Hunt Tosh and Christopher Payne Emerge Victorious in Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 19, 2021 – The conclusion of the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship took place Thursday morning in the Walnut Ring at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. Round 1 of the Green Hunter 3’6” and 3’9” Championship was first in the ring to try their hand at the 8-obstacle course that was set forth to challenge the 48-horse and rider combinations by course designer Bobby Murphy. After a competitive first round, 30 athletes were invited back for the final round of the Incentive Championship, with Hunt Tosh taking the lead in round one aboard Chorus. The Green Hunter 3’0” and 3′ 3” Championship section saw another set of 30 top athletes who had been competing for their seed position over the last two days. Hunt Tosh and Twain once again rode to victory in the Green Hunter 3’0” and 3’3” Incentive Championship after earning an outstanding score of 276 in the Championship Round. The Green 3’6” and 3’9” Incentive Championship was the feature class for the day, with 30 of the top horse and rider pairs battling for the top position. In the end, Christopher Payne and Reign were crowned the title of Green 3’6” and 3’9” Incentive Champion.

Christopher Payne with Reign

The Green Hunter Incentive Program is open to horses eligible to compete in the Green Hunters 3’0″, 3’3″, 3’6″, and 3’9″ heights. The program is designed to encourage the development of green horses and is multifaceted to include the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships, regional championships, and stake classes throughout the year and across the country. The Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship brings forth some of the top hunter athletes across the country who compete over three days at their designated height. All horses entered are able to compete in the first two rounds, where they receive numerical scores from the judges. The top 30-horses, including those tied for 30th, with the highest combined scores from the first two rounds, will advance to the third round, where they start with a clean slate.

Hunt Tosh and Twain

Tosh once again found himself at the top of the podium aboard Twain, a 6-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Ceil Wheeler, as he claimed the overall Green 3’0” and 3’3” Hunter Incentive Champion title. The pair came into day two of the competition with the confidence from winning Round 2 Wednesday. Twain continued to impress the judges during the final round with his even pace, huge scope, and effortless composure throughout the course. Scott Stewart and Ackergill Castle, a 6-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, laid down a beautiful final round to earn a score of 269.75, helping them secure the reserve champion title. Victoria Colvin and Mastermind, a 6-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Karen Bruce, were awarded third place after a final score of 267. The pair were third in the order of go and held a strong lead until Tosh overtook their score.

Hunt Tosh and Twain

After two beautiful rounds, Christopher Payne and Reign, an 8-year-old stallion owned by Still Water Farm LLC, were crowned the Green 3’6” and 3’9” Hunter Incentive Champion title. During round one, the pair quickly caught the judges’ attention after completing a seamless round, earning them a spot amongst the top three athletes in the final round. The horse and rider pair were one of the last to enter the ring during round two but did not disappoint, performing another nearly perfect round, earning them the highest score, 272.50. Tosh once again found himself not far out of the winner’s circle aboard Douglas Wheeler’s Salute, a 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding. After receiving a competitive score of 269.50, they were named the reserve champion.

Christopher Payne and Reign

Round 1 of the International Hunter Derby will kick off the day in Rolex Stadium at 8:15 am as part of the regularly scheduled Bluegrass Festival.  Livestream links are available on https://horseandcountry.tv. Use code USHJA15 for a 15% discount on an annual membership to the streaming platform.

FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE

Hunt Tosh – Champion of Green 3’0” and 3’3” Hunter Incentive

On Twain:
“He has been great all week. He was third the first day and then won yesterday and again today. For a young horse to come out here and do three days in a row is a little tricky but came back this afternoon and was so smooth.” 

On Twain’s growth over the past year
“He has not shown very much since we bought him from Emil Spadone and Seth Vallhonrat. He was such a pretty horse and had such a beautiful way of going that Ken and Cecil Wheeler bought him for me. We have shown him a couple of times and he has always been great. Maybe in Florida, he was a little wiggly but he has made up really quickly and I am thrilled.” 

On this rounds in the Green 3’0 and 3’3″:
“All three rounds I could not ask anything else of him. Today, on day three, Bobby Murphy (course designer) told me that he built a little bit of a simpler course with less bending lines because he did not want to throw too much at the horses when they were tired, and that worked in our favor.”

On whether competing is more stressful than watching his daughter compete:
“Watching Maddie is way harder than riding for myself. It is funny because she actually rode Chorus for me this morning and prepped him and she said that was more nerve-wracking for her to have the pressure to prepare a horse. It is an interesting dynamic!” 

On the USHJA / Platinum Green Incentive Program:
“I was lucky enough to be able to win it the first year and it is amazing what it has grown into. It is an amazing event for the hunters and even for pre-green horses to have a crowd like this watching is really cool. Hugh and his entire Kentucky Horse Show team does a top job putting on the event. It is great to watch all the young horses come along in this environment.”

Christopher Payne – Champion of Green 3’6” and 3’9” Hunter Incentive

On getting back into showing in 2021:
“I spent the last year laying pretty low. I spent most of my time in Florida working on new horses that I had and then just recently did some Derby’s here to get back into the swing of things. I am working my way back in.” 

On Reign:
“He is a total hunter across the ground with beautiful expression and very elegant but he has a huge jump and he is brave as can be. The more impressive the course, the better he rides. He comes for the game and likes to do it.”

On the Green Hunter Incentive Program:
“I think that it is a great stepping stone into anything! I can’t thank every person that set this program enough. From the hunters to the 3’0 to the 3’9”, this is a great preparation for anything to do with a horse in their career.”

RESULTS

Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Points

Green 3’0” and 3’3” Hunter Incentive Championship
1. Twain / Hunt Tosh / Ceil Wheeler / 276
2. Ackergill / Scott Stewart / Betsee Parker / 269.75
3. Mastermind / Victoria Colvin / Karen Bruce / 267
4. Waverly / Holly Orlando / R & R Hunter Horses, LLC / 266.36
5. Adler / Holly Orlando /James Anderson / 262.50
6. Creekside / Elizabeth Boyd / Donald Stewart & Finally Farm / 261.50
7. Carousel / Elizabeth Boyd / Ashley Neudorff / 258.75
7. Rock Point / Scott Stewart / Rivers Edge / 258.75
9. St. Louis / Hunt Tosh / Douglas Wheeler / 257.75
10. Fine Art / Scott Stewart / Caroline Ratigan / 257.15
11. Stargazing / Elizabeth Boyd / Bridget Hallman / 257

Green 3’6” and 3’9” Hunter Incentive Championship
1. Reign / Christopher Payne / Stillwater Farm LLC / 272.50
2. Salute / Hunt Tosh / Douglas Wheeler / 269.50
3. Cassario 8 / Shawn Cassidy / Ashland Farms / 269.00
4. Nottingham / Scott Stewart / Dr. Betsee Parker / 265.00
5. Cariso / Samantha Schaffer /R & R Hunter Horses LLC / 264.50
6. Charlemagne / Scott Stewart / Dr. Betsee Parker / 262.60
7. Silver Lining / Patricia Griffith / Callie Seaman / 260.75
8. MTM Loloah LOL / Dorothy Douglas / Abigail Davenport / 257.00
9. Ferrari / Elizabeth Boyd / Mary Caroline Nolan / 254.00
10. Dan D’Angelo / Rachel Hake / Amy Guth / 252.25
11. Picnic / Jenny Karazissis / Lisa Hankin / 250.00

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