Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 21, 2018 – A mere three months after THE HUNT took place in the Netherlands, the group of elite hunter horses sold to the highest bidder have already begun to attract attention and earn top placings in show rings. Representing stables from coast to coast as well as Canada, the horses have accumulated a strong repertoire of success in a short time, providing tangible proof that the debut THE HUNT has achieved its ultimate goal of providing North America with ring-ready hunters.
“The foundation of THE HUNT was to decrease the amount of work required of potential buyers and trainers who import horses from Europe,” said Chris Sorensen, namesake of Sorensen Stables. “By specially curating that special group of horses and training them as hunters, we hoped they could immediately be shipped to North America and soon step into competitions, thus bypassing a lengthy training process. Based on the early results we have seen by some of the horses, I’d say we were successful.”
One of the premier equestrian show circuits, the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Fla. has already seen ribbon-worthy appearances by THE HUNT graduates since beginning in January. Ovo, piloted by rider Christopher Payne, garnered scores of 84 and 86 over fences on the first day of the show, and went on to claim two championships in the Green Hunter 3’6″ division ahead of a field of more than 30 competitors, many of which were show ring veterans, during Weeks 3 and 5. Twice during Week 5, Ovo and Payne scored a pair of 90-point scores from the judges panel.
For those buyers interested in THE HUNT horses for resale purposes, Ovo comes as a prime example. Already primed by Sorensen to be a thriving hunter mount, the young horse was shipped by the original auction purchasers to the United States and efficiently sold to new owner Melissa Jacobs of Buffalo, N.Y.
Another THE HUNT grad making a name for himself in the hunter ring at WEF is Calypso Z, owned by Elvenstar Farm out of Moorpark, Calif. Originally named Alegria, he carried Lisa Baugh to a division championship in the Adult Amateur Hunters during Week 3, winning two of the classes and never placing lower than fourth.
“He was champion his very first time out in the older Adult Amateurs in Wellington, and then the next week in the younger Adults he placed second in the hack and second over fences. He is just lovely. We love him,” said Jim Hagman, owner and trainer at Elvenstar Farm.
Lucky enough to have the ride on two THE HUNT mounts, Payne also rode the New Jersey-based Signorino Family Farm’s Maison, originally named Reinvente, to the reserve title in the Green Hunter 3′ division during Week 4. In his very first outing, Ontario-based Joanna Solomon’s Totem won first prize in the Pre-Green Hunter 3 & 4-Year Olds with Darcy Hayes aboard during Week 7. Totem’s barnmate Zumanity, owned by Ella and Sarah Davison of Ontario, Canada, carried rider Quincy Hayes to the division championship in the Pre-Green Hunter 3 & 4-Year Olds during World Champion Hunter Rider Week 6.
“We had high expectations for Zumanity, and he has gone above and beyond. Right off the bat he won with not only myself, but the 13-year-old little girl who bought him, which is not common for a 4- coming 5-year-old from Europe,” said Hayes. “He is already becoming the horse we knew he would be. We can’t wait for more success with him in the years to come.”
Outside of WEF, more horses have been making names for themselves, as well. Megan Young rode EHM Equestrian, LLC’s Varekai to the division champion in the Baby Green Hunters during the first week of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. Over the course of five classes, the pair never placed lower than second.
With such strong results proving that the concept of THE HUNT is both possible and successful, there is no question that the management team behind the thrilling horse auction will return in 2018 with an enhanced event. A new group of carefully selected horses will enter the program as prospects, and will surely leave as ring-ready athletes primed for the North American market. Stay tuned, as details for the 2018 event will be forthcoming!
For more information on THE HUNT, please click here.