October 28, 2014--At the end of the year-long horse show circuit, there is one final destination where the nation's top hunter and jumper riders all flock: the National Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park. The prestigious six-day culminating final kicked off today with five full professional hunter divisions.
In the Second Year Green Hunter division, sponsored by Ernie and Betty Oare and Patricia Adikes-Hill, it was Scott Stewart who dominated the day aboard Dr. Betsee Parker's A Million Reasons.
Stewart and the 9-year-old Holsteiner mare come to Kentucky fresh off a championship win at the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) in Washington, D.C., which marked the pairs' first time competing together. Given Tuesday's performance, Stewart and A Million Reasons are well on track for a repeat performance this week.
The duo clinched the blue ribbon in the first class of the Second Year Green Hunter division and finished second in the handy class, only relinquishing a higher spot in the standings to another of Stewart's rides, Loyalty, owned by Fashion Farm of New York, New York.
The National Horse Show marks only Stewart and A Million Reasons' second horse show together, but Stewart has had his eye on the mare for a while.
"The Thatcher's [of Pony Lane Farm] own her. They showed her in the First Years, and then I think she maybe took a year off and had some babies. I know they did some embryo transfers," Stewart said. "I've always liked her, and when I heard she was available I talked to them and followed up on the opportunity."
Stewart tried the horse for Dr. Betsee Parker (Middleburg, Virginia) for the first time at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and shortly after, Parker entered into a lease agreement with the Thatchers, which has already proven to be a positive decision.
"She's amazing. I love her," Stewart said. "Last week was the first time that I showed her, and she was champion. She won the first class with a 92. She was awesome."
Stewart continued, "She's the ideal hunter. She's a beautiful mover; she's a great jumper, and her type is just so nice."
Stewart's winning ways on Tuesday stretched beyond the Second Year Green Hunter division to the Green Conformation Hunters and the High Performance Hunters.
In the Goshen Hill sponsored Green Conformation Hunters, Stewart and Lucador, another Parker entry, turned in back-to-back blue ribbon performances to lead the way in the division's opening day.
Stewart's success in the High Performance Hunters, sponsored by Mr. Richard L. Duchossois, came aboard Stephanie Danhakl's Golden Rule, with whom he has been successful throughout the year.
"The courses were great today. The horses all jumped well even though it's the end of the circuit," Stewart said. "It's always nice to come to the Kentucky Horse Park. They do a good job."