Lexington, KY – May 11, 2022 – Eager equestrians were thrilled to be back in the Bluegrass state as the Kentucky Horse Show kicked off their 2022 Spring show series Wednesday, May 12, at the remarkable Kentucky Horse Park. The sun rose on the StoneLea Arena to set the scene for top hunter horse-and-rider combinations to try their hand at the beautifully built track. Competition was stiff for the opening day with only three points separating the podium finishers. In the end, it was Scott Stewart aboard For Always, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, who took top honors in the Combined Green 3’6” & 3’9” Hunter Incentive Stake with an impressive score of 92 points.
The Green Hunter Incentive Stake is open to horses eligible to compete in the Green Hunters 3’, 3’3”, 3’6”, and 3’9”. The program is designed to encourage the development of young, green hunters. It is multi-faceted and includes the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships, regional championships, and stake classes all throughout the country, year round.
Stewart and the 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding stood out amongst the competition that saw all top eight combinations score above 80 points. The winning duo jumped in top form while showcasing a rhythmic cadence throughout the entirety of the course. With Stewart in the irons, For Always most recently consistently placed on the podium at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in the Green 3’9’’ Hunter Division. The veteran duo has developed a trusting partnership and continues to add to their success including wins in High Performance Conformation Hunter Championship at the 2021 National Horse Show, where For Always also received the Baroness Of Lochiel Perpetual Trophy, Henry The Hawk Memorial Trophy and the Ackergill Castle Perpetual Cup, as well as winning the Washington International Horse Show Green 3’6’’ Hunter Championship.
Scoring big to kick off the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, Stewart also took to the second place position with another one of Dr. Betsee Parker’s mounts, Nottingham. The pair came back to best their winning performance from the 2021 Kentucky Spring Horse Show with a score of 91 points, just one point shy of For Always. No stranger to hunter perfection, Stewart headed into the spring and summer series with multiple impressive championships under his belt at WEF this winter in Wellington, FL with the 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding. Stewart, who has been a long time rider for Dr. Betsee Parker, secured a fifth place finish in the infamous International Hunter Derby at the 2021 Upperville Colt & Horse Show as well as a first place finish in last year’s International Derby during Kentucky Spring aboard Nottingham.
Rounding out the top three of exceptional competition to take to the StoneLea Ring was Christopher Payne aboard Reign. The 9-year-old stallion, owned by Stillwater Farm, LLC, was turned out in pristine condition to score a 90 and help Payne secure the third-place finish. The pair began working together in 2020 and have built an impressive resume with several big wins in the Green Hunter division.
Hunter competition at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show will continue in the StoneLea Ring Thursday morning beginning at 8:00 a.m., with the continuation of the Green 3’6’’ Hunter followed by the Green Confirmation Hunter division.