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ATTACHED PHOTOS

Tracy Fenney and MTM Personalized

Tracy Fenney and MTM Personalized

Sandy Ferrell and Grand Luxe

Molly Sewell and Casparo

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Tracy Fenney Steps Outside of Comfort Zone to Win 2015 USHJA Pre-Green Incentive with MTM Personalized at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show

Written by: Kendall Bierer
Client: Kentucky Horse Shows LLC http://www.kentuckyhorseshows.com
Release Date: 2015-08-13

Lexington, Ky. – August 13, 2015 – For grand prix rider Tracy Fenney, the 2015 USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship was nerve-wracking, yet it did not keep the Texan from riding to the top of the hunter championship event on Thursday. Fenney ranked second after the first day of competition, and stayed consistent throughout the three-day event, topping the leader board with MTM Personalized and besting a field of the 30 top qualified horses from the original 160 entered.

It really is a lot of pressure, I am so much better in the jumpers,” Fenney laughed. “This is so special. When he did well the first day, I got so nervous for the second day. I feel so privileged to ride against such prestigious hunter riders. You hear about them, you read about them, you see them and it is just amazing. What a great group of people to ride with.”

A fixture in the grand prix ring, Fenney and partner Michael McCormick operate MTM Farm out of Flower Mound, Texas, training and selling horses imported from Europe. MTM Personalized arrived at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show while Fenney was competing in the grand prix, and from the moment she saw him she knew that the 7-year-old grey gelding was going to be special.

Fenney noted that McCormick always looks for two things, conformation and size, saying, “Sexy is number one, because everyone wants a pretty horse, and big is number two.” MTM Personalized lives up to both of those eye-catching qualities.

As only the fourth horse in the order, Fenney utilized MTM Personalized’s big stride and elegant movement, opting for the outside route where many of the other riders took handier options with an inside strategy. Her plan caught the judges’ eyes, earning them the scores of 91, 92 and 90 points. Her score would prove untouchable, with Fenney and MTM Personalized leading the class from start to finish.

“You take it step by step, they are horses. You are dealing with a whole other emotion, not just your own. Aside from mine, which is nervous,” Fenney smiled. “It’s not like tennis where you only have to worry about your swing and your racket. That horse is just so elegant how he canters so slow, I think he stands out on his own. He carries himself so well that the more time he is in the ring the better, he just does it so well.”

Twenty-five rounds later professional hunter rider Sandy Ferrell rode Grand Luxe, owned by Rebecca Stepanoff, to the second place finish with scores of 89, 89.5 and 88.5 to fall six points shy of Fenney. This was Ferrell’s first time competing in the USHJA Pre-Green Hunter Incentive, with a bit of good luck on her side helping her gain the ride aboard the Mecklenburg gelding.

Grand Luxe has an interesting background, one rooted in an entirely different discipline—dressage. The 9-year-old gelding only began showing in the Baby Greens last year, and has continued to impress his owner and those fortunate enough to sit in his saddle.

“All I know is that he needs to be in this ring,” Ferrell said of the second place horse. “I think it is safe to say that his jump is incomparable to most horses out there. He just tries incredibly hard at all the jumps, which is his natural way of going. He is actually pretty small, so to be able to jump that high and have that much scope is an amazing feature. He taught me to be tight in the tack. He wasn’t going to lower [his jump] any time soon.”

The 2015 USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship is the kick-off event for the annual USHJA Hunter Derby Championships, the capstone event of the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. The Stonelea Arena was lined with spectators, providing a sense of camaraderie that Fenney appreciated and elaborated on its importance.

“It is such an incredible week, this whole week. Now we are headed up to the ring to ride the derby horses,” Ferrell said. “The quality of the horses is just incredible. They are presented so well, trained so well, it is just one nice horse after another. This event helped to level the playing field, it is different than the Derby Championships, they are all young and new at the game, and everyone was so supportive.”

It was up and coming rider Molly Sewell of Winter Park, Florida, who claimed the third place finish with Casparo, owned by White Hill Farm of Greenwich, Connecticut. Over the course of the competition, Casparo consistently placed high scores, building every day to rank with the best of them.

“He tries so hard,” Sewell described. “He gives 100 percent all the time, and he always rises to the occasion. He was so good, his scores just kept getting higher and higher, I am so proud of him.”

Sewell is not new to the hunter game, but she is thrilled to be moving up in the ranks, especially at her first Pre-Green Incentive Championship.

“This is my first year doing it, and I never imagined that I would be third place—I just wanted to make the top 30—even to begin to imagine where I got tonight is unbelievable,” Sewell grinned. “The quality of the program showcases the younger horses. I think it promotes owners to buy young horses and bring them along which is great for the sport.”

Riding over the final oxer of the course is a moment that Sewell will never forget, and when she saw her scores of 88, 89 and 88, she was nothing but smiles.

“He jumped amazing the whole trip and I galloped down to that last oxer and he just fired over it,” expressed Sewell. “It was so exciting and everyone was so supportive. I am the ‘little man’ in this group of people. It is fun to be in there and start making a name for myself. It feels like everything is coming together.”

Fenney echoed Sewell’s enthusiasm, saying, “This is what we do, and it is so fun. It is such a wonderful feeling, the pleasure of bringing them along, seeing how far they have come—To have that feeling of accomplishment that you made a horse into something that someone else wants.”

Hunter championship competition continues tomorrow with the Classic Round of the 2015 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship in the Rolex Stadium. To learn more about the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

PRE-GREEN CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS

Pl Number  Horse           Rider               J1    J2    J3     Round  Final
_______________________________________________________________

1   998 MTM PERSONALIZEDTRACY FENNEY          91.00 92.00 90.00         273.00
2   1205GRAND LUXE      SANDY FERRELL         89.00 89.50 88.50         267.00
3   840 CASPARO         MOLLY SEWELL          88.00 89.00 88.00         265.00
4   448 LIBERTY ROAD    HUNT TOSH             87.50 88.50 87.80         263.80
5   1439SPLENDID        TIM GOGUEN            86.50 87.00 87.50         261.00
5   187 CASTLE          JENNIFER ALFANO       86.00 86.00 89.00         261.00
7   1333QUINCY          HAVENS SCHATT         85.50 84.75 87.00         257.25
7   896 KINGS LANDING   LOUISE SERIO          86.25 87.50 83.50         257.25
9   447 LARGESSE        HUNT TOSH             87.00 85.00 84.00         256.00
10  903 XOXO            PETER PLETCHER        85.75 82.50 87.25         255.50
11  947 EVERMORE        SCOTT STEWART         81.00 85.50 86.50         253.00
12  1225FETCHING        PATRICIA GRIFFITH     82.00 84.50 86.00         252.50

 

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