Fiyero and Elizabeth Boyd Win in Front of a Record Crowd at the 12th AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular
RELEASE: March 6, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Diana DeRosa
It was superstition, sibling support, music and a great horse that guided Elizabeth Boyd and Fiyero to the top place under a record crowd at the 12th Annual American Hunter Jumper Foundation (AHJF) Hunter Classic Spectacular on Saturday night, February 23, at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival. She managed that same feat for the very first Classic 12 years earlier.
The 11-year-old 16.1-hand chestnut gelding, which is owned by Molly Gardner of Charlotte, NC, impressed the audience with his consistency in both rounds. Fiyero took over the lead in the first round with a score of 89.75 ahead of Angelo with Tim Goguen in the irons (89.083) and Kirsten Coe on Genuine (88.666). The scores in the second round combined with their first round kept the leader the same, but Goguen and Coe played musical chairs (Goguen-89/178.750, Coe-89.833/178.499, Angelo-87.666/176.749).
To see Goguen among the top three was no surprise since he was the defending champion. In 2007, he earned the top honors on Safari, but this year the defending rider/horse combination had a late lead change on a corner right near the ingate forcing Goguen to circle.
Goguen was proud of Angelo, an eight-year-old brown 15.2-hand Warmblood, who is owned by Katie Dinan.
Coe of Toluca, CA, had earned a bye into the class by winning the 2007 World Championship Hunter Rider Pro Challenge at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in October of 2007. She chose the Second Year Green mount Genuine, an eight-year-old 15.3-hand bay gelding for the honors. The horse is owned by Laura King Kaplan and is a new ride for Kirsten.
The setting was new for the crowd. Seats replaced grass in most areas surrounding the arena and allowed for more spectators to enjoy the action. The Hunter Classic has become an event not to miss. The grass footing in the arena of years passed was replaced by all-weather footing, which this year proved to be a welcome change because the many downpours that took place throughout the week never dampened the footing or the event.
Commentator and AHJF President Geoff Teall was pleased. “I thought it was a really good class. It’s interesting that it had all professionals in the second round. I’m not saying it was better or worse—just different. It gave a different flavor to the whole thing, which I thought was great. The margin was so small from first through 12th. It was highly competitive."
The AHJF was formed in 1992 to further the development of the equestrian sport of show hunter rider and show jumping competition by providing a national office to organize, coordinate and support hunter rider and show jumping equestrian competition. Other programs of the AHJF include the World Championship Hunter Rider Awards, AHJF Educational Programs, the AHJF BSA, Inc., 401k and Profit Sharing Plan and the AHJF Junior Hunter Challenge.
Since its inception in 1997, the AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular has been a highlight event for hunter horses and riders, who put great effort into being one of the lucky competitors to qualify. Champion and reserve champion riders, who are current members of the AHJF, qualify throughout the week in the various hunter divisions to compete in this prestigious two-round competition under the lights. This year a total of $42,800 (through 12th place) was awarded with $12,000 guaranteed to the winner.
Six judges were paired in teams of two and positioned in three places around the arena. Twenty-nine horses competed in the first round and the top eight came back for a second round. The height of the fences varied from 3’6” to 4.’
The AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular is the culmination of a week filled with hunters and special honors are presented throughout the week. High-score awards were given out as well. Sandy Ferrell got the high score of 91 on Bolero in the Pro division; Clara Lindner and Hush topped the amateur owners with 89 and