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46th Annual Hampton Classic Horse Show Completes Greatest Year Ever

Karl Cook and Kalinka Van’t Zorgvliet
© KindMedia

The 46th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show, August 28-September 4, drew approximately 1,500 horses. Riders representing 13 countries raved about the Classic’s new Grand Prix Arena and, with its new FEI 5* status, the 2022 Classic had many of these riders calling this the best Hampton Classic ever!

American Karl Cook made his first time at the Classic one to remember as he took top honors in the $74,000 Douglas Elliman 5* Grand Prix Qualifier, $410,000 Hampton Classic 5* Grand Prix and the $30,000 LONGINES Rider Challenge.

This year’s Classic was rated USEF ‘Premier-6’ for both hunters and jumpers with FEI 2* and 5* classes. Ireland’s Alan Wade served as Grand Prix Ring course designer. The Classic attracted its usual list of celebrities throughout the week, including Kelly Bensimon, Katie Lee Biegel, Michael Bloomberg, Lorraine Bracco, Christie Brinkley, Matthew Broderick, Jessica Capshaw, Chelsea Clinton, Mariska Hargitay, Donna Karan, Kelly Klein, Don Lemon, Luann de Lesseps, TJ Miller, Daphne Oz, Jill Rappaport, Brooke Shields and Molly Sims.

The culminating $410,000 Hampton Classic 5* Grand Prix on Sunday, September 4, saw 30 entries representing nine countries challenge Alan Wade’s (IRL) final course of the week, a winding 1.60m course featuring 17 efforts. Defending champions Daniel Bluman (ISR) and Gemma W, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Blue Star Investments, gave it their best effort with a double-clear time of 36.930 seconds but ultimately landed in second behind Qualifier winners Karl Cook and Kalinka Van’t Zorgvliet.

“I watched Karl’s ride, and he’s a deserving winner,” Bluman said. “He rode great all week and had a lot of success, and I already knew when I crossed the timers that he would beat my time. It was just a matter of if the rails stayed up or didn’t. I tried to get the crowd going to interfere with his focus, but I know Karl. He’s a winner, and I did absolutely everything I could. I’m very happy for him.”

Last to go, Cook and the fast-footed Kalinka shaved 0.2 seconds off Bluman’s time, stopping the clock at 36.710 seconds for top honors. This win, which was Cook’s first Five Star grand prix victory, also landed him on top of the leaderboard in the $30,000 LONGINES Rider Challenge, earning him the $30,000 cash bonus and a new LONGINES watch.

“It’s great to be here,” Cook said of his first time at the Hampton Classic. “I’m so glad I came here. I’m grateful to my mom, who owns the horse, and it’s just great that we’ve worked so hard with that mare, had our highs and lows, and still had everything come together. If you see her, she’s hot, a bit wacky, a little small, and has an inverted-type jump,” he added of Signe Ostby’s 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare. “But the only reason she can do this is because she wants it. She tries so hard for it.”

The Hampton Classic continued to support several charity partners such as the Kevin Babington Foundation, which benefited from an exciting new addition to this year’s show. For every clear round jumped over the initial course in the $410,000 Hampton Classic 5* Grand Prix, the Koenigsberg family donated $5,000 to the Kevin Babington Foundation. Nine horse-and-rider combinations made it to the jump-off, leading to a $45,000 donation from the Koenigsbergs.

All Grand Prix Arena competitors had the opportunity throughout the week to ride on the new state-of-the-art all-weather footing installed by Travis Gould and his JTWG, Inc., under the guidance of iEquitek’s Bill Hawe and in consultation with Oliver Hoberg. The footing received rave reviews across the board.

More FEI highlights

The Hampton Classic’s FEI 5* competition began Thursday, September 1, with the $37,000 Hampton Classic 5* Speed Stake. Forty-seven horse-and-rider combinations challenged a winding two-phase course for the afternoon’s $37,000 Hampton Classic Speed Stake CSI5*, where Kristen Vanderveen (USA) came out on top, piloting Bull Run’s Prince of Peace to a fault-free time of 30.500 seconds.

Earning himself the advantage of going last in Sunday’s Grand Prix, Karl Cook piloted Kalinka Van’t Zorgliet through the highly technical $74,000 Douglas Elliman 5* Grand Prix Qualifier course with ease, securing the win with the afternoon’s only double-clear round.
Israel’s Daniel Bluman, the 2021 Hampton Classic Grand Prix champion, added another FEI win to his list in Saturday’s $74,000 Hampton Classic 2* Grand Prix. Bluman stopped the clock aboard his, Alex Yadgarov, Mikhail Ilyaich and Over The Top Stables LLC’s 10-year-old Selle Français gelding Cachemire De Braize in a blistering time of 35.790 seconds.

“We had a really good string for this class,” Bluman said. “Alan Wade did a good job, but we don’t expect anything less from him. It was a difficult track for the Two Star level, but Cachemire is a Five Star horse. He’s done a lot of Four Star grand prix, so he’s really at a level where he has experience and scope to spare. He gave me a really nice first round, then was great for the second. I knew I had to lay it out in the second round because I had some fast riders coming, and Karl (Cook) had already had a good jump-off. I just focused on my plan, and it worked out.”

Daniel Bluman and Cachemire De Braize
© KindMedia

In the $74,000 5* LONGINES Cup, Aaron Vale (USA) topped the leaderboard with Thinks Like A Horse’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Elusive. The pair had one of only two double-clear rounds, stopping the clock at 37.770 seconds to clinch the win.

“When McLain (Ward) put in a good round but had the last fence down, I was looking for a target to run after, and it was almost like that target had been taken away,” Vale said of his predecessor in the jump-off. “It made me think twice about how fast I could try to go. Of course, I know Molly (Ashe Cawley) is very fast, and Katie (Dinan)’s little horse is just a rocket. I wanted to be fast enough where even if I had one down, I could leave the ring on top. I had a rub at the Jaguar fence, and luckily it stayed up.”

Other jumper and equitation highlights

The Grand Prix Arena opened Saturday morning with the Platinum Performance/USEF Talent Search 3*, where Alexandra Ryden of Cary, NC, rode Precision Equine LLC’s Heroy Von De Hei to top honors under the watchful eye of Stacia Madden and the team at Beacon Hill Show Stables. On Sunday, Avery Glynn of Petaluma, VA, and Jet Show Stable’s Itteville claimed the blue ribbon in the $10,000 Hermès Equitation Championship.

“The first time I’ve ever ridden this horse was exactly a week ago on Sunday,” Glynn said. “To prepare for riding him, I watched his videos online. I felt like I figured him out quite quickly. He’s an absolutely lovely horse to show and such a great partner. He’s one of the best open water jumpers I’ve ever sat on, and he’s just amazing mount.”

From a field of 29 entries, Mimi Gochman of New York, NY, rode to top honors in the $10,000 Lugano Diamonds Junior/Amateur Welcome Stake with a double-clear time of 32.302 seconds aboard Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s Gabbie BH. She also took fourth in the class with Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s Happyfee in a time of 34.818 seconds.

Cara Dayton of Chesapeake City, MD, took home the Currey Cup Perpetual Trophy for her winning-round time of 33.090 seconds in the $25,000 Agneta and Brownlee Currey Jumping Derby, a member event of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Jumper Classic Series. She also earned the High Amateur Jumper Championship aboard her winning mount, Deborah Dayton’s 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Durrant.

In the hunter rings

Geoffrey Hesslink of Shelbourne, VT, defended his title in the $5,000 Mane ’n Tail Hunter Rider Challenge, collecting over 1,100 points to win this award for the second consecutive year. Regardless of which horses they rode, Rider Challenge competitors earned points based on their overall placings in several of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows and Hampton Classic hunter divisions: Green Working 3’6” and 3’9” hunters, Green Conformation, High Performance Conformation, High Performance Hunter, and Old Salem Farm’s Performance 3’6” Hunter and $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby presented by Mane ’n Tail.

“I’m really grateful,” Hesslink said. “Like I said last year, I’m just so lucky to be surrounded by such amazing people and supporters. That hasn’t changed. I’m so lucky to ride the horses I have every day. It’s a real treat to show them, not only at Old Salem but here at the Hampton Classic. I couldn’t have done this without everyone at my back.”

Riding Tracy Treace’s Belgravia, Hesslink also won the Co-Championship in the Ollywear Performance 3’3” Hunter division, which had a California split. Sharing the Co-Championship was Jared Depermentier of Franklin, TN, and John & Stephanie Ingram LLC’s Heckfield.

Amateur-Owner, Junior, and Pony hunters also starred in the rings throughout the week, with the Amateur-Owner divisions awarding their championship titles on Saturday. Among them was Quest, owned and ridden by Stephanie Danhakl of Pacific Palisades, CA, who earned the High Score Amateur-Owner Award and the Good Sportsmanship Trophy after collecting a total of 42 points in The Whitman Team Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter, 18-35 division. The pair won the division’s Championship and Breitling Trophy.

Bringing home a big win in the $10,000 Sam Edelman Junior/Amateur Hunter Classic, Becky Gochman of Wellington, FL, rode Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s 18-year-old Westphalian gelding Mythical to a winning two-round score of 177 points. Joey Roman of Freehold, NJ, finished in second with a score of 173.5 points aboard Cascatero, his 8-year-old Warmblood gelding. Tracy Treace of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, rode her 14-year-old Warmblood gelding Belgravia to third place with a score of 173 points.

The Hampton Classic featured more than 200 competitions in six spectacular show rings, the Agneta Currey Boutique Garden with more than 70 vendors, and a wide selection of dining options, all on its world-class 60-acre show grounds. The Classic continued to support several charitable organizations including Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, the Kevin Babington Foundation and Sag Harbor Food Pantry.

For more information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show, please visit the Hampton Classic website at www.hamptonclassic.com or call 631-537-3177. Hampton Classic Horse Show, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation.

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