Honoring Hunters at the 140th National Horse Show

NHS is celebrating the hunters of the 140th National Horse Show with a spectacular lineup of divisions including: the Green Conformation Hunters presented by Selma Garber, the High Performance Conformation Hunters, the Goshen Hill Green Hunter 3’6″ division presented by Caroline Moran, Green Hunter 3’9″ division, the Judith C. Murch High Performance Working Hunter division presented by Winner’s Circle Trailer Sales and the Corrigan Family, the Amateur Owner Hunter 35 and Under, the Suzanne Thoben Marquard Amateur Owner Hunter over 35, The Rencourt Foundation Amateur Owner Hunter 3’3” 35 and under, and The Mr. & Mrs. Ernest Oare Amateur Owner Hunter 3’3” over 35 division. Shining the spotlight on both professional riders and amateurs in attendance this year, NHS sat down with Jacob Pope, Geoffrey Hesslink, Katie Jacobs-Robinson, and Augusta Iwasaki to get their thoughts.

Geoffrey Hesslink, an accomplished rider, gave us a glimpse into his experience at the National Horse Show. “I just showed Drumroll. He was perfect,” he exclaimed. When asked about his excitement for the hunters, he replied, “This is my first and only horse I’m showing this week, so it was great. He’s an amazing, amazing horse, so any time I get to show him is great.” The charm of the National Horse Show, with its beautifully designed ring and impressive hunter jumps, has not gone unnoticed by Hesslink. “I think the ring here is beautiful. They do an excellent job on the jumps. Horses really perform well here. They want to jump well and to go beautifully, so I just try to stay out of their way and produce the best rounds possible.”

Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Katie Jacobs Robinson’s journey in the Hunters at the National Horse Show is nothing short of remarkable. “I started coming here when I was 11. So, 46 years?” she modestly acknowledged. She continued to express her admiration for the event’s indoor ring, “This ring is the best indoor ring there is, honestly. You can actually gallop. Their lines are 7 and 8’s and not 4’s and 5’s and maybe 6’s. And you have time actually to ride the course in a gallop. So, that’s why I really love it. They also make you feel really special.” Robinson’s experience is a testament to the enduring appeal of the National Horse Show’s Hunter classes, where passion and precision unite in a spectacular display of equestrian excellence.

Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Jacob Pope, no stranger to the National Horse Show, shared his thoughts on his experiences. “I think the first time I was here was in 2011 for the Maclay Finals,” he reminisced. When asked about showing in the hunter ring, Pope reflected, “Honestly, this is just my second time doing Hunters here. The ring is always so nice to ride in, and the prestige that comes with the National Horse Show is always an honor.”

Pope had two impressive horses to showcase at this event, Jagerbomb and Small Love. He added, “Just showing those two, I actually just got in from Spain last night after Jumping Nations Cup last week, and I won the first class [$2000 High-Performance Conformation Hunter] this morning on Jagerbomb, so that was really fun. So just continue that streak, I guess, for tomorrow, and looking forward to a good week.”

Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Augusta Iwasaki, the model of talent and dedication, shared her insights on her experience at the National Horse Show. She began by reflecting on her first round, saying, “She [Small Love] was really good. I haven’t shown in quite a while. I just got here from school.” Iwasaki’s journey has been one of remarkable balance, as she juggles her roles as a D1 athlete and a dedicated equestrian. “I love school, and I love this, obviously, so it’s been really fun. It’s definitely a lot to juggle sometimes, being a full-time student, but it’s been awesome.”

The National Horse Show holds a special place in Iwasaki’s heart, and she fondly recalled her outstanding achievements from the previous year, stating, “Yeah, I mean, I have a lot of special memories here. Last year here was just like an absolute dream. I won the $50,000 Hunter Classic with Small Love, and I won the Maclay final, so that was… I mean, it was like a week straight out of a dream. So yeah, I’ll definitely never forget that.”

The National Horse Show has once again brought forth the passion and precision that define the world of equestrian excellence. These riders, with their unique perspectives and experiences, remind us of the enduring legacy of the National Horse Show. The champions of the above-mentioned classes will be crowned tomorrow, November 1. Starting with $1000 Green Hunter 3’6″ under saddle.

Longines FEI jumping competition kicks off on Thursday, November 2nd with not one but two feature classes, the $38,700 1.45m International Two Phase and the $77,300 International Welcome Stake, presented by North Star. The jumping action continues on Friday, November 3rd with the $38,700 International Speed, presented by T & R Development. As a proud host of one of the qualifying legs of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ – North American League 2023/2024, NHS welcomes the world’s top international riders to compete in the $226,000 Longines FEI World Cup ™ Jumping Lexington on Saturday, November 4th as the highlight jumping event of the 140th National Horse Show. For more information on Longines FEI competition this week click here.