Amanda Thomas and MTM First Take Make Winning First Impression at Equifest II WCHR Week

Wayne, Ill. – July 30, 2019 –  Marking the start of Equifest II and World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) week at the Lamplight Equestrian Center, Green Hunter competition took to the Main Hunter Arena on Tuesday morning. Professionals and their mounts made their Week Two debuts in efforts to secure an early lead in the divisions and capture the tricolor ribbon on Wednesday. For the second week in a row, Amanda Thomas and MTM First Take made a first impression that put them at the top of the leaderboard in the Green 3’9” Hunter division, while Dorothy Douglas and MTM Check In topped the Green 3’3” Hunter division.

Amanda Thomas and MTM First Take

In the first over fences round of the Green 3’9” Hunter division, Thomas and her 11-year-old Westphalian gelding earned a score of 83, topping the competitive class by 3 points. MTM First Take continued to show judges style and skill in the second round, scoring an 82 and taking second place ribbon. The pair solidified their lead in the flat class when MTM First Take showed off his impressive movement through the gaits, strutting into second place.

Holly Shepherd and Jerez Mail

Tied with Thomas until the flat class, Holly Shepherd and Micaela Kennedy’s Jerez Mail are currently set up for the reserve championship title in the Green 3’9” Hunter division. The 7-year-old Warmblood gelding jumped to a score of 80 in the first round, placing second. In the second class, Shepherd and Jerez Mail earned the highest score of the division, an 84, for the blue ribbon. The tie between MTM First Take and Jerez Mail was broken when Jerez Mail received a fourth on the flat.

Dorothy Douglas and MTM Check In

On Tuesday afternoon, 14 horse-and-rider combinations showed their best in the Green 3’3” Hunter division. Capturing the highest scores of the division with a 90 and 92, was Douglas and MTM Check In, an 8-year-old gelding owned by MTM Farm. The Oldenburg won both over fences in addition to placing fourth on the flat, setting himself up nicely for the championship title moving into the conclusion of the division on Wednesday.

Holly Shepherd and As You Wish

Holly Shepherd and As You Wish, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Ashley Runnels, are the current reserve leaders of the Green 3’3” Hunter division. The hack winner scored an 84.5 and 90 over fences for the third and second ribbon before winning the flat.

Founded in 1992 by the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA), the WCHR program celebrates the accomplishments of the hunter rider. Member Events, like Equifest, are held throughout the country, where riders accumulate points towards their National and Regional rankings. In October, the top 10 nationally ranked riders in each WCHR category and top six riders from each region will compete for the WCHR National Champion title in each respective WCHR Challenge category at Capital Challenge Horse Show.

Competition at Equifest II will continue on Wednesday, July 31, at 8:00 a.m. with the conclusion of the Green 3’6” Hunter division in the Main Hunter Arena.


Amanda Thomas – Green 3’9” Hunter division leader

On her horse:
“I have had MTM First Take for three years in September. I got him when he was doing the Green 3’ Hunter division, so I have taken him the whole way, really. He is 11 years old and has so much character.”

On her rounds:
“My horse was wonderful, he jumped amazing and I thought the courses rode really well. I wanted to be consistent again this week. He will always do it right if I do it right!”

On WCHR week at Lamplight:
“I am so happy to be here, we love it here. The weather could not have been better last week and this week, it is amazing! We have nine horses here this week so it’s exciting! Lamplight is great.”

MTM First Take enjoying a snack before the jog.

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