McLain Ward, Shane Sweetnam, and the Best Weekend Ever: You Can't Beat the Hampton Classic

McLain Ward, Shane Sweetnam, and the Best Weekend Ever: You Can't Beat the Hampton Classic

Ah, Labor Day weekend: a long weekend that means taking an extra day off work to celebrate, well, the contributions of workers in America. It also means saying 'yes way' to rosé, soaking up some sunshine, and reveling in the last few weeks of summer. One question on our minds this weekend has been: is there any better way to spend L.D.W. than channeling one's inner Hampton-ite at the famed Hampton Classic?

Drawing some of the biggest names in the hunter/jumper and show jumping communities, the show is not only a social revelation, it's a place to watch some serious sport go down. From the international hunter derby and horses who take 'knees to nose' to heart, to WEG-bound superstars laying it all down in a massive Grand Prix, and all that lies between - the Hampton Classic is horse showing done right, and we're all about it.

We even got our hands on a pair of all-access VIP tickets, which we decided to give away on Instagram to one lucky horse-addict, and our winner took full advantage - posting up ringside for some of the most exciting classes of the week.

Let's all agree to put this on our bucket list for 2019. To make you feel like you were there for now, here are five of our favorite moments from this weekend:

1. McLain Ward and HH Gigi's Girl win the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix presented by Douglas Elliman

With five in the jump-off, McLain laid down a lightning fast clear round in 39.32 seconds to edge out Shane Sweetnam aboard Main Road.

2. Taylor St. Jacques goes from equitation maven to show jumping one-to-watch, winning the DAWTS Show Jumping Derby.

The 19-year-old former big eq one-to-beat is showing her versatility, proving she's equally as tough in the upper-level jumpers, with her latest victory being aboard Qantar des Etisses in the 1.45m DAWTS Show Jumping Derby.

3. Stephanie Danhakl sweeps all three of the top placings in the $10,000 Hermes Hunter Classic

You read that right - Stephanie got the podium all to herself, placing 1st on Golden Rule, second on Enough Said, and third on Quest. You could say she was having a good day.

4. Mimi Gochman has the best birthday ever, clinching the $10,000 Palm Beach Academy Equitation Championship.

With mind-blowing scores of 92 and 95 across the two-round competition, birthday-girl Mimi - who turned fourteen over the weekend - laid down two picture-perfect rounds. Safe to say we'll see more of Mimi in the future.

5. Ireland's Shane Sweetnam proves he is virtually unstoppable, and takes home the top spot in the $30,000 Longines Riders Challenge.

The Longines Riders Challenge at the Hampton Classic allows the top riders to go head to head in a point system, with points being racked up throughout the week and weekend in the big open jumper classes. Shane - with huge wins in the $75,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix-Qualifier CSI4* and the $70,000 Longines Cup - as well as multiple top placings in other classes, proved once again that when he's on fire, good luck trying to beat him.

Photos by Shawn McMillen.