Conquistador V, owned by Tara Daugherty and ridden by KayDee Nowakowski of Allentown, PA, won the Hunter Derby at Ludwig’s Corner Labor Day weekend.
Held over the Labor Day weekend, Sept. 5, 6, and 7, the 72nd annual edition of the Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show and Country Fair featured three days of hunter and jumper competition for all ages. Along with the horse show, shopping, demonstrations, activities, and entertainment as well as a carriage drive and a large antique car show make the event into a holiday tradition with something for everyone, including the family members who don’t ride.
The featured class of the show produced one of the most unusual winning rides. Andy Kocher won the $5,000 Mini Prix on Rico, completing a clean first round in spite of breaking a rein on the seventh fence. After the rein snapped Kocher reached forward and grabbed the short end of the rein. In an amazing show of skill, Koch retained enough control to complete the course and earn a return to the jump off round.
Now with new reins, Kocher and Rico turned in the fastest round in the jump-off to earn the win the Mini Prix with Rico, but that was only a part of it. He also placed second on Filip and third on Faithful to dominate the class of 37 entrants.
The Mini Prix and other Jumper classes were featured in the main ring on Labor Day Monday, with a variety of classes, including a costumed jumper class that was won by Sara Gartland on As You Wish WF. The Child/Adult Amateur Jumper Classic was won by Lilly, with owner Gracie Allen riding, and her sister Maureen Allen took second place on Seneca.
The $1,500 Marshall and Sterling Jumper Classic went to Just One Look, ridden by 11 year old Prima Bonaventura from Swedesborough, NJ. “She sat in a field a lot of her life. She was never very good at jumping until I started riding her and she kind of started to like it,” Bonaventura said about her mount. The 14 hand large pony was a winner over the horses in the class with the fastest jump-off round. “She’s not very easy to ride and she doesn’t like different people riding her. Her speed, that speed’s pretty much normal for her, so I go for tighter turns.”
On Sunday, the main ring was the scene for the featured hunter classes, including a $1,500 Hunter Derby. That two round class was won by Conquistador V, ridden by KaeDee Nowakowski of Allentown, PA and owned by Tara Daugherty.
“I’m really excited. He was just so good to me in the handy. He took every turn option that I asked. He’s a little quirky, but when he’s in the ring he really makes it count,” said Nowakowski, who enjoys the two round format. “I love it. I think the handy round adds a whole extra skill round to the hunters. It encourages people to really go for broke on the second round.”
Winning the $500 Marshall and Sterling Hunter Classic and the trophy for highest scoring junior rider in the class was Lia Combs on Capture the Memories. “It feels really great. This is his first big time winning this year. I really wasn’t expecting it,” said the 16 year old Combs, who is from Bear, DE. This is the 6 year-old Trakehner’s first year in the children’s hunter horse divisions. “He’s really quiet but once he gets jumping, he really starts to go. He loves jumping.”
In second place in the Classic, and also winner of the High Point Adult Rider and Best Turned Out awards, was Kimberley Simmons on Legacy. The pair also won the championship in the Adult Division. Simmons, of Malvern, PA, has had the horse for just two months. “He’s been great, he’s really fun. He’s a Thoroughbred and he loves to show.”
As with many horse shows, the youngest riders at Ludwig’s Corner have a wide variety of divisions to choose from, including a full lead line division, plus there are short stirrup, beginner, junior classes and more. At the other end of the age spectrum, Ludwig’s Corner offers a Jack Benny Division for riders that are “over 39”.
Champion for that division was Debbie Clair on Second Chance while the Reserve Champion was Helen Thompson on Rockefeller. “I’m just glad to be on my horse and have an opportunity to ride. It’s great that they have a division like this for people who are not doing recognized shows but just want to go and have fun with their horse,” the 63 year old Thompson said. She was very pleased with the performance of her Dutch Warmblood. “When you’re an older rider you want an all-around horse and that’s what I have. He’s very sluggish …We’re two slow pokes taking our time going around the ring.”
Being an unrecognized show does not limit the enthusiasm of the riders who come back year after year and generation after generation, like Leigh Berman, who won the Local Hunter Championship on Altamira, a 15 year old Hanoverian.
“My daughter used to show here quite a bit. She’s moved on, so I’ve taken on the role of horse showing,” Berman said. “I like the local atmosphere here, I like to support the community. It’s a big horse show, and competition is tough.”