August 16, 2013--Owner Douglas Wheeler said what may have been on many people's minds at the conclusion of the inaugural $157,990 Pre-Green Incentive Championship, at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
"Hunt's instincts as a horseman and a rider are fantastic. He's very patient with the young ones, and his riding talent is second to none," said Wheeler.
And on August 15 that statement was particularly true as Tosh rode the Wheeler family's Crisp and Betsee Parker's Casanova to co-championship honors with equal scores of 177 points.
"The tie today-that was actually really cool," said Tosh. "I knew they both went well, and when the second one went I didn't know what would happen. But the fact that they were tied, that's just special."
The rules stipulate that a tie for first results in a "jump-off" for the title, however, on this lovely summer evening Wheeler, of Keswick, VA, and Parker, of Middleburg, VA, chose to save their young horses for another day. They opted to split the combined first- and second-placed prize money, which amounted to $17,378.90 apiece.
"The great owners made a good decision," said Tosh, of Milton, GA. "That was my gut instinct, but I never even had to say anything. I was on my last horse, and they both came into the schooling ring and said neither one of them are jumping again today. That was great."
Parker credited Tosh for his great style. "We're not into the 'jumperfying' of our hunters," she said. "We're into the classical, traditional American style and putting that forward as a very valuable and athletic way of riding hunters. Hunt really typifies the very greatest in the greatest hunter style."
Kelley Farmer, of Keswick, VA, guided Kenneth Garber and Larry Glefke's Scripted to a beautiful round tonight and third place. Their score of 170 points resulted in $9,479.40 in prize money.
Tonight's Championship Round was the grand finale of the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship. The First and Second Rounds took place yesterday (August 14) and included 107 qualified and entered horses that competed over 3' or 3'3" courses suitable for Pre-Green Hunters.
Tosh also dominated the field in Rounds 1 and 2, winning both rounds on his two championship mounts. He topped Round 1 aboard Casanova with scores of 88 and 86.25 for a total of 174.25. Tosh also picked up second in the first round aboard Crisp, with scores of 87 and 86.5 for a 173.5.
In Round 2, Crisp stepped up for the blue ribbon with scores of 88.5 and 87 for 175.5. Tosh and Crisp's two top two finishes also put them at the top of the day's overall leaderboard with a combined two-round score of 349. In addition, Crisp earned $17,378.91 for his two stellar performances.
The top 30 horses, with the highest combined scores from the first two rounds, returned today with a clean slate for the Championship Round over a beautiful course designed by Patrick Rodes, of Argyle, TX.
Tonight's judges included Danny Robertshaw, Jimmy Torano, Ralph Caristo and Rick Fancher sitting in pairs around the Stonelea Ring.
In the inaugural year of the Championship, 270 horses enrolled. A total of 201 of the 270 horses enrolled in the program qualified to compete with 107 stepping into the ring.