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Jennifer Alfano and Havens Schatt Share Grand Championship at Kentucky Spring Classic

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Havens Schatt and Custom Made
Havens Schatt and Custom Made
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May 14, 2015

Lexington, KY - Havens Schatt and Jennifer Alfano battled neck and neck for the blue ribbons on day one of the professional hunter divisions at the Kentucky Spring Classic. The two friendly leading riders and their horses were back it today, eventually tying for the grand championship.

Beginning with the First Year Green Hunters, Schatt demonstrated her determination atop two entries, Custom Made and Capital City. In the over-fences class, Schatt piloted Custom Made to a first-place finish, ending up second in the handy and first on the flat to earn the division championship.

Custom Made, who is owned by Shaw Johnson Price, became a minor celebrity after jumping out of the Rost Arena with Schatt aboard at the Winter Equestrian Festival, but today the 10-year-old gelding was on his best behavior.

“I think Custom Made is really in a good place right now,” Schatt commented. “I’m a big believer that if you just take your time and help them try to understand, it’s not that difficult. They learn a lot.”

Schatt and Capital City were awarded the reserve championship for their winning handy round combined with a third-place and finish over fences.

“Everything you ask Capital City to do, he’s game to do it,” Schatt said. “He’s always right there to pick up the slack. This was the first week that he was really able to put everything together in every class, but he’s only 7, so he has way less experience than a horse like Custom Made.”

The Green and Regular Conformation Hunters were the next to show, with both Kelley Farmer and Peter Wylde in contention for the top spots. In the over-fences class, Farmer took home the blue atop Back Story, the big bay gelding owned by Tia Schurecht. The pair finished third in the handy and first on the flat, racking up enough points for the division championship.

“Back Story had a little break, but it’s awesome to have him back,” Farmer said. “As a First Year horse, he was champion at Devon, reserve at Capital Challenge, but he pretty much took the last year off. I think we’re right on track for being ready for Devon again. He’s a big, strong horse, and it’s not hard for him at all.”

Wylde and Levland, the 8-year-old entry owned by The Levland Group, were hot on her heels, taking home first place in the handy and coming in second to Farmer over fences and on the flat. The duo earned the division’s reserve championship for their efforts.

“We bought Levland to be a Grand Prix jumping star, but turns out Levland doesn’t like the water jump very much,” Wylde laughed. “He’s so beautiful and he’s such a good jumper that I thought maybe he would make a good hunter. We’re just starting with him, and I think he’s going to be a really good horse. I’m just so excited because he does it really well, and he’s beautiful to ride; he has Grand Prix scope.”

The day continued with the Second Year Green Hunter division, with Alfano and Schatt returning to face off once again. Schatt and Set to Music, owned by Deborah Perkins, improved from Wednesday’s second-place finishes, delivering three winning rounds to sweep day two and earn the division’s championship. The duo also accumulated enough points to tie Alfano and High Performance Hunter Maggie May for the overall co-grand championship.

“Set to Music is just so scopey,” Schatt said. “He’s like 15.2, so when you’re cantering to those big jumps, it’s a little nerve-wracking, but then he just does it with no problem. He’s just now coming into his own to put everything together, each and every time. That little horse knows how to turn it on at the big shows, but in between at the smaller shows, you’re like ‘come on, Calvin!’ He just knows when it matters.”

Rounding out the Second Years were Alfano and Candid, the previous day’s victors. The pair finished second over fences and third on the flat, earning the reserve championship.

It was Alfano’s time to shine in the High Performance Hunters with Helen Lenahan’s Maggie May. The mare won four out of the division’s five blue ribbons, earning the championship and joining Schatt for the overall co-grand championship.

“Maggie was great today,” Alfano remarked. “She went beautifully, and I’m so happy with her. I’ve had her for several years, and she’s just really coming into her own. She always was a great athlete, but she wasn\'t really consistent. Now, you can call on her, and it’s really nice. We went slowly with her, and it’s paying off. She’s so smooth and pretty that when she does it right, she is so nice.”

The division’s reserve champion award went to Schatt and Mostly Sunny, the flashy chestnut owned by CH Farm LLC.

“Mostly Sunny is like my child,” Schatt gushed. “He can do no wrong in my eyes. He’s only 7, he’s inexperienced, but he’s so scopey that he won’t learn anything from the 3’3. At 3’6, he’s not really ready beat all of Scott’s great horses, but he’s got to go in there and learn.”

At the end of the day, both Alfano and Schatt were happy to share the Grand Championship honors. Alfano commented, “Getting co-grand champion with Havens was really fun. We’re friends, so it is always nice to be able to have this award at this show.”

Schatt agreed, saying “It’s nice; it’s a great award. The level of competition at this horse show is so great, I think it’s really nice to have a grand championship. Jen’s a great rider, and she had an amazing day yesterday, and I couldn’t beat her,” Schatt laughed. “My horses were super today, and everything just fell into place. That’s how it goes with horse showing.”

Coverage will continue Friday with the USEF Platinum Performance Talent Search 2*. Saturday is “Derby Day,” with the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby taking center stage.

For more information on Kentucky Horse Shows LLC and the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

KENTUCKY HORSE SHOWS 2015 HORSE SHOW SERIES FAST FACTS

Events: 2015 Kentucky Spring Horse Shows

What:
The Kentucky Horse Shows 2015 series includes two weeks of top hunter/jumper competitions during the month of May. The Kentucky Horse Show Series is the host of the Hagyard Challenge Series and Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby Series.

Where:
Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY, site of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™. Home to the United States Equestrian Federation.

When:
KENTUCKY SPRING HORSE SHOW - May 6-10, 2015
$34,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI2*
$85,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI2*
$25,000 Bluegrass Classic
$25,000 U25 Classic
$15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
$5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby
WCHR Recognized Hunter Competition

KENTUCKY SPRING CLASSIC - May 13-17, 2015
$34,000 Welcome Speed CSI3*
$34,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3*
$127,000 Hollow Creek Farm Grand Prix CSI3*
$50,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix
$20,000 Bluegrass Classic
$5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby

Sponsors:
A special thanks to the generous sponsors of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows: Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Hallway Feeds, Hollow Creek Farm, Audi of Lexington, Sleepy P Ranch, CWD, Farm Vet, Dietrich Insurance, Brooke USA, Take2 Thoroughbred Program and the Official Hotel The Clarion

Hours:
8am - 5pm daily

Parking:
Horse Show Exhibitors may purchase a weekly parking pass at the main Horse Park entrance for $15.00. Dogs are permitted at the Kentucky Horse Park on a leash.

Directions:
The Kentucky Horse Park is located 8 miles northeast of Lexington, Kentucky at Exit 120 on Interstate 75.

Information:
Before Show - (859) 233-0492, Email: hakshows@earthlink.net
During Show - Telephone: (859) 254-3343, Fax: (859) 231-6097
Stabling - Email Tom Blankenship at tomblank@bellsouth.net
Stable office - Before Show: (843) 269-4737, During Show: (859) 255-0605
Prize List Advertising - Email Cindy Bozan at cindy@kentuckyhorseshows.com or call (859) 608-3709
Vendors - Email Cindy Bozan at cindy@kentuckyhorseshows.com or call (859) 608-3709
Shownet - www.shownet.biz
Website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Shopping:
Vendors offering equestrian equipment, apparel, jewelry and home furnishings are located adjacent to the Stonelea Ring.

Hotels:
CLARION HOTEL (http://www.clarionhotellex.com) (Formerly Holiday Inn North) - 859-233-0512 - Approximately 4 miles (OFFICIAL HOTEL)
Discover the place where elegant comfort in an ideal location meets excellent service and affordability. At the Clarion Hotel Lexington, you'll find well-appointed accommodations with options of double/doubles, double queens, king rooms or suites, exceptional amenities such as our free hot breakfast buffet, and Southern hospitality at its finest. The best hotel for Keeneland - Located in the heart of Kentucky's Bluegrass Region-home of the Kentucky Horse Park, the Lexington Convention Center, University of Kentucky, and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail- our Lexington hotel is on Newtown Pike at Exit 115 on I-75, close to all the big attractions, and is the perfect place to stay whether you're here to get down to business or have some fun. Best of all, bring your furry friends for any trip because the Clarion Hotel in Lexington is also pet-friendly.

CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS:
Reservations may not be made through the Horse Show office. To reserve a campsite at the Kentucky Horse Park for any of the horse shows, please call the Campground store at (800) 370-6416 or 859-259-4157 or email Ryan McGaughey at Ryan.mcgaughey@ky.gov. Be specific as to the show name and the dates you wish to stay. Check-in time is 2:00 p.m. and checkout is 12:00 noon. You must make arrangements with the Campground store if you plan to arrive earlier than 2:00 p.m. or stay later than 12:00 noon. Vehicles that are not removed from a campsite by check-out time will be towed.