Lexington, Ky – Aug. 3, 2022 – Coming out on top yet again for the Grand Hunter Champion, sponsored by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, of Kentucky Summer Classic was Christopher Payne and Can Can. Concluding two days of top-notch hunter performance in the Green 3’6’’ and 3’9’’ Hunter, Green Confirmation Hunter and High-Performance Working Hunter, it was Payne and Can Can to accumulate the most points to secure the win amongst the large field of elite horse-and-rider combinations.

Christopher Payne and Can Can

Course designer Jasen Shelley (USA) designed the hunter tracks to showcase the beautiful fluidity of the horse and rider combinations, allowing them to open up their strides and show a forward pace to each natural obstacle. Many of the riders in the Green Conformation Hunters found issues during the handy round in the long lines, but Payne stepped up to the challenge, meeting each fence in perfect stride to ride to victory.

Hunter competition is all about precision and form; how well the horse’s movement and pace is while the rider is judged on position and control. The coveted title of Grand Hunter Champion in the Kentucky Summer Horse Show is awarded to the competitor with the most points accumulated in the Green 3’3” Hunter, Green 3’6” Hunter, Green 3’9” Hunter, High-Performance Confirmation Hunter, or the High-Performance Working Hunter Divisions.

Payne rode the talented 12-year-old gelding Can Can, owned by Stephanie Ring, to top honors both Tuesday and Wednesday. Payne came into the second week of competition at the Kentucky Horse Park with a big win under his belt, having won the Grand Hunter Champion the week prior with Gratitude.

Christopher Payne and Can Can

Well acquainted with the Kentucky Horse Show Series, Payne has earned numerous Grand Hunter Champion titles over the years on numerous horses. Although his partnership with Can Can only started in June, their lovely expression under saddle and fantastic jumping, along with wins in the Performance 3’3” and 3’6” Hunters would argue otherwise.

Hunter competition will resume Thursday, August 3, in the StoneLea Ring highlighting Junior Hunters with the Large Junior Hunter 16&17 kicking off at 8:00am EST. Hunter competition will come to a close Sunday afternoon with the Children Hunters taking center stage in the StoneLea Ring.


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