The last days of summer are officially upon us, and we're already missing our favorite event of the season: the 43rd annual Hampton Classic Horse Show. Each year, the Hampton Classic is one of the most highly anticipated equestrian events on the North American calendar, and it's easy to see why. Sure, the grass field and hedges are green and manicured, the champagne is flowing in the VIP, and the sport's top names are always in attendance. But, for all these reasons and more, this year's Hampton Classic was truly something to behold.
Among the week's big winners, Ireland's Shane Sweetnam, who topped the $300,000 Longines Rider Challenge standings and took home multiple wins (more on that below). Taylor St. Jacques won this year's top prize in the Junior/Amateur jumpers, while Stephanie Danhaki swept not one but three (!) placings in the $10,000 Hèrmes Hunter Classic. Over in the pony ring, Alexa Lignelli and Rollingwoods Knee Deep cleaned up with two trophies, and, as always, the bows were big and the toothless smiles adorable in the Hampton Classic's annual Leadline Class.
Read on for more of our favorite #PonyApp highlights from the week that was...
#PonySocial: Our Favorite Posts
The Hampton Classic generated plenty of buzz on the interwebs, but these five got our vote for the best social moments of the week.
#1: The Hampton Classic Table Challenge Is Back—and Better Than Ever!
Think a white tent and plastic tables can only get so fancy? Think again! The Hampton Classic Table Challenge is a VIP tradition, with barns and show sponsors going head to head to create the best tablescape on the grounds. We asked you to tell us your favorites and you did—but here's one last shoutout to our totally unbiased personal pick, #6!
#2: Jasper Bloomberg Retains Title of Cutest Instagrammer Ever
Georgina Bloomberg's son Jasper took over the reins of The Hampton Classic Instagram in honor of Kid's Day on September 1, proving he's not just a style setter, he's also a total horse show guru!
#3: That Moment When You Know You Nailed the Class...
...And it's time for ALL the treats back at the barn. Taylor St. Jacques' horse Qantor Des Etisses put on quite a show for the spectators both before and after his round in the Grand Prix ring last week. Heck, when you look and feel this good, why not?
#4: Shane Sweetnam Wins All the Things
Sweet Oak Farm's Shane Sweetnam didn't just dominate the $300,000 Longines Leading Rider Challenge this year, he placed second in Sunday's $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix CSI4*, won the $70,000 Longines Cup on Saturday, and took home the $75,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier on Friday. Because anything worth doing is worth doing right (especially winning).
#5: Course Walkin' With Missy Clark
What's it like to walk a Big Eq course on the Grand Prix field with one of the top trainers in the country? The Hampton Classic and North Run's Missy Clark gave us a sneak peak last week before the always-challenging Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search. Hang on to your hats, kids!
Play by Play: The $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix CSI4*
It was the biggest class of the weekend and when it came to shear drama, the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix CSI4* didn't disappoint. Michel Vaillancourt's 1.60m track offered plenty of challenges, from a sharp right-hand turn to the open water, to a challenging triple combination set to span the entirety of the VIP viewing area.
The order-of-go included a number of top international combinations, not to mention several soon-to-be World Equestrian Games-bound participants. Among them: McLain Ward, Devin Ryan, and Beezie Madden (USA), Shane Sweetnam (IRL), Mario Deslauriers and Erynn Ballard (Canada), Amanda Derbyshire (UK), and Daniel Bluman (ISR).
After the first round, only five of the 34-horse field moved on to the jump-off, including Shane Sweetnam & Main Road, McLain Ward & HH Gigi's Girl, Mario Deslauriers & Bardonlina 2, and our very own PonyApp Founders Lucy Davis & Caracho 14 and Lindsay Douglass & Butterfly Tibri Z!
McLain Ward & HH Gigi's Girl (c) Shawn McMillen/ Hampton Classic
As expected, the jump-off provided plenty of thrills, with a majority of double-clear rounds and a final, epic showdown between Ward and Sweetnam. Earning his record 7th (!) Hampton Classic Grand Prix title and first big win with HH Gigi's Girl, Ward put the pedal down, stopping the clock at 39.32 seconds—a time that would ultimately prove too fast for last-to-go Sweetnam at 41.24. Davis finished 3rd, Deslauriers 4th, and Douglass 5th in her biggest class to date. The fastest four-faulters closed up the top eight, with Mario's daughter Lucy Deslauriers & Hester taking 6th, Lorcan Gallagher & Hunter's Conlypso II 7th, and Amanda Derbyshire & Cornwall 8th.
All Eyes On the Ammie Derby
Taylor St. Jacques & Qantor Des Etisses (c) Shawn McMillen/Hampton Classic
Year after year, one of the Hampton Classic's most watched classes is Sunday's $25,000 DAWTS Junior/Amateur-Owner 1.45m Show Jumping Derby, which offers amateur riders the unique opportunity to test their mettle on a grand prix derby course complete with a bank, open water, and natural hedges. This year's winner—and a student of Old Salem Farm and The PonyApp's Lucy Davis—was 19-year-old Taylor St. Jacques riding Qantor Des Etisses. The pair was the only combination to jump clear in the field of 25.
PonyApp Hits the Big Screen!
We came... we saw... and we filmed the whole thing! The PonyApp's fearless video team was out in full force at the 2018 Hampton Classic. Check out our teaser clip below and stay tuned for more PonyApp video content, coming soon!
Calling All Entries for the 2018 Hampton Classic Photo Contest!
(c) Bruce Smith
What do you get when you take one of the East Coast's most scenic venues, picture-perfect weather, and hundreds of #perfectponies? So many photos that we couldn’t choose a favorite! That's why we're asking for your help...
Check out our new website to vote on your favorite photos from the 2018 Hampton Classic and help us pick a winner. Haven’t posted yet? No problem! Just upload your photos to Instagram with the hashtag #HamptonClassic2018 in order to be featured. Good luck!