Tag Archives: Aaron Vale

All Systems Go for Aaron Vale and Elusive in $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper at Kentucky Summer Classic

Lexington, Ky. – July 28, 2020 – Competition at the Kentucky Summer Classic launched Tuesday with full schedules in five rings at the Kentucky Horse Park. In the Rolex Stadium, upper-level showjumping competition got underway with the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper class. Out of the 17 starters, it was Aaron Vale and Elusive who started off the week in fine form and earned the first piece of the prize money this week.

Brandon Gibson and As Promised Take Home the Blue in TAKE2 Thoroughbred Hunters

The Claiborne ring played host to the start of the second consecutive week of hunter competition at the Kentucky Horse Park Tuesday, July 28, marking the start of the Kentucky Summer Classic. Showcasing a collection of Thoroughbred horses that have stepped into a new career after their time on the racetrack, the TAKE2 Thoroughbred Hunters saw a number of exhibitors compete for top placings and a solid start towards the championship tricolor to be awarded at the conclusion of the division Wednesday afternoon. Riding ribbon-worthy rounds, Brandon Gibson and As Promised claimed a blue ribbon for their over fences efforts.

For more information on Kentucky Summer Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Aaron Vale Secures Second Grand Prix Win of HITS Ocala Winter Circuit in $200k Grand Prix

It was a beautiful day for the final Grand Prix of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. A field of 58 riders were ready to take on the $200,000 CaptiveOne Grand Prix, over a course designed by Oscar Soberon of Dallas, Texas. The triple combination at fence 12 proved to be a challenge for many riders in the first round, with 31 having faults at one or more of elements. A tight time allowed added to the pressure, just to be in the top 12 with a four fault score riders had to have a time of 78.885 or quicker.

Rowan Willis set the pace with the first clear ride in the jump-off in a time of 40.784 aboard BLUE MOVIE to take home third place. A few trips later, Willis returned to the ring and topped his first ride with DIABLO VII in 40.608 for the red ribbon. But it was Aaron Vale and ELUSIVE who took home top honors in $200,000 CaptiveOne Grand Prix when they came in and broke the 40-second mark, clearing the jump-off course in 39.158. Vale saved time by choosing a direct route from fence five to six in eight strides where most did nine to claim their second victory of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit.

That’s a wrap! While the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit ended a week earlier than expected, the health and safety of our exhibitors and their horses, our spectators, and staff come first. President and CEO of HITS, Tom Struzzieri, made the decision early Friday morning that the 39th edition of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit would end following the close of competition. The grounds were closed to spectators, but riders were all in high spirits on Sunday as the season closed out with the $200,000 CaptiveOne Grand Prix, the Tack Shack of Ocala Second-Half Circuit Awards, and the HITS Ocala Grand Circuit Champions.

Even though this year’s circuit is complete, we are looking forward to 2021 and celebrating our 40th Anniversary in central Florida. The circuit will start December 9 and will again offer 12 weeks of USEF-Rated shows featuring over 400 classes in more than 100 divisions each week, along with special classes and great prize money throughout. Plus, we are excited to announce that the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix will return to close out the circuit March 2021. Look for more information in the coming months and the official prize list to be released in October.

Click here for the full listing of results from the HITS Ocala Winter Celebration.

For more info, please contact the staff at HITS Post Time Farm, 352-620-2275 or info@hitsshows.com.

Sydney Shulman Makes It Two in a Row at WIHS

Sydney Shulman and Villamoura. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

The 61st Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) continued on Friday, October 25, with thrilling displays of speed and power. Israeli rider Sydney Shulman of Greenwich, CT topped the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final on Villamoura, while Aaron Vale and Schuyler Riley of the United States shared victory in the $25,000 Land Rover Puissance. The classes were part of a full schedule of exciting competition and entertaining exhibitions during Military Night, presented by Caterpillar, Inc.

Shulman, 24, came to WIHS to jump in the international jumper division for the first time with a pretty specific goal. “I came here with the plan to do just these two speed classes and hopefully be in the top five, with all these elite riders in the classes,” she said.

She ended up winning both of them. Shulman rode Villamoura, a 10-year-old Selle Français mare by Diamant de Semilly and owned by Jill Shulman, to the blue in the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final, adding her name to the General Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Perpetual Trophy donated by the late Arthur J. Morris. The night before, she and Villamoura won the $36,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class.

“I’m definitely in shock!” Shulman said.

Aaron Vale and Schuyler Riley Share the Win in the $25,000 Land Rover Puissance

The win in the $25,000 Land Rover Puissance came down to a battle between a three-time WIHS puissance-winning horse and a horse contesting the class for the first time. In the end, they tied for the win, with both Aaron Vale and Finou 4 and Schuyler Riley on Very Chic Du Tillard clearing the 6’9″ height.

Vale and Finou 4, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding by For Pleasure owned by Thinks Like A Horse, had won the class the last three consecutive years and were hot favorites. Five other horse/rider combinations joined them on the starting list. “There was a good group of horses and riders tonight, so it was a little tougher class than maybe the last few years,” Vale said. “You never go in thinking you’re going to win.”

Riley described E2 Show Jumpers’ Very Chic Du Tillard, a 10-year-old Selle Francais by Diamant de Semilly, as a horse with the experience level of younger horse. He was jumping in his first Puissance class and has spent the majority of his show experience at the 1.45m level. “I knew he has the scope and the talent, but I knew he’d never done one before, so I sort of expected to go in there and jump one or maybe two and then come out, but he jumped it so easily,” Riley said.

All six riders started over the wall set at 5’9″, and it was subsequently raised to 6’3″, 6’5″, and 6’9″. Only Riley and Vale cleared the 6’9″ height, and both returned to attempt 6’11”. When they both knocked blocks off at that height, the class ended in a tie between them.

The Puissance is a favorite event for Vale, of Williston, FL, who has now won the class six times. His first win came in 1996 with Big Joe. “In America, we don’t have great crowds too often, and this night is one of the best crowds of the year for the Puissance here,” he said.

For more information and results, please visit www.wihs.org.

O’Brien and Vale Ride Away with Jumper Wins in Classic Champions Developing Jumper Tours

David O’Brien and Merly Chin SCF.

Lexington, Ky. – July 31, 2019 – The Classic Champions Developing Jumper Tour kicked off its fifth show of the eight-part tour Wednesday at the Kentucky Summer Classic with a talented collection of up-and-coming young horses tackling the 5, 6 and 7-year-old divisions. While Aaron Vale and Gray’s Inn topped the leaderboard in the 5-year-old class held in the Walnut Ring, the Rolex Stadium saw David O’Brien emerging victorious with the fastest double-clear round in the 7-Year-Old Jumpers. The 6-Year-Old division followed, where Vale topped the leaderboard once again, this time competing three horses in the class before riding away with a one-two finish with Vander Esch and Carina, respectively.

Gogul and Torano Tie for Grand Hunter Champion

Professional hunters wrapped up Wednesday. The Grand Hunter Championship, presented by Visse Wedell, is awarded to the competitors with the most points accumulated in the Green 3’6″ Hunter, Green 3’9″ Hunter, Green Conformation Hunter, High Performance Conformation Hunter, and the High Performance Working Hunter divisions. Similar to last week, there was a tie for Grand Hunter Championship title. Jeff Gogul with Roberts Stables LLC’s Maverick alongside Jimmy Torano aboard Amethyst Equestrian Consulting LLC’s California both earned 44 points in their respective divisions to tie for the prestigious prize.

Website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Robert Mendoza and Aaron Vale Score Jumper Wins on Opening Day of Kentucky Summer Classic

Aaron Vale and Cashew CR.

Lexington, Ky. – July 30, 2019 – On the opening day of the Kentucky Summer Classic, the feature show jumping classes, the 1.35m Open Jumpers and the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumpers, took place in the Rolex Stadium with courses designed by Bobby Murphy. With a field of 13 competitors in the 1.35m Open Jumpers, it was Robert Mendoza who rode away with the fastest double clear performance aboard Java Van De Kleinheide. In the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumpers, Aaron Vale saved the best for last, winning the class on Cashew CR.

Fibonacci Finishes First in Green Hunter Incentive Stake

Tuesday kicked off with the professional hunter divisions. In the spotlight was the Green 3’6″/3’9″ Hunter Incentive Stake. Chris Payne and Fibonacci came away in the top position, while Kelley Farmer and Consent took the second place ribbon. Payne rounded out the top three with Bond.

Website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389

Aaron Vale and Major Conquer $36k Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 3* at TIEC

Aaron Vale and Major ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – July 4, 2019 – Aaron Vale (USA) and Major raced to win the $36,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 3* at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), stopping the jump-off timers at 37.01 seconds. Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Casper, a 2006 Oldenburg gelding (Contender x Baloubet Du Rouet) owned by Sky Group, followed closely in second place with a clear jump-off performance of 37.168 seconds. Vale and his other mount, Finou 4, a 2006 Hanoverian gelding (Flashlight 16 x Concetto Famos) owned by Thinks Like A Horse and Donald E. Stewart, were awarded third-place honors with a time of 38.355 seconds to open Tryon Summer 4 competition.

Forty-three pairs attempted the course designed by Alan Wade (IRL), who was also the designer for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 hosted at TIEC. Vale commented that Wade challenged the riders in both the long and short courses: “The first round was quite a difficult course. The jumps were pretty big and the oxers were wide. This ring can feel a little small, just depending on how the course designers set the oxers coming out of the turns,” Vale explained. “Alan really made us work at the oxers off the turns today and the time was a hair short, so it was a difficult first round.” Only ten riders successfully tackled the long course to continue into the jump-off.

“The first few who had been leading in the jump-off before I went in with my first horse [Finou 4] were not super quick,” said Vale. “I was warming up when Abigail [McArdle] went, so I didn’t really get a good judge of her time, but I knew it wasn’t unbeatable. I was pretty happy to get that time with my first horse. He’s a good horse, but he’s never the fastest one in the jump-off, so I was happy to get into the lead with him. Then, Sharn [Wordley] went in there and snatched it right away,” Vale playfully shared.

Vale and Major were the last pair to attempt the jump-off, with USA riders encouraging the pair to go for blue: “It being the 4th of July, all my American colleagues were urging me on, saying that an American had to win the class, so I was really trying! I took all the chances and went for it! He [Major] is a faster horse than Finou 4, so I didn’t hold back and let it rip; it was awesome and good fun!”

Major, a 2007 Danish Warmblood gelding (Carmargue x A’khan Z) owned by Sleepy P Ranch LLC and Donald Stewart, is returning to the Grand Prix competition level after a three-month break due to an infected tooth, Vale revealed. “It was a mystery for a while; we didn’t know what was going on. It’s just nice to have him back. He jumped 1.40m classes last week, just for fitness purposes. He’s a really competitive horse, fast and careful.

“It’s better to not go that fast going into the Grand Prix,” Vale commented after his success with two of his mounts in the Welcome Stake. “It’s better to get your horse mentally quick going into the next class, but sometimes you have to take the win when it’s there, and you know you can’t win both big classes if you don’t win the first one! I have a couple days to put his brain back together for Saturday night, and hopefully I can get him where he’s focused again.”

Vale is wrapping up his last week at TIEC, but hinted at a return later in the summer: “We go to Kentucky next, then maybe the Hamptons and the 5* at Saugerties at the end of the summer. I haven’t thrown the idea at my wife yet, but maybe these two horses will come back for the last 3* here. But it’s not set at the moment,” Vale concluded.

For full results from the $36,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 3*, click here.

For more information and results, please visit www.Tryon.com.

Vale Repeats and Swinderman Mitchell Rises to the Occasion at Ocala Premiere

The Ocala Premiere closed the books with high scores in the Hunter Prix and back to back wins in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium.

The $5,000 Johnson Horse Transportation Welcome started the week for the Open Jumper division with Bree Rosales taking the victory. She rode VOIGTSDORFS QUONSCHBOB to a blue ribbon finish with a time of 42.443.

2nd Place: Heren Lee & EVERYDAY HERO
3rd Place: Kaitlyn Williams & VEDOR

The fastest time for the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix went to Brian Feigus with a time of 33.973 on CATOKI to grab the blue ribbon.

2nd Place: Derek Petersen & DIAMANT’S LEGACY (35.576)
3rd Place: Kristen VanderVeen & BULL RUN’S ALMIGHTY (37.040)

VanderVeen continued her winning ways, taking home top honors by winning the $10,000 KindredBio Open Prix. This time she was on BULL RUN’S DIVINE FORTUNE to earn a time of 46.405.

2nd Place: Kris Killam & BOREALE DE TALMA (47.063)
3rd Place: Matthias Hollberg & VANITA (48.000)

The $10,000 1.35m Jumper Classic on Saturday was won by Sarah Meier. She had the blue ribbon round with a time of 39.030 aboard CHANEL.

2nd Place: Savannah Unger & FABIO TN (40.931)
3rd Place: Grant Seger & DR. J (41.853)

Claire McDonald took home the winning round in the $2,500 Pyranha Junior 1.25m Jumper Classic, capturing the win on LUNA.

Bringing home the blue ribbon in the $2,500 Pyranha A-O/AM 1.25m Jumper Classic was Molly Struve. She crossed the timers in 38.872 aboard AURORA to finish with top honors.

Hayley Waters was the winning rider in the $5,000 Summit Joint Performance Jr/AO/AM 1.35m Jumper Classic. She piloted IDALIE VAN DOPERHEIDE across the timers for a top honors finish.

Sima Morgello rode a great jump-off round to finish first in the $7,500 U-Dump Jr/A-O/AM 1.45m Jumper Classic. She was aboard ORIENTALES to catch the first place win.

Aaron Vale returned to the Ocala Horse Properties stadium for $50,000 HITS Grand Prix on Sunday and wowed the crowd with a repeat performance of last week’s victory. Vale and MAJOR finished with a time of 45.891 for their second Grand Prix win in a row.

2nd Place: Brooke Kemper & CLASSIFIED (46.235)
3rd Place: Sharn Wordley & BARNETTA (50.110)

When it came to tough competition and impressive victories, the hunters gave the jumpers a run for their money at the Ocala Premier.

The winning score in the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix was close to call, but Alexandra Carroll was able to come out on top of the pack. She was aboard CHINCHINO, earning a first round score of 81. And, when combined with her second round score of an 80, gave her the overall winning score of 161.

2nd Place: Kelly Anne Siock & SANTEUR (159.50)
3rd Place: Lena Rea Reeb & CALL ME (157.50)

Robin Swinderman Mitchell earned the top score for the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix this week. Mitchell earned a first round score of 85 and a second round score of 90 to win the class with an overall total of 175. She was aboard CLASSIC to seal the blue ribbon finish.

2nd Place: Grace Debney & KAHLUA (166)
3rd Place: Amanda Steege & TENACIOUS (165)

For more information, visit HitsShows.com.

Aaron Vale Soars to Great Heights to Win $25,000 Land Rover Puissance

Aaron Vale and Finou 4. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Washington, D.C. – October 26, 2018 – The 60th Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) continued on Friday, October 26, with some of its most exciting competition yet, featuring the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final, won by Georgina Bloomberg of New York, NY on Paola 233. Reaching great heights with victory in the $25,000 Land Rover Puissance were Aaron Vale of Williston, FL and Finou 4. The classes were part of a full schedule of exciting competition and entertaining exhibitions during Military Night, presented by Caterpillar, Inc.

The $25,000 Land Rover Puissance is one of the most popular classes at WIHS to attend, and Friday night’s feature class didn’t disappoint. Aaron Vale and Finou 4, owned by Thinks Like A Horse, jumped to a height of 6’11 ½” to capture victory for the third year in a row.

With a small field in the class, it came down to two very game riders that kept going over five rounds of competition. The wall started at 5’9” and was raised to 6’2”, 6’6”, 6’8 ½”, and finally to 6’11 ½”. Vale and Finou 4 stayed clear, while Andy Kocher and Blaze of Glory II, owned by Erica Hatfield, made it to the final round before knocking blocks off the top of the wall to finish in second place.

“I was just hoping somebody could hang in there a while, so we could get a decent class for the crowd. It was great. Andy’s horse jumped it well and hung in there until the last round. It made a really good class and worked out the way that I wanted. I got a little competition, but I still got the blue!” – Aaron Vale

This is Vale’s fifth win in the puissance class at WIHS, with previous wins coming in 1996 with Big Joe, in 1998 on Happyness, and now three consecutive years with Finou 4, who seems to have a certain something that makes him successful over the big wall – despite blindness in his left eye.

“He’s got a lot of ability,” said Vale of the 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding by For Pleasure. “He’s very limber, plus he’s got a lot of power, so it just seems to be easy for him. I think they could keep raising it, and I’d keep riding him to it.”

Georgina Bloomberg Bests $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final

Riding over a faults-converted speed course designed by Olaf Petersen Jr. of Germany, Georgina Bloomberg and Paola 233, an 11-year-old Westphalian mare by Pontifex owned by Gotham Enterprizes LLC, sped to victory in the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final. The handy grey mare and Bloomberg finished clear in 52.90 seconds, edging out McLain Ward (USA) on Walstib Stables LLC’s Queen Jane, who recorded a time of 53.15 seconds.

Third place went to last night’s winner, 17-year-old Brian Moggre (USA), this time riding MTM Vivre le Reve, owned by Major Wager LLC, in 53.39 seconds. Erynn Ballard (CAN) and Catoki’s Son Z, owned by Ilan Ferder & Tal Milstein, were fourth with a time of 53.52 seconds. Aaron Vale (USA) and Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s Major were fifth in 54.66 seconds.

Bloomberg used Paola’s natural ability to rise to the top of the class.

“She has a good enough stride, but she doesn’t need to leave out strides. She’s really quick in the turns, and she’s very quick in the air. Given the option, I always play it safe, and I add a stride because I know I can be quicker other places. Really any of the other options of leaving out strides I didn’t love for her. I felt like I could just be quicker by turning and using her natural speed.” – Georgina Bloomberg

With a light competition schedule since the Hampton Classic Horse Show in late August, Bloomberg aimed Paola for WIHS.

“We brought her here with these two [speed] classes at WIHS in mind. This was my goal for her.”

For more information on WIHS, please visit www.wihs.org.

Contact: Jennifer Wood
jwood@jumpmediallc.com

Aaron Vale Continues to Dominate 1.40m Jumpers with Acolina R at Kentucky Summer Classic

Photo: Aaron Vale and Acolina R.

Lexington, Ky. – July 31, 2018 – Aaron Vale was the first rider in the $5,000 Open 1.40m Jumpers during the opening day of the Kentucky Summer Classic and, after putting in a clear round on Sarah Turner’s Acolina R, he wasted no time in completing a very fast jump-off that proved to be unbeatable throughout the remainder of the class. Alex Granato and Beorn achieved another double clear effort that put them in second place, while Christoph Schroeder finished third on Diamant De Revel.

This was the second time in as many weeks that Vale piloted Acolina R to a top placing in the Rolex Stadium. Last week, the pair finished second in the $5,000 Open 1.40m Jumpers Wednesday, ahead of the mare’s strong performances with owner Turner in the Medium Amateur-Owner Jumper divisions. Acquired by Turner four years ago for Vale to show in the grand prix, Acolina R has proven herself to be an incredibly valuable partner for both Vale and Turner.

The class saw several riders that had multiple mounts, including Vale, who also rode Darling GR and Da Vinci. The competitor was able to draw on his past performances with the 13-year-old Oldenburg mare to make a crucial inside turn that no other competitor attempted during the jump off, which ended up giving him the edge over Granato, who also rode three horses in the class.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

HH Carlos Z Leaves Equestrian Sport with a Win at WIHS CSI4*-W

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2017 — It was a bittersweet night for show jumping fans as they saw one of the sport’s best in his final competition. HH Carlos Z went out on top with victory in the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final, presented by the Man O’ War Project in partnership with Columbia University Medical Center. As HH Carlos Z and McLain Ward (USA) entered the arena for their victory gallop, it was announced that “Carlos” would retire.

Riding out of the 11th spot in the order in the faults converted (Table C) format class, Ward and HH Carlos Z, a 15-year-old Zangersheide gelding by Chellano Z owned by Double H Farm, finished in 57.77 seconds.

“I love the format of this class,” Ward said. “It’s a 1.50m, but a Table C, so people can have a fence down and still be in the mix. I think it makes it a much more exciting class for the spectators.”

Devin Ryan (USA) and Eddie Blue, owned by LL Show Jumpers LLC, were second in 58.50 seconds, while Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) and Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s Lady Maria BH placed third with a time of 59.05 seconds.

Following the class, Ward stated, “That’s it. He’s done. He’s given more than he had to give. He’s been an incredible horse, an incredible winner. He’s won everything from five-star grand prixs and jumped Nations’ Cups to being a day in and day out winner.

“I wanted the horse to win a good class to finish on,” he continued. “I didn’t want him to end poorly. This is a nice moment, and I’m very, very grateful to Mr. Harrison and Double H Farm to have the opportunity to ride this horse and also for the opportunity to care for him and retire him in the way he deserves.”

Ward concluded, “He’s always been a winner when it counted. He did it again. It’s a little bittersweet, but he doesn’t owe us anything.”

The Jump for TAPS Challenge raised $16,000 on Friday night, with every clear over the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) fence raising money for the WIHS Official Military Charity.

Aaron Vale Clears 6’7” to Win $25,000 International Jumper Puissance

Aaron Vale (USA) and Finou earned their second consecutive WIHS Puissance victory on Friday night, this year clearing 6’7” to take the win in the $25,000 International Jumper Puissance, presented by The Boeing Company.

“It’s the horse,” said Vale on the secret to tying with McLain Ward in 2016 and winning outright in 2017. “This horse actually has quite a bit of talent for this. It feels like he could actually jump a very big wall if the class played out that way. He’s very comfortable at it, and it’d be exciting to try something pretty high with him if it ever happened. My personal best is 7’2 ¼”. If I made higher it than that – that’s pretty high to me.”

The Puissance wall began set at a height of 1.80m (5’11”) and gradually progressed to the 6’7” height through four rounds of competition. Four horse and rider combinations all successfully contested the first round, with Paulo Santana (ESA) being the first eliminated after failing to clear the wall in the second round with his mount Una du Keske Z, owned by Santana Stables LLC.

Finishing in third were Kama Godek (USA) and her own De Grande. Following Godek and De Grande’s elimination in the third round, only Vale and Hunter Holloway (USA) aboard Cassevel, owned by Hays Investment Corp., remained, and Holloway elected to save the gelding jumps for another day, opting out of the fourth round. Vale could have chosen to also call it a night and accept a tie, but much to the enjoyment of the crowd, he chose to return for a fourth and final round.

“We’ve got a big crowd here today, number one,” Vale said on his reasoning for choosing to return. “Number two, my horse actually is a very fresh horse, so he needs work. He’ll be jumping the grand prix tomorrow night. Last year he jumped five rounds, and then he jumped clean in the grand prix, so four rounds might not have been enough work for him! Maybe I should have come back one more time!”

Emma Kurtz Rides Dedication to Grand Junior Hunter Championship

The 2017 WIHS Grand Junior Hunter Championship and the Ides of March Perpetual Trophy, donated by Linda Lee and Lee Reynolds and given to the grand championship winner, were presented to Emma Kurtz of Hudson, OH and Dedication, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker.

On their way to winning the grand championship, Kurtz and Dedication, a 12-year-old bay Holsteiner gelding (by Casado), earned two firsts and a third over fences to take the Large Junior 16-17 Hunter Championship and the Chance Step Perpetual Trophy, presented by Chansonette Farms and donated by Brooke Carmichael-McMurray-Fowler and Pam Carmichael Keenan. The division reserve championship went to MTM Hands Down, ridden by Annabel Revers of Weston, MA and owned by Beechwood Stables LLC.

At the 2016 WIHS, Kurtz rode Wisdom, owned by Rivers Edge, to the Small Junior 15 & Under Hunter championship, but this year marked her first time claiming the WIHS Grand Junior Hunter Championship.

“It’s amazing [to win here],” said Kurtz of Hudson, OH. “For [Dedication] to come in here and be bombproof is awesome.”

Kurtz, 16, acquired the ride on Dedication in mid-2016 and has made winning on the gelding look easy ever since, but the 17-hand gelding has his quirks.

“He’s a little funny about his leads. We never practice lead changes at home, so that he doesn’t get nervous for them,” Kurtz explained “He’s also particular about the way you hold your body over the jump. You have to give him enough time off the ground, but bend over enough the he doesn’t hit it behind. It’s a formula for sure.

“But he jumps amazing. He’s beautiful, he’s a good mover – he’s the whole package,” said Kurtz. “We love him.”

In the Small Junior 16-17 Hunters, sponsored by the Wasserman Foundation, the championship went to Annabel Revers and Kingpin, owned by Beechwood Stables. The reserve championship was awarded to Haley Redifer of Barboursville, VA and her own Linus.

The Small Junior 15 & Under Hunter division championship, also sponsored by the Wasserman Foundation, went to Stella Wasserman of Beverly Hills, CA riding Boss, owned by Laura Wasserman. Finishing in reserve were Sophie Gochman and Dominik, owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC.

In the Large Junior 15 & Under Hunter division, it was Augusta Iwasaki of Calabasas, CA who claimed the championship aboard Small Affair, owned by Lyn Pedersen. For her performances and display of horsemanship and sportsmanship, Iwasaki was selected as the Best Child Rider on a Horse, sponsored by Gotham North, and she was presented with the DiVecchia Perpetual Trophy, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Mark DiVecchia, for the win.

“It’s really exciting,” said Iwasaki, 13, of her win. “It’s very exciting to come into the city. I think it’s just so different and so cool because when do you get to drive into a city and just show on the streets?”

Taking the reserve championship in the Large Junior 15 & Under Hunters were Brooke Morin of Calabasas, CA and Seaside, owned by Strasburg Morin Inc.

The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals also kicked off on Friday, and Ava Stearns currently sits at the top of the leaderboard with a score of 89 in the hunter phase. Sam Walker, Alexandra Worthington, Annabel Revers, Haley Redifer, and McKayla Langmeier round out the top six riders, consecutively, heading into the jumper phase. The hunter and jumper scores will then be averaged to determine the top ten riders who will then participate in the final work-off phase.

www.wihs.org