel lucky to have been able to ride him."
After winning the Championship Round and placing second in Round 1 and seventh in Round 2, MTM Personalized collected $41,828.51 in total prize money.
"I love this program. The test case was in Texas [with Texas Pre-Green Super Series], and Colleen McQuay has done such a good job for all of us," said Fenney. "She's helped people understand the program and shared her knowledge. Usually all we have are Pre-Green horses, because they usually get sold before they're First Year horses. I think we had eight enrolled [in the USHJA program] this year, and we sold five of them. It's really fun watching them all."
Both the second- and third-placed finishers echoed Fenney's feelings after their Championship Round performances. Sandy Ferrell guided Rebecca Stepanoff's Grand Luxe to reserve championship honors with scores of 89, 89.50 and 88.50, while Molly Sewell rode White Hill Farm's Casparo to third place with scores of 88, 89 and 88.
This was the third time Ferrell had shown the 8-year-old Mecklenburg gelding, and they collected $22,527.76 in prize money during the three rounds.
"His regular rider, Rebecca Gibson, couldn't be here, so I lucked out and got the job," said Ferrell. "He's 8 years old, so a little on the older side of the Pre-Green horses. He has very few jumping miles, though. He was a dressage horse, so he's very green as far as his miles in the show ring."
Ferrell, Bernville, PA, described Grand Luxe as a trier who has found his niche in the hunter ring.
"It's safe to say his jump is incomparable to most horses out there," she noted. "He just tries incredibly hard at every jump, which is just his god-given way of going. And he's actually pretty small, so to be able to jump that high and with that much scope is an amazing feature. He taught me to be tight in the tack because he wasn't going to jump lower any time soon."
Sewell reunited with the 6-year-old Westphalian Casparo (by Cascavelle) just three weeks ago after he was sold last March to owner Jennifer Padovani and While Hill Farm of Greenwich, CT.
"So he's just an amazing horse," said Sewell. "He tries so hard. Pretty much every time I've shown him he's been champion or reserve. He gives 110 percent, and he just keeps rising to the occasion. All week he had 85, 86, and it got higher and higher. I was so proud of him tonight; he got so excited with all of the people [spectating] and just turned it on."
In addition to winning $14,226.47 in prize money during the Championship, Sewell and Casparo were presented with this year's Shapley's Best Turned Out Award. Sally Stith-Burdette was on hand to present Sewell and groom Amado Ramos with a Shapley's Awards Package.
Fenney, as the winning rider of the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Champion horse, also received a one-year free lease on a customized two-horse bumper-pull trainer courtesy of KY Lake Trailer Sales and Sundowner.
Louise Serio received this year's Rider Style Award. The new award, presented by Bill Rube, went to the rider who best displayed the American style of riding in the ring and sportsmanship outside of the competition arena. The recipient will serve as a role model for preserving the integrity of the sport and maintaining a standard of excellence and tradition in his or her riding.
This year's High-Score Mare Award was presented to Splendid, a 6-year-old warmblood, owned by Boggs Hill, trained by Kelly Goguen and ridden by Tim Goguen. Splendid placed sixth in Round 1, 10th in Round 2 and was fifth overall in the combined scoring. Splendid also finished tied for fifth in the Championship Round.
In addition to the substantial prize money, this year there was $16,500 in bonus awards offered. The winners were named based on their performances in the First and Second Rounds. They included:
$5,000 High-Score American-Bred Bonus Award in remembrance of Candie Owens, presented by Oakwell Farms and DS Holdings, LLC - American-Bred -Wish (Be Cool-Hush) a 6-year-old bay gelding owned by Rivers Edge and ridden and trained by Scott Stewart.
$2,500 International Hunter Futurity Bonus Award - IHF - Roll Call (Redwine-Really The Winner), a 7-year-old Oldenburg gelding, owned by Lorena O'Neill, trained by Alex Granato and ridden by Josh Dolan.
$2,500 High-Score 4- and 5-year-old Bonus Award presented by Barnfield Foundation - Liberty Road (Casall-unknown), a 5-year-old gelding, owned by Betsee Parker and ridden and trained by Hunt Tosh.
$2,500 High-Score American Quarter Horse Bonus Award, presented by Plastilite Corporation and Equine Semen Transporter - Snorkel (Achieva-Divy Up Babs), a 6-year-old Thoroughbred-Quarter Horse mare, owned by Holly Brown Powell, trained by David Warner and ridden by Lanie DeBoer.
$2,500 High-Score Sallie B. Wheeler/U.S. National Hunter Breeding Championship Alumni, presented by The Wheeler Family - Fleur Du Rouet (Balou Du Rouet-All Powder Coated D), a 5-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Spencer Ranch, trained by Keeley Gogul and ridden by Jeff Gogul.
$2,500 Thoroughbred Bonus Awards, presented by TAKE2 Second Career Thoroughbred Program, Inc. - no Thoroughbreds competed in 2015 so money will rollover to 2016.
The Pre-Green Incentive Program has gained popularity since its debut in December 2012 and has garnered praise from members across the country for its encouragement of the development of young horses. The program would not have gotten off the ground without the early support of many people, including USHJA committee members and staff.
The Founding Members include: Colleen McQuay, Amanda Lyerly, Bill Ellis, Betty Oare, Diana Strumberg, Don Stewart, Emil Spadone, Geoff Teall, Jenny Karazissis, Joey Darby, Liza Boyd, Louise Serio, Peter Pletcher and Susie Schoellkopf.
The USHJA thanks the Official Sponsors who helped to make this championship possible, including: Charles Owen, the Official Helmet of the USHJA; Rood & Riddle, the Official Equine Hospital and Veterinary Pharmacy; Standlee Hay Company, Official Forage Company of the USHJA; The Clothes Horse, Official Cooler of the Pre-Green Championship; EQSportsNet, Official Host Broadcast; KY Lake Trailers Sales, Award Sponsor; Shapley's, Best Turned Out Award Sponsor; Hospitality Sponsor SmartPak; and Contributing Sponsors Perfect Products and Professional's Choice.
For full coverage please look for the USHJA Hunter Derby and Pre-Green Incentive Championships In Stride Digital Special Edition arriving in your email as well as the September print issue of USHJA In Stride. For complete results, please visit the Pre-Green Incentive web page at www.ushja.org.