Mike Elmore, once an aspiring veterinarian at Virginia Tech, rode Stage Hand to victory in the $1,000 Middleburg National Hunter Classic today.
A resident of Middleburg, the 24-year-old rider termed Stage Hand "by far best horse I've ridden. . .he's become more experienced in this past year and I trusted him more today (on the course) because he's gained more confidence during the year."
The 6-year-old bay gelding owned by Dr. and Mrs. Hugh Lynn of Middleburg, had a high score of 90 in the first round over the course of 12 jumps and 90.5 in the second round.
Lee's Lieutenant, ridden by Bobbie Stedding, finished second with 89.1 points.
he Grand Hunter Championship was won by Bold Acquisition, ridden by Don Stewart of Raleigh, N.C. The 5-year-old brown gelding earned 29 points throughout the five days of competition at the Foxroft School.
Bold Acquisition, owned by Lisa Stone, also won the Small Hunter Championship, the second-year Green Hunter Class and four year blue ribbons during the competition.
"He's a very quiet horse, a little sulky," the 26-year-old Stewart said. "He's an excellent mover and very good jumper."
In the $1,000 Amatuer-Owner Hunter Classic, 15-year-old Lindsy Ann Evans of Ruxton, Md., beamed as she rode away from the winner's circle atop Hopefully Happy to accept a silver challenge trophy almost half her size.
"Do you believe this?" she asked a friend, incredulously, of the first-place showing with a horse she has leased from owner Pam Emge since May. "It's like renting a house for the summer."
It was the first classic win for Hopefully Happy after a string of reserved champion titles this summer. He accumulated 88.1 points to edge out last years reserve champion. Lemon Springs, ridden by Sandra Caldwell with 87.4 points.
Lindsay, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Evans, is a McDough School sophomore. She was "very nervous" about competiting against the favored Lemon Springs.
In the difficult Ladies Sidesaddle division, R. Berk Lee captured the championship with Court Jester, and appaloosa, collecting 15 points with a clean sweep of the three classes.