Category Archives: Pony

Tradition Continues at Devon Horse Show and Country Fair with 50th Carriage Pleasure Drive

Championship Drive-Off Winner John White.

Devon, Pa. – May 29, 2016 – For 120 years, the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair has prided itself on the exceptional talent that pours in to compete at the oldest horse show in the country. Tradition is an important staple of this 11-day event, and the Carriage Pleasure Drive has been part of that tradition for 50 years.

The well-known Drive is expected every Sunday before Memorial Day. Families, friends and locals line the streets and the Devon Horse Show grounds to watch and admire the beauty and grace of the horses, carriages and presentation of the whips and passengers.

“This is home,” said Devon Horse Show Director, Richard O’ Donnell. “I can’t give enough thanks to the folks along the route of the marathon today. We came upon people who were giving water out to everybody. That’s community support. I think the community really does welcome this competition.”

O’Donnell has been involved with the horse show for 45 years, and made his 42nd appearance in the Carriage Pleasure Drive with his wife by his side in the Double-Harness Pairs-Tandems class.

The two, along with their groom, enjoyed the 40-minute route in their Spider Phaeton carriage, which was built in 1880. The Philadelphia-native vehicle has been kept in its original state, since the O’Donnell’s purchased it at auction about three years ago.

“This is our second year using it here at Devon,” O’Donnell added. “Everything on it is in the original state we bought it in at auction, except for the wheels that have been repainted. It’s a very comfortable vehicle.”

The classic vehicle was being pulled by “Teddy” and “Billy.” The horses have been with the O’Donnell’s for eight years, and are used for riding and driving.

“Our horses are Hackney/Clydes,” O’Donnell proudly stated. “We have four of them at home. They’re wonderful animals and fun to be around. They’re big, but they’re teddy bears. There isn’t a mean bone in either one of their bodies.”

The Unicorns and Four-in-Hands class was won by John White, who was also crowned the Drive-Off Champion. He was accompanied by three other passengers in a Heavy Dog Cart carriage. The vintage vehicle was pulled by four beautiful grey Kladruber horses.

“This is the oldest horse show in the country,” White said. “It’s a very special event for people who are interested in horses and people like me that are interested in carriages. This marathon is a special event that gives you a chance to show your horses off not just in the ring, but on the road.”

White, who drove down from his New Jersey home for the Drive, imported the horses from the Czech Republic and has had the team for five years.

The vehicle has been in the White family for ten years and has been driven by White for six years at Devon, at which time he started competing in the historic horse show.

“The carriage is called a dog cart,” White explained. “It was used when people were going hunting with dogs. There is a compartment underneath that was used to put the dogs in. This particular carriage was built in Belgium in the 1880s.”
At noon, the crowd cheered as the gate opened for the first group of competitors that drove into the Dixon Oval for the Single-Harness Two-Wheel class, which was won by Rachel Shoemaker. The Malvern, Pennsylvania resident rode in a late 1800s Kimball Brother Ralli Cart.

Sequentially following Shoemaker’s blue-ribbon victory was Betsy Demarino VMD, who rode away with the victory in the Single-Harness Four-Wheel class. Demarino sported a circa 1860 English Ralli Cart by Moor & Sons.

The wins of O’Donnell and White followed the above classes and wrapped up the horse division of the Carriage Pleasure Drive. Soon after, the pony-driven carriages stole the show.

The Single-Harness Two- and Four-Wheel classes were won by Nicole Cable and Katie Kashner and their ponies, respectively.

The final pony contenders drove into the ring for the Double-Harness Pairs-Tandems class. Mary Stokes Waller rode away triumphantly in her Spider Phaeton carriage with Welsh pony brothers pulling the vehicle.

Spectators anticipated the arrival of Roberta O’Dell, who is known for her clever and witty carriage appearances each year. The 92-year-old was dressed as a jailer and rode in a Police Wagon that was being pulled by four white mules in the Light Commercial and Farmer’s class.

Driving continues tomorrow with Pair Horses Pleasure Turnout and Championship followed by Scurry Driving in the morning. The evening session features Coaching, Pair Pony Pleasure Turnout and Championship, as well as Pony Scurry Driving.

Bailey Doloff and Wishlea Star Dasher Score Pony Jumper Championship

Junior Weekend at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair has come to a close, but not before Bailey Doloff rode away two blue ribbons and a championship in the Pony Jumpers. On Sunday afternoon, he piloted Wishlea Star Dasher to a victory in the second class of the division, and then returned in the evening to deliver the only double clear in the $2,500 Pony Jumper Classic and earn the division’s championship prize.

Bailey Doloff and Wishlea Star Dasher
Bailey Doloff and Wishlea Star Dasher

“It’s such an honor,” expressed Doloff. “It’s such a big show, and it’s been building up for months. We have spent months working and practicing and using other shows as schooling instead of trying to win just try to school to get ready for this show.”

Earlier in the day Doloff again had the only double clear round in the Pony Jumpers to earn a blue ribbon with Wishlea Star Dasher. Despite rain beginning to fall during the $2,500 Pony Jumper Classic, Doloff kept his focus on the task at hand – delivering clear rounds.

“My whole plan was just to have clear rounds and not worry about the time, because I’d rather have placed third three times than try to rush and have any rails,” explained Doloff. “It also started raining, so I wanted to make sure Dasher didn’t slip or anything.”

Maya Lovdal set the pace to beat as the first to return for the jump-off in the Classic with Miracles Happen. However, in an attempt to set a fast time, the pair had one rail down, and would settle for second place in a time of 34.552 seconds. Catherine Wilson had a more conservative time as the second to return aboard EZ To Spot, but they also lowered the height of a fence to place third.

As the last to enter the Dixon Oval, Doloff knew he just needed to leave all the fences intact during the jump-off. Despite an issue with the timers that delayed his start, Doloff and Wishlea Star Dasher were ready to win, and that is exactly what they did. The pair carefully cleared each obstacle, breaking the beam at 36.604 seconds to claim their second blue ribbon of the day and win the Pony Jumper Championship.

“The delay was better because it gave Dasher more time just to settle,” laughed Doloff. “He gets excited when he goes into the ring for the first time, so it just gave him more time to settle and relax. The first two people before had rails, so it was more just about making sure I was clear.”

This is Doloff’s third year competing at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, and he has been riding Wishlea Star Dancer since the spring of 2014. “He’s kind of unpredictable because a lot of times he’s fresh and will take off and rear, so it takes a lot of patience,” admitted Doloff. “He surprisingly needs a forward ride because he can get too choppy and get rails. Today he felt great!”

The Pony Jumper Reserve Championship went to Saturday’s winner, Just One Look with Prima Rose Bonaventura in the irons. Caitlin Pedersen was presented with the Pony Jumper Style Award for exhibiting the best classical jumper style of riding.

The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair will continue Monday with the kick-off of the Professional Hunter divisions, as well as the $7,500 North American League Adult Amateur Classic followed by the Adult Jumper Championship. Highlight events during the week include the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and the $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*.

The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair is the longest running and largest outdoor multi-breed competition in the United States. With the grandeur of Philadelphia’s prestigious Main Line setting the stage, the event features a world-class field that annually ranks among the most prominent internationally. The event also includes the Country Fair that offers world-class shopping, rides and games for kids, multiple dining options and special entertainment events.

For more information, please visit www.DevonHorseShow.net.

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WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series Announces 2016 Dates

WIHS #PonyPower Kicks Off in May at the Devon Horse Show

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington International Horse Show’s wildly popular Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series, presented by Charles Owen, will be held in May and October 2016, commencing Memorial Day weekend at the Devon Horse Show.  The high octane sport features junior jockeys in the saddle racing the cutest, fluffiest Shetland Ponies to the enjoyment of spectators of all ages.

The first stop in the series is the historic Devon Horse Show and Country Fair in Devon, Pa., on Sunday, May 29, and Monday, May 30, and it concludes in the fall with the finals at the Washington International Horse Show on WIHS Barn Night, Thursday, October 27, and Grand Prix Night, Saturday, October 29, at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Introduced in 2013, the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase races, dubbed “D.C.’s newest — and cutest — sport” by the Washington Post, are run like professional racing events with a bugler, race caller and photo finish, but in miniature. The jockeys are youngsters from ages seven to 14 mounted on traditional Shetland Ponies racing over a course of mini-hurdles.

“We’ve had an overwhelming response to the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Series from our fans,” said WIHS President Victoria Lowell. “Not only is it really exciting to watch, pony racing is also a great way for kids to get into equestrian sports. Not too many people know that Kent Farrington, currently ranked #6 in the world in show jumping and a frequent competitor at Washington, used to race ponies.”

For those unable to attend in person, the races at Devon and Verizon Center will be streamed live by USEF Network at usefnetwork.com, and archived on WIHS.org. Fans can also follow WIHS on Periscope (@WIHS) for exclusive behind-the-scenes and live race action.

An exciting social media contest will have race fans studying the race card for each pony’s winning form. The #PonyPower Prize Sweepstakes will take place May 29 and 30 in conjunction with the races at Devon. Fans can enter to win a Swag Bag of official WIHS merchandise including VIP tickets to the 58th Annual Washington International Horse Show, October 25-30 at Verizon Center.

Well-established in the United Kingdom, pony racing is growing in popularity in the U.S., thanks in part to Maryland-based U.S. Pony Racing, LLC (USPR), organizer of the WIHS exhibition series, which runs flat and jumping pony races at events throughout the region, including at Pimlico.

“Our partners at USPR work closely with the children and ponies to ensure they are fully prepared for a safe, fun, and exciting race day,” said Bridget Love Meehan, WIHS Executive Director. “We love including sports across equestrian disciplines at WIHS, especially those like pony racing that are such fun to watch.”

Ongoing sponsor Charles Owen is no newcomer to pony racing. The Wrexham-based helmet maker has been a significant supporter of pony racing in the U.K. since 2005.

“Charles Owen is delighted to continue its support of the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series,” said Roy Burek, Managing Director of Charles Owen. “With our long association with pony racing in the U.K., we’re especially excited to be a part of its growth in the U.S. The WIHS Series at Devon and Washington offer an ideal showcase and we encourage everyone to come out and experience it.”

The 58th annual Washington International Horse Show will take place October 25-30, 2016, at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.  For the show schedule, tickets, hospitality and more, please visit wihs.org.

For more information on the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Series, visit http://www.wihs.org/shetland-pony-steeplechase.

About Washington International Horse Show, www.wihs.org

Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the oldest and most prestigious equestrian sporting events in North America. More than 26,000 spectators attend the six-day show, which includes Olympic-level competition along with community and charity events. More than 500 top horses and riders come to D.C. from all over the globe to jump for more than a half a million dollars in prize money. Highlights include the $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, the President’s Cup Grand Prix, presented by Events DC, (Saturday night), The Boeing Company Puissance high jump competition on Military Night (Friday) and Kids’ Day (Saturday), a free, fun and educational community event. The Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition and is currently ranked #7 in the Top 25 Horse Shows by the North American Riders Group. WIHS is rated CSI4*-W by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the world governing body for horse sports.

Lauren Fisher
Jump Media
lauren@jumpmediallc.com

International Celebrations at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Kent Farrington receiving his trophy for the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup from HM The Queen and Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, The King of Bahrain.

The promotion to 4* status had a magnificent effect on this year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show which took place from Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th May.

The upgraded status of the show attracted some of the world’s top riders and the competition was fierce across all disciplines, providing a fantastic spectacle for the thousands of visitors attending over the four days.

Despite the cancellation of ‘Windsor Wednesday’ due to incessant rain and flooding, the resilient British public turned out in force for the remaining days and ticket sales were up by 20% day on day compared to previous years.

Spectators enjoyed world-class equestrian sport and fabulous international entertainment in the stunning grounds of Windsor Castle – the only time of the year that HM The Queen opens up the private grounds to the public.

There was a real international feel to the event this year, with international competitions in Show Jumping, Driving and Endurance as well as spectacular displays from acts from around the world including the Canadian Mounted Police, The Chilean Huasos and the Dancers and Karabakh horses and dancers from Azerbaijan, all of which were taking part in The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration, which took place on each evening of the event.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said: “This year’s event was very special. Not only did we have the upgraded status of the show to 4* level, thus attracting some of the world’s top equestrian athletes, but there was a celebratory feel to the whole event with The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebrations in the evening.”

No fewer than five Olympic gold medallists were amongst the entries of the newly upgraded CSI 4* International Show Jumping classes at Royal Windsor Horse Show to kick start a summer where all eyes lead to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

It was World No. 6 Kent Farrington who stole the show, taking the two feature events of the weekend, the Grand Prix for the Kingdom of Bahrain Trophy, as well as the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup. Riding the speedy Creedance, the American visitor was on flying form taking both classes by over a second from second place riders John Whitaker and Tiffany Foster respectively.

The Rolex Testimonee, who was competing at Royal Windsor Horse Show for the first time, was thrilled with the results, which saw him presented with The King’s Cup by The Queen. “What more can I ask for? I’ve never been here before, so we’re off to a great start, and with this being The Queen’s Birthday Celebration too, it’s a great moment.”

Despite the international fields, with riders from 13 countries taking part in the 4* competitions, the opening day of the Show was dominated by Great Britain. Robert Whitaker and Catwalk IV returned to the scene of their 2015 Grand Prix victory to win the Bahrain Pearl Stakes and Guy Williams took the Manama Speed Stakes aboard chestnut gelding Casper De Muze.

In other action, there was a scintillating win for Britain’s leading lady rider, Laura Renwick, who was victorious in The Falcon Stakes riding Heliodor Hybris and France’s Adeline Hecart, who returned after a successful 2015 Royal Windsor Horse Show, to take the Palm Accumulator.

“It is my favourite show in the world,” she said. “Last year, the atmosphere was amazing and the people who come here are so knowledgeable and appreciative of horses. But this year you can really feel that there is something more and sense how much people love The Queen and want to celebrate her birthday.”

With his magnificent four-in-hand warmbloods, reigning World Champion, Boyd Exell from Australia, drove to victory in the final phase of the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, reclaiming the win that has been his six times previously.

“We’ve been second for the last two years,” smiled a relieved Exell. “I lost it in the cones last year and I really did not want to do that again.” He added, “I’ve been trying out new combinations of horses in recent years but these ones have really gone well for me.”

Exell was in first place going into the final day, but the pressure did not get to him as he drove a sure and clean double clear to take his seventh Royal Windsor win.

Pony four-in-hands provided an even more nail-biting finale with Jan de Boer and his Welsh Section As claiming victory at Royal Windsor for the sixth time, with Germany’s Michael Bugener and Vilmos Jambor Jr, both competing for the first time here, taking second and third.

In the Nations Cup competition, the Netherlands – Ijsbrand Chardon, Koos de Ronde and Theo Timmerman – never looked like relinquishing the first place they held since the first day. Germany – Rainer Duen, Marieke Harm and Christoph Sandmann – also retained their second position throughout but Belgium – Dries Degrieck and Edouard Simonet – overtook the Australian team for third place on the final day.

Royal Windsor Horse Show is seen as the early season mecca of showing and this year saw riders of all ages share the limelight.

Fittingly at a Show that was celebrating Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday, The Queen had a particularly successful few days. For the second year running, her homebred Barber’s Shop, ridden by Katie Jerram, landed the RoR Tattersalls Thoroughbred Ridden Show Horse Championship on Thursday whereas black Fell mare Murthwaite Dawn Chorus delighted her owner by winning her class and then going on to stand reserve supreme in-hand mountain and moorland champion on Friday.

In ridden ranks on Friday, Clare Twiston-Davies’s reigning Horse of the Year Show cob champion Randalstown Musketeer took his first Royal Windsor title for Wales based producer Vicky Hesford.

Britain’s glorious native breeds took centre stage on Saturday, with the top spot going to Newbury based Hannah Horton with Lady Huntingdon’s stunning Connemara Slieve Bloom Jill with her first Royal Windsor native title. Elsewhere, the prestigious show pony title went to Yorkshire based combination Georgina Holmes and her 148cm winner Wilderness Early Bird.

One of the most popular winners in the working hunter pony division on Sunday was the 18-year-old 143cm grey gelding Carnsdale Casper, owned by the Beaconsfield based Wrennall family, ridden by twelve-year-old Katie Wrennall. Another game veteran of the pony ranks, 16-year-old CJs Tonto, accounted for the 133cm division, but the section title went to Sophie Lawes and her 135cm bay mare Carnsdale Vanity Fair.

Winning rider Saif Ahmed Al Mozroui rides Ramaah to the finish line (left) with SH Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum
Winning rider Saif Ahmed Al Mozroui rides Ramaah to the finish line (left) with SH Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum

Saif Ahmed Al Mozroui of the UAE triumphed at Royal Windsor Endurance kindly supported by the Kingdom of Bahrain. Riding Ramaah he finished in a time of 04:41:27, almost six minutes clear of the second placed rider, Mohammed Adbulsamad from Bahrain on Derrom Galiem, who was just one second ahead of third placed Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum on Intisaar, also from the UAE.

Ramaah’s trainer, Ismael Mohammed, said: “It is a really good result for the UAE, starting off the summer season with this win. We came here with good horses and we were hoping for this result.”

Now in its fourth year, a field of 52 competitors from a record thirteen nations set off into Windsor Great Park to complete four loops, and a total distance of 120km. The course included the home straight of Ascot Racecourse on loop one, and a number of picturesque landmarks and backdrops throughout. Despite the recent torrential rain, conditions out on the course were excellent and the average speed of Al Mozroui was a brisk 25.6 kilometres per hour.

Royal Windsor Endurance Director, Michael Shephard, said: “We are very pleased to have hosted another successful ride in this beautiful setting, and delighted to have had more countries than ever on the start line. The weather was very kind to us and the competition as fierce as ever.”

For full results, please click here.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford
Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)207 592 1207

Further information can be found on www.rwhs.co.uk.

Royal Windsor Horse Show Concludes in Front of a Packed Audience

The final day of Royal Windsor Horse Show combined top class sport and entertainment as the excitement builds ahead of The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration in Home Park (Private).

A full house of enthusiastic visitors witnessed the USA’s Kent Farrington claim the biggest spoils of the week in the Grand Prix for the Kingdom of Bahrain Trophy. Despite a valiant challenge by Britain’s John Whitaker (Argento), who thrilled the home crowd, the American visitor took the win with the super speedy Creedance.

After an exciting first round, 14 riders came through with faultless score cards to the jump-off. Canada’s Tiffany Foster, riding Brit Ben Maher’s former London Olympic gold medal winning ride Tripple X III, was second to go and held the lead for almost half the second phase with her clean performance. She was toppled from pole position when Kent smashed her target by three seconds, causing those watching to whoop in delight at the display of calculated horsemanship.

John then tried to steal the win for the home crowd, but finished one second adrift despite a strong start out on the shortened course.

“Up to the planks [halfway around the track] I knew I was quicker,” said John, who praised Royal Windsor Horse Show’s move to four-star jumping. “Then he spooked at something. I don’t know what it was, so I ended up doing two or three strides more than Kent.”

The final double clear of the class came from Italy’s Piergiorgio Bucci (Casallo Z), but a steadier round than the two prior faultless performers meant third place and handed victory to Kent.

“Creedance is a naturally fast horse and was flying out there, but I held my breath a bit when John went,” said Kent. “I grew up watching him and he is still just as good now as he was then.

“I’ve taken two big wins this week so I think I should get out of town quick!”

France’s Adeline Hecart prevented a home win too, this time for Robert Smith (Cimano E) in the Palm Accumulator. The 20-year-old pinched back 0.01sec from the Brit’s long-time target to steal her second Royal Windsor win in two years with Questions D’Orval.

“There weren’t really many places to make up extra time, so I think there was a bit of luck involved,” said Adeline, who won last year’s winning round competition with the 12-year-old mare.

A huge fan of the show, Adeline is delighted to be here during this special year.

“It is my favourite show in the world,” she said. “Last year, the atmosphere was amazing and the people who come here are so knowledgeable and appreciative of horses. But this year you can really feel that there is something more and sense how much people love The Queen and want to celebrate her birthday.”

ExellWith his magnificent four-in-hand warmbloods, reigning World Champion, Boyd Exell from Australia, drove to victory in the final phase of the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix at Royal Windsor, reclaiming the win that has been his six times previously.

“We’ve been second for the last two years,” smiled a relieved Exell. “I lost it in the cones last year and I really did not want to do that again.” He added, “I’ve been trying out new combinations of horses in recent years but these ones have really gone well for me. They got me out of trouble in obstacle seven yesterday when we almost took a wrong turn.”

Exell was in first place as the final phase began, but the pressure mounted as the top drivers began recording double clear rounds. Four-time World Champion, Ijsbrand Chardon, was less than one cones penalty behind Exell and is usually exemplary in this section. However, uncharacteristically, he had two balls down which dropped him behind fellow countryman Koos de Ronde and German driver Christoph Sandmann and gave the current World Champion a bit of breathing space. He didn’t need it – he drove a sure and clean double clear to take his seventh Royal Windsor win.

The cones course was designed by experienced course designer, Richard Nicolls from the USA, and was described by competitors as ‘classic Nicolls’.

“They know that I design course that are flowing but technical,” he said. “There are changes of rein and various options but I don’t like mad dashes across the arena or a course that constantly doubles back on itself. It’s better for the drivers if the course flows and it is better for spectators too.”

Pony four-in-hands provided an even more nail-biting finale. Saturday’s marathon winner, Germany’s Michael Bugener, lying in third place overall attacked the course with vigour; it earned him a round that was clear on time but at the expense of 12 penalty points. In second place at this stage, Jan de Boer from the Netherlands drove confidently and steadily, also making the time but picking up just 3 penalties. In the lead, Vilmos Jambor jr from Hungary drove with some caution – he dropped behind on time, but more punishingly accrued 9 penalties. Jan de Boer and his Welsh Section As, therefore, claimed the win at Royal Windsor for the sixth time with Bugener and Jambor jr, both competing for the first time here, taking second and third.

“I’m particularly pleased with the new pony I have in the wheel,” said the delighted Dutchman, who last won here two years ago. “I felt I really had to look after him in the marathon, particularly in the first obstacles, as he is still inexperienced.”

In the Nations Cup competition, the Netherlands – Ijsbrand Chardon, Koos de Ronde and Theo Timmerman – never looked like relinquishing the first place they have held since the first day. Germany – Rainer Duen, Marieke Harm and Christoph Sandmann – also retained their second position throughout, but Belgium – Dries Degrieck and Edouard Simonet – overtook Australia for third place.

Working hunter ponies delighted a packed audience around the Frogmore arena this morning. One of the most popular winners was the 18-year-old 143cm grey gelding Carnsdale Caspar, owned by the Beaconsfield based Wrennall family, beautifully ridden by Katie Wrennall, 12. The still enthusiastic campaigner jumped one of only two clears over a demanding course.

Another game veteran, 16-year-old CJs Tonto, accounted for the 133cm division, but the section title went to Sophie Lawes and her 135cm bay mare Carnsdale Vanity Fair.

For full results, please click here.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford
Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)207 592 1207

Further information can be found on www.rwhs.co.uk.

Ponies Prove Big Things Come in Small Packages at Ocala Week VI

(C) ESI PHOTOGRAPHY. Alexis Cruz and Summer Nights.

Ocala, FL (February 28, 2016): The presentation of the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) Zone 4 Handy Hunter Classic to the Ocala Masters commenced with the Zone IV Pony Handy Hunter Classic on February 26 at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida.

Riders maneuvered their ponies through the course, all in hopes of securing a prestigious blue-ribbon victory in the Classic. Only one could take home the title, and that team to beat was Summer Nights, owned and ridden by Alexis Cruz of Oviedo, Florida – not only was the victory a first-time class win for Cruz, but was also her first-ever go at the $1,000 Zone 4 Pony Handy Hunter Classic.

“The course was fun, and we couldn’t be happier that HITS offers this class,” said Cruz’s trainer Laura Barrett-Gurtis. “This is a great program and it’s really nice that Zone 4 gives back to the competitors.”

First to challenge the course was Macho Man, owned and ridden by Alpharetta, Georgia equestrian Daphne Rowse. Rowse and her bay Welsh gelding came in behind Cruz with a score of 69, with an Option Bonus Score of three points and a Handy Bonus Score of three points. They earned a total score of 74 for their efforts, ultimately finishing in second.

Jessica Bader of Bluffton, South Carolina and her own Hershey’s Kiss came in behind Rowse and Macho Man. They earned a score of 55 with an Option Bonus Score of three points and a Handy Bonus Score of eight points for a sum total of 66, putting them in third place.

Lourdes Low, of O’Katie, South Carolina, and Overcast entered next but two unfortunate refusals eliminated the pair from the ribbons.

Fourth to go in the order, Cruz piloted her steady grey mount to earn a score of 68, with an Option Bonus Score of two and a Handy Bonus Score of seven for a sum total of 77 to move up the leaderboard over Rowse’s round.

“She is a really hard-working and dedicated kid,” said Barrett-Gurtis. “She’s very focused and we are thankful to have this class to compete in when we travel.”

Camryn Halley, of Oviedo, Florida, and Caleche, owned by Laura Barrett-Gurtis, were the final pony and rider to test the course in the $1,000 Zone 4 Pony Handy Hunter Classic. They finished with a score of 50, an Option Bonus Score of three and a Handy Bonus score of 10 to put them in fourth place.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
845.246.8833 Tel • info@HitsShows.comHitsShows.com

TIEC to Partner with US Pony Clubs to Bring Championships East to North Carolina in July

Photo: ©UnitedStatesPonyClubs.

Mill Spring, NC – February 1, 2016 – Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) is proud to announce the initiation of a major partnership between the venue and The United States Pony Clubs Inc. that will bring the 2016 Pony Club (USPC) Championships East to the expanding equestrian center for the first time ever in July 2016. The USPC Championships East will begin on Wednesday, July 27, and conclude on Sunday, July 31, as multiple disciplines will be showcased throughout the week, including dressage, eventing, show jumping, polocross, quiz, tetrathlon and mounted games.

The United States Pony Clubs, a staple in the educational foundation for many young riders in the U.S., was established in 1954 to guide younger generations of equestrians through the basic concepts of English riding and horsemanship. The goal of USPC has remained the same since its inception nearly six decades ago, to promote sportsmanship, stewardship and leadership through horsemanship.

The newly minted initiative between The United States Pony Clubs and Tryon International Equestrian Center will conjoin a wealth of resources and knowledge, as management teams of both operations hope to inspire a greater interest in horse sport through their combined efforts.

“Each year hundreds of Pony Club Members from across the nation qualify to compete at USPC Championships. Providing these members an opportunity to compete and showcase their equestrian sports and horsemanship skills at a world-class equestrian venue is exciting,” said Teresa Woods, Executive Director of United States Pony Clubs, Inc. “USPC and Tryon International Equestrian Center share the goals of creating a championship level competition and a special experience for all competitors, their families and the volunteers at Championship East.”

The United States Pony Clubs provides a nation-wide outlet for individuals interested in riding, regardless of background and previous equestrian experience, offering a range of age groups access to a wide variety of disciplines and educational resources.

“We are looking forward to the opportunity to host the 2016 United States Pony Club Championship East at TIEC. In a world where participation in equestrian sport has been stagnant in most disciplines over the last 10 years, we are inspired and motivated by the opportunity to work with US Pony Clubs management to create innovative ways to enhance interest and increase access to one of the most important gateways into equestrian sport, Pony Clubs,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners. “Through the construction of this facility, we have built a family oriented platform, which we believe can cultivate an increased interest in equestrian sport based on the connection between these magical animals and their riders.”

With more than 1,000 participants, contestants, and volunteers anticipated to travel to TIEC in late July for the event, the venue will prepare to host families, competitors, and their equine partners for an action-packed week of fun, open and free to the general public. TIEC boasts seven barns with permanent stabling, 10 large arenas outfitted with world-class footing, as well as a newly added grass derby field, and Beginner Novice through Advanced level cross country course.

Competitors will take to the famed George H. Morris Arena at TIEC for the USPC Opening Ceremonies on Thursday, July 28, as well as for mounted games competition on the evening of Saturday, July 30, underneath the lights in an electrifying atmosphere.

“We are honored to be working with The United States Pony Clubs and are eager to expand opportunities and awareness for their organization and longstanding mission to empower young equestrians with leadership and horsemanship skills,” said Sharon Decker, Chief Operating Officer, Carolinas Operations, Tryon Equestrian Partners. “The Foothills region of North Carolina is the perfect setting for a championship event of this stature and we look forward to engaging and involving the local community as we prepare the facility.”

Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and Tryon Resort offer an array of family-friendly opportunities and activities in western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, also providing numerous on-site lodging and dining options for a conveniently located stay. If interested in booking lodging for the event, please contact lodging@tryon.com for more information regarding weekly rates for the duration of the event.

About Tryon International Equestrian Center & Tryon Resort

The Tryon International Equestrian Center and Tryon Resort are destined to become one of the premier centers in the equestrian world. This new facility opened in June 2014 with sanctioned horse shows and initial supporting amenities including 10 riding arenas, 1200 permanent stalls, a covered riding facility and fitness center. Future expansion includes a resort hotel, condo and apartment buildings, mixed use retail space, sports complex, sporting clay course, and an 18-hole golf course plus a full calendar of equestrian competitions and activities. It is a spring, summer and fall haven for eastern and northeastern American equestrian competitors and enthusiasts and a year-round destination for non-equestrian visitors, offering an array of fine-dining selections and family entertainment. For more information, call 828-863-1000 or visit www.tryon.com.

About Pony Club

The United States Pony Clubs, Inc. (Pony Club) was founded in 1954 as a nonprofit national youth organization to teach riding and horsemanship through a formal educational program. There are approximately 9,000 Pony Club members in over 600 clubs and riding centers throughout the country. Many of the nation’s top equestrians, including several of our Olympic team members, business professionals, government leaders and career military officers, have roots in Pony Club. Youth members range in age from as young as 4 through age 25. Pony Club also offers educational opportunities to a growing number of adults through Horsemasters membership. Please visit ponyclub.org for more information.

SEMF Announces 2016 Dates

It is with great excitement that the SEMF Management Team announces its 2016 dates. The Southeast Medal Finals will be held September 15-18, 2016. We are also pleased to announce that the SEMF management has added The Southeast Fall Festival, a National rated horse show immediately following the SEMF, on September 21-25, 2016.

SEMF is planning to return to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for the 5th year in a row. Expect some major changes to the format, schedule and the facility! Week 1 will be Southeast Medal Finals, where top riders and mounts will compete for top honors in their respective Medal, Hunter and Jumper Section. Week 2 will be Southeast Fall Festival, a USEF National and Level 3 Jumper Show. SE Fall Festival will maximize use of the Coliseum for a fantastic indoor prep. Plenty of Professional, Junior and Amateur divisions will be offered. Things exhibitors should look forward to in 2016 at both shows are shorter days, better footing, team competitions and additional prize money. “The decision to return to Jacksonville was a difficult one that was not taken lightly,” said James Lala, the show’s founder. “I researched tons of facilities in the southeast, visited and spoke to facility management and truly weighed all of the options, but the simple fact remains that the indoor at Jacksonville is unlike any other at any facility in the southeast and most closely resembles that at Indoors.” So be on the lookout for plenty of opportunities to show indoors, under the lights, and be sure to add 2016 SEMF & Southeast Fall Festival to your show schedule!

SEMF would like to extend its deepest gratitude to National Horse Show, for allowing it to be the host of the prestigious Maclay Regional Finals for the past 4 years. SEMF would likewise like to extend its deepest gratitude to Bob Bell and Stadium Jumping, for providing excellent management services during that time. It is truly bittersweet to no longer host the Maclay Regional Finals; however, SEMF is excited for the future and new opportunities for growth in the coming years. By moving the SEMF forward a week, it offers Maclay Regional Riders an ideal prep while freeing up the coliseum to offer riders an experience like no other. In addition, the Southeast Fall Festival offers horses and riders a chance to compete in a coliseum before heading to the indoor finals. Exhibitors can unpack, set up and stay at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for 2 weeks of competition.

Southeast Medal Finals Fast Facts:

WHAT:
Southeast Medal Finals, modeled after the New England Medal Finals, offers a special end of season culmination and finals show that is both attainable and affordable for everyone.

Southeast Fall Festival maximizes use of the Coliseum for a fantastic prep for those headed to indoors and a wonderful way to end the season for those staying home.

Equitation Finals:

  • Junior 3′ Medal Finals
  • The Riding Habit Adult Medal Finals
  • The GGT Footing 2’6″ Children’s Medal Finals
  • The Ovation 2’6″ Adult Medal Finals
  • Pony Medal Finals
  • Children’s Pony Medal Finals

Hunter Finals:

  • The Tenney’s Custom Saddlery Children’s Hunter Finals
  • Adult Hunter Finals
  • 2’6″ Adult Hunter Finals
  • 2’6″ Children’s Hunter Finals
  • Junior Hunter Finals
  • Amateur Owner Hunter Finals
  • Pony Hunter Finals
  • Children’s Pony Hunter Finals

Jumper Finals:

  • The Boy-O-Boy Bridleworks Low Children’s Jumper Finals
  • High Children’s Jumper Finals
  • Low Adult Jumper Finals
  • High Adult Jumper Finals
  • Low Junior Jumper Finals
  • Low Amateur Owner Jumper Finals

http://www.southeastmedalfinals.com

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Manager:
James Lala
(561) 906-6668
jdlala@aol.com

Sponsorship and Advertising
Paula Taylor (561) 629-2977
ptaylor.quarantine@aol.com

General Information, Membership & Sanctioning:
Alexis Newman (904) 993-2053
semedalfinals@gmail.com

The Benefits of Being a SEMF Show in 2016

Southeast Medal Finals, in its 4th year of existence, “has gained popularity and its growth has surpassed my wildest of expectations,” said show creator and manager James Lala. “This past year, we had an incredible 92 competitors in the Phelps Medial Group Southeast Junior Medal Finals, which left me beyond words excited.” One thing is for sure: the staggering growth and participation is a true testament to the need for an event like this. Exhibitors can qualify at any show in the US or Canada and need not be USEF or CEF sanctioned. The criteria for qualification are significantly easier at SEMF Member Events (Sanctioned Shows).

From a managerial standpoint, there are only benefits to being a SEMF Member Event:

  • There is no sanctioning fee to apply to become a member event
  • Riders and trainers are given an obtainable & prestigious finals
  • Our finals are geared towards EVERYONE
  • Helps expand the local & grass roots industry
  • Classes fit easily into a busy schedule
  • All SEMF classes can be combined with other similar classes, or run separately
  • No fee is required to run SEMF classes
  • Increase in your show’s entries
  • Advertising by SEMF including links and logos on the SEMF Website
  • Application is simple and can be done fully online at the SEMF Website

Riders, Trainers & Parents, be sure to ask your favorite show organization, manager or series to become a SEMF Member Event!

Southeast Medal Finals Fast Facts:

WHAT:
Southeast Medal Finals, modeled after the New England Medal Finals, offers a special end of season culmination and finals show that is both attainable and affordable for everyone.

Southeast Fall Festival maximizes use of the Coliseum for a fantastic prep for those headed to indoors and a wonderful way to end the season for those staying home.

Equitation Finals:

  • Junior 3′ Medal Finals
  • The Riding Habit Adult Medal Finals
  • The GGT Footing 2’6″ Children’s Medal Finals
  • The Ovation 2’6″ Adult Medal Finals
  • Pony Medal Finals
  • Children’s Pony Medal Finals

Hunter Finals:

  • The Tenney’s Custom Saddlery Children’s Hunter Finals
  • Adult Hunter Finals
  • 2’6″ Adult Hunter Finals
  • 2’6″ Children’s Hunter Finals
  • Junior Hunter Finals
  • Amateur Owner Hunter Finals
  • Pony Hunter Finals
  • Children’s Pony Hunter Finals

Jumper Finals:

  • The Boy-O-Boy Bridleworks Low Children’s Jumper Finals
  • High Children’s Jumper Finals
  • Low Adult Jumper Finals
  • High Adult Jumper Finals
  • Low Junior Jumper Finals
  • Low Amateur Owner Jumper Finals

http://www.southeastmedalfinals.com

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Manager:
James Lala
(561) 906-6668
jdlala@aol.com

Sponsorship and Advertising
Paula Taylor (561) 629-2977
ptaylor.quarantine@aol.com

General Information, Membership & Sanctioning:
Alexis Newman (904) 993-2053
semedalfinals@gmail.com

Laura Robertson Tops $5,000 Royal Pony Jumper Final at 2015 Royal Horse Show

Laura Robertson. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Laura Robertson of Toronto, ON topped the $5,000 Royal Pony Jumper Final, presented by William Tilford and Marion Cunningham of Marbill Hill Farm, on Sunday, November 15, at the Royal Horse Show®. The competition officially closed out The 93rd Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in downtown Toronto, ON.

In a fairytale ending to the Royal Horse Show, Robertson and a chestnut pony called Royal took top call in the featured class for pony jumpers. Pony-size speed was showcased as Royal, owned by Charlotte Millar, carried Robertson to victory over 14 entries. They were the fastest of three double-clear efforts breaking the timer beam in a blistering 27.36 seconds.

More than two seconds behind Robertson, second-place rider Raphaelle Ferreira of Prevost, QC stopped the clock at 29.90 seconds riding her own Montreux. Ferreira’s top finish, coupled with a sixth-place ribbon in the $2,500 Royal Pony Jumper Welcome held Saturday, November 14, clinched her the Royal Pony Jumper Championship. Camille Huppe of St. Eustache, QC aboard Texas, owned by Susana Tezanos-Moreno, collected third on Sunday with a 31.03-second jump-off time. They were also second on Saturday to earn the Reserve Champion title.

Melinda Dupont of Mount Albert, ON and her own Snapchat were clean over the original track to advance to the jump-off, but suffered elimination to settle in fourth. Jumping to the fastest four-fault effort in the first round, Grace Munro of Wolfville, NS rounded out the top five in the irons of her own Ever So Clever.

Kilby Brunner Deforest topped the $2,500 Royal Pony Jumper Welcome, the first class of the division, on Saturday. Her partner was Barkway Topaz, an English-bred Welsh pony owned by her mother, Kirsten Brunner. Barkway Topaz did double duty at the Royal Horse Show®, also showing in driving competition with his owner.

The Royal Pony Jumper Division celebrated its third year calling The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair home, and welcomed riders from four provinces – Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island – to Ricoh Coliseum. The division’s two classes were generously presented by William Tilford and Marion Cunningham, who were in attendance on Sunday to congratulate the riders on their accomplishments.

“Pony jumpers are the first step in developing riders that can go forward, think on the fly, and handle a wide variety of obstacles, terrain and approaches,” said Cunningham, who operates Marbill Hill Farm in Bradford West Gwillimbury, ON. “We are proud to support this competition at the Royal Horse Show®, and proud to encourage the future of show jumping sport.”

After ten days of top competition, featuring pint-sized ponies and World Cup Champions alike, the Royal Horse Show wrapped its 2015 season with excitement already building for the event in 2016, which will return to downtown Toronto November 4-13, 2016.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, please visit http://www.royalfair.org/horse-show.

Funding support for The Royal has been provided by the City of Toronto and the Government of Ontario.

About The Royal
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show. This year, the 93rd Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs November 6-15, 2015 at Exhibition Place, Toronto. For competition schedules, live webcasting, results and to purchase tickets, please visit www.royalfair.org.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Jump Media
Cell: (613) 292-5439
jward@jumpmediallc.com

Farah Rizvi Pilots Glynhafan Red Kestral to Grand Champion Pony Title at WIHS

Farah Rizvi Pilots Glynhafan Red Kestral to Grand Champion Pony Title at WIHS

Mimi Gochman Tops WIHS Pony Equitation Finals; Ali O’Brien and Jack Graham Win in Regional Championships

Washington, D.C. – October 25, 2015 – The 57th Annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) came to a close on Sunday after another historic week of show jumping, hunter, equitation competition in the nation’s capital by celebrating pony and local champions at Verizon Center in downtown Washington D.C. The Miles River Moonglow Perpetual Trophy, donated by Scott Novick & Rustic Woods, was presented to Peacock Ridge, LLC’s Glynhafan Red Kestral and rider Farah Rizvi, of Wellington, FL, for Grand Champion Pony honors. The WIHS Pony Equitation Finals were held in the afternoon with a win for Mimi Gochman, and the WIHS Regional Finals capped the day with blue ribbons presented to Ali O’Brien and Jack Graham.

Rizvi dominated pony competition at WIHS aboard Glynhafan Red Kestral, a 10-year-old Welsh Pony gelding. In addition to taking home Grand Champion, she boasted a tricolor in the Large Pony Hunter Division, as well as The Captain V. S. Littauer Perpetual Trophy, donated by Hugh J. B. Cassidy, III, Mrs. William Dillon, and Miss Marion Lee, for Best Child Rider on a Pony, sponsored by Gotham North.

“It’s really exciting to be in such a big arena where other big sports happen. It’s usually grand prix classes that get to go in rings like this, but this makes us feel like we are a big event too,” said Rizvi.

For Rizvi, WIHS was one of the biggest goals she set for herself this year and in turn was one of the her highlight victories. “I think he [Glynhafan Red Kestral] really liked it here. He likes audiences and today it was like he saw all the people and knew everyone was watching him,” she said.

In the Large Pony Hunter Division, Rizvi and Glynhafan Red Kestral were first and third over fences before winning the stake on a score of 87 to take home The Pegasus Stable Perpetual Trophy, donated by Ms. Fenwick Kollock. Reserve Champion was presented to Augusta Iwasaki and Kingston, owned by Ava Peck, after a first and second over fences.

While Rizvi has only had the ride on Glynhafan Red Kestral for several months, the pair has quickly formulated a knack for wins. “She only took over the reins starting in the summer and she was away a lot, so for her to be able to step up and shine on this pony is a trainer’s dream,” said Rizvi’s trainer Christine Trigger. “I had goosebumps for her – it’s such a big accomplishment. For me, it doesn’t get any better than Washington. This is a milestone show and to get a pony to step up and win here lets you know that you have a phenomenal animal.”

Rizvi acknowledged that she has recently been practicing her dressage movements in preparation to compete in FEI Pony competition at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival this winter and the extra practice may have helped her in Washington. “I think my dressage lessons have helped with my position, and all the practicing at home has made my ponies go better on the flat and helped with the jumping,” she said.

Farah was not the only Rizvi to shine at WIHS this year – her younger sister Zayna jumped Swingtown to Champion in the Medium Pony Hunter Champion and earned The Shenandoah Sundowner Perpetual Trophy, donated by Evan Coluccio and Ashmont Farms, Ltd. Swingtown, owned by Peacock Ridge, LLC, jumped to two sixth-place finishes over fences and won both the stake and under saddle. Hannah Hoch and her own Anisette were second twice over fences and fourth under saddle to claim Reserve Champion in the Medium Pony Hunter Division.

Sophie Gochman and Dr. Betsee Parker’s Love Me Tender claimed the Small Pony Hunter Championship, presented by Further Lane Farm and were awarded The Stombock Saddlery Challenge Trophy, donated by Stombock Saddlery in Memory of E. P. (Bud) Stombock. Gochman and Love Me Tender were first and third over fences, in addition to third in the stake and second under saddle. Trading off wins with Gochman, Libbie Gordon and Bibby Hill’s Baby Blue were Reserve Champions for small ponies after first and second over fences, and sixth under saddle.

Continuing the success of small ponies at WIHS, Claire Campbell and Armani, owned by Maher Family, LLC, jumped to the highest stake score of an 89 to earn the Best Pony Hunter Stake Award. The head-turning trip also won Campbell the EQUUS Best Performance Award for a child on a pony, as well as the Potomac Trophy for the high score junior hunter rider on a pony.

Mimi Gochman Wins 2015 WIHS Pony Equitation Finals

Later on Sunday, young riders competed in the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals with a win for 11-year-old Mimi Gochman of New York, NY. Trained by Scott Stewart, Gochman rode Fair Play Farm’s Storyteller to a score of 85 over fences. She came out on top after the judges tested the top four over another shortened course. Gochman was presented with the Jane Marshall Dillon Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by the friends and students of Mrs. Jane Marshall Dillon for the win.

Mimi Gochman and Storyteller
Mimi Gochman and Storyteller

Tessa P. Brown had the high score of 87 in her first round over fences and finished in second place after the test riding Radiance. Elly Ficca scored an 86 in the first round and placed third overall with It’s All Good. Caroline Ellis scored an 84 in round one and returned for the test with Cozy Up to finish fourth.

“It was really awesome to win,” Gochman stated. “My pony is the best for this kind of thing. He is easy to transition, nice jump, good for sitting – I can maybe do everything on that pony. I was a little nervous, but he was really good.”

“After I got the 85, I thought I would go back for testing, but I thought it was going to be a flat phase. I was in the schooling area doing no stirrups, turns on the haunches, sitting trot, sitting trot without stirrups, but then they announced it was jumping,” Gochman noted. “I am also confident on that, but then they told us that we had to go in the ring and have no instruction from our trainers, and that is when I was like, ‘Whoa, that’s scary.’ It was challenging, but Story helped me out very well.”

Gochman has been competing on ponies at WIHS for a few years now and always enjoys her time in the nation’s capital.

“It is really amazing how they can get all the footing in here and all the jumps and still make it safe and not scary,” she acknowledged. “The most interesting thing is being in the city, showing in the city, because it is a different environment for the ponies. It is great that Story can handle that. He does not spook a lot. He does not get scared. He can relax in any environment. I also love going to see the monuments and the White House and it is nice weather here during the fall, so it is nice to be here.”

Regional Winners Crowned at WIHS

Sunday concluded with the culmination of WIHS Regional Hunter Finals, which kicked off last week at the WIHS Regional Horse Show at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD. Ten-year-old Ali O’Brien of McLean, VA and her own Cloud Cover won the final class of the WIHS Regional Pony Hunter Finals, while 13-year-old Jack Graham of Sterling, VA took home blue in the WIHS Regional Hunter Finals.

This year marked the first time O’Brien, who trains with Cindy Newberry, has qualified for the final at WIHS after competing at the WIHS Regional Horse Show the past two years. Her score of an 83 secured the win.

Gabby Cecil and Eyes Up, owned by Sarah K. Hanks, finished second on a 79, while Kate Howlin and Jamrock, owned by Wilson Sporthorse, LLC, took third with a 75. Fielding Stichman and her own Oohpa Loompa were fourth with a 73, and Jacqueline Needle rounded out the top five with her own Frostline on a 71.

“It was fantastic. I can’t really imagine anything else like it,” said O’Brien after her win. “I’ve been riding Cloud Cover for two and a half years and she is fabulous. She has helped me grow as a rider and taught me a lot.”

O’Brien took home Reserve Champion after scores were combined from competition at the WIHS Regional Horse Show, and 12-year-old Howlin earned Champion.

Jack Graham of Sterling, VA piloted Mary Elizabeth Cordia’s Welcome to an 82 and top call in the WIHS Regional Hunter Finals. Courtney Sloan and her own Wallenda were second best on a 78, and Meghan Lane piloted Chestertown, owned by Kimberly Stewart, to a 70 for third. Megan Fitzgerald and City Smarts picked up fourth on a 61 for owners Darpin Enterprises, LLC, while Madeline McManus rounded out the top five on a 55 with her own Invesco 55.

“I was really nervous at the start, but I just went in and rode like I usually do,” said Graham concerning his first appearance at WIHS. “I was just excited to show here and it was a great experience.”

Welcome was Cordia’s main equitation mount for three years before Graham got the ride on the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. No stranger to success at WIHS, Welcome boasts a tricolor in the WIHS Regional Hunter Finals from 2011. “I started doing jumpers, but I still wanted to ride him a little so we made a deal that he would stay at my old barn and my old trainer’s son [Jack] would get to ride him,” said Cordia.

Graham trains with Dave Rifkin and Sue Andrews and has been riding Welcome for just over a year. “He’s the smoothest horse I’ve ever ridden in my life and I just love him so much,” said Graham.

Graham and Welcome earned Reserve Champion for their performance, while Fitzgerald and City Smarts took home The Black, Starr & Frost Perpetual Trophy, donated by Black, Staff & Frost for Champion. For full results, please visit www.wihs.org.

About Washington International Horse Show, www.wihs.org
Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the most prestigious equestrian sporting events in the U.S. More than 26,000 spectators attend the six-day show, which includes Olympic-level competition along with community and charity events. More than 500 top horses and riders come to D.C. from all over the globe to jump for more than a half a million dollars in prize money. Event highlights include the $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, for the President’s Cup (Saturday night), The Boeing Company Puissance high jump competition on Military Night (Friday) and Kids’ Day (Saturday), a free, fun and educational community event. The Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition and is recognized as a Top 25 Horse Show by the North American Riders Group. WIHS is rated CSI4*-W by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the world governing body for horse sports.