LEXINGTON, Ky.--Kelsey Calabro’s 3-year-old filly Caberneigh (Cabardino N x Special Consideration), the Overall Reserve Grand Champion in 2019, topped the 2020 competition to be crowned Hunter Breeding Overall Grand Champion.
Caberneigh was bred by Linda Mancini and handled by Emily Anne Belin-McDonnell, and was placed first by judges Tony Sgarlata and Mike Rosser in the Three-Year-Old Filly class at the East Coast event on Aug. 22 at the Virginia Young Horse Festival.
She stayed at the front of their minds through the West Coast competition, judged again by Sgarlata along with Sue Lightner, at Blenheim Equisports' International Jumping Festival on Sept. 18 to earn the coveted overall title after the conclusion of both events.
FIF Bondalu (Bliss MF x Footloose), a 2017 Oldenburg stallion bred, owned, and handled by Rachel Benson was shown in the Three-Year-Old Colt/Gelding class and named this year's Overall Reserve Grand Champion.
NOW COORDINATED by the USHJA, the Sallie B. Wheeler/USEF/USHJA Hunter Breeding National Championships aim to increase awareness of the Hunter Breeding sport and provide an arena for handlers, owners and breeders to showcase their talented young horses.
"I absolutely love the Sallie B. Wheeler Hunter Breeding Championships," said Benson. "I have followed the classes in previous years, though this was my first year coming to the championships. I think it is an incredible program for those who want to get their young horses exposure and get experience in the ring. It also is a testament to U.S. breeding programs and keeping the sport horse alive here in America."
The Championships were open to yearlings up to 4-year-olds of any breed.
Classes included an Amateur/Junior Handler class, 3- and 4-Year-Old Under Saddle classes, a 3-Year-Old Hunter Hack class and a 4-Year-Old Conformation Over Fences class, in addition to in-hand classes for yearling to 3-year-old fillies and colts or geldings.
Classes were judged on athleticism, conformation, way of moving, quality, substance and suitability to become hunters.