Category Archives: Hunter/Equitation

US Equestrian to Recognize Georgie Green and Isabela De Sousa at Pegasus Awards

Isabela De Sousa (Shawn McMillen Photography)

Lexington, Ky. –US Equestrian is pleased to announce the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Junior Equestrian of the Year Award to be acknowledged at the 2019 US Equestrian Annual Meeting at the Hilton West Palm Beach in West Palm Beach, Fla. Georgie Green is the winner of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award, while Isabela De Sousa is the 2018 Junior Equestrian of the Year. Both Green and De Sousa will be recognized at the Pegasus Awards on Thursday, January 10, 2019, along with other prestigious award winners.

Green (Morgan Mill, Texas) has been a dedicated leader for the Morgan breed. For more than 40 years, Green and her husband, John, have owned and operated Roadshow Morgans, the largest Morgan breeding operation in Texas and one of the largest amateur operations in the country. They purchased their first Morgan horse, Funquest Paddy, in 1972 and their first breeding stallion, Showcase, in 1973, which has led to more than 100 horses with the Roadshow prefix. These top-quality horses have become world and national champions, local winners, and beloved family pets. Green’s dedication to this American horse is exemplified by her work to foster interest for pedigreed livestock in younger generations.

Green joined the American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA) Board of Directors in 1980. Five years later, she was named AMHA’s Woman of the Year, as well as the organization’s first female president. She served as AMHA president from 1985 to 1988 and again from 1993 to 1996. For nearly 30 years, Green served on its Board of Directors and chaired several committees, including the all-important Registry Committee. Outside of AMHA, Green served on the show committee for the Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show® for many years, serving as show chair three times. She also served on the USEF Board of Directors as the Morgan breed representative and currently sits on the USEF Morgan Sport Committee.

Green was honored with the National Pedigreed Livestock Council’s 2007 Distinguished Service Award for those whose dedication to their chosen breed is exhibited through extensive altruistic endeavors. Now, Green is the recipient of the USEF Lifetime Achievement Award for her undying commitment to the Morgan breed, which has elevated the sport’s excellence.

As Junior Equestrian of the Year, De Sousa (Lexington, Ky.) will be presented with the Ruth O’Keefe Meredith Memorial Trophy. At the age of 17, De Sousa is already an exemplary ambassador for equestrian sport, in particular for the Thoroughbred horse. She has been riding all her life and has been retraining off-the-track Thoroughbreds for the last few years. De Sousa has found much success in the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover, winning the show jumping division from 2015 to 2017. She displays her maturity as a consummate horsewoman by treating the Makeover as icing on the cake versus a hard-fought goal for the Thoroughbreds she retrains. Her ultimate goal is to provide the horses with a solid foundation and start them on a second career path that they can enjoy in their new homes.

In 2018, she retrained Cozmic One, the first foal of famed racehorse Zenyatta, and finished fifth in the Makeover show jumping division. In addition to her strong placing, De Sousa used her social media influence on the de Sousa Stables Facebook page throughout Cozmic One’s retraining process to educate fans about how Thoroughbreds can be retrained after their careers on the racetrack and the positive side of racing and the Thoroughbred industry.

De Sousa also secured top results in the show ring throughout 2018, including competing in her first equitation finals in the USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Final, the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final, and the ASPCA Maclay National Championship.

To learn more about US Equestrian’s 2019 Annual Meeting, visit

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Washington International Horse Show Celebrates in the City

Horses on the streets of Washington D.C. Photo by Alden Corrigan Media.

The Washington International Horse Show left its mark on downtown Washington D.C. yet again in 2018 by hosting a 60th anniversary celebration like no other in the heart of the capital city. Cementing its place in the framework of North American show jumping competition and culture, the 60th anniversary of WIHS was one for the record books.

“This was a 60th celebration better than we could have imagined,” said WIHS President Vicki Lowell. “To be able to showcase top sport year after year for the fans of this event and show jumping in general is fantastic. It was quite an event, and an even better celebration. I can’t wait for the next 60!”

WIHS hopes to keep the history of this show alive and bring new competitors and spectators for another 60 years to come. Text the word HORSE to 50155 and follow the prompts to make a donation to keep horses coming to the city. Every little bit helps.

Top Sport at Capital One Arena

After a $41 million renovation that took place at Capital One Arena over the past year, WIHS welcomed some of the world’s best horses and show jumping athletes to the event with four-time U.S. Olympian Beezie Madden and Breitling LS taking home top call in the $135,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington, presented by Events DC. WIHS has hosted this prestigious international event for three years as part of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League, which was live streamed worldwide through FEI TV in 2018.

Visiting riders representing Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, and Switzerland rounded out an international field all vying for points for the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final, to be held next April in Göteborg, Sweden. Adding to the international flavor of the event, German course designer Olaf Petersen, Jr. set the tracks at WIHS.

Also highlighting the elite multi-disciplinary competition that includes hunters, jumpers, and equitation and has grown to define WIHS, 16-year-old Elli Yeager won the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals. The sought-after event featured 40 of the nation’s top young riders with two competitors appearing as Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Grant recipients. Ava Stearns, 17, of Chilmark, MA and Juliette Joseph, 16, of San Diego, CA were chosen to receive the grants.

“The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund is proud to continue its support of the Washington International Horse Show Equitation Finals,” said Founder Lindsay Maxwell, philanthropist and successful amateur rider. “The Finals are a cherished benchmark for young riders, and it’s an honor to be able to support the development of the next generation of talented equestrians. The incredible quality of the applicants for the 2018 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Grant speaks volumes about the future of our sport.”

Taking home the win in the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals was Samantha Takacs of Oldwick, NJ aboard Storyteller.

In the hunter ranks, the 2018 WIHS Grand Hunter Championship was awarded to Bastogne, ridden by Hunt Tosh and owned by Ceil Wheeler, while Scott Stewart claimed the Leading Hunter Rider Award, presented by Dr. Betsee Parker. For amateurs, the Grand Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter Championship was awarded to Catch Me, ridden by Becky Gochman. Catch Me also received the inaugural Technicolor Award, donated by Lindsay Maxwell in memory of her beloved mount Technicolor. Maxwell took home the Grand Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter Championship, presented by Ernest and Betty Oare with Belgravia. Legacy and Ashley Vogel were the Grand Junior Hunter champions, while Tessa Downey rode her Anisette to Grand Pony Hunter Champion honors.

Sport, both past and present, was celebrated during WIHS with legendary horseman Joe Fargis being inducted into the WIHS Hall of Fame. A team and individual gold medalist at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, Fargis boasts five decades of involvement with WIHS as a competitor and judge as well as serving on the show’s Board of Directors. He won the President’s Cup Grand Prix at WIHS in 1984 aboard his gold-medal Olympic partner, Touch of Class.

Additionally, members of 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon gold medal-winning U.S. team, including Laura Kraut, Devin Ryan, Adrienne Sternlicht, McLain Ward, and alternate Beezie Madden, were on hand to meet the fans of WIHS for an autograph signing at the Land Rover concourse booth.

Stepping into D.C.

The equine stars of the Washington International Horse Show immersed the city of Washington, D.C. in horse show culture. With horses cruising into town in Johnson Horse Transportation tractor trailers, being stabled at 7th Street and F Street NW and quite literally walking the streets of the city, the citizens of Washington, D.C. experienced horses first-hand.

Engaging the D.C. community has always been a pillar of WIHS and 2018 was no different. The return of Kids’ Day, presented and supported by WIHS Junior Committee and its presenting sponsor Signature Academics, as well as Breakfast with the Mounted Police hosted by Hotel Monaco and supported by Ride TV, brought horses to the city.

WIHS also embraced the honor and service of the U.S. military with Military Night, presented by Caterpillar Inc., which featured a win for Aaron Vale and Finou 4 in the $25,000 Land Rover Puissance for the third year in a row. Together, they cleared 6’11 ½” to take the victory.

“I’ve always had a love for this class,” said Vale. “It’s about the only one left in the country, so it’s special to come do it, especially in front of such a great crowd.”

Military Night honored guests like Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, Commanding General, District of Columbia National Guard, and hosted the Armed Forces Reception presented by RBC Wealth Management to raise funds for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) in the PwC Club. In the ring, the “Jump for Taps” initiative raised $12,000. Other military honors included “Big D” and Sergeant Russell Robar, members of the Baltimore Police Mounted Unit, accepting the 6th Annual WIHS Klinger Perpetual Award for Honor and Service, presented by EQUUS Foundation and The Stephens Family.

The WIHS Military Ticket program, funded by Man O’ War Project in partnership with Columbia University Irving Medical Center, with support from Land Rover, Delta, Caterpillar, Inc., Travelers, and RBC Wealth Management, provided complimentary tickets to members of the military and their families. More than 30,000 tickets have been distributed since the program began in 2009.

Anniversary Fun

What’s a celebration without a little fun? In honor of its 60th anniversary, WIHS invited fans to join them for fierce competition, as well as exhibitions that included famed Australian horseman, entertainer, and bush poet Guy McLean, the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series, presented by Charles Owen, a performance by The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets and appearances of the stars of Billy and Blaze, The Movie.

The biggest nod to the WIHS anniversary was historical displays throughout the Capital One Arena concourse and honorary ticket pricing. Matching the ticket price of the inaugural WIHS in 1958, tickets were only $2 on opening day and commemorative show programs were on sale for just $1.

Barn Night, presented by Barn Manager, Charles Owen, The Clothes Horse, The Equiery, The Loft at Meadowbrook, United Metro Golf Cart, Dover Saddlery, and US Equestrian, welcomed young horse enthusiasts to WIHS with contests and prizes. Riders dressed in costume for the $35,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class. Most notably, U.S. Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward honored the Washington Capitals hockey team by dressing as Alex Ovechkin, while The Best Costume Award was given to Andy Kocher, dressed as a pirate.

Taking place during Barn Night in conjunction with the Buck Breast Cancer Benefit, 10 clear rounds over the Buck Breast Cancer jump donated $5,000 to the Capital Breast Care Center thanks to the Tolkan Family. Also presented during Barn Night, the Laura Pickett Award for Excellence presented by Charles Ancona and Vicki Lowell was given to Beatrice VanSant and trainer Ginia Wilbrandt in memory of beloved local trainer Laura Pickett, who lost her battle with breast cancer after a five-year fight.

Whether it was a trip to the Delta Winners Circle after earning a blue ribbon and a box of signature Georgetown Cupcakes in the ring, shopping the WIHS Souvenir Store staffed by the George Washington University Riding Team, placing a bid in the WIHS Silent Auction, meeting a riding idol, or simply soaking in some horses in the city, the 60th Anniversary WIHS was one for the record books for competitors and spectators alike. WIHS will return to Capital One Arena in downtown Washington, D.C. for a 61st season from October 22 through 27, 2019, with the best of show jumping competition, renowned entertainment, and more WIHS champions.

For more information on WIHS, please visit

WIHS Creates Regional Horse Show Committee, Names Beezie Madden as Int’l Show Advisor

Beezie Madden (USA) and Breitling LS presented as winners of the $135,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Washington, presented by Events DC, by WIHS President Vicki Lowell. Photo by Jump Media.

Washington, D.C. – The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) announces steps to build on the success of the 60th Anniversary Show by establishing a special committee for the WIHS Regional Horse Show and naming U.S. Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden as the new WIHS International Show Advisor. WIHS is one of North America’s most prestigious and entertaining equestrian events and will celebrate 61 years on October 22-27, 2019, at the Capital One Arena in downtown Washington, D.C.

The WIHS Regional Horse Show, also host to the USHJA Zone 3 Championships, is held at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD on October 18-20, 2019. The WIHS Regional Committee will be chaired by WIHS Board Member Judy Bishop and will comprise members from the Zone 3 Committee, Zone 3 trainers, and WIHS staff members. Committee members include:

  • Judy Bishop – Chair
  • Alan Lohman – Zone 3 Committee Representative
  • Streett Moore – Zone 3 Committee Representative
  • Rachel Kennedy – Zone 3 Professional
  • Tracy Magness – Zone 3 Professional
  • Lara McPherson – WIHS Staff Representative
  • Elizabeth Mellen – WIHS Staff Representative
  • Tom Blankenship – WIHS Regional Horse Show Manager

The goal of the committee is to further elevate and enhance the overall exhibitor experience of the WIHS Regional Horse Show through sponsorship, hospitality, and other improvements. The committee will seek feedback and input from exhibitors and make recommendations to the WIHS Board of Directors.

Beezie Madden, the winner of the 2018 Longines/FEI World Cup Jumping Washington and the reigning FEI Jumping World Cup Finals champion, will review the International Jumper division schedule working closely with Show Manager David Distler and make recommendations to ensure WIHS continues to be a top event on the international jumping calendar.

“It is our collective goal to keep both the downtown event and the regional show at Prince George’s Equestrian Center as premier championship competitions on the calendar that riders of all levels aspire to compete at each year,” said WIHS President Victoria Lowell. “WIHS is a special event that has a storied history, which takes commitment from staff and volunteers to ensure it continues as a strong and successful event for years to come. As the last remaining U.S. indoor show in a major metropolitan sporting arena, it is critical we remain focused on creating the best experience possible for horses, competitors, and spectators. I would like to thank these important volunteers for stepping up to help us continue bringing horses to downtown D.C. and recognizing the importance of our regional competition as well.”

For more information on WIHS, please visit

Skidmore College and SCAD to Be Honored at the Pegasus Awards Ceremony

SCAD won the ANRC National Intercollegiate Equitation Championship for the fourth time in 2018. Photo courtesy of SCAD.

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Nov. 26, 2019 – US Equestrian, the national governing body of equestrian sport, will hold their annual meeting and Pegasus Awards in Palm Beach, Florida in January. New to the Pegasus Awards celebratory evening, the 2018 Intercollegiate and Interscholastic Equestrian Team Awards will be presented Thursday evening, Jan. 10.  US Equestrian’s Pegasus Awards honor some of the great men and women of equestrian sport. The 2018 Intercollegiate and Interscholastic Equestrian Team award winners demonstrated their excellence in USEF-affiliated collegiate and scholastic organizations in 2018 and will be recognized for their achievements and success during Pegasus night.

Skidmore College, the IHSA Collegiate Cup Hunter Seat Championship Team, led by head coach Cindy Ford and assistant coach Belinda Colgan, will be presented with a 2018 Intercollegiate Award. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), coached by Ashley Henry and assistant Abbie Gibson, the 2018 ANRC National Intercollegiate Equitation Overall Championship Team, will also be honored.

IDA National Championship Team Intermont Equestrian at Emory and Henry, ISSRA Championship Team University of Louisville, NCEA National Championship Auburn University and USEA Eventing Championship Team Auburn University, and IEA Champion Upper School Hunter Seat Team Lucky Stables will also receive awards.

During the Pegasus Award event, US Equestrian will also present awards to the recipients of the USEF Lifetime Achievement Award the Walter B. Devereux Sportsmanship Award, the Pegasus Medals of Honor and other prestigious equestrian industry awards.

To learn more about US Equestrian’s 2019 Annual Meeting, visit

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Atlanta Fall Classic Wraps Up with Big Numbers and Big Winners

Ricardo Villa Pilots Cludy to Victory in the $15,000 Classic

The $15,000 Jumper Classic saw twenty-seven horse and rider teams tackle the course designed by Paul Jewell of Lambertville, New Jersey in the Olympic Arena Saturday. Only four advanced to the jump off round and Ricardo Villa of Campobello, South Carolina in the irons of Arianna Tucker, LLC’s Cludy won the class with a clear jump off round in 46.567 seconds.

“I think the course was very technical which is why we didn’t have more clears. I have a new horse and only had him for 2 weeks. I didn’t know how fast he was, but he has a huge stride and is really sensitive and turns quickly. I wanted to go a little fast and of course clear. I got to put a little pressure on those other girls and it worked – it was fast enough,” said Villa.

“Arianna [Tucker] owns him [Cludy] and she also rides with me. She’s been with me a couple of months and asked me to ride him for a month. I jumped him at home for a week and he was good and then I took him to Atlanta. I did the 1.20 m and won it, then we did the 1.20 Welcome and had just one rail down. I called her the day before the Classic and suggested that instead of doing the 1.20 on Sunday, we should do the Classic,” he said. “She agreed with me and that turned out to be an excellent decision,” he added.

Second place finisher, Stella Swarr of New Orleans, Louisiana, aboard High Hopes Farm, LLC’s Anos Veros went clear in the jump off round in a time of 47.581 seconds.

Last to go in the jump off order was Shanna Beyer of Collierville, Tennessee and her own Invictus who earned one time fault in their jump off round with a time of 48.020 seconds and a third place ribbon. Welcome winner, junior rider Olivia Epple and Livhaven Stables’ Itile Horta, placed fourth with one time fault in the jump off round with their time of 44.351 seconds.

Fifth place was awarded to Paul Macrae and Maarten Hygens’ Casquino for their first-round performance which earned them one time fault for their time of 75.435 seconds.

Heather Steinman and Elisabeth Yaeger’s Hot Spot earned a sixth for their four fault first round in a time of 66.243 seconds, and seventh was awarded to Madeleine Reich and Booth Parker’s Nomination Hastik for their four fault first round in a time of 67.038 seconds.

Eighth place finisher J. F. Gagne and Lyons Creek Sport Horses’ Lyons Creek Dragon Bleu posted a four fault first round in a time of 68.591 seconds, and Casey Charles in the irons of Double C Sporthorses’ CC Kolaborant earned a ninth place for their four fault first round in a time of 69.002 seconds.

Freestyle 3, owned and ridden by Greer Campbell of Charlotte, North Carolina, placed tenth for their four fault first round in a time of 65.910 seconds, and Aide Sanchez Long of and Eliza Lehrman’s Mr. DW took home an eleventh placing after posting a four fault first round in a time of 72.036 seconds. Mary Meghann Huitt and her own The Stig wrapped the class up with a twelfth-place ribbon after posting a four fault first round time in 73.455 seconds.

Fifteen-Year-Old Olivia Epple and Itile Horta Win the $5,000 Welcome

Week II of the Atlanta Fall Classic again saw big numbers in the jumper rings. The week kicked off with twenty-five horse and rider teams competing for the blue ribbon in the $5,000 Welcome Thursday over a course designed by Paul Jewel.

Set in the famous Olympic arena, the first round was designed with a time allowed of 80 seconds and second round of 45 seconds.

Livhaven Stables’ Itile Horta, ridden by fifteen-year-old Olivia Epple of Woodstock, Georgia, took home the blue ribbon in lightning fast double clear rounds in times of 70.785 seconds and 36.399 seconds, respectively, beating twenty-four horse and rider teams, including her trainer Heather Steinman.

“I know a lot of the folks I was riding against, and a lot were from my barn. And I just have to say, I have the best barn family!” commented the high school Junior.

“The course was great! It was challenging and just fun. I loved the lights in the big arena; it’s so cool when it gets really quiet when you start and well; you just get into a zone when you start going,” she said. “I just went for it. It is so much fun and it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. I love to go fast and really love the tight turns.

“My mare is amazing. There was one turn where you had to turn back left. I haven’t don’t that often and I thought it was kind of cool. My mare is scopey; I enjoy going fast and pushing limits. The distance really turned up there for us,” she said of the course.

“I’ve had her [Horta] a couple of months. I got her from Maartin Huygens. This is a new partnership and she’s something special. We’ve jumped up pretty quickly and she is very forward thinking,” she said of her mount. “We did a bunch of 1.25 m and played a little in the 1.30 in Brownland, but this kind of a bigger step it for us. Horta is 11 and has done bigger heights and grand prix and this was our first time showing at Conyers. I feel like on this mare I can jump anything and I’m really excited about showing her in Gulfport this winter,” she said.

Casey Charles of Birmingham, Alabama and Double C Sporthorses’ CC Kolaborant earned a second-place ribbon for their double fault free rounds in times of 78.968 seconds and 36.950 seconds, respectively.

Elisabeth Yeager’s Hot Spot, ridden by Heather Steinman of Canton, Georgia, earned a third-place ribbon for their double clear rounds in times of 75.511 and 36.961 seconds.

Caroline Monahan of Birmingham, Alabama piloted her own Sevani to a fourth place with double clear rounds in times of 75.362 and 37.556 seconds, and Camille Maddrix of Leeds, Alabama in the irons of Ellie Miller’s Zathura earned fifth with their clear rounds in times of 74.195 and 38.191 seconds, respectively. Maddrix returned for a sixth aboard Caroline Michele Dugas’ Skyfall for their double clear rounds in 75.276 and 38.388 seconds, and J. F. Gagne of Columbus, South Carolina and Lyons Creek Sporthorses, Ltd.’s Lyons Creek Dragon Bleu placed seventh. Eighth was awarded to Madeline Reich of Mountain Brook, Alabama and Booth Parker’s Nomination Hastak.

Sydney Crenshaw and Camera Ready Honor Cathey Coffey with Double Wins in Barry Lane Jumper Classics

The third installment of the $5,000 Barry Lane Classic Saturday welcomed 24 horse and rider teams to the 1.10 m course in the Olympic Arena and it was Sydney Crenshaw of Canton, Georgia and Fit to Print Farm’s Camera Ready who won the class with lightning fast rounds. The pair was first to go and turned in double clear rounds in times of 67.772 seconds and 29488 seconds, well within the 75 and 45 seconds time allowed. No one touched their new time to beat.

“Thinking back on the weekend, we wanted to honor Cathy [Coffey]. She used to own Carmen [Camera Ready]. I’ve known Cathy since I was about 12 and she was a really special lady to me. She made dreams come true for me that I didn’t even know I had at that time. I remember when I got the call January that she had died, I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to call Cathy and ask her if it was true.

“Looking back on Facebook on my way home, I realized I had won that class with Carmen [Camera Ready] in 2014 and 2015 and then back to back this weekend. It was really weird doing the class on Saturday. We finished the jump off and to not have Cathy there to celebrate; it was so strange. She was always there cheering us on, wanting to celebrate us, telling us what a great job we did. She loved the Barry Lane Classics and always wanted us to ride in it. It was a great way to honor her and winning both days was just amazing. I thought about Cathy the entire weekend,” said Crenshaw.

“Carmen is the nicest horse in the world and it was a perfect weekend – my perfect horse and just perfect weather. It’s funny – we always joke that Carmen’s name is Camera Ready, because she is anything but that! She cannot stand still ever!“

Alexandra Doyle, also of Canton, Georgia, and her own Wrozbita earned a second place for their double clear rounds in times of 70.0006 and 31.353 seconds and then picked up a fourth-place ribbon with her other mount, Carto’s Star, after posting a four fault second round in a time of 29.147 seconds.

Third place finisher, Cameron Parke of Marietta, Georgia, and her own Santa Rosa C posted double clear rounds in times of 73.501 and 33.277 seconds, respectively.

Falcon Ridge Stables’ Captivate and Annie Parsons of Atlanta, Georgia earned fifth place with their four fault second round in a time of 29.648 seconds. Jesca Henning of Milton, Georgia and Maarten Huygens’ Zaander VD Veoldekensho Eve Z placed sixth for their four fault second round in a time of 35.34, and seventh was awarded to Lauren Lemaster of Austell, Georgia and her own Lancelot Quainton, who finished their second round with four faults in a time of 36.190 seconds. Eighth was awarded to Chasm Z, owned by Madison Akins and ridden by Isabelle Blackstone of Monroe, Georgia, and Christian Currey of Franklin, Tennessee picked up ninth place with his own Vigaro. Courtney Kelling of Marietta, Georgia and her own Finnegan placed tenth, and Caliente, owned by Kate O’Grady and ridden by Sally Nicholas of Smyrna, Georgia, wrapped up the class in twelfth place.

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Payne and Quintessence Win $5,000 Classic Company Welcome

Week I of the Atlanta Fall Classic kicked off on the 8th and welcomed big numbers to the jumper divisions.

Jumper action got under way at the Olympic venue with the $5,000 Welcome and saw twenty-three tackle the course designed by Paul Jewel of Lambertville, New Jersey. First round was set with a time allowed of 74 seconds and the second was set at 47 seconds.

Doug Payne of Aiken, South Carolina entered and rode three mounts to the winner’s circle. As fourth to go in the order with Kelsey Calabro’s Home James, the pair posted the first double clear rounds and set the time to beat at 38.381 seconds.

Macie Atwood of Brentwood, Tennessee and her own SCS Luigi followed with the next set of double clear rounds and took the lead from Payne with their 35.915 second round time.

Heather Steinman of Canton, Georgia and Alexandra Doyle’s Carto’s Star’s 34.751 seconds followed Atwood and took the lead, which would see Atwood and SCS Luigi finish in sixth place overall.

J. F. Gagne of Columbus, South Carolina and Lyons Creek Sporthorses, Ltd’s Lyons Creek Dragon Bleu followed with double clear rounds, but their second-round time of 35.936 seconds would see them finish in seventh overall.

Payne returned to the arena, this time in the irons of Quintessence, owned by Jane Dudinsky. The pair bested the leading second round time with their own 34.474 seconds and took the lead.

Steinman and Elisabeth Yeager’s Hot Spot challenged that time with their own clear second round of 35.176 seconds but would settle into fifth place overall.

Maarten Huygens’ Fintan, ridden by Paul Macrae of Alpharetta, Georgia, followed with the next set of double clear rounds, but their time of 35.944 would see them finish in eighth place.

Charles Casey of Birmingham, Alabama in the irons of Double C Sporthorses’ CC Kolaborant also posted double clear rounds, but their second-round time of 36.325 seconds put them in ninth place overall.

Steinman returned to the ring, this time in the irons of Courtney Kelling’s Finnegan and looked to take the lead from Payne with their double clear rounds in a fast jump off time of 34.731, but by a mere hundredth of a second, would finish in second place.

Tenth was awarded to Emily Chavez’ Morning De Reve, ridden by Gagne. Payne picked up an eleventh place for his ride on Wendy Luce’s Marshal M Dillon and Sydney Long of Atlanta, Georgia rode her own Venchy De Bornival to a twelfth place finish.

“Quintessence is the best jumper I ever rode,” commented Payne. “He’s done really well over the last few months, winning the 6-year-olds in Kentucky and most recently in Princeton,” he added.

Tim Maddrix and Ebelina W Victorious in the $15,000 Jumper Classic

Twenty-three horse and rider teams tackled the course designed by Paul Jewel on Saturday in the Olympic Arena and Tim Maddrix of Leeds, Alabama took top honors with his own Ebelina W.

The 1.25 m course had a first round time allowed of 83 seconds. Only four advanced to the jump off round which was set with a time allowed of 47 seconds.

Doug Payne, winner of the $5,000 Welcome Week I, was the first to post a clear round in a time of 80.282 seconds with Wendy Luce’s Marshal M. Dillon. Maddrix followed with his own Ebelina W in a clear first round in a time of 81.979 which insured a jump off to the delight of the crowd.

Macie Attwood and her own SCS Luigi added themselves to the jump off roster after posting their first round clear score in a time of 79.876 seconds. Payne added another ride for the jump off round with Kelsey Calabro’s Home James after posting a clear first round in a time of 78.088 seconds.

As the first to go in the jump off round with Marshal M. Dillon, Payne posted a clear 42.110 seconds, well within the 47 seconds time allowed. Maddrix was up next with Ebelina W and also went clear with a time of 41.546 seconds, taking the lead.

Atwood and SCS Luigi followed but with four jump faults and 12 time faults for their time of 54.516 seconds, would settle into fourth place overall.

Payne and Home James sat it the desirable last to go spot, and looked to beat Maddrix and Ebelina W’s time. But a rail and four jump faults in a time of 39.081 seconds would find them finishing in third overall. “The time allowed was really snug. I tried to beat Tim’s time, but I knocked the front rail at the second element in the triple,” said Payne. “Tim rode well and had me by a second and a half off the first horse. I went for it and took a shot and well, you win some and you lose some. It’s just the nature of the sport,” he added.

The final results had Maddrix and Ebelina W with the win and Payne picking up second and third with Marshal M. Dillon and Homes James, respectively.

Fifth was Maarten Huygens’ Casquino, ridden by Paul Macrae, with an 84.381 second first round with two time faults, and Payne picked up a sixth place finish with Quintessence, owned by Jane Dudinsky, for their four fault first round in a time of 76.983 seconds.

Seventh place went to Sydney Long of Atlanta, Georgia and her own Take Two for their four fault first round in a time of 77.944 seconds, and Caroline Michele Dugas of Birmingham, Alabama and her own Skyfall earned an eighth-place finish for their four fault first round in a time of 78.802 seconds. Heather Steinman of Canton, Georgia earned ninth and tenth placings with Elisabeth Yeager’s Hot Spot and Livhaven Stables’ Itile Horta, respectively, while Long returned to the ring with her own Venchy De Bornival for an eleventh placing. Charles Casey of Birmingham, Alabama in the irons of Double C Sporthorses’ CC Kolaborant wrapped up the class with a twelfth place ribbon.

Second and third place finisher Payne commented, “There were a good group of horses here. The course was tricky enough and rode bigger and a lot more interesting than it looked and It suited my horses very well.

“Marshal M. Dillon is owned by Wendy Luce in Milford [NJ] and I’ve ridden for her for a long time. We bought him quite young and initially as an event horse. He got to the Preliminary level and it just didn’t suit him, so we moved over to the jumpers. Marshall is a beautiful horse and has really come along over the last three months,” said Payne.

“Home James is a really great horse and has just got the biggest heart. When he came to us about four or five months ago, he had lost his left eye from an infection. But the owners wanted us to play it by ear and give him a shot,” he said. “Sometimes the shadows make it a little tough for him, but he really just gives it his all. He actually won the $35,000 Grand Prix in Charleston Week II last summer. He’s a little weird with shadows and the Olympic Arena here is a tough setting for him, but he is the most genuine and big-hearted creature,” he added.

Payne continued, “We’ve got a great group here. We brought 11 horses and we have three other students showing with us too. Two of our horses are going to the Jockey Club in Ocala next week for an event and this is the perfect prep for us. They’ve done really well here and they got to jump in the big ring. I haven’t been here in a couple of years and the footing is a huge improvement over what it used to be. The rain really hit us here this week and the footing held up really well, especially with the Classic Company guys managing it-really a great job!” he added.

Abigail Beaty Pilots Via Dolorosa to the win in the $5,000 Barry Lane Jumper Classic

Saturday’s first installment of the $25,000 Barry Lane Classic saw 21 enter the 1.10 m class and awarded Abigail Beaty of Indian Springs, Alabama and her own Via Dolorosa the first place ribbon for their double clear rounds in times of 73.132 seconds and 33.131 seconds, respectively.

Of the twenty-one entries, twelve advanced to a second-round opportunity and only five went clear. Jack Dengler of Marietta, Georgia and Castlewood farm, Inc.’s Kira Van De Vaartdijk were the first to advance to the second round and set the new time to beat at 33.396 seconds.

Four horse and team riders later, Beaty challenged that time and grabbed the lead with her own 33.131 seconds. Adam Edgar of Leesburg, Virginia and Ellie Miller’s Zathura got close with their own 33.511 clear second round, but settled into a third-place finish. Lucy Reich of Birmingham, Alabama and Booth Parker’s Nomination Hastak earned double clear rounds, but their second round in a time of 34.528 seconds saw them finish in fourth overall.

Grace Jordan or Marietta, Georgia and Darragh Kerin’s Rossco also turned in double clear rounds, but their second round in a time of 36.930 seconds landed them in fifth place overall.

Sixth was awarded to Alexandra Doyle of Canton, Georgia and her own Carto’s Star for their four fault second round in a time of 30.746 seconds.

Ella Duffy of Marietta, Georgia rode Missy Nolen’s Croft Original to a seventh-place finish and Lucy Reich of Birmingham, Alabama rode Ashley Hayden Morrison’s Cucino Z to an eighth-place ribbon.

Clayton Mullis piloted his own Tower Lux to a ninth-place finish, and Paris, owned and ridden by Jordan Keay Dillenberg, placed ninth. Grace Jordan of Marietta, Georgia rode Sarah Kerins’ Camboro to an eleventh-place ribbon and Accomplice, owned and ridden by Grace Asbury of Atlanta, Georgia, wrapped up the class in twelfth place.

Alexandra Doyle and Carto’s Star Win the $7,500 NAL WIHS Barry Lane Jumper Classic

Twenty-five horse and rider teams competed in the $7,500 Barry Lane Jumper Classic, the second installment of the $25,000 Barry Lane Jumper Classic, Week I at the Atlanta Fall Classic.

The 1.10 m course designed by Paul Jewel was set with a first round time allowed of 77 seconds and 48 seconds for the second round. Only eight advanced to a second round opportunity. Adam Edgar and Ellie Miller’s Zathura were the first to post double clear rounds and set the time to beat in the second round at 38.783 seconds. Jordan Grace and Sarah Kerins’ Camboro tried to take the lead, but their clear second round in a time of 43.690 would finish the pair in third place overall.

Doyle and Carto’s Star sat in the second to last to ride in the order of go and posted lightning fast double clear rounds. Their second-round time in 37.841 seconds stole the lead and the win, moving Edgar and Zathura into the second place finish.

“I thought it was a really clever course. He [Paul Jewel] is an excellent designer and really set it up so it baited you to go fast in sections, where you really shouldn’t,” commented Doyle.

“My grey horses is pretty hot and has a lot of anxiety. My plan was to just get around the first course safely and correctly. The second round I just let him go a bit. He’s a naturally quick horse and he really enjoys his job. I want to give him a good ride and don’t want to give him any mental setbacks.

I’ve had him about a year. He really wants to do well and he is so afraid that he won’t do well, he freaks himself out. He’s such a good boy and I owe that horse everything,” said Doyle.

Isabelle Blackstone and Madison Akins’ Chasm Z finished in fourth with the fastest four fault second round in 37.819 seconds. Fifth was awarded to Lucy Reich and Booth Parker’s Nomination Hastak.

Doyle returned for the sixth-place ribbon in the irons of her own Wrozbita for their four fault second round in a time of 40.780 seconds. “I’ve had this horse for about a month. This was his second show in America and it’s his first time in Conyers. I want to say he was imported a month and a half ago but he was jumping on the larger side in Europe. I Was trying horses at Paul Mcrae’s and he suggested I ride him. I did and it has turned out really well. He’s been a good boy. I’ll definitely be showing both horses in the Barry Lane Jumper Classics next weekend,” she said.

Jordan Keay Dillenberg brought home the seventh-place ribbon with her own Paris, and Celia Cram of Aiken, South Carolina rode her own Auspicious to an eighth-place finish. Clayton Mullis earned ninth with his own Tower Lux and Abigail Beaty rode her own Via Dolorosa to a tenth-place ribbon. Grace Jordan of Marietta, Georgia and Darragh Kerins’ Rossco placed eleventh, and Grace Asbury and her own Accomplice wrapped up the class in twelfth place.

Natalie Geller Earns Top Scores in Classic Hunter Derby

Natalie Geller of Alpharetta, Georgia rode the first and second place $3,000 Classic Hunter Derby winners to top scores Week I of the Atlanta Fall Classic.

The winning ride in the irons of Holly Sims’ Sunkist saw first and second round scores of 84, for a total of 168 which bested the competition. Her second ride, Lori Christman’s On Board, led the first round with a score of 86, but their second-round score of 78 finished them in second place for a total of 164.

Javite, owned and ridden by Katie Kittrell of Madison, Georgia, rode to the third-place ribbon with a total score of 154 and the $250 3’3” Non Pro Rider Bonus. Eljero, owned and ridden by Sarah Williams of Peach Tree City, Georgia, earned a fourth place for their combined score of 153 and the $150 3’3” Non Pro Rider Bonus.

Low Country Phantom, owned and ridden by Laura Neely of Savanah, Georgia, placed fifth for their combined score of 146 and earned the $250 3’ Non Pro Rider Bonus. Josie Evans of Covington, Georgia rode to both the sixth and eighth placings in the irons of Lynn Laird’s Mandolin and her own QVF Colt Seavers, respectively. Her performance on Mandolin earned them the $150 3’ Non Pro Rider Bonus also. Conrad 10, owned by Seven Hills Farm and ridden by Kristin Martiniello, placed seventh and also earned her the $100 3’3” Non Pro Rider Bonus.
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Isabelle Lapierre Captures $25,000 Knightwood Hunter Derby Victory

Isabelle Lapierre riding Carrera S. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Isabelle Lapierre of Lévis, QC rode Carrera S to victory in the $25,000 Knightwood Hunter Derby on Tuesday, November 6, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

The win marked the pair’s second major hunter derby victory of the Royal Horse Show as they also topped Sunday’s $15,000 Braeburn Farms Hunter Derby. With riders contesting Tuesday night’s hunter derby finale in reverse order of their standings in Sunday’s class, Lapierre and Carrera S, an eight-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Johannie Légaré, were the final entry to navigate the course designed by Rob Carey in the Coca-Cola Coliseum.  Judges Kitty Barker and Rob Bielefeld awarded Lapierre an overall score of 109, including a base score of 93 coupled with handy and high option bonus points, to place the pair at the top of the leaderboard. For the win, Lapierre was awarded the Paddy Ann Burns Trophy.

“With my first horse, I did one less stride everywhere,” said Lapierre, referring to her additional entry in the class, Excellent Balou. “With Carrera S, I added a stride everywhere.  That’s why I like the derbies: it’s not just about the numbers; it’s about the way that your horse goes.  He was very relaxed, and he jumped super.  I think he gave 100 percent.”

As the highest scoring pair in both the Braeburn Farms Hunter Derby and the Knightwood Hunter Derby, Lapierre and Carrera S were presented with the Lorna Jean Guthrie Challenge Trophy as the Canadian Hunter Derby Champion.

“Maybe the best thing is to retire from doing hunter derbies!” joked Lapierre of winning Canada’s highest hunter derby honour.  “To win, it’s like a dream.”

Finishing second in Tuesday night’s class with an overall score of 107 were Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON and Enchanted, owned by Christel Weller.  Not far behind with a score of 103 was Kristjan Good of Campbellville, ON riding Chantilly Lace for owner Shannon Walter, while Ballard also picked up fourth place with a score of 96 aboard ‘Round Midnight, owned by Knightwood Stables.

The Eastern and Western Canadian Hunter Derby Series champions were also recognized on Tuesday evening, with the $10,000 Prince of Thieves Go West Trophy, presented by Jump Canada, awarded to Lapierre and Carrera S as the Eastern Canadian Champions and the $10,000 Represent the West Championship, also presented by Jump Canada, given to Kassidy Keith and Carivero, owned by Miranda Lebeuf, as the Western Champions.

Dressage Dazzles at the Royal Horse Show

Featuring an all-star cast in the Dressage Derby, four riders faced off in a knock-out style competition on Tuesday night.

Esther Mortimer of Guatemala faced off against U.S. Olympian Adrienne Lyle, while Tom Dvorak of Hillsburg, ON challenged fellow Canadian Dressage Team veteran, Jaimey Irwin of Stouffville, ON. All four riders were competing with borrowed horses and had five minutes to familiarize themselves prior to riding a Prix St. Georges test.

Lyle won her knock-out round, as did Dvorak, to advance to the final. Riding yet another unfamiliar mount, Dvorak went first, earning a score of 66.912% from the panel of highly-respected judges. In her Royal Horse Show debut, Lyle used her skill and was awarded a score of 69.559% to be crowned the Royal Dressage Derby Champion.

“I’m really glad I made the trip to The Royal,” said Lyle, who is based in Wellington, FL. “I have always heard about it and never had the chance to come. It’s an incredible venue and something really special. This is a really fun challenge and I love only having a couple minutes to sort it out. It’s a good test of horsemanship and strategy. These are all really incredible riders and it was really close competition.”

Prior to the Dressage Derby, Canadian Dressage Team veteran and Royal Horse Show fan favourite, Jacqueline Brooks, retired her long-time partner, D Niro, in an emotional celebration. Brooks, who has been competing at the Royal Horse Show since 1999, and the 19-year-old grey Swedish Warmblood gelding affectionately known as ‘Goose’ have represented Canada in international competition around the globe, including at the 2012 London Olympic Games and the 2013 World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden.

As a special highlight, Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu of St. Bruno, QC performed a grand prix freestyle which sees required movements choreographed to music of the rider’s choice. The highest-placed member of the Canadian Dressage Team at the recent 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in September, Fraser-Beaulieu, and her mount, All In, had the crowd roaring its approval.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, please visit

Barrios and Elano 22 Earn Blue in $25,000 Osphos Grand Prix in ESP Fall Finale

Pablo Barrios and Elano 22. Photo Credit ©AnneGittinsPhotography.

Wellington, FL – November 6, 2018 – Pablo Barrios of Wellington, FL and Elano 22 rode home with blue in the $25,000 Osphos® Grand Prix to wrap up Fall competition in the 2018 ESP Fall Finale at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Barrios and Elano 22, his own 2009 Dutch Warmblood mare (Harley VDL x Almox Prints), raced through the jump-off in 40.473 seconds to take the lead as the fastest four-fault finish. Jumping in close behind the pair was Marilyn Little of Frederick, MD and RF Casablanca, a 2010 Holsteiner mare (Cosido x Landos) owned by Raylyn Farms, Inc., who claimed second place with a jump-off time of 41.027 seconds on four faults. Derek Petersen of Archer, FL came in third aboard his own, Diamant’s Legacy, a 2009 Oldenburg stallion (Diamant de Semilly x Couleur-Rubin), also accumulating four faults with a time of 42.919 seconds.

Of the 31 competitors to test the course, designed by Hector Loyola of Wellington, FL, eight combinations advanced to the jump-off. “It was a good class. I went first so I was just trying to go as fast as possible in the jump-off with the other eight other riders behind me. I guess I was a little bit lucky that nobody went clear in the jump-off and I ended up winning the class,” Barrios commented.

“It was a new ride for me. I have only been back here for the last seven months. She came from a rest from the summer and she felt really good. Now we will start warming up for circuit. She is a really good mare and I have a lot of hope for her, especially for the winter. I am looking forward to more competitions with her,” concluded Barrios.

For more information on the ESP Fall Series, please visit

Kilby Brunner Deforest Crowned MarBill Hill Farm Royal Pony Jumper Final Winner

Kilby Brunner Deforest and Beaverwood’s Halo. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Kilby Brunner Deforest of Hillsburgh, ON claimed a victory in the $5,000 MarBill Hill Farm Royal Pony Jumper Final to take the division championship riding Beaverwood’s Halo on Sunday, November 3, at the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

The top spots were decided in a two-horse jump-off duel between 14-year-old Brunner Deforest and Tatum Horan of Oakville, ON. Horan, riding Royal, led off and was clear over the course, designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade, to post the time to beat at 29.50 seconds. Brunner Deforest returned second and handily took over the lead by nearly two seconds with a time of 27.88 seconds.

Grace Stevenson of Lakeside, NB piloted Ever So Clever, owned by Foshay South Eventing, to third by posting the fastest four-fault round over the original course, while Eva Marquis of Caledon, ON settled for fourth riding Red on a Roll for owner Mark Marquis. Maya Chahine of Oakville, ON rounded out the top five with I Love Lucy, owned by Julie Taddeo.

After also winning the stake class earlier in the day, Brunner Deforest was presented with Royal All-Canadian Pony Jumper Championship title, presented by MarBill Hill Farm.

“This is my fifth time competing in the pony jumpers at The Royal, and it’s exciting to be here!” said Brunner Deforest, who was reserve champion in pony jumper competition at The Royal in both 2016 and 2017. “This is a new pony for me; I got her one year ago and have been competing on her all summer.

“She is very fast and really good in the turns,” continued Brunner Deforest of her 14-year-old mare owned by Kristen Brunner. “She’s very confident and handled the noise and the [Coca-Cola Coliseum] very well. I love coming here and competing over a few days in front of a big crowd.”

While Brunner Deforest and Beaverwood’s Halo put all the pieces together for a win at the Royal Horse Show, their connection took some effort.

“She is a complicated, and in the beginning of the season we were trying other bits and a lot of different things,” said Brunner Deforest. “But we realized I just needed to learn to ride her. We went to a plain, simple snaffle, and I got to know her not try to train her. Other than me telling her to ‘whoa,’ she does it all.”

Also claiming a championship on Sunday afternoon was Jordan Macpherson of Toronto, ON aboard Fiestamunde, owned by Sved Stables Ltd.

Macpherson and the eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare finished third in Sunday morning’s $2,500 Junior/Amateur Jumper Speed Competition before returning later in the day to win the $10,000 Dominion Regalia Limited Junior/Amateur Jumper Royal Stake and ultimately the Royal All Canadian Junior/Amateur Jumper Championship, presented by Dominion Regalia Limited.

“The Royal is always such a great event in front of the home crowd,” said Macpherson. “It’s great to win, but it’s even better when you win at The Royal!”

Macpherson and Fiestamunde were one of four entries to advance to the jump-off in Sunday afternoon’s stake class, and over the short course, they stopped the clock clear in a time of 39.38 seconds. Finishing in second with the only additional double-clear effort was Sara Tindale of Campbellville, ON riding Djibab van de Linthorst, owned by Tindale Farms. Rounding out the top three was Hubert Lamontagne of Montréal, QC riding his own Dalton to four faults in a time of 38.64 seconds. Fourth place with 13 faults in the jump-off went to Veronica Bot of Burlington, ON aboard Quidam’s Caprice M, owned by AEI Corp.

Isabelle Lapierre and Carrera S Claim $15,000 Braeburn Farms Hunter Derby Victory

Isabelle Lapierre of Lévis, QC rode away with the win in the $15,000 Braeburn Farms Hunter Derby, presented by Rosemary Phelan – Braeburn Farms, at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto, ON.

When Lapierre and Carrera S, an eight-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Johannie Légaré, entered the Coca-Cola Coliseum as the final of 20 entries to contest the Rob Carey designed track, Erynn Ballard and Enchanted held the lead with an overall score of 100, including handy and high option bonus points. Lapierre and Carrera S not only bested Ballard’s score, they did so by a sizeable margin, earning a base score of 95 and a grand total score of 113.

“It’s always a surprise when you get your score,” said Lapierre, a longtime Royal Horse Show competitor in both the hunter and jumper divisions. “I’m always the one, when I come out, I don’t really show so much emotion, because you never know what to expect. Then when they said 113, I was like ‘oh my God!’ I knew he was good, but not that good! It just all happens so fast.

“I really like the derbies,” continued Lapierre. “You can make plans, but you can change it based on the way it’s going in the ring. You have to think a bit how to do it. If you win, it’s not because you only have a good horse; it’s because you have to do the course well.”

With Lapierre clinching the win, Ballard of Tottenham, ON and Enchanted, owned by Christel Weller, took second, while third place with a score of 99 went to Kristjan Good of Campbellville, ON riding Stakkato Grande W for owner Augustin Walch.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, please visit

Sam Walker Makes History as 2018 ASPCA Maclay National Champion at NHS

Photo: Sam Walker on Waldo.

Lexington, Ky. – Nov. 4, 2018 – Celebrating its 135th year, the National Horse Show has come to be known as one of America’s premier indoor equestrian events thanks to its rich history and classical traditions, with the ASPCA Maclay National Championship, presented by Chansonette Farm, adding even more prestige as one of the four major equitation finals held each fall season. Since 1933, an elite junior rider’s name has been etched into history as the annual champion, and this year the competition tested 175 horses and riders over a series of challenging phases to determine the deserving victor. The culmination of a week at the Kentucky Horse Park, the 2018 National Horse Show concluded with a dream realized for Sam Walker of Ontario, Canada, now the newest champion of the ASPCA Maclay National Championship and winner of the esteemed ASPCA Horsemanship Trophy.

Over the course of the day, the initial field of participants took turns tackling Bobby Murphy’s (USA) expertly designed equitation track, which looked deceptively straightforward at first glance. Incorporating most jumps as part of lines, the efficient course offered competitors multiple opportunities to either spotlight their talents or fall victim to the design’s tests, with distances between fences varying and requiring riders to lengthen or collect quickly within the same series of obstacles. Structurally, the fences presented a different type of challenge, with Murphy’s creative collection of jumps including plenty without standards in addition to a handful of skinny jumps, a gate, and an airy triple bar. As the 39th in the order-of-go, Walker and North Run’s Waldo exemplified the pinnacle of equitation, completing a flawless trip to jump into the first standby list.

Separated from the rest of the pack as the creme of the crop, 25 partnerships were hand-selected by the judges’ booth, which was occupied by esteemed horsemen Walter T. Kees and Chance Arakelian, to return for the second phase of the contest after top-notch performances over fences. Headed into the under saddle and second over fences portions of riding, Walker, Brian Moggre, Ava Ellis, Emma Kurtz, Catalina Peralta, Paige Matthies, Daisy Farish, and Coco Fath were pegged as the frontrunners, all riding head-to-head in the same flat section.

During the under saddle phase, horse-and-rider combinations’ adjustability, balance and connection were put to the test by the judges, who asked for a series of skill demonstrations such as the counter-canter, extended canter, and sitting trot, among others. With one final chance to prove their abilities, the top contenders returned to the Alltech Arena for a second trip over Murphy’s track, this time consisting of almost no fences with standards, a hand gallop, a counter-canter, a trot fence, and an airy fence jumped in both directions.

Returning in reverse order of the standings for the second over fences phase, Moggre had the advantage as the last entry to ride, with Walker, Farish, Fath, Kurtz, Matthies, Ellis, and Alexandra Worthington sitting in second through eighth positions, respectively, and all aiming to knock him from the top of the leaderboard. Following the completion of the top 25, the judges needed one last look at the top six, and asked for testing from Walker, Moggre, Fath, Kurtz, Matthies, and Mimi Gochman, who leapfrogged from 12th place into the work-off. Of the remaining contenders, Moggre was the only one to have been victorious in a national equitation final previously, having won the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show earlier this fall, but it was Walker who had moved to the top of the standings headed into the last display of riding. Sunday afternoon’s test asked riders to canter fence 7, canter fence 2, counter-canter fence 6a, canter fence 6b, canter fence 4, halt, and return to the line.

As the last to ride in the work-off, Walker capped off the day’s championship with an exclamation point, navigating a textbook trip aboard Waldo seemingly with ease and displaying high levels of precision, correct form, and aid effectiveness to secure the championship tricolor and the prestigious honor of ASPCA Maclay National Champion. As the 2018 victor, Walker’s name now joins the ranks of past winners that include some of the sport’s icons such as Bill Steinkraus, Frank Chapot, and George Morris, as well as recent superstars Lillie Keenan, Victoria Colvin, and Madison Goetzmann.

Sunday’s distinction for Walker is one of the highlights of his competitive equitation career, although he has come close to the top call more than once. This year alone, he has placed within the top 10 in the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show as well as the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Equitation Final. A multi-talented equestrian, Walker also campaigns in the upper level jumpers, having won U25 and High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper classes across the United States and Canada under the tutelage of his trainers Missy Clark and John Brennan from North Run. For training the winning rider, Audi of Lexington donated a one-year lease of an Audi to Walker’s trainers.

The men represented well this year, with Moggre capturing the reserve honors behind his peer, Walker. Moggre rode Efendi, owned by Donald Stewart, over the course of the contest. Jacob Pope was the last male athlete to claim the top honors in 2012, and prior to that was Brian Walker in 2001. Coincidentally, Sam got paired with Waldo partly with the help of the previous winner that shares his namesake. Jumping from sixth place after the second over fences phase, Paige Matthies piloted Barbara Smith’s Blurred Lines to third overall thanks to her standout work-off test to round out the podium finishers.

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