Priscilla Denegre and String of Pearls. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.
Washington, D.C. – The six-day Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN™, kicked off on Tuesday, October 22, at Capital One Arena in the heart of Washington, D.C. Tuesday’s opening day of competition featured the start of the professional and amateur hunter divisions, as well as year-end championships for child and adult hunter riders.
Earning wins in the $10,000 WIHS Adult Hunter Championship and the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship were Priscilla Denegre riding String of Pearls and Abby Cole on Q-Bella, respectively.
Winning the $10,000 Adult Hunter Championship during Hunt Night, presented by BUCKEYE™ Nutrition, had very special meaning for Denegre, who collected the Diane Wade Memorial Award for the win. Not only does Denegre have a long history with WIHS, but she’s also just coming back from a serious injury.
“I’m so lucky and blessed to be able to come back and do this. I know that. To have this horse, and to win this, is big for me,” she said. Denegre’s 2017 fall resulted in multiple broken bones and extensive time out of the saddle. When she was ready to start jumping again early this year, String of Pearls was her pick to ride. “She’s been terrific. Talk about helping my confidence coming back; it just couldn’t be better,” Denegre, of Middleburg, VA, said.
From the field of 31 starting round one over the Alan Lohman-designed course, Denegre and “Pearl” scored an 83, which put them into third. A score of 85 in round two sent them on top of the standings and earned them the blue. “She’s one of those horses that wants to please,” Denegre said of Pearl.
Abby Cole Conquers the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship
Abby Cole is a huge fan of WIHS, so she was delighted to lead the victory gallop for the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship. Cole, a 14-year-old from Ashburn, VA, has been attending WIHS as a spectator for years.
“It means a lot,” Cole said. “I worked really hard. I wanted to do well in this this year. I’ve never done well at a big show.” She rode Kelsey Campbell’s Q-Bella to the win with a total score of 165 to earn the H. Fenwick Kollock Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by Friends of Fen.
Madeline Rubin and Nuff Said finished in second with a score of 164.5, while Juliette Propp took third on Premium Blend with a score of 163.
From the 30 horses that started the class, 12 returned for the second round. Cole and Bella scored an 80 in the first round and stood fifth before the second round, but a stellar trip in round two and a score of 85 vaulted them into the lead for the win.
For more information on WIHS, please visit www.wihs.org.