The 2016 Kentucky Mountain Horse International took place at the Kentucky Horse Park in September. This is biggest horse show of the season for Mountain Horses.
Our 7-year-old stallion, Purdue's Incredible Hawk, has had a successful show season - his first full season, under the training and horsemanship provided by Chad Chambers of Double C Farm in Kentucky.
There are four show gaits for Mountain Horses. These are based on how high the horse front legs reach. They start at Country Trail class, and then Trail Pleasure, Classic Pleasure, and Park. Hawk is shown in Classic Pleasure classes.
The first day of the 3-day show, Hawk won two 2nd place finish. We were pleased with how well he had done, considering the high quality of the other horses, and the amount of time and effort that all of the trainers and horses put in to prepare for this show.
Friday afternoon, Hawk and Chad entered the Horse Park arena for the Classic Pleasure Championship class - and Hawk was on fire. His presence immediately drew the crowd's attention, and soon the judges followed suit. By the end of the class, Hawk won an impressive victory against 12 of the best classic Mountain Horse stallions the breed has to offer. But that was just the start of Hawk's big weekend.
Saturday night was Grand Championship. The black ties were out, and the excitement in the Horse Park was hard to describe. This is the moment those connected with Mountain Horse shows wait for. We knew Hawk was an amazing horse - but were satisfied by the trophy he had already earned. But Hawk and Chad weren't finished.
The Grand Championship class draws only the best. Hawk had never shown against several of these horses. No one seriously expected his first appearance on a stage this big to result in him placing. But I guess we didn't know that Hawk had another big surprise in store.
The field was crowded with 13 horses. Each horse had many ribbons and years of experience. But then came Hawk, charging into the arena, and again demanding his attention. His fluid movement and charging engine were immediately noticeable - and he soon won the crowd's support. The horses lined up at the end of the class, and the judge's cards were tallied - and when Hawk's name was announced - everyone connected with this horse was filled with emotion.
Hawk circled the arena for his victory lap, after receiving his Grand Championship ribbon, trophy, and the wreath of roses. The crowd was on their feet as Hawk and Chad made their final lap. I know some people are quick to overuse words when a horse wins an accomplishment - but Hawk is 100% heart. A gentle and unassuming horse that becomes something spectacular when it is his time to shine.
Needless to say, we are excited to see what 2017 brings for Hawk. You can bet it will be pretty Incredible!