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John Barker and Carlotta were a part of the two way tie for first in Wednesday's second round of the 2014 USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship.

John Baker and Carlotta

Kyle Owens and Messick

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Owens and Barker Tie for First in Second Round of 2014 USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship

Written by: Ann Glavan
Client: Kentucky Horse Shows LLC
Release Date: 2014-08-13

Lexington, Ky.—August 13, 2014—The second of three rounds of the 2014 USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship saw two horses in the top spot in a tie for first. Kyle Owens and John Barker shared a blue ribbon aboard their mounts Messick and Carlotta, respectively.

Wednesday’s class was a first for amateur rider Kyle Owens in more ways than one.

“I had never even gotten a 91 before,” Owens exclaimed of his score from one of the three judging panels. “That was my first 91. I’ve never even gotten a 90, so it felt awesome. I was so excited.”

Owens changed things up with his 5-year-old gelding, Messick, this summer, choosing to keep the horse at home with him instead of meeting the horse at shows with trainer Peter Pletcher.

“I’ve connected a lot with the horse,” Owens said of the experience. “Normally, I would only ride him at horse shows, so I didn’t really know much about him. Going home and being able to do my own thing I’ve gotten to know him better. I kind of like doing exercises on my own that I thought he needed, and I kind of learn how to ride him better that way.

It’s definitely gotten better as the summer has gone on,” Owens continued. “So this is the cherry on top for sure.”

Messick was a horse that caught Owen’s eye from the start when he purchased the horse as a 4-year-old in July of 2013.

“In the video, I could tell he looked so easy already, like naturally the type of horse that got it,” Owens explained. “The day that I first sat on him, I jumped a three foot course and it was like almost like that,” Owens continued, motioning toward the Stonelea Ring where the Pre-Greens had just finished competing. “He jumped so well, I said ‘Wow, this one is really good!’”

Going into Thursday’s final round of the championship, Owens is going in with no expectations.

“Either way even if tomorrow I fall off, I’ll still be so excited,” Owens said with a laugh. “I’ll say ‘but yesterday I got a 91!’ I’m just thrilled that this happened today.”

Joining Owens in the tie for first was John Barker aboard Ashley Hodges’ entry Carlotta, a mare Barker said is lacking in something most good horses have – something that he is not complaining about.

“Honestly, she’s pretty perfect,” Barker said of Carlotta’s personality. “Even at home, it’s pretty unusual to have a horse that really seems to be this good and is easy at home. She’s not spooky; she’s not marish. She’s easy to be around, and that’s kind of unusual. A lot of good horses have quirks you have to deal with, and she really doesn’t.”

It does not hurt to add good looks to a great personality, either.

“What we really liked was her expression; she always wore her ears really nicely,” Barker said, explaining what appealed to him about the mare when looking at her for owner Hodges. “When you’re looking at her, the presence is the main thing which she has. When she walks in the ring she has a lot of it.” 

As a professional rider, Barker said the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Program gets owners interested in something they are not always willing to invest in—young talent.

“I think it’s wonderful. It’s so good for the horse business,” Barker said of the program. “The owners want to participate with the young horses, which are a hard sell.”

Owens could not agree more.

“If you think about it, these Pre-Green horses are going to be our top 3’6” horses of next year,” Owens said. “They’re going to be our top hunters, or amateur or First Year horses, and they’ll go on to the derbies and all that kind of stuff. I think really promoting the start of where we develop all the talent is really important, and it encourages people to get Pre-Green horses.”

The 2014 USHJA Pre-Green Incentive culminates Thursday with a third and final round, where the top thirty horses from Tuesday and Wednesday’s rounds will compete in a final over fences round. The final round will feature a “clean slate” format, meaning the scores from Tuesday and Wednesday will not be carried forward.

For more information on the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows, including this week’s Bluegrass Festival Horse Show visit


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