The Kristen Baran $100,000 Neil S. Hirsch Boys & Girls Club Team Hunter Exhibition Debuts at Wellington International
Hunter riders went under the lights on Friday at Wellington International for a first-of-its-kind event at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). The Kristen Baran $100,000 Neil S. Hirsch Boys & Girls Club Team Hunter Exhibition featured hunter teams of three jumping a 3’3” course in the International Arena to benefit the local chapter of the Boys & Girls Club. After 14 teams took to the track, Brianne Goutal-Marteau, Grace Debney and Clara Propp emerged the first-ever winners of this innovative offering.
Teams consisted of a professional, amateur, and junior hunter rider. Scores were given from three judging panels for an average final score. Each team was afforded one drop score with the opportunity to erase their lowest-ranked performance akin to a jumper Nations Cup. High scores of 91.33 from Goutal-Marteau and 89.67 from Clara Propp delivered their team the victory.
Professional Goutal-Marteau of Annapolis, MD piloted Grand Remo, junior Clara Propp of New York, NY rode Arabesque and amateur Grace Debney of Hampden, MA dusted off her hunter boots and took over the ride on a borrowed mount, Lifestyle.
“It's been a long time since we've done something new in the hunter ring and obviously to do it for a charitable cause is even better. I think the format is really fun,” said Goutal-Marteau of the class that allowed three riders to jump the same course while their teammates waited inside the ring for their turn. “It flowed really nicely, and it's also really fun to do it at 3'3”: less pressure and you see a lot of good horses having a good time and doing everything easily.”
Goutal-Marteau’s comments echoed those of Wellington International management as they continue to make a concerted effort to afford more opportunities for hunters to take part in a variation of competitions.
“It’s an ongoing goal for us at Wellington International to provide opportunities for hunters to be showcased,” said David Burton, COO of Wellington International. “This season, they experience the International Arena, night classes and the derby field, all with substantial prize money for professionals, amateurs, young hunters and ponies. The hunt team class is a perfect way to showcase hunter horses and riders in a fun environment that also gives back to an organization that has a huge influence in the Wellington community and greater Palm Beach County.”
The Boys & Girls Club Gala took place ringside during the class as funds were raised to help further the mission of the organization: to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.
Taking second at the end of the evening, Patricia Griffith on Silver Lining, Callie Seaman aboard Moonshine, and Vivian Golden riding Chamonix climbed to the next landing on the platform. Third was presented to Keri Kampsen in the irons of Idhira, Stephanie Danhakl aboard Baker Street and Wyatt Rofey riding Becoming. Kristen Baran also presented Style Awards, in honor of Patricia Raynes to Liza Towell, Grace Debney and Wyatt Rofey.
The brainchild of hunter trainer Andrew Lustig, the Boys & Girls Club Team Hunter Exhibition is part of a bigger vision he has for the hunter discipline. “My big dream is that hunters will travel the world and be featured like the jumpers do,” he said after watching the first step in his plan come to fruition. “We should be able to travel to exciting places and have exciting competitions. I want to grow the hunters to be as successful as it can be on a big stage, and this is the first step.”