Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 3, 2019 – Saturday marked the conclusion of the Equifest II hunter divisions at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. The culmination of the divisions during the World Championship Hunter Rider week led talented horses and riders to the winner’s circle to claim their grand champion and reserve champion titles. Of the deserving pairs was Gabriella Lewis and Lex Toccino, awarded the Large Junior 3’3” Hunter division champion ribbon.
Lewis and Lex Toccino, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Michael Burnett, were on top of their game in both over fences classes of the Large Junior 3’3” Hunter division this Saturday. Scoring an 86 in the first round and an 84 in the handy round, Lex Toccino received back-to-back blue ribbons for his efforts, even conquering the trot jump which has been troublesome for the pair in the past. Lewis and Lex Toccino’s performances over the two days put them on top of the division, earning the championship title and a trip to the winner’s circle.
Taking the reserve champion ribbon in the Large Junior 3’3” Hunter division was Mira Stephens and Giselle. The 12-year-old Warmblood mare owned by Rendezvous Farm executed two consistent trips in the final day. The pair had an incredibly successful first day of competition, taking third and first in the over fences to give them points for the reserve championship honors.
In the Large Junior 3’6” Hunter division, Friday’s leading rider, Natalie Jayne and Caston, clinched the championship title after receiving two consecutive second places on Saturday. The 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Jayne and Molly Mcadow scored an 84 and 85 in their over fences on the second day of the division’s competition.
Brynn Kuhnell and Simply Ponies, LLC’s Salt, jumped to the reserve championship in the Large Junior 3’6” Hunter division. Scores of 85 in the first round and 87 in the handy round gave the 9-year-old Warmblood gelding the lead in both jogs, picking up two blue ribbons as they exited the arena. Salt was most recently second at the USEF Junior Hunter National Championships $4,000 Large Junior 15 & Under Handy class.
As the final day of World Championship Hunter Rider Week, the $5,000 USHJA National Derby and $15,000 USHJA International Derby will take place Sunday, August 4, at 8:00 a.m. in the Grand Prix Arena.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Gabriella Lewis – Junior 3’3” Hunter champion
On her horse:
“Lex is Michael Burnett’s horse. I get the opportunity to ride him and I love him so much, he is great. He is really easy to get into the ring and he doesn’t require a whole lot of prep. He can just walk in and I love that.”
On her rounds:
“My trips were great today! Yesterday we started out not as great but we were able to smooth everything out for the second trip and then we won both classes today. In the handy, I was really focused on the trot jump because at the last couple of shows I have messed the trot jump up. We have been working really hard on it so I was happy when I nailed it today.”
On Lamplight Equestrian Center:
“I just moved to Michael’s last year so we have not been here together yet. I was here a couple of years ago and I really like the facility. I love it here and I am hoping to come back! I just think it is beautiful here, I love all the trees and it is a great place to be.”