Amanda Thomas and Holly Shepherd Lead the Way in Equifest I Hunter Divisions

Wayne, Ill. – July 24, 2019 – Week one of the 2019 Chicago Festival of the Horse kicked-off at the Lamplight Equestrian Festival on Wednesday, July 24. Sunny skies and 75 degrees, the Main Hunter Arena made the perfect stage for hunter riders to battle it out for top  ribbons and aim for the championship title. Taking an early lead in the Green 3’9” Hunter division was Amanda Thomas and MTM First Take, while Holly Shepherd and Cadbury made a clean sweep during the first day of the Green Conformation Hunter competition. Both riders have a strong position on top heading into Thursday’s classes where the champion and reserve champion titles will be awarded.

Thomas and her very own MTM First Take concluded their over fences classes in the Green 3’9” Hunter with first and second place ribbons. The 11-year-old Westphalian gelding performed beautifully over both courses, and secured his lead in the division with a win in the under saddle.

Amanda Thomas and MTM First Take

Completing the top three leading positions in the Green 3’9” Hunter was Kathleen Caya aboard two different mounts: her 10-year-old Warmblood gelding Zorro, and Sweet Oak Farm’s 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding Scirocco.

Proving consistency is key, Shepherd and Susan Ross’s Cadbury rode to the top placings in every class for the Green Conformation Hunter division. Cadbury is a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding  that is off to a strong start in his second year of showing after completing one pre-green year.

Holly Shepherd and Cadbury

Shepherd also rode two other horses to round out the placings in the Conformation Hunters. Midas, a 6-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Margaret Camp, received second in each class, while High Society, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Mary Antonini, concluded the division with three consecutive third placings.

Competition at Equifest I will continue on Thursday, July 24, with the USHJA Green Incentive 3’6” & 3’9” and High Performance 4’ Hunter divisions. The highlight class of the day, the $25,000 Welcome Grand Prix, is set to kick off at 4 p.m. in the Grand Prix Arena.



Amanda Thomas – Green 3’9” Hunter division leader

On MTM First Take:
“Harvey, as we call him in the barn, is 11-years-old. I have owned him for three or four years now. He is such a good horse.”

On her rounds:
“He was really good. We had a little rub in the first class, but he was such a good boy overall.”

On her game plan for finishing out the division:
“My goal is to just stay consistent and do it all again tomorrow!”

On Lamplight:
“I have been to Lamplight before, but I haven’t been here in two years. We are so happy to be back. We tried a couple of other places, but we just love it here so we were excited to come back this year.”

Holly Shepherd – Green Conformation Hunter division leader

On her rounds:
“He jumped every jump beautifully, and  he is an awesome horse. He had a little peak at the end of the ring in the first class, but he was great. I haven’t seen him since Golf Port and he was just super fun. Phoebe [Sheets] is always nice to ride for.”

On Lamplight:
“I love it here, this is my favorite horse show of the year. It has the most character and the nicest people!”

Susan Ross – Owner of Cadbury

On Cadbury:
“He is a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. He is the sweetest horse in the world. This is only his second year of showing because he only did one pre-green year. I show him in the 3’3” Amateurs as well, but unfortunately, I broke my arm and I can’t show him here at Lamplight. He is the sweetest horse though, he nickers to you when you walk in the barn, especially to Phoebe. I am proud of his trips today and we are hoping to take him to Capital Challenge and Harrisburg this year, so I am hoping I am healed by then. Cadbury is the most easy-going horse I have ever had. Even though he is a little greener than most of the other 3’6” Green horses, he is getting there!”


Subscribe & Join

Phelps Media Group

Founded in 2002 by Olympian Mason Phelps, Jr., PMG specializes in sports branding, public relations, event coverage, media strategy, web design and social media.

All photography may only be used in conjunction with a related press release. We do not sell our email lists or share our lists with other companies or individuals.



Subscribe & Join