Upper Marlboro, MD – October 2, 2011 – Hayley Barnhill, of Collierville, TN, earned an exciting victory today as she topped the North American Equitation Championships at Capital Challenge. Barnhill’s win was followed by a top finish for Pilar Flournoy, of Topanga, CA, in the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Children’s Medal Finals. The day concluded with the North American Amateur Equitation Championships with a victory for Adrienne Dixon, of Hillsborough, CA. This weekend’s equitation competition at the Show Place Arena was presented by BigEq.com. The 2011 Capital Challenge Horse Show will continue through October 9 at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD.
Sunday’s competition began with the North American Equitation Championships with two rounds of competition. Nearly eighty competitors started out the day over fences, but the field was sharply narrowed to only twenty who were invited back for a second round. Riding Cayla Richards’ Asparagus, a 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Hayley Barnhill posted scores of 90.20 and 90.05 for a two-round winning total of 180.25.
“I’m very excited!” Barnhill beamed after her win. “It was a last minute thing to get to come here, and I love this horse show. I was second in this class last year; I was so close, so it is nice to win it.”
Yesterday’s flat winner, Morgan Geller, rode her gelding Fabricio to second place. Sarah Milliren and War Eagle, owned by Don Stewart, finished third. Conor Perrin and Nat King Cole earned fourth place honors. Alicia Gasser rode Schubert, owned by KMG Equestrian, to fifth place and Oliva Esse guided Oscany, Inc.’s Fernway Park into the sixth position.
In addition to awarding the classes top finishers, several other awards were presented. Barnhill and trainer Tom Wright were presented with the George H. Morris Equitation Championship Trophy, donated by Frank and Stacia Madden and Beacon Hill Show Stables. Wright also received a special award as the Leading Equitation Trainer and Karen Healey and Karen Healey Show Stables presented Barnhill with the Best Equitation Rider Award. Victoria Colvin earned the award for EMO Equitation Trip of the show, sponsored by EMO Insurance Services, for the highest scoring round of 88.5.
Last year, Hayley Barnhill conquered two of the country’s biggest equitation finals, winning the Pessoa/USEF Hunt Seat Equitation Finals as well as the ASPCA Maclay National Finals. The rider now has her sights set on the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals and the WIHS Equitation Classic Finals, both coming up later this month. The rider feels that her experience this weekend at Capital Challenge has helped her prepare for those finals.
“I haven’t been able to do that many classes this year because I have just been focusing on the Washington classes, so it was good to have a pressure class and tough courses to get me back in the mode for indoors,” said Barnhill. “Missy (Clark) brought Asparagus over for me to ride and he is amazing. He is so easy. He has been and done it, so he is not going to make a mistake. He just does everything you want him to do.”
One of the many trainers that have helped Barnhill throughout the years is Tom Wright. Wright was present for Barnhill’s win today, and feels that she is ready for the big events to come.
“Her rounds were fantastic today; very confident,” Wright remarked. “She really wanted to come here and get a flavor for Asparagus indoors. He is a very quiet horse too, so Missy gave her the opportunity to come here and get to know him in hopes that we have a good horse show at Washington.”
“I think we are in pretty good confidence going there,” Wright added. “Missy has been so amazing about providing horses for Hayley for the last two years and we have been doing a lot of jumper work this summer, which I think has really paid off. You can see the confidence even more now when the questions are asked in the ring.”
Both Barnhill and Wright agree that Capital Challenge is a great opportunity for riders to get indoor show experience. Wright noted, “I am really glad that Capital Challenge takes the time to put this equitation weekend together. It is a great beginning for all of the kids before they head to USET, Harrisburg, and Washington, to really get a chance to practice all the tricks before the big pressure finals are on.”
Pilar Flournoy Tops THIS National Children’s Medal Finals
Pilar Flournoy, 14, from Topanga, CA, made her first trip east to Capital Challenge a worthwhile one, as she laid down two solids rounds to win the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Children’s Medal Finals.
Riding Reika, a ten-year-old Hanoverian mare, Flournoy didn’t let the pressure get to her as she returned for the second round just behind the leading rider, Destry Spielberg, who led the first round with an 86.90. When Spielberg came in tight to the first jump and posted a 77.4 in her final round Flournoy took the lead and the blue.
Flournoy said, “I tried to channel my nerves into focus. That tends to work for me.” Her trainer, Mark Bone of Huntover, agreed that Flournoy doesn’t tend to show her nerves. Flournoy enjoyed the courses designed by Kenny Krome, but knew she had to watch out for a number of the bending lines. She explained, “Reika has a really strong left drift, so on the left bending lines I wanted to make sure she didn’t fall in and make them too easy. We wanted to work on her straightness and being flowing without being too out of control. She has a very big stride.”
The trip east is very involved for the west coast contingent. Not only did the horses fly in on a red eye on Monday morning, but they needed to get accustomed to the hay, grain and the colder weather. Flournoy also had to adjust to the east coast, but her mom had a hand in helping.
“My mom made me switch over to east coast time last week,” she said laughing. “I’ve been waking up at 4 a.m. for the last week while I was home. I was very productive during the day,” she added with a smile.
Adrienne Dixon Victorious in North American Amateur Equitation Championships
Adrienne Dixon, of Hillsborough, CA, piloted Conor Perrin’s Nat King Cole to top honors in the North American Amateur Equitation Championships. Dixon came into this year’s class with determination after finishing second in 2010. She said, “I think I came here with a little more motivation than a lot of the other riders.”
Dixon made sure there was no question about her domination as she finished the first round with the high score of an 86 and then returned to secure the win posting an 87.80 on the board. The only one to come close to Dixon’s two-round total was Samantha Senft who rode Lord Loxley to a final score of 165.75.
Dixon, 22, had never ridden Nat King Cole before coming to Capital Challenge, but the seven-year-old gelding was just what Dixon needed to finish first. She said, “He made me rise to the occasion. I knew I was on one that could do it, so it gave me the confidence that I could do it.”
Dixon’s trainer, Nick Haness, said of the new mount, “He is a very nice horse to ride. He is brave and scopey. The only thing he’s lacking is experience. He has a huge stride and is very adjustable, but he is only seven years old. She did a great job handling him.”
In the two-round class there was only one place on course that Dixon had reservations about. She said, “I was a little worried in the first course about the six (stride) to the two (stride). I knew I could get the six but then the two was really tight. It really helped watching the first two classes. I really got to watch to see who did it well and how they did it well.”
Today’s competition concluded the 2011 Capital Challenge North American Equitation Championship Weekend, sponsored by BigEq.com. The Capital Challenge Horse Show will continue tomorrow with the start of the professional hunter divisions. The show will continue through October 9.
North American Equitation Championships
1 ASPARAGUS HAYLEY BARNHILL CAYLA RICHARDS: 90.20/90.05/180.25
2 FABRICIO MORGAN GELLER MORGAN GELLER: 89.30/85.25/174.55
3 WAR EAGLE SARAH MILLIREN DON STEWART: 86.20/86.45/172.65
4 NAT KING COLE CONOR PERRIN CONOR PERRIN: 88.05/84.40/172.45
5 SCHUBERT ALICIA GASSER KMG EQUESTRIAN: 86.00/85.85/ 171.85
6 FERNWAY PARK OLIVIA ESSE OSCANY, INC: 83.25/86.60/169.85
7 FERNLEIGH MEG O’MARA DON STEWART: 87.15/82.15/169.30
8 CLOVER SAMANTHA KRAUS SAIL HORSE INVESTMENTS: 86.00/82.05/168.05
9 VIGO DEMI STIEGLER CITRUS HILL FARMS, LLC: 82.20/85.80/168.00
10 VIP Z VICTOIRA COLVIN SCOTT STEWART: 81.15/85.60/166.75
THIS National Children’s Medal Finals
1 REIKA PILAR FLOURNOY PILAR FLOURNOY: 85.75/86.00/171.75
2 FAMOUS LAST WORDS MADELEINE SWEM MADELEINE SWEM: 82.60/84.60/167.20
3 OLIVER KATE MORRISON STEALAWAY INC. AND ANGELA MOORE: 84.75/82.20/166.95
4 PALMAR DESTRY SPIELBERG KMG EQUESTRIAN: 86.90/77.40/164.30
5 CHARMING SILVER SIERRA WILSON SIERRA WILSON: 81.20/80.20/161.40
6 CARTIER NIKKI DIAMANTIS DEBBIE GRAFF: 80.40/79.60/160.00
7 LITTTLEWOOD ALEXANDRA LADOVE ALEXANDRA LADOVE: 81.20/68.40/149.60
8 PINDAR TINA MCNERNEY REDFIELD FARM: 76.45/69.60/146.05
9 FARGO KATHRYN MAGINNIS KIMBERLY MAGINNIS: 82.20/63.20/145.40
10 CHI WAH WAH KATE ROSS KAR, LLC: 78.40/66.40/144.80
North American Amateur Equitation Championships
1 NAT KING COLE ADRIENNE DIXON CONOR PERRIN: 86.00/87.80/173.80
2 LORD LOXLEY SAMANTHA SENFT LIZA FINSNESS: 84.20/81.55/165.75
3 KROSUS KRISTI C SIAM KRISTI C SIAM: 78.00/84.30/162.30
4 RICH TIG TRACEY MACK-GORIN ELSBETH BATTEL: 82.40/78.30/160.70
5 WANDERPRINZ SARA BALLINGER SARA BALLINGER: 73.65/83.00/156.65
6 LOTARIO X RACHEL BOGGUS RACHEL BOGGUS: 77.20/76.70/153.90
7 VINCENZO JULIA NAGLER CLEMENTINE YOST: 74.40/79.00/153.40
8 HARRISBURG LYDIA TODD VICTORIA BONIFIELD: 77.90/73.40/151.30
9 TORNADO ELIZABETH LUBRANO HORIZON HILL FARM LLC: 78.80/67.60/146.40
10 DRUMLINE NICOLE LYVERE NICOLE LYVERE: 73.80/68.00/141.80
In its 18th year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, this year’s show is taking place October 1-9.
Top competitions include the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals and the THIS National Children’s Medal Finals, along with the Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend, presented by Bigeq.com. In addition to these prestigious equitation events, the Capital Challenge Horse Show will once again host the World Champion Hunter Rider Finals and will assemble the country’s best horses and riders to compete in junior, amateur, and professional hunter classes.
For more information, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org.