It may have been wet at the Kentucky Horse Park on Wednesday, but exhibitors also found that it was raining money in the futurity classes as The Premier AQHA and NSBA show got underway in Lexington.

In addition to a full slate of AQHA classes, The Premier offers both Premier Sires Breeders classes as well as Premier magazine added money classes. The show will pay out a total of more than $250,000 over its five-day run at the Kentucky Horse Park.

“We sold 800 stalls, and I’m really pleased with the turnout for a brand new show, and a new facility,” noted Premier Sires founder Claire Binkowski. “We have some great payouts to offer, and although we can’t control the weather today, we’ve got a great facility, and it sounds like we’re going to have a fantastic weekend here in Lexington.”

Showing For The Money in Showmanship

Wednesday morning saw Non-Pros earning the first paychecks of the show in the $1,000 added Premier Magazine Non-Pro Showmanship.

Kaleena Weakly showed Definitely A First to win the Non-Pro division, taking home a check for $1,100 for first place. “He’s a 12 year old gelding, and this is just our first show together,” Kaleena said.

“We bought him at the Fall Championship Show last fall from Kelly McDowall. I was looking for a new show partner, and he could do it all, plus I really loved him in Showmanship. Longer term, we’re hoping he might be a good Walk Trot horse for our kids. We really came to this show to sort of get back into horse show mode, and winning the Showmanship was just the icing on the cake.”

Kaleena reflected on the payouts at The Premier. “It’s amazing to show and get paid in this class,” she said. “We’ve been seeing the futurity money being paid out in a lot of Trail and Western Riding classes lately, but it’s awesome that Claire (Binkowski) included Showmanship, Horsemanship and Equitation in this program.”

The busy Weakly family made a quick date of The Premier and will return home to Indiana for dance recitals this weekend.

Earning the Novice Non-Pro Showmanship bonus was Christina Farver and Watch Me Strut, taking a $500 check back home to Connecticut. “I’m really honored to earn the Novice award,” she said.

“I’m truly a Novice exhibitor. My trainers, Tammy and Gary McAllister, suggested that we come and show here and that we might have a chance at the Novice award. It’s a great place to show here and we’re really enjoying it.”

In addition to showing in their pattern, the Non-Pro exhibitors had a chance to win an Apple watch by participating in a balloon race. Rachel Krutchen blew up her balloon and reached the finish line first.

Raining Cash in Hunter Under Saddle

The Premier Sires Four Year Old Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle was shown in the outdoor arena, but happened to take place during the rainiest part of the day on Wednesday. The five exhibitors toughed it out, with The Premier payouts making it worth their while.

Al Be Your Prince and Samantha Gardner took top honors in the Non-Pro division, earning a check for $13,600 for the win. “He’s pretty new to me,” Samantha said of her gelding, who is by Allocate Your Assets. “I just got him after the AQHA World Show, and Keith Miller has been working with him. This is just our second horse show together.”

Samantha will continue to show in Maturity Non-Pro events this year.

Xtremely Sophisicated and Dr. Laura Bracken were named not only the reserve champions in the Non-Pro division but also the Limited Non-Pro champions. They earned $8,000 for the Limited win along with $10,800 for the Non-Pro reserve award.

Laura and her gelding had a busy afternoon, and made a quick change to compete in the Four Year Old Non-Pro Western Pleasure. It was the first time for the gelding to show in Western Pleasure, and he added another $4,500 to his earnings, which included a third place finish in the Limited division of the class.

Working For Checks In Non-Pro Western Pleasure

The Four Year Old Non-Pro Western Pleasure saw a total purse of $60,000 awarded to three divisions of the class for its eight exhibitors.

Sleepin N The Moonlite and Becky Galyean earned the top spot in the Non-Pro division, earning $10,000 for first place. “We call him Tom and we’ve had him since he was a two year old,” Becky said.

“He’s by Only In The Moonlite and out of Sleep Machine. This is the second time I’ve shown him. We showed him in Ocala and got along pretty well, and Brody showed him in the Youth 14-18 and was reserve with him. I love that his lope is so natural. It’s so easy for him.”

Becky noted that she appreciates The Premier’s format. “Other than the Super Sires program, Premier Sires is one of the few that has such a deep division and payout for the Non-Pro exhibitors,” she said. “We really appreciate all that Claire is doing with it.”

Joanee Cash and Steve Wheat earned the reserve Non-Pro award as well as first in the Intermediate division. “We bought her last year about Congress time, and this is just the first time I’ve shown her,” Steve said.

Amy Gumz was showing to the hometown crowd at the Kentucky Horse Park on Wednesday. The owner of Gumz Farms breeding facility in Morganfield, Kentucky joked about her win in the Limited division of the class aboard Best Seat N The South. “We’re Kentucky Proud,” she laughed.

“I raised this mare, so I’ve known her all her life. Jamie English showed her a little bit last year. I was fortunate enough that her owner Joan Wiseman allowed me to lease her for 2021 for the Non-Pro events, and I just bought her yesterday. She’s by my stallion Its Just A Southern Thing and out of BestSeatNTheHouse.”

The Premier continues through Sunday, June 6. To view complete show results, please visit Horse Show Tracker. To learn more about Premier Sires, please visit premiersires.com.