Cesar Hirsch wants the horse inspection required at all FEI-recognized show jumping competitions to be a big deal, so this year his Equis equestrian boutique began sponsoring an award for the Best Turned-Out Horse and Presenter.
Canadian rider Chris Sorensen, with Wriomf, was named the winner of the first Equis Best Turned-Out Horse and Presenter Award given at the Hampton Classic.
Sorensen received his award from Irma Rubesa, general manager of Equis, during a ceremony on Friday at the 40th Annual Hampton Classic, just prior to the start of the first FEI-recognized competition, the $50,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier, Presented by Longines.
The FEI Ground Jury—Phil DeVita, Oliver Kennedy, Neil O’Connor, Jennifer Ross-Koning, Steve Sarafin and Yolanda Matallana Trivino—chose Sorensen as the winner.
“The jog is the official start of an FEI competition, and I would like to encourage the people in our sport to respect it more, to come to the jog looking like they are proud to be competing here,” said Hirsch, who is also an FEI-licensed judge.
So since the beginning of 2015, he’s been awarding an engraved silver plate and a product supplied by Kentucky Horsewear of Belgium to the best-presented pair at FEI-recognized competitions on the East Coast.
“We’re using a carrot, not a stick, and I think it’s working. Now we are seeing a feeling of competition,” said Hirsch, who would like to see the show jumpers regard the jog as seriously as eventers do. “Now we’re seeing presenters dressing up, not just coming in dirty jeans and a dirty sweatshirt. And the horses don’t have shavings in their tails. They are braided and have hoof polish on. And they are standing and jogging correctly.”