UPPERVILLE, VA., JUNE 6 -- One of the veterans at the Upperville Colt and Horse Show defined the hunter class as figure skating with barrel jumps. The object for a horse is to cleanly clear the fences on a small course and look great while doing it.
Paris Lights, ridden by Bill Ellis and owned by Sheila and Michael Ashkin of Hewlett Harbor, N.Y., won the first round of the green conformation over fences class this morning and captured the Founders Cup in the evening.
Paris Lights is a failed racehorse. Too big and slow for racing, the horse was a natural hunter and Ellis is hoping the legacy of the Founders Cup will carry through. Last year's Cup champion went on to become a national champion.
"I'm just happy he's progressed so far," said Ellis. "I didn't really have to change anything when I got him. It's just his nature. He doesn't need a lot of preparation and doesn't spook."
Various groups of hunters took to the rings today. Horses with corn-rowed manes and braided tails navigated a course of 3 1/2- to four-foot jumps, depending on experience. They must look a certain way clearing a jump, must correctly space their steps between jumps and must look good approaching the fences. But it's not a beauty contest.
"The horse has to use his body parts like a gymnast," said Denice DeRisio of Middleburg, Va., who followed Tuesday's championship with another today. "And he's judged exactly as they are in gymnastics -- the form and technique and then the talent."
She steered Tattersall, owned by James Treptow and Newstead Farm, to the championship in the local hunter over fences other than owner/rider.
When Tattersall moves up, he will advance to the regular hunter class, where the jumps are four feet and a horse's strength and innate athleticism play a major role.
Horses such as Salutaire, owned by Winifred Jones and ridden by Patricia Heukeroth in the regular working hunter class, show that quality. After stumbling over a fence in the first round, the horse went cleanly in the second round and kicked up his heels as he left the ring.RESULTS Local Hunter Over Fences Other Than Owner/Rider
Section A Champion: Can We Talk, Martha Sifton, Century Oaks Farm; Reserve: Argyle, Denice DeRisio, James Treptow and Newstead Farm. Section B Champion: Tattersall, Denice DeRisio, James Treptow and Newstead Farm; Reserve: Mozambique, Martha Jackson, Watership Down. Founders Cup Champion: Paris Lights, Bill Ellis, Sheila and Michael Ashkin; Reserve: Country Clever, Olin Armstrong, Evelyn Cowles. Adult Amateur Hunter (Younger)
Champion: Etched in Granite, Amber Philler, Amber Philler; Reserve: Baron von Leiken, Heather Tarne, Heather Tarne. Adult Amateur Hunter (Older)
Section A Champion: Wind Chimes, Pamela Brown, Pamela Brown and Mrs. R. Braga; Reserve: Hershey, Pamela Brown, Pamela Brown and George Ohrstram. Section B Champion: Satchmo, Jean Rae Homberg, Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Homberg and Fox Knoll Farm; Reserve: Sunny Corner, Mrs. William Abel Smith, Mrs. William Abel Smith.