Jos Verlooy and Varoune. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.
The international show jumpers took center stage on Thursday, October 24, at the 61st annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) for their first two competitions of the week during Barn Night. In the $50,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake, Jos Verlooy of Belgium rode Varoune to victory, while Israel’s Sydney Shulman topped the $36,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class.
Verlooy, who has competed at WIHS in years past and won the Puissance class in 2015, made a daring turn between fences 3 and 4 in the second round to slice seconds off his time. “In a jump-off you have to take a few risks, and the risk paid off for me tonight,” he said. He finished with a time of 41.62 seconds, relegating U.S. rider Alex Granato and Carlchen W to second.
Sydney Shulman Goes Like Lightning to Win $36,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class
Sydney Shulman, who rides for Israel, just couldn’t stop grinning after picking up the blue ribbon in the $36,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class in her first year of competing in the international open jumper division at WIHS. She topped the class riding Villamoura as the fastest round of the nine riders who picked up 65 points over the jumps, finishing in 41.04 seconds.
“I looked at the list of riders and I had dreamed to be in a class with these people, let alone to beat them,” Shulman, 24, said. “So I’m going to really remember this! It’s special to be here.”
The first through ninth place riders all collected 65 points, which meant they cleared all 10 jumps on course, including the final “joker” fence worth 20 points. There was also a special Washington Nationals World Series-themed fence on course, and Irish rider Shane Sweetnam dressed up as Nationals shortstop Trea Turner in honor of the baseball team’s World Series appearance the same week as WIHS.
With nine riders out of the 24 starters on the same score, the class results came down to speed. “I watched some horses go, and after Adrienne [Sternlicht] went, I thought, ‘There’s no way I can be faster,’ but I had to try!” Shulman said. “My horse doesn’t have nearly the size of stride that she does. I had to think about being faster in the turns and across the ground. I added [strides] in two places that she left a stride out, but for my horse that’s what works.”
For more information and results, please visit www.wihs.org.