Riders Wrap Up Show Season at Classic
The Nov. 25 Thanksgiving Classic at the Carolina Horse Park brought together sleek hunters, agile jumpers and graceful carriage horses for what has become an annual holiday tradition.
The event drew a distinguished lineup of riders from several surrounding regions to vie for the top prize in three classes: the Hunter Derby, the Jumper Classic, and the Carriage Driving/Jumping Team Derby.
Competitors have the chance to compete on the lush, expansive Twin Gates Farm Derby Field, always a favorite with local riders. A cheering ringside crowd adds to the electric atmosphere.
The horses and riders aren’t the only features at the event. The Classic has become a social extravaganza over the last couple of years, including tailgates and a VIP luncheon under a large white tent beside the ring.
For many show riders, this was one of their last competitions of 2012 — and several Classic participants finished up the season with a bang.
Maryann Charles, one of the area’s best-known jumper professionals, won the Jumper Classic aboard Fox View Farm’s FVF Stainless.
The pair was fresh off a championship in the 1.40-meter division at the Duke “Jump for the Children” Horse Show in early November.
Charles, of Southern Pines, and the big gray took the win over Jeanne Hobbs and her own Beau du Marais.
Hobbs grew up in Pinehurst and flourished on the Young Riders circuit, competing in Europe with several top U.S. show jumpers on the USEF Developing Riders Nations Cup Tour in 2008. She now runs Southern Valentine Stables in Southern Pines.
Hobbs also took fourth in the class with Southern River, finishing just behind Fox View Farm’s FVF Brulee and Laura Gaither.
In the Hunter Derby, Robert Savage piloted Kathleen Gurley’s Rebel’s Last Yell to the victory. Savage and his wife, Sandy, operate Quiet Meadow Farm in Pittsboro.
Savage and Rebel’s Last Yell bested Dale Wright and Best Kept Secret, and another Fox View Farm entry, FVF Blue Moon, ridden by Gaither.
The unique Carriage Driving/ Jumping Team Derby saw a heated battle between several entries, but in the end, the local pair of Lefreda Williams, who rode the jumping phase, and carriage driver Miranda Cadwell came out on top.
Tayloe Compton and Deborah Branson were second, followed by Shelley Sommerson and Suzy Dixon. Rounding out the first four were Moore County Hounds huntsman David Raley and Marcie Quist.
Full results can be found on www.carolinahorsepark.com.
The horse park is now shifting its sights to the two December Classic shows, held this weekend and Dec. 13-16. Both are USEF Hunter-Jumper “A” rated.
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