LEXINGTON, (USEF) – The tallies are in and the Overall Grand Champion has been crowned at the 2012 Sallie B. Wheeler/US National Hunter Breeding Championship.
The east coast’s Best Young Horse Champion has won the Overall title for the sixth time in the Championship’s two phase history as Sabrina, a chestnut Hanoverian filly, was selected as the winner.
Sabrina (Cabardino x Tapestry) is owned and bred by Donna Struve and was handled by Bucky Reynolds. Because of Sabrina’s win, Struve also took home the J. Arthur Reynolds Memorial Trophy as the breeder of the Overall Grand Champion. In addition to the J. Arthur Reynolds Memorial Trophy, Sabrina also won the Dave Kelley Perpetual Trophy donated by Nokomis Farm for being the Overall Grand Champion.
The east coast Reserve Champion Best Young Horse, Westfield, was also selected as the Overall Reserve Champion Best Yong Horse, making it a clean sweep for the east coast. Westfield (Westporte x Noblesse), a three-year-old Thoroughbred gelding is owned and bred by Meg Valnoski. He was handled by Dowell “Junior” Johnson, Johnson has handled the gelding exclusively throughout his career.
“We’re absolutely thrilled, we love this colt,” Valnoski said. “It’s a long road with all these other young horses and I’ve had other horses compete in the Sallie B. Wheeler Championships and they’ve done okay but to actually be Reserve Best Young Horse is beyond anyone’s expectations. I am so appreciative to Junior Johnson for what a wonderful job he’s done with that colt.”
The Belcort Farm Perpetual Trophy for the leading Handler also went to Junior Johnson, who scored one point more than Emily Anne Belin to win the trophy.
The east coast phase of the event took place three days after the west coast phase where three-year-old Holsteiner filly Walk The Talk (Chaleon x Scho Me The Magic) owned and bred by Pam Stubbs and handled by Matt Davis won the West Coast Best Young Horse award. Awesome (Popeye K x Delilah), a two-year-old Oldenburg gelding handled by Sue Lightner, owned by Paige Riffle and bred by Leslie Pinkerton Nelson took the Reserve Champion West Coast Best Young Horse award.
Lightner also won the Leading Handler award for the west coast and took home the Ted Fieger Memorial Trophy.
A group of other young horses were also given breed awards for their successes on both coasts at the conclusion of the phases.
The newly donated Foxwick Farm Perpetual Trophy donated by Marcia Heylin went to leading Thoroughbred Last Dance Request (Ellusive Quest x Dance Spot), owned by Waller Farms and handled by Chip Leonard. The East coast’s Oldenburg Registry of North America award went to Copacabana (Cabardino x Kir Royal), owned by Sydnie Ziegler and Margo Seglias and handled by Emily Anne Belin.
Yearlings reigned supreme in the breed awards on the west coast, with all three winners coming from the yearling division.
Danielle Castano’s Gee Whiz (More Than Luck x Amerika 7), handled by Marie Medosi, was the recipient of the Leading Dutch Warmblood award presented by the KWPN of North America. The Holsteiner filly De Suena (Lio Calyon x Maaika), owned and bred by Ashley Norris and handled by Paul Bennett, was the winner of her breed’s award. Another filly was a winner of the Oldenburg Registery of North America’s award when Hunter Bred Yearling Fillies class winner Glenn Moray (Glenn Livit x Showgirl), owned by Jenifer Grubb-Reed and handled by Diane Yeager, received the trophy.
Brooke Royster and Richard Wilkinson were the judges for both phases of the event, flying from Del Mar, California to Warrenton, Virginia to judge both sets of horses.