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National Finals Kicks Off Wednesday Night

        In one of the largest USEF Adult Medal National Finals ever, a field of 19 entries took to the Red Mile on a beautiful Wednesday evening to perform the extensive work required of the national finalists. After both rail work and individual workouts by all 19 riders, Reagan Upton waited nervously but patiently as the top ten riders were recognized in reverse order. The crowd grew more intense as the field narrowed to three and Jonelle Chovanec’s rider Cecelia Hoffmann earned the bronze medal. With just two riders left in the ring, Kristen Dull and Reagan Upton, as well as their fan clubs, were on pins and needles. Last year’s UPHA Adult Challenge Cup National Champion and reserve USEF Medal National Finalist Reagan Upton was elated when Kristen Dull was announced as the silver medal winner, as she claimed her first USEF National title but her second national final in adult saddle seat equitation under the guidance of her mother Courtney Huguley.

            Rounding out the top ten were Jennifer McGowan (in fourth place), Dr. Morgan Wolin, Avis Van Zomeren, Cagle James, Rachel Griffis, Lexie Bragg and Sara Szychlinski.

            In an interview for Report TV after the show, judges Ray Krussell, Donna Smith and Rodney Hicks explained what a privilege it is to judge Lexington with such outstanding talent in the ring class after class. See the full interview at One interesting point they made was what a difference ringmanship makes on the Red Mile race track and some of the most seasoned riders rose to the top as knowing how to find their spots paid off with blue ribbon results.

            McGee Bosworth knows the Lexington ring well, not to mention the way to find the winner’s circle, with her third trip to the winner’s circle this week– this time with CH I’m Something Wicked in the 13-entry Adult Five-Gaited Show Pleasure Class earning a unanimous decision to the delight of trainers Evan and Mary Orr. Misdee Wrigley Miller and HS Baby Steps were in all the right spots to win a unanimous decision in the Amateur Three-Gaited Over 15.2 Class. Wise beyond her years, Alex Rudder and Soquili’s Curious George earned a unanimous decision in the 12-entry Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 14-17 Class, with added assistance from the rail from trainers Chris and Stephanie Brannan.

            Of course it wouldn’t be a great night of horse show without some great ponies, and that has to include Golden Creek Farm entries. Mary McClean first showcased Twin Willow’s Handsome Dan in the Amateur Harness Pony Class and Jeff won the Open Road Pony Class with a unanimous decision driving Prime Time’s Choice LF. The lovely Grace Arnold won the Ladies Hackney Pony Class with Heartland Rough and Ready. Emma Wood and Sirfistication won the AHHS Youth Medallion Hackney Road Pony Class with a unanimous decision under the Lowry Stables guidance.

            The professionals entertained us with outstanding talent all night long. Jesse West showed the nice three-year-old three-gaited park entry, Bow Howdy, for a unanimous win for owner/breeder Paula Schmidt. Bill Waller topped a field of nine with a unanimous decision for All Well Farm in the Open Three-Gaited Park Class with Anna Wintour. Last year’s Three-Gaited Grand Champion, Don O’Neil and Chris Reiser earned a unanimous win in the six-entry Three-Gaited 15.2 & Under Stake. And of course the grand finale of the evening was the Five-Gaited Stallion Stake which Top Of The Mark and Tre Lee won for the second year in a row for Golden Creek Farms.

            The weather was kind to us once again on Wednesday night with pleasant temperatures and cloud cover but no precipitation. All in all, it was another great night of talented horses and the preparation that went in to show off in the Parade Class, Open Gig Class, and Evening Park Carriage Class was much appreciated by the Lexington audience. There was something for everyone at Lexington Junior League.

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