Jennifer Alfano and Havens Schatt battled neck and neck for the blue ribbons on day No. 1 of the open hunter sections at the Kentucky Spring Classic. The two friendly leading riders and their horses were back again for the second day, eventually tying for the grand championship at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
"Getting co-grand champion with Havens was really fun. We're friends, so it's always nice to be able to have this award at this show," said Alfano.
In the Second Year Green Hunters, Alfano and Schatt returned to face off once again. Schatt and Set To Music, owned by Deborah Perkins, improved from Wednesday's second-placed finishes, delivering three winning rounds to sweep day two and earn the championship. The duo also accumulated enough points to tie Alfano and High Performance Hunter Maggie May for the overall co-grand championship.
"Set To Music is just so scopey," Schatt said. "He's like 15.2 hands, so when you're cantering to those big jumps, it's a little nerve-wracking, but then he just does it with no problem. He's just now coming into his own to put everything together, each and every time. That little horse knows how to turn it on at the big shows, but in between at the smaller shows, you're like, 'Come on, Calvin!' He just knows when it matters."
Rounding out the Second Years were Alfano and Candid, the previous day's victors. The pair finished second over fences and third on the flat, earning the reserve championship. It was Alfano's time to shine in the High Performance Hunters with Maggie May. The mare won four out of the division's five blue ribbons, earning the championship and joining Schatt for the overall co-grand championship.
"Maggie was great today," Alfano remarked. "She went beautifully, and I'm so happy with her. I've had her for several years, and she's just really coming into her own. She always was a great athlete, but she wasn't really consistent. Now, you can call on her, and it's really nice. We went slowly with her, and it's paying off. She's so smooth and pretty that when she does it right, she is so nice."
At the end of the day, Alfano and Schatt were happy to share the grand championship honors.
Schatt agreed: "It's nice; it's a great award. The level of competition at this horse show is so great. I think it's really nice to have a grand championship. Jen's a great rider, and she had an amazing day yesterday, and I couldn't beat her," Schatt added laughing. "My horses were super today, and everything just fell into place. That's how it goes with horse showing."
Special thanks to Phelps Media Group for the press release.