Chris Payne and Kelley Farmer Take the Victory Gallop Side by Side for the Grand Hunter Championship Title at the Kentucky Spring Classic

Lexington, Ky – May 19, 2022 – After successful rides in the StoneLea Hunter Ring at Kentucky Spring Classic, two sophisticated riders emerged victorious as they both claimed the Grand Hunter Champion title. Christopher Payne and Axel, owned by Blue Mountain LLC, and Kelley Farmer on Casting Call, owned by David Glefke, took the hunter ring by storm and tied for the Grand Hunter title on Thursday afternoon following their stellar performances.

Christopher Payne and Axel. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Payne and the up-and-coming 6-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Axel, rode to the top of the leaderboard in the Confirmation Hunters 3’9” division, placing first in every class except for one. Payne, fond of Axel, said that he rose to the occasion beautifully and was really able to show off his style and talent over both days of competition.

Kelley Farmer and Casting Call. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Kelley Farmer and Casting Call, the 8-year-old Westphalian gelding, took not only the Confirmation Hunter division by storm, but also dominated the Green 3’9” Hunter division, coming out on top of the leaderboard. Farmer and Casting Call sweeping the 3’9” Hunter Division, taking to the barn four first-place ribbons and a second. Farmer spoke very highly of the gelding, with this being their second show together she is excited to see where the gelding’s career takes him.

Hunter competition will resume on Friday morning with the Amateur-Owners 3’6” division in the StoneLea ring at 8:00 a.m.

FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE

Christopher Payne – Grand Hunter Champion 

On his partnership with Axel:
“He is quite a nice horse, I imported him as a young horse. He only showed 3-4 times in the young hunters last year and he is just turning six this year. One of my juniors bought him, and he went straight to the Confirmation and Junior Hunter division. He just has a great brain, he’s a tryer, he’s everything you want in a nice horse.” 

On Kentucky Horse Shows:
“I love it, can’t beat it. It has great footing, great management, great courses, great stabling, it’s the whole package. It’s really nice being in Kentucky because they put so much effort into the rings, and the jumps, and the presentation, and he’s a horse that likes that interest. I, so it was really nice being able to ride him around a course that had quality jumps and you could let the jump show his style and talent. He really rose to the occasion beautifully.”

Kelley Farmer – Grand Hunter Champion

On her relationship with Casting Call:
“To be totally honest with you, there isn’t a whole lot to our relationship with him because he is brand new to us. Last week was my first horse show with him, so he is very, very new to us. I don’t know a ton about him, but what I do know about him I love. We got him right when we left Florida, he was a horse that Brady Mitchel had last year as a first year horse. Ultimately I didn’t have a second year horse and I wanted something that I could show in the professional divisions. I think ultimately he is going to be a really good derby horse. So far what I know about him, I love. He is a careful, good jumper, he has beautiful style, he jumps easily, so far so good! The last two days he has been lovely, they do such a nice job in the ring, the jumps always look beautiful, it’s refreshing having all the brush and the full jumps, and to have the jumps look the way they always do.

On the Kentucky Horse Shows:
“We live here half of the year so it’s where I consider this home. I love being here, and the horses do too. The management is incredible, they do everything they can to keep the horse show running well, efficient, and on time and look nice. It’s always nice coming to this horse show because you know the job is going to get done right. We love coming to this horse show, and for me, I consider this home now, being 15 minutes away, is an added benefit.” 

Claire Townsend

SCAD Alumni - horses are my life and so excited to combine them with my full time job!

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