January 17, 2014--Lucador and Scott Stewart were awarded top honors in the Green Conformation Hunter division, presented by Shapley's Grooming Supplies, on Wednesday afternoon of the FTI WEF. Stewart and Lucador took home the championship prize for the second week in a row after an incredible sweep of the division during Week 2 of the FTI WEF. The pair ultimately won all six classes in the division.
Reserve champion for the division was High Regard, owned by Glefke & Kensel, LLC, and ridden by Adam Ottomanelli. High Regard was third in the model and second under saddle with Ottomanelli before placing fifth in the handy round, and finishing second, third, and second over fences.
Lucador, a six-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, first caught Parker's eye at the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Program Championship in Lexington, KY, last summer. Peter Pletcher campaigned the gelding throughout 2013 for then-owner Brian Walker, finishing the year fifth in the Pre-Green Incentive Program Standings for Money Won by a Horse.
Despite Lucador's substantial winnings, the horse hadn't actually been in the show ring very often. After taking him out a few times in the fall, Stewart toyed with the idea of giving him another year to get comfortable in the horse show environment.
"I wasn't sure whether he was going to do another Pre-Green year or not. He's pretty young. He's just turning six, and Peter and Brian only showed him three or four times [last year at the FTI WEF] and a few times over the summer. He didn't have a lot of experience, but he's really brave. The jump is easy for him, and he has a good mind for a young horse," Stewart detailed.
Stewart decided to make the move up a division with Lucador, but resolved to wait and see how the gelding handled the higher fences. With two division championships in his first two weeks out, it's clear Lucador has risen to the challenge.
"The original plan was to show him once or twice at 3'6" and see how he dealt with it, and if he didn't do so well we could always drop him down. But so far so good!" Stewart laughed.
Lucador also hasn't been deterred by less than ideal weather, getting wet during week one of the FTI WEF during substantial rainstorms followed by an unseasonably chilly and windy in the second week. Stewart acknowledged that although Lucador is still young, he's mentally quite mature. At only six years of age, Lucador is already described by Stewart as a horse he doesn't have to worry much about in the ring.
"He's got a big stride and he's not spooky, so you never have to worry about that. He's also got a perfect lead change, so there's a lot of things you don't have to worry about. You just have to stay out of the way, and he'll have a pretty jump. He doesn't actually need to jump a lot at home, either. He's pretty easy. He acts like a 10-year-old!"
Shapley's Grooming Products sponsored the Green Conformation Hunter division, awarding Stewart with a well-stocked bucket of grooming supplies for his victory with Lucador. Stewart's River's Edge Farm, based in Flemington, NJ, is already a devoted Shapley's user thanks to overwhelmingly positive feedback from the grooms.
"We use it all the time. It's great to have Shapley's sponsoring this class because you can use all of their stuff for the model. The guys love it, and it makes the horses look good!" Stewart remarked.