Tag Archives: Capital Challenge

Request Your 2017 Capital Challenge Horse Show Prize List Today

Hunt Tosh and Chicago at the 2016 Capital Challenge Horse Show. Photo by Jump Media.

Upper Marlboro, Maryland – The prize list for the newly-expanded Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by the World Equestrian Center, will be available online this August and mailed to all competitors who have participated in the show in the last three years and to those requesting a hard copy.

Requests for physical copies of the prize list for the 2017 Capital Challenge Horse Show, to be held over 10 days on September 29 through October 8 at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, can be made by emailing Michele at mmarkward@capitalchallenge.org.

Following its official release, the prize list can be found online at www.capitalchallenge.org, along with entry information and links to this year’s all-new online entry system. The Capital Challenge Horse Show will be utilizing the Show Management System Electronic Entries Platform to process entries and to communicate with hopeful competitors about their acceptance status. All competitors and trainers are encouraged to submit their entries through this service, with entries accepted strictly on a first come, first served basis.

Entries for the 2017 show will open at 12 p.m. EST on Wednesday, August 2, and will close on September 1. To submit entries or to learn more about the electronic entry process, please visit https://entries.showmanagementsystem.com.

Hunter and equitation judges for the 24th edition of the Capital Challenge Horse Show will include Linda Andrisani, Chance Arakelian, Kim Dorfman, Scott Fitton, Brian Lenehan, Bobbie Reber, Danny Robertshaw, and Steve Wall.

To learn more about this year’s competition highlights, including the BigEq.com Equitation Weekend; the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Finals; the $25,000 3’ and 3’3” Green Hunter North American Championship, sponsored by the Wheeler family; and much more, visit www.capitalchallenge.org.

Emily Riden
Jump Media
emily@jumpmediallc.com

Results Correction for Capital Challenge Horse Show

Grace Pearson and Cambiaso. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Upper Marlboro, MD – Management at Capital Challenge Horse Show announces a change in results at the 2016 event, which was held October 1-9 at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD.

The champion of the Junior Hunter 3’3” Section B division was incorrectly announced. The champion of the division was Cambiaso, ridden by Grace Pearson for Highland Horses LLC. The reserve championship was awarded to Elise Buhl and Chabliano Z.

Pearson and Cambiaso, a 13-year-old Warmblood gelding by Cassini I, were first and third over fences, fifth in the handy stake, and third in the under saddle to garner the top tricolor ribbon. They also went on to win the WCHR Junior 3’3” Challenge and the WCHR Junior 3’3″ National Championship.

Capital Challenge Horse Show apologizes for the error.

The 2017 Capital Challenge Horse Show will be held once again at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, on September 30 – October 8.

For additional information, full results, and live stream coverage from Capital Challenge, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org.

About the Capital Challenge Horse Show
Now in its 23rd year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter and equitation competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, the 2016 edition of the Capital Challenge Horse Show will take place October 1-9. The nine days of competition will include prestigious equitation events and the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Finals with many of the country’s best horses and riders competing in junior, amateur, and professional hunter divisions.

Emily Riden
Jump Media
emily@jumpmediallc.com

Sophie Gochman Repeats Top Performance as Grand Pony Hunter Champion at Capital Challenge

Bit of Love and Sophie Gochman. Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Sandra Zimmerli and Zaza Fastest to Win $10,000 North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup Final Round

Upper Marlboro, Maryland – The Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by World Equestrian Center, featured the smallest athletes on Saturday morning and afternoon. Capturing the Grand Pony Hunter Championship was Sophie Gochman, riding Dr. Betsee Parker’s Bit of Love. In the evening session, Sandra Zimmerli and Zaza won the $10,000 North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup Final Round, sponsored by Johnson Horse Transportation and the overall Challenge Cup, sponsored by Ariat International. The Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, concludes on Sunday, October 9. Every class of the show is live streamed and available to watch online at tv.coth.com or www.capitalchallenge.org.

Thirteen-year-old Sophie Gochman of Palm Beach, FL stepped into the winner’s circle for top honors for the second year in a row. She rode Bit of Love, a 10-year-old Welsh Pony Cross gelding by English Lad, to the Small Pony Hunter championship, sponsored by Mike and Alexandra Borissoff Wright, with two firsts, two seconds, and a fourth. Alexa Lignelli and IParty were the reserve champions. They won the under saddle and were second, third, and fifth over fences.

For their division championship, Gochman and Bit of Love were presented with the Harper Taskier Wright Memorial Trophy. Their top performance earned them the Grand Pony Hunter Championship, sponsored by The Aycox Family and Whispering Willow Farm. They were presented with The VanderMoore Designs Trophy, donated by Vandermoore Designs. Gochman was honored with the Best Child Rider on a Pony title as well, sponsored by Archibald Cox & Brookway Stables. For that award, they were presented with The Kitty Borissoff Memorial Trophy, donated by her many friends.

Last year, Gochman won the top prize on Love Me Tender, and Bit of Love was reserve champion in the Smalls. She believes that it is the time they have spent together that has resulted in the upgrade in prizes for 2016.

“I think our bond has grown bigger,” she explained. “I’ve been riding him for about two years, so I know all of his quirks. I know what rhythm I’m supposed to ride him on, and he knows how I ride too. It’s the bond that’s improved us.”

Gochman said that Bit of Love is “a bit of a diva.” She laughed, “He’s very cute (and) very tiny. He knows he’s very pretty. He thinks that everyone has treats for him. He at first seems a little bit feisty, but he really just wants to snuggle and get food.”

She enjoys showing at Capital Challenge because they “highlight the hunters,” and “it really makes them special.”

She said of winning the Grand and Best Rider titles for the second year, “It’s an amazing experience, especially since this is planning to be my last year on the ponies. It’s really nice to have my last Capital Challenge on the ponies, for me to be Grand Champion and Best Child Rider. It means a lot to me and makes it special.”

Timeless and Erica Felder
Timeless and Erica Felder

The champion in the Large Pony Hunters was Timeless, ridden by 12-year-old Erica Felder of Durham, NC for owner Victoria Haynes. They won two over fences classes and placed second in the under saddle. The reserve championship went to Small Soldier, ridden by Augusta Iwasaki and owned by Iwasaki & Reilly, who won the under saddle and was second in two over fences classes.

Champion in the Medium Pony Hunters, sponsored by Rosemont Farm, was Highlands Heaven Sent, ridden by Luke Jensen for Bill Schaub. They placed first and second over fences. Reserve champion in the division was Blue Chip, ridden by Caroline Passarelli and owned by Heritage Farm, Inc. They jumped to first, third, and fourth over fences.

Luke Jensen traveled to the winner’s circle for two more awards. The EMO Trip of the Show for Ponies also went to Jensen and Highlands Heaven Sent for their score of 88. Jensen was awarded the Stewart Warner Cup for pony riders, given in memory of Laurie Gilbert Stewart & Mary Warner Brown by Donald E. Stewart, Jr. and Louise W. Serio. It is awarded to up-and-coming junior riders, who, in the opinion of the panel of judges, exhibit the best hunter style and show potential as a young hunter rider.

Stella Wasserman and Trillville topped the WCHR Pony Hunter Challenge, presented by Rick Kunkle and RC Stables.

In the outdoor ring, three more champions were pinned. Topping the Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division, sponsored by Heritage Farm, was Boss, ridden by Katherine Dash for Laura Wasserman. Boss was the Grand Hunter Champion earlier in the week with John French. They won two over fences classes and the under saddle. The reserve championship stayed in the family as Laura Wasserman’s Fine Design took the tricolor with Hunter Siebel. Fine Design was second and third over fences and sixth in the under saddle.

Hunter Siebel returned to the winner’s circle in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division, sponsored by Beacon Hill Show Stables and Stonehenge Stables. She rode Pure Abundance, owned by Mountain Home Stables, to first and second over fences and second in the under saddle ribbons. Brett Burlington and Due West, owned by Popish Farms LLC, were the reserve champions. They placed first, third, and sixth over fences and were fifth in the under saddle.

Pomodoro and Hensley Humphries finished as champions in the Children’s Hunter Pony division, sponsored by the Rizvi Family. They were first over fences and sixth in the under saddle. The reserve champions were In the Game and Emma Sameth, who rode for Caroline Tinsley. They won an over fences class.

The winner of the Junior World Champion Hunter Under Saddle class, sponsored by Sweet Oak Farm, was Rockette, ridden by Sophie Gochman for Ramble On Farm.

Sandra Zimmerli Finds the Way to Win with Zaza

Victory in the $10,000 North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup Final Round, sponsored by Johnson Horse Transportation, went to Sandra Zimmerli and Zaza. They were the fastest double clear out of four in the jump-off, in a time of 32.172 seconds. Second place in the class went to Lauren Fischer on Offenbach du Granit, who stopped the timers in 34.638 seconds. Haley Schaufeld and Harley 86 were third with a time of 33.131 seconds with four faults in the jump-off.

Sandra Zimmerli (18) of Fairfax Station, VA first sat on Zaza, a 12-year-old Holsteiner mare by Casco owned by River Farm Sporthorses, four days ago, but the chance meeting led to a first-time win for Zimmerli at Capital Challenge. Zaza is available for lease, and owner Haley Schaufeld asked Zimmerli if she could show the mare here.

“She’s an amazing horse,” Zimmerli said. “She’s quite forward – a lot more forward than my horse. She’ll really take you to the jump. You just have to wait; you don’t want to gun at anything. I love her so much. She’s really adjustable, and you feel like you can win any class, honestly. For tonight I had no doubt I would be clear with her. She just gave an amazing feeling.”

Zimmerli, who normally trains with Conor O’Regan, competed at Capital Challenge last year with her own horse. “I like the show a lot,” she said. “I think it’s a great start before you go to Harrisburg and Washington. Since the classes are 1.35m and 1.40m, it’s a good build up, and it’s confidence for horse and rider. I’ve always dreamed of winning at an indoor show so this is awesome.”

For her win in the final round, Zimmerli was presented with the Remy Martin Perpetual Trophy, donated by Rolling Acres and Melanie Wright. She was also the overall winner of the North American Junior/Amateur Jumper Challenge Cup and was awarded the Ariat Congressional Cup. The Best Junior Jumper Rider Award, sponsored by South Haven Farm, was given to Zimmerli, while Lacey Gilbertson won the Best Amateur Jumper Rider Award.

For additional information, full results, and live stream coverage from Capital Challenge, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org.

About the Capital Challenge Horse Show
Now in its 23rd year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter and equitation competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, the 2016 edition of the Capital Challenge Horse Show will take place October 1-9. The nine days of competition will include prestigious equitation events and the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Finals with many of the country’s best horses and riders competing in junior, amateur, and professional hunter divisions.

Emily Riden
Jump Media
emily@jumpmediallc.com

John French Caps Stellar Week at Capital Challenge with WCHR Pro Finals Victory

John French. Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Allison Fithian Captures ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals

Upper Marlboro, MD – October 7, 2016 – Hunter and equitation expertise were featured at the Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by World Equestrian Center, on Friday. In the WCHR Professional Finals, sponsored by Madison Hills Farm, the top six hunter riders in the country went head to head over three rounds, with John French leading the victory gallop. Allison Fithian won the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals, sponsored by ARIAT International.

The Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, runs through Sunday, October 9. Every class of the show is live streamed and available to watch online at tv.coth.com or www.capitalchallenge.org.

The WCHR Pro Finals used the same three-round format as last year. Riders switched on two donated horses for the first two rounds, then brought a horse of their own for the third and final handy round.

French set the tone for the night and started with an unbeatable lead by riding Alant, an eight-year-old gelding owned by Elli Yeager, to a score of 90.66 (90, 93, 89). In the second round, he piloted Everglow, an eight-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Quidam de Revel owned by Whish, LLC. French jumped ahead again with judges’ scores of 91, 89, and 92 for an average of 90.66.

In the final handy round, French rode Small Gesture, a seven-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Catoki owned by Chris Iwasaki and Elizabeth Reilly. Yet again he had the best score, this time a 90, for a three round total of 271.32 and the win.

French had a dominating nine-point lead over second place finisher, Scott Stewart, to take his fourth WCHR Professional Finals win in the 23-year history of the class.

French is comfortable with the format of the WCHR Pro Finals, in that he often hops on horses for the first time at a horse show. Catch-riding two horses tonight was nothing new. What was new, however, was his mindset.

“I actually this year just tried to not think so much,” he said with a smile. “That was my new thing, just to go in there and don’t even think. That’s something that I read in sports books about how people like golfers get ready or get in the zone. I always read ones that say you just don’t think when you get nervous or for a big competition like this. I just tried that, and it worked pretty good.”

Stewart placed second with scores of 86.16 on Show Me, 87.83 on Redeemed, and 88.33 on Reality for a total of 262.32.

Stewart was unsure of how his horses would go, but was pleasantly surprised at the results.

He described, “I had a couple of rubs in the first round, but he was really fun to ride. He was really easy. The bay mare I got to see her go first. I wasn’t quite sure how I’d ride her because she seemed a little sensitive. She was nice, but she actually was probably the hardest ride for me. You couldn’t use your leg too much. You had to just let her be. In the end, she went around quite nice. Reality I’ve had forever, so I know him really well. He’s fun. He did a good job.”

Third place went to Katie Gardner, who was riding in her very first WCHR Pro Finals. She scored an 84 on Redeemed, 87.5 on Show Me, and 87.33 on Crush for a total of 258.83.

Gardner admitted she was too quick to the single oxer on her second ride, Show Me, and Redeemed had more of “an equitation feel”, which suited her just fine.

“It was really my comfort zone. I love the equitation, and I wish I could do it all over again. So it was really neat that way,” she said.

“Just to get to do it was such a thrill,” Gardner said. “Honestly being a little bit of an underdog was, I think, an awesome thing for me. My first time in there – just go in there and do the best I could. It was just a blast. I’m really honored.”

Hunt Tosh received fourth place after scoring 86.33 on Dreamliner, 87 on Pure Imagination, and 85.16 on Gotham for a 258.49 total.

Tosh remarked about the camaraderie that the riders have with each other when preparing for the WCHR Pro Finals. “We’re usually talking (and) comparing notes,” he said. “You always try to help each other out. It’s a fun class. It’s special to be in it every year. It’s a very special class, and just to be in this group of riders is always fun.”

Slotting into fifth place was John Bragg. He rode Everglow for an 86, Alant for 86.66, and Early August to an 82.66 for a total of 255.32.

“Unlike John, I don’t ride that many different horses,” Bragg revealed. “I sort of produce my own and show them. I’m sort of spoiled that way. So it for sure was a challenge for me to just sort of get on and go for it, if you will. It was fun and challenging. It makes you a better rider, to go out there and feel the pressure to perform.”

Kelley Farmer placed sixth. She scored 87.66 on Pure Imagination, 80.33 on Dreamliner, and 73.33 on Publicized for a 241.32 total.

“It was a great class as usual,” Farmer said. “Thank you to everyone who loaned us those horses. That was very generous of them.”

She added with a smile, “I screwed up tonight, but that was on me, nothing else. I was excited to be here and be in this group.”

For his win tonight in the WCHR Professional Finals, French was presented with the “All the Way” Perpetual Trophy, donated by Elizabeth Busch Burke and Lysa Burke Horkan. The Far West Farms Perpetual Trophy donated by the Karazissis Family was given to Alant, owned by Elli Yeager, given to the donated horse with the highest cumulative points of the WCHR Professional Finals.

Fithian Tops ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals

Since its inception in 1994, the ARIAT National Adult Medal has given adult riders the opportunity to compete in a competitive equitation class over fences 3′ in height. The classes are held at select shows across the country and riders collect points to qualify for the Finals.

Allison Fithian and Lucky D' Etenclin
Allison Fithian and Lucky D’ Etenclin

One of those riders is 23-year-old Allison Fithian of Monterey, CA. She and Lucky d’Etenclin, a 17-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Narcos II, completed two fantastic rounds to win. In the first round, they scored an 88.33 and led the class of 30 entries.

The top 10 from the first round returned for the second round over a course designed by Ken Krome. Fithian rode to an average score of 88.66 for her second round and a total of 176.99 for victory.

She noted, “I felt pretty confident that if they were going to test, I could at least get in that top four, and I’d be alright. I was more nervous this morning before anything started and before I knew how I was going to ride today. I felt pretty confident going into the second round.”

Second place with a total score of 172.83 (86.83, 86) was Helen Voss. With scores of 86 and 86.33 and a total of 172.33, Tonya Johnston placed third.

Fithian has owned “Lucky” for nine years, and he was her equitation horse when she competed in the big equitation as a junior rider. They placed third in the USEF Medal Finals together, but a small injury kept Lucky out of the rest of the finals for Fithian’s final junior year. Fithian went to college at New York University, and Lucky was leased out to several top junior riders at Beacon Hill, such as Lucy Deslauriers, Victoria Press, Gabriella Bausano, and Megan MacPherson.

“I finally got him back this year and got to ride him again,” Fithian said. “I’m just really happy to have been nearly as successful on him. He’s a really special horse, and I just get along with him really well. It kind of felt like unfinished business on him, like I could have done a little bit more. I was a little sad at the end of my junior year when I knew I wasn’t going to be able to ride him again and (I wanted to) see if I could do something more on him.”

Fithian got the ride back on Lucky in May, and they competed at three horse shows before Capital Challenge. The Ariat National Adult Medal Finals were always a goal. “We were like, ‘If we’re going to do the equitation on him, we’ll go win Ariat Finals.’ That’s what we’re going to go do,” she confirmed.

Preparing at Beacon Hill with the junior riders for their finals helped, Fithian said. “I felt super prepared because back at the barn all of the juniors are getting ready for indoors, and I get to practice on all of those courses and occasionally get to have lessons with them which is always very enlightening and makes me work a little bit harder. I definitely felt very prepared especially with the win last Sunday,” she recalled.

Fithian was referring to her victory in the North American Adult Amateur Equitation Championships during Equitation Weekend at Capital Challenge. Winning another final in one week was made extra special when her family was here from California to watch her.

While Fithian didn’t ride Lucky for four years, giving him up is something that she says will never happen.

“He is very special. I’m never going to sell him ever; he’s too special,” she said. “When I bought him, we really made him into what he is. He was just some horse that someone imported from Europe. I did his first equitation class on him, and he’s my baby. I’ll never sell him. He’s not going anywhere.”

Fithian felt like her victory was a redemption of sorts. “It feels really, really good. I want to cry. I just have the best horse and a great team behind me. It feels really good to do this well as an adult still. I feel really proud of myself that I’m still able to compete at that level. It’s kind of verification for my riding abilities. It means a lot. I’m so happy that he’s feeling so great still and is doing so well.”

The winner of the $2,500 WCHR Adult Amateur Challenge, sponsored by Kate Considine & Willow Brook Farm, was Mahalo, ridden by Katie Robinson, with a score of 86. Lindsey Evans-Thomas and Valencia placed second, while Dawn Fogel riding Spotlight was third.

Round 1 of the North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup kicked off with a $5,000 speed class. Lacey Gilbertson and Bijzonder came away with the win with a clear round in a time of 59.740 seconds. Second place went to Sandra Zimmerli and Zaza, who posted a time of 63.111 seconds. Callie Seaman and Dakota were third in 65.060 seconds.

CORRECTION: Missy Luczak-Smith and Executive won the 3’3” WCHR Amateur-Owner Challenge, held Thursday, Oct. 6. Lindsay Maxwell, who was announced as the winner following the class, was determined to be ineligible due to cross entering in the 3’6” Amateur-Owners.

For additional information, full results, and live stream coverage from Capital Challenge, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org.

About the Capital Challenge Horse Show
Now in its 23rd year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter and equitation competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, the 2016 edition of the Capital Challenge Horse Show will take place October 1-9. The nine days of competition will include prestigious equitation events and the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Finals with many of the country’s best horses and riders competing in junior, amateur, and professional hunter divisions.

Emily Riden
Jump Media
emily@jumpmediallc.com

Stephanie Danhakl Dominates at Capital Challenge Horse Show

Stephanie Danhakl and Quest. Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Dawn Fogel and Spotlight Named Grand Adult Hunter Champions; Lindsey Tomeu Wins Children’s/Adult Amateur Jumper Challenge

Upper Marlboro, Maryland – Adult and Amateur-Owner riders had the spotlight on Thursday at the Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by the World Equestrian Center. Four divisions of amateur-owner hunters and three divisions of adult amateur hunters competed throughout the day at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center.

Stephanie Danhakl, of Pacific Palisades, CA, swept the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship and all four of the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunter championships and reserve championships. Dawn Fogel and Spotlight won the Grand Adult Amateur Hunter Championship. During the evening session, Lindsey Tomeu and Bonapart were the fastest in a large jump-off field to win the $10,000 Children’s/Adult Jumper Challenge. The Capital Challenge Horse Show continues through Sunday, October 9. Every class of the show is live streamed and available to watch online at tv.coth.com or www.capitalchallenge.org.

Danhakl’s impressive domination of the day’s Amateur-Owner Hunter championships began with the division win in the Amateur-Owner 18-35 3’3” Hunter division, sponsored by Serenity Farm and Endeavor Farm. Danhakl rode her nine-year-old Warmblood gelding, Quest (by Verdi), to two firsts and a second over fences before taking the championship. Danhakl earned the reserve championship aboard Enough Said with two seconds and a first over fences and a fourth under saddle.

Quest’s performance also earned him and Danhakl the Grand Champion Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter championship, the EMO Best Amateur-Owner 3’3” Trip of the Show (90), and the Best Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter Rider award, sponsored by Spring Mill Farm.

“Quest loves this horse show,” Danhakl said of the gelding that she purchased from Scott Stewart three years ago. “He was great all week. He loves it here, so it’s great to be here. I really love riding in this indoor ring. I think it suits my horses. I was really happy with every round, and my horses were great here.”

In the Amateur-Owner 18-35 3’6” Hunters, sponsored by the Hallman Family and MerryLegs South LLC, Danhakl rode veteran champion Golden Rule to the division win. The 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding finished first, third, and third over fences and third in the under saddle. Golden Rule was then presented with the Grand Champion Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter award, sponsored by Troy Hendricks and Kimber-View Stables, and Danhakl again received the Best Amateur-Owner Rider award, this time for the 3’6” divisions, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Ernest M. Oare.

“Golden Rule has a special place in my heart,” Danhakl said. “I really feel like he takes care of me. Anything could go wrong, and he has my back. He would do anything for me. That’s why I really love him.”

The reserve championship in the Amateur-Owner 18-35 3’6” Hunters went to Danhakl and her seven-year-old Hanoverian stallion First Light (by Monte Bellini).

“First Light is one of my newer ones,” Danhakl said. “I just started showing him in the 3’6″ this year, and he’s beaten Golden Rule a couple of times. It was nice to see Golden Rule win today. All of my horses are always neck and neck. It depends on the judges and how I ride, but I’m very lucky to have all of them.”

While Danhakl’s performance on Thursday was particularly impressive, she is no stranger to great success at the Capital Challenge Horse Show, as she similarly swept both of Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Championships in 2014, and the show continues to be a favorite for the accomplished rider.

“It’s really nice to show in such competitive divisions with so many people,” Danhakl said. “This show attracts riders from all over the country. It really feels special to be here and have a division of 35 people. They really make a big deal of the hunters here so it’s also fun to watch and fun to see the hunters in the spotlight.”

The championship in the Amateur-Owner 36 & Over 3’6” Hunters, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Ernest Oare, went to Jane Gaston of The Plains, VA and Because, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion. The pair claimed two blue ribbons over fences on their way to the championship. The reserve champion award went to John Ingram and Airport 48.

“It’s exciting,” Gaston said. “It’s been a few years since I’ve had a horse in the 3’6” that was competitive to do this. Because was never a hunter before this year. He obviously likes this hunter job. I think for a horse to come out of the jumpers and to do what he’s done in his first year of being a hunter is awesome.”

Gaston also earned the EMO Best Amateur-Owner 3’6” Trip of the Show with an 88.5.

The win in the $2,500 World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) Amateur-Owner 3’3” Challenge went to Lindsay Maxwell and Kingston, and Grace Stuntz and Fitzhugh earned the victory in the $2,500 WCHR Amateur-Owner 3’6” Challenge.

Dawn Fogel and Spotlight Capture Adult Amateur Hunter Grand Championship

The Adult Amateur Hunter Grand Championship, sponsored by Steve Martines, went to Dawn Fogel of Louisville, KY and Spotlight, a six-year-old Hanoverian gelding. The duo topped both of the over fences classes and finished fourth in the under saddle of the Adult Amateur 36-50 Hunter division. The reserve champions were Paddington and Tonia Cook Looker, who rode for Lexie Looker.

Dawn Fogel and Spotlight
Dawn Fogel and Spotlight

For the championship, Fogel was presented with the Equus Entries Challenge Trophy, donated by Equus Entries and Sue and Ralph Caggiano, and the Best Adult Amateur Rider Award, sponsored by Phoebe Weseley and River Run Farm, LLC. Fogel and Spotlight also received the Best EMO Adult Amateur Trip of the Show, presented by the EMO Agency, when they scored an 89.

“I was really excited,” Fogel said. “He’s never shown here, and he’s a young horse. I was thrilled with the way that he coped with the surroundings. Some horses can get undone when they walk in this ring. There’s a lot going on. The jumps here are more impressive than what we see throughout the year. He dealt with all of that really well.”

Fogel continued, “He goes with a very soft feel, which is the way that I like to ride. He has his head out and down just naturally. You don’t have to ask him for his head. He just has it there. Then it’s just a light feel to the jumps.”

Fogel has seen great success in the Adult Amateur Hunter and Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions throughout the country, including at the Capital Challenge where she’s been competing since 1995.

“It’s a special show,” Fogel said. “It’s always a thrill to be here. I would say it’s my favorite show to come to every year because of the incredible quality of horses and riders. I enjoy just watching here because things are being done at such a high level.”

Taking the championship in the Adult Amateur 18-35 Hunters, sponsored by Lainie Wimberly and Brigadoon Show Stables, Inc., were Jamee Crawford and Entourage. Crawford and the six-year-old Oldenburg gelding, owned by Legado Farm LLC, finished first and sixth over fences and sixth on the flat. The reserve championship went to Samantha Sommers and Macallan, owned by Amber Ayyad.

In the Adult Amateur 51 and Over Hunters, the championship went to Lisa Cox and Castleton, a seven-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by The Barracks. The pair finished first and third over fences. James Anderson and Houdini, owned by Patricia Raynes, took the reserve championship with a first and seventh over fences.

Lindsey Tomeu Takes $10,000 Children’s/Adult Amateur Jumper Challenge Victory

Lindsey Tomeu of Wellington, FL piloted her 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Bonapart to victory in the $10,000 Children’s/Adult Jumper Challenge. From an original starting list of 62 entries and a fast jump-off field of 22 horses, it was Tomeu who set the winning time at 28.690 seconds. Finishing in second place were Sophie Gochman and Wirina with a time of 30.856 seconds. Rounding out the top three in the class were Emma Seving and Easy Money, who finished in 30.868 seconds.

Tomeu was also named the recipient of the Best Adult Amateur Jumper Rider Award, sponsored by Meadow Grove Farm, and presented with the Belfield Trophy, donated by Julie Karpan. Similarly, Gochman was named the Best Children’s Jumper Rider, an award sponsored by Memorial Park Hunters.

In their three-year partnership, Tomeu and Bonapart have earned major victories at horse shows throughout the country, including the Pennsylvania National Horse Show and the Devon Horse Show. The pair also currently leads the Washington International Horse Show Adult Jumper standings.

“He is my horse of a lifetime,” Tomeu said. “He is perfect. He has all sorts of funny little quirks, but that’s what makes him amazing. He hates tractors – really hates them. He gets cold very easily. He just has all of these little quirks. I don’t think I could ever replace him. Every single moment I have with him, I feel so lucky.”

Ken Krome set the track for the class that saw a tight time allowed in the first round and a wide range of results from the riders contesting it. Tomeu first navigated the course aboard her other mount, Chandial-Star, but after accumulating three time faults, came back quick and clear with Bonapart.

“I thought it was tricky. The time was definitely a factor,” Tomeu said. “With Bonapart, I just trust him. I zip around. My only concerns really were jump 12 and the double combination on the rail because he shifts right really hard off the rail. Those were my biggest worries, but he was excellent tonight.”

Tomeu has ridden with Sweet Oak Farm and the trainers there, including Ali and Shane Sweetnam and Michael DelFiandra, for her entire riding career, and it was her support team that gave her some final advice as she returned for the jump-off.

“In the jump-off, they said, ‘You have to go for it. If it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t, it doesn’t’,” Tomeu said. “I don’t think I could have gone faster. Everything just showed up perfectly. I’m very lucky that that happened.”

For additional information, full results, and live stream coverage from Capital Challenge, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org.

About the Capital Challenge Horse Show
Now in its 23rd year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter and equitation competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, the 2016 edition of the Capital Challenge Horse Show will take place October 1-9. The nine days of competition will include prestigious equitation events and the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Finals with many of the country’s best horses and riders competing in junior, amateur, and professional hunter divisions.

Emily Riden
Jump Media
emily@jumpmediallc.com

Scott Stewart and Catch Me Repeat WCHR Pro Challenge Victory at Capital Challenge

Scott Stewart and Catch Me. Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Amber Henter Wins WCHR Developing Pro Challenge

Upper Marlboro, MD – October 5, 2016 – The Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by World Equestrian Center, continued on Wednesday evening with two major classes for professional riders. Repeating their 2015 victory, Scott Stewart and Catch Me won the $25,000 WCHR World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) Professional Challenge, presented by The Gochman Family. In the $5,000 WCHR Developing Professional Challenge, presented by the John R. Ingram Fund, Amber Henter rode Si Bene to the win. The Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, runs through Sunday, October 5. Every class of the show is live streamed and available to watch online at tv.coth.com or www.capitalchallenge.org.

The $25,000 WCHR Pro Challenge had 33 entries, and 12 were called back for the second round. Stewart and Catch Me, a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Casiro owned by David Gochman, set the scores to beat in the first round with judges’ scores of 95, 93, and 92 for an average of 93.33.

While Stewart, of Wellington, FL, has been in plenty of pressure-filled situations, returning for the second round tonight gave him some trepidation. “It’s always hard coming back,” he acknowledged. “The first round felt great too, then trying to have to do it again… then I saw John [French] go, and he had such a good round, so I knew it had to be just as good.”

Luckily, Stewart was sitting on Catch Me, a horse he calls “one of a kind”. They returned with judges’ scores of 95, 96, and 95 for a second round score of 95.33 and a total of 188.66. They would finish more than nine points ahead of the second place finishers.

“I thought that that was probably one of the best rounds that I’ve ever had on any horse,” Stewart revealed.

For their win, Stewart and Catch Me were presented with the Little Brook Farm Perpetual Trophy, donated by Gary Duffy.

Second place went to John French and Boss, who scored 88.33 and 91 for a total of 179.33. Elizabeth Boyd and O’Ryan placed third with scores of 87.66 and 88.66 for a two-round total of 176.32.

“It feels awesome,” Stewart said of his win. “He tries so hard. Even though he’s a little bit tired, he went in there, and he really tried. I think even from round one, the scores seemed higher than they’ve ever been for everybody (in the class). It seemed like it was a good class, so it means a lot to be able to do that. It’s all the horse really. That’s a special horse. There’s not too many like him. He’s a mover, he jumps great, he’s so nice to ride. It’s easy. He’s just phenomenal.”

Last year’s win was a special one for Stewart as Catch Me had recently returned to the show ring after a life-threatening illness. This year, he felt more prepared and ready to go for the win.

He noted, “I think he’s even stronger this year, physically. He was good (last year), but he started to get better, better, and better. He was a little bit greener at indoors last year. He was very good here, but this year he’s even more relaxed. It feels like he has even more jump.”

Stewart thanked the Gochman family for the opportunity to ride such a special horse.

“I’m lucky the Gochmans are letting me ride him. I just want to thank [them] for letting me ride him and supporting him. It’s nice to ride a great horse like that for a great family,” he said.

Riders for Friday’s $5,000 WCHR Professional Finals, sponsored by Madison Hills Farm, have been determined. Going head-to-head in the competition will be John French, Kelley Farmer, Scott Stewart, Hunt Tosh, John Bragg, and Katie Gardner.

Amber Henter Tops Developing Pro Challenge

Amber Henter of St. Petersburg, FL rode to the top of the Developing Pro Challenge, sponsored by the John R. Ingram Fund, with two solid performances on Si Bene, a nine-year-old gelding owned by Findlay’s Ridge Group. In recognition of their win, Henter and Si Bene received the Bittersweet Trophy, presented by Rachel Kennedy.

Amber Henter and Si Bene
Amber Henter and Si Bene

Henter, who is just 24 years old, has been training with and riding for Findlay’s Ridge and Val Renihan for just over a year in her first job as a professional. Her main ride has been Si Bene, who competes in the First Year Green Hunters. This was Si Bene’s first indoor horse show, and the first big competition for Henter, who graduated from the University of South Carolina and rode for the equestrian team.

“I’d first like to say how much I appreciate [Val], and all that she’s done for me,” Henter said. “She couldn’t be here tonight (because) she’s getting ready for USET Finals. We’re really missing her tonight, but I know she would have done anything to be here. It’s been a crazy year, but I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve gotten back into things. It’s really nice. Since Val wasn’t here, I’d like to thank Louise Serio for helping me.”

Henter and Si Bene led from the start with a first round score of 87.41, and they returned just as strong despite the pressure to record a second round score of 87.16 for a total of 174.57.

Second place went to Geoffrey Hesslink on Chabliano Z. They scored 86.33 and 87.66 for a two round total of 173.99. Erica Quinn and Kodachrome placed third with scores of 85.08 and 87.33 for a 172.41 total.

Henter did not have it in her original plan to compete in the Developing Pro Challenge because she “hadn’t ridden that much.” She explained, “Last year was my first time going to indoors in five years, and not competing, I was just training. I knew about the class and I was like, ‘You know what, I might as well give it a try.’ He just showed in the First Year division, and he’s the only one that I showed this week. I know him so well, so I was really hoping that we’d have a great outcome just because he deserves it all the way. We’ve kind of been teetering in the ribbons all year. I feel like he finally got his recognition this week.”

Leading the class and returning on top was “definitely a little nerve-wracking,” she admitted. “I haven’t had pressure on me in a while. I knew everyone was counting on me no matter how I did, so it was nice. It was a good feeling going in the ring knowing that it was okay to make a mistake, but if I didn’t that was even better.”

She said of her victory, “I think that tonight was a big step in my career and in feeling confident moving forward, knowing that I can be successful. Hopefully I will keep on track and keep pushing forward. We have Harrisburg next week, and I’d really like ‘Zip’ to get a nice show in. I just want to keep moving forward off of that.”

For additional information, full results, and live stream coverage from Capital Challenge, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org.

About the Capital Challenge Horse Show
Now in its 23rd year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter and equitation competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, the 2016 edition of the Capital Challenge Horse Show will take place October 1-9. The nine days of competition will include prestigious equitation events and the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Finals with many of the country’s best horses and riders competing in junior, amateur, and professional hunter divisions.

Emily Riden
Jump Media
emily@jumpmediallc.com

Scott Stewart and John French Claim Major Championships at Capital Challenge Horse Show

Scott Stewart and Private Life. Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Upper Marlboro, Maryland – The Wednesday afternoon session of the Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by the World Equestrian Center, featured the $25,000 Future Hunter North American Championships, sponsored by the Wheeler Family and Madison Hills Farm, and the awarding of the professional hunter grand championships. Scott Stewart rode Private Life to the win in the $25,000 Future Hunter North American Championship, while Boss claimed the Grand Hunter Championship with John French in the irons. The 2016 Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center, continues through Sunday, October 9. Every class of the show is live streamed and available to watch online at tv.coth.com or www.capitalchallenge.org.

The $25,000 Future Hunter North American Championships featured a start list of 30 of the best young horses in the country, with the top 12 returning for a second round. Stewart and Private Life scored an 88.00 in the first round to move into the third place position, and they sealed the victory with a score of 90.16 in the second round for a 178.16 total.

For their win, Private Life and Stewart were awarded the Beverly Brooks Solter Memorial Trophy, donated by Hilary Scheer Gerhardt and Zan Martin Dillon.

“He was awesome. This is his first time jumping indoors with me, so I was really happy with him,” Stewart, of Wellington, FL, said of Private Life, a five year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding purchased by Stewart’s own Rivers Edge in November 2015. “He’s five, but he acts like he’s ten. He acts like an old horse. He’s really easy going.”

Private Life was not the only mount ridden to success by Stewart. With six total entries in the class, Stewart claimed five of the top seven placings.

“All of my horses were good today. I was really happy with all of them,” Stewart said. “This is a great class. It’s just a great showcase for the young horses.”

The only rider able to edge Stewart out of the top four was the 2014 and 2015 class winner Hunt Tosh, of Milton, GA. This time Tosh finished in second riding Chicago for owner Douglas Wheeler. Tosh and the seven-year-old Warmblood gelding earned scores of 89.33 and 88.50 for a 177.83 total.

“This is such a good class,” Tosh said. “They always have such nice horses here. It can be a little overwhelming (being in) this ring for the first time, but he went in there very relaxed. I think he was a little tired with it being day three [of competition], but the atmosphere helped out a little bit. He jumped beautifully both rounds.”

Rounding out the top three were Stewart and Luster, also owned by Rivers Edge. The pair earned a 173.99 total with a first round score of 87.33 and a second round score of 86.66.

Following the conclusion of the $25,000 Future Hunter North American Championships, Tosh and Chicago were also presented with the Grand Future Hunter Championship title, sponsored by David Belford & Christopher Payne and New Hope LLC & Susan Moriconi. They were awarded the “A Rare Diamond” Perpetual Trophy, donated by “The Friends of Mickey.”

The EMO Future Trip of the Show went to Peter Pletcher riding Entourage, who scored 91.5.

Capital Challenge Names Grand Hunter Champions

Concluding the 2016 Capital Challenge professional hunter divisions, the Regular Conformation Hunter Championship went to John French of Woodside, CA and Boss, owned by Laura Wasserman. The ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding claimed two firsts and two seconds over fences, as well as second in the model and second under saddle before taking the championship.

John French and Boss
John French and Boss

The championship came down to an extremely close race between French and Boss and the eventual reserve champions, Stewart and Lucador, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker. Stewart and the eight-year-old gelding claimed two firsts and a second over fences and the wins in both the model and the under saddle.

“I didn’t even know I was champion!” French said. “It was so close between Scott and me. Lucador is awesome to be champion over. It’s pretty hard, and that’s a super horse. We were kind of neck-and-neck. There was just one class where Lucador maybe had a mistake, and I guess that was enough.”

French started riding Boss as a pre-green horse and has brought him along ever since, successfully earning numerous championships along the way.

“He used to have steering issues at the beginning,” French said. “He just wants to pose with his neck instead of turning his neck. He just keeps it in his posed position. We had to work on turning. He’s gotten better and better. I was really happy with him today in the handy because of that. Sometimes that can be a little bit harder. He really was good in that.

“He has such a nice head carriage. Some horses you have to try to get them round. He has such a beautiful arch in his neck; his way of going just always looks like he’s posing because of the way he’s going around the course, but it’s just the way that he’s put together,” French said.

French and Boss’s performance was not only enough for the Regular Conformation Hunter Championship, it secured them the Grand Conformation Championship, sponsored by Eight Oaks, the Grand Hunter Championship, sponsored by RSB Farms, Inc., Rob Bielefeld, and Chrystal Knight, and the Tribute Perpetual Trophy, donated by Scott Stewart. It also earned French his first Capital Challenge Leading Hunter Rider Award, sponsored by the Gibson Family & The Shadyside Farm.

“Again, I didn’t even realize that was going to happen,” French said. “This is the toughest, I think, of all the horse shows because everybody’s here. There are a lot more horses here than any of the other indoors. To be grand champion at this show is pretty special.”

French continued, “This horse show’s great. The top horses come here. It’s the biggest divisions, and they’ve got the special young horse classes. It’s not only a great show for the horses, but for the riders. The riders get a lot of recognition here too with the [WCHR Professional Challenge] and the [WCHR Professional Finals]. It showcases the riders as well as the horses.”

For French, making the trip to Capital Challenge from California each year is extra special, as he called Maryland home for 25 years.

“To come back home is always nice,” French said. “I’ve gotten a few people who have come up to me today: ‘Do you remember me from 25 years ago?’ or ‘We used to ride together when we were kids!’ It’s always fun when people come up and say things like that.”

In the Green Conformation Hunters, the Championship went to Fun, ridden by Scott Stewart for owner David Gochman. The six-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding won both the under saddle and the model, as well as taking two firsts and a second over fences. The reserve championship in the Green Conformation Hunters went to Tosh and Patriot, owned by the Wheeler Family.

Taking the championship in the First Year Green Hunters Section A were Hope Glynn, of Petaluma, CA, and Fandango HX for owners Redfield Farm and Karen Trione. Glynn and the six-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion finished first, first, and third over fences. Stewart and William Hill, owned by Rose Hill Farm, claimed the reserve championship.

In the First Year Green Working Hunters Section B, Kelley Farmer of Keswick, VA rode Publicized to the championship for owner Amanda Hone. The eight-year-old Zangersheide gelding swept three of the four over fences classes and finished second in the fourth before taking the division tri-color. Finishing in reserve were Stewart and Evermore for owner David Gochman.

Hone purchased Publicized in the fall of 2015, and it ended up being the horse that first connected her to Farmer and Lane Change Farm.

“I got a phone call from this guy who I’ve done business with before,” Hone explained. “He said, ‘We’ve got this really amazing horse. You’ve got to pull the trigger because we have someone coming to look at it tonight.’ We were questioning it, but we pulled the trigger. I called Kelley and told her that we had this horse, and I’d really like her to see it. It turns out, they actually had sent somebody over to look at it, and they were the ones coming to see it that night!”

“She bought the horse out from under us!” joked Larry Glefke of Lane Change Farm. “It’s now one of the best horses we’ve ever had.”

With his top performances in the First Year Green Working Hunters, Publicized was named the Grand First Year Green Working Hunter Champion, sponsored by Summer Hill Farms, Jordan Gilchrist, and Laura Hightower, and ultimately the Grand Green Working Hunter, sponsored by Balmoral – Traci and Carleton Brooks.

“What a horse. He’s such a beautiful jumper, and he’s so athletic and scopey,” Farmer said. “He’s a blast to ride. He has his own personality, but we like that. He’s beautiful to ride. There’s nothing that’s not available to you. He always wants to be careful; he always wants to be high in the air.”

The $1,000 Professional WCHR Under Saddle victory, sponsored by Arcadia Farm, went to Louise Serio and Eleventh Hour, owned by Meredith Lipke. They were presented with the Hollywood Challenge Trophy, donated by Paula Polk Lillard.

The EMO Professional Trip of the Show, sponsored by the EMO Agency, Inc., went to Stewart riding David Gochman’s Catch Me, who scored a 93.

Green Hunter and Young Hunter to Replace Future Hunters at Capital Challenge in 2017

Since 2001, the Future Hunters has been one of the premier divisions at the Capital Challenge Horse Show for young, up-and-coming hunters. The division was originally established to provide an avenue for pre-green horses to compete against their peers without encountering eligibility issues because Pre-Green specifications differed by zone. While this division has always highlighted great talent, it has never offered an opportunity for national points. In 2017, this will be changing as the Future Hunter division aligns with the new Green and Young Hunter divisions set forth by the USHJA and USEF. Competitors will still be given multiple sections in which to compete, but with the added benefit of accruing national points.

“At Capital Challenge we strive to promote the young horses in the format that we have utilized for over a decade,” said show manager Oliver Kennedy. “We are glad to see that our national governing body is transitioning into a format that has evolved from our original ideas.  Now our competitors can earn national accolades for their success at Capital Challenge.”

In 2017, as the Pre-Green, First Year, and Second Year Green divisions transition to the Green Hunter 3’0”, 3’3”, 3’6”, and 3’9” and a Young Hunter division is established, the Capital Challenge Horse Show will transform the Future Hunters into the Green and Young Hunter divisions.

The shift is part of comprehensive rule changes that go into effect on December 1, 2016. Under these changes, Pre-Green, First Year, and Second Year Green Hunters will be replaced with a simpler, more descriptive naming structure – Green Hunter 3’0”, 3’3”, 3’6” and 3’9.” In addition, Young Hunter sections based on age will be offered at 3’0”, 3’3” and 3’6”.

“It is normal to be attached to familiar names like First Year and Second Year Green, but this new structure provides very clear pathways for two distinct types of horses – horses that are young, and horses that are green. We know that young horses are almost always green, but green horses may not always be young,” explained Geoff Teall, USHJA National Vice President. “Now, we have a system that recognizes this and embraces horses no matter how they enter our sport. Also, the new section names make it easy for someone new to the sport to quickly understand what to expect from those classes.”

For more information about these changes, visit www.ushja.org/rules.

For additional information, full results, and live stream coverage from Capital Challenge, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org.

About the Capital Challenge Horse Show
Now in its 23rd year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter and equitation competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, the 2016 edition of the Capital Challenge Horse Show will take place October 1-9. The nine days of competition will include prestigious equitation events and the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Finals with many of the country’s best horses and riders competing in junior, amateur, and professional hunter divisions.

Emily Riden
Jump Media
emily@jumpmediallc.com

Katherine Strauss Wins Private Tutoring Services North American Jr. Equitation Championship

Katherine Strauss aboard San Remo VDL. Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Alexa Aureliano Wins THIS National Children’s Medal Finals; Allison Fithian Victorious in North American Adult Equitation Championships

Upper Marlboro, Maryland – The Capital Challenge Horse Show hosted three major equitation finals at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center on Sunday as part of Equitation Weekend, presented by BigEq.com. In the Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships, the win went to Katherine Strauss of Southampton, NY riding San Remo VDL. Alexa Aureliano of Old Brookville, NY was victorious in the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Children’s Medal Finals on Qualitat. Allison Fithian of Monterey, CA captured the win in the North American Adult Amateur Equitation Championships riding Lucky D’ Etenclin. The Capital Challenge Horse Show continues through Sunday, October 9, with hunter competition beginning on Monday, October 3. Every class of the 2016 Capital Challenge Horse Show is live streamed. Watch at tv.coth.com or www.capitalchallenge.org.

A field of 103 entries in the Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships contested the course set by Kenneth Krome with assistance from Joe Carnicom. Riders were scored by a panel of six judges including: Jeff Ayers, Jim Clapperton, Shane George, Scott Hofstetter, Tony Sgarlata, and Scott Williamson.

At the end of the first round of competition, Strauss and San Remo VDL sat in third place with a score of 89.08 while Emma Kurtz of Hudson, OH and Clearway held the lead with a score of 91.33.

The top 20 returned in reverse order of their standings for a second round, and Strauss’s second round score of 91.33 quickly shot her to the top of the leaderboard with an overall score of 180.41.

Sophie Simpson on You Wish, owned by Ashland Farms, and Kurtz and Clearway, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, were the final two to return, and while both would execute strong rounds, neither would match Strauss’s performance. A second round score of 88.33, coupled with her first round score of 90.00, would give Simpson a 178.33 total to keep her in the second-place position. With a score of 84.33 in the second round, Kurtz would finish in third with a 175.66 total.

While the judges had the option for additional testing of the top four, a greater than two-point difference between Strauss and Simpson meant that the courses set by Krome had done a well enough a job of differentiating the top riders and no additional testing was necessary.

“It is a really fun equitation final to do the courses for,” Krome said. “The format is the best, where every rider is scored. Having two rounds and having the top twenty to come back really allows me to vary the tests and to do interesting things in the second round. My goal is to help the riders improve this week. This is leading up to [the Pennsylvania National Horse Show], so you’re trying to prepare them for that and present them with enough good challenges so that they learn some things that they can brush up on before the next finals.”

Strauss finished second in last year’s Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships riding Canterbury, so being able to come back and earn the win this year on a new mount, San Remo VDL, was particularly exciting for Strauss.

“I’m so happy,” said Strauss, who trains for the equitation with Stacia Madden at Beacon Hill Show Stables. “I was so fortunate to ride San Remo in this class. He is just so perfect. This was actually only my third show on him. Stacia of course knows him really well, so she has been able to help expedite forming a relationship process. He does everything I ask of him, literally; I couldn’t have asked more of him today.”

San Remo VDL was ridden to great success, including the win in the 2012 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Equitation Final, by owner Elizabeth Benson, and the horse has had a special place in the hearts of the Benson family and Madden since.

“He’s kind of a part of [the Benson family],” Madden explained. “We decided after the Devon Horse Show last year that we were really going to try to teach him how to turnout properly and give him some appropriate time off, which he had never had because he was a little bit of a social misfit.”

After enjoying a year of turnout and relaxation at John and Beezie Madden’s farm in New York, San Remo VDL returned to Beacon Hill this summer, but Madden did not have a particular rider in mind for the 16-year-old Warmblood gelding.

“I was hoping for a good rider for him to come down the pike,” Madden said. “Katherine had three top equitation horses; she wasn’t really on my radar at that point. Then one of her equitation horses is actually going to get the San Remo treatment and is going to be out in John and Beezie’s field, so I talked to her and her parents about seeing if they would be open minded to leasing her San Remo. They’re so great and want Katherine to be in this sport and want her to be in it as well as she can be. So they said absolutely.”

The Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships presented the pair with the perfect opportunity to come together for a major equitation final and to further prepare for the remainder of the indoor season.

“It’s great preparation for the rest of the finals,” Strauss said. “You sort of have the outdoor classes to warm you up and then transition you for the indoor classes. It’s great to just practice riding under pressure with this championship format.”

Strauss continued, “Obviously this is our first show indoors, so you have to start thinking a little bit more quickly. All of the jumps were sort of right off the edges of the ring and everything came up a little bit quickly. One thing that Stacia’s really helped me with, and that I started working on with her last year, is thinking more quickly when you start riding inside and being ready for everything to come up quickly. Stacia sets up extremely difficult courses at home at Beacon Hill. I think that really prepared me well. Taking everything that I learned with Stacia at indoors last year and applying them to today has helped.”

As part of the big win, Katherine Strauss and Stacia Madden were presented with the George H. Morris Equitation Championship Trophy, donated by Frank Madden and Stacia Madden. The North American Equitation Champion Groom’s Award, sponsored by Holly Hill Farm, was awarded to San Remo VDL’s groom, Oscar Aguillara. Strauss also received the best Equitation Rider Award, sponsored by Karen Healey and Karen Healey Stables, and Stacia Madden was awarded the Leading Equitation Trainer Award. The EMO Equitation Trip of the Show award, sponsored by EMO Insurance Services and presented to the rider with the highest scoring round on Saturday, went to Madison Goetzmann who scored a 90.5 while competing in the 15-Year-Old Equitation.

Alexa Aureliano Tops THIS National Children’s Medal Finals

Alexa Aureliano of Old Brookville, NY earned her first major equitation victory on Saturday in the THIS National Children’s Medal Finals riding Qualitat, a seven-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Heritage Farm.

Alexa Aureliano aboard Qualitat
Alexa Aureliano aboard Qualitat

Aureliano, who trains with Andre Dignelli and Patricia Griffith at Heritage Farm, scored an opening average score of 86.50 to put her in fourth place heading into the second round, which welcomed back the top ten riders.

“The first round, I loved the course,” Aureliano said. “There weren’t any mishaps or anything. It was just a nice smooth round. I was happy about it because I knew that I was in the top ten, so I was glad that I had a nice first round.”

After scoring a 90 in the second round, Aureliano climbed up the leaderboard into second place with a cumulative score of 176.50. That put her just behind Camryn Halley of Oviedo, FL on Renoir, who held the lead in both the first and second round with scores of 88.25, 89.66, and a cumulative 177.91.

“The second round, I was a little nervous going in, because I knew that if I wanted to accomplish my goal to win the THIS, I needed to step up my game a little bit,” Aureliano said. “It was a little bit of a challenge for me, but I really liked it.”

With less than two points separating them, Aureliano and Halley were called back for additional testing. The test required riders to canter directly to a triple bar, then take a trot fence off a bending line before rolling back to a two-stride line, halting, and finally demonstrating a counter canter over a last vertical. With a seamlessly executed test it was Aureliano who rose to the top of the list and clinched the win.

“I can’t even explain my feelings right now,” Aureliano said immediately following her victory. “I’ve been working so hard to accomplish this goal, and it was just accomplished!”

Third place went to Grace Pearson of Seattle, WA on Beau Van Het Keyershof. They scored an 85.33 and an 85.66 for a 170.99 total.

Aureliano has been training with Heritage Farm for the last five years, but she is somewhat unique in that her horses are kept at home a little more than an hour away from the Katonah, NY based farm.

“She and her mother are a good team, and they’re real workers,” said Patricia Griffith.

“They work hard, and Alexa’s very thankful to have the supportive mother driving the truck and trailer up for every lesson and taking care of the horse and grooming at most horse shows. It always seems to be the harder you work, the luckier you get. That’s definitely a motto that I like to live by. With her that proves to be true.”

Qualitat’s groom, Hector Arias, also won a special groom’s award.

Allison Fithian Victorious in Adult Equitation Championships

In the North American Adult Amateur Equitation Championships, it was Allison Fithian of Monterey, CA who was victorious riding her longtime mount Lucky D’ Etenclin.

Fithian led through both rounds and won by an impressive margin of more than 11 points after earning scores of 88.83 in the first round and 91.00 in the second for a 179.83 total.

For the New York University (NYU) graduate, competing Lucky D’ Etenclin at Capital Challenge is a happy reunion and, as trainer Stacia Madden explained, like taking care of “unfinished business.”

“She has a chemistry with this horse that is just second to none,” Madden said. “I felt a little bit bad for her in her last junior year because he got a little bit injured. She was third at Medal Finals that year which was unbelievable. Then she had to use a different horse for Maclay Finals.”

Following her last junior year, Fithian pursued her degree in hospitality management and Lucky D’ Etenclin, a seven-year-old Selle Francais gelding, was leased out to junior riders.

“I got him back this year to ride him, so it’s really just so special to come back and bring it all together!” Fithian said.

Fithian has her sights set next on the Ariat National Adult Medal Finals on Friday, October 7, at Capital Challenge.

Finishing in second was Helen Voss of Versailles, KY on Prosecco 24. Voss earned scores of 84.00 and 84.66 for a 168.66 total. Finishing just half a point behind Voss for third were Tracey Gorin-Byrne and Sunman with a first round score of 84.33 and a second round score of 83.83.

The North American Adult Equitation Champion Groom’s Award, sponsored by Holly Hill Farm, went to Lucky D’ Etenclin’s groom, Oscar Aguillara.

For additional information, full results, and live stream coverage from Capital Challenge, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org.

About the Capital Challenge Horse Show
Now in its 23rd year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter and equitation competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, the 2016 edition of the Capital Challenge Horse Show will take place October 1-9. The nine days of competition will include prestigious equitation events and the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Finals with many of the country’s best horses and riders competing in junior, amateur, and professional hunter divisions.

Emily Riden
Jump Media
emily@jumpmediallc.com

Capital Challenge Names First 2016 Champions during Equitation Weekend

Sophie Simpson on You Wish. Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Upper Marlboro, Maryland – The 2016 Capital Challenge Horse Show opened Saturday at Prince George’s Equestrian Center with Equitation Weekend, presented by BigEq.com. Championships were awarded in the adult amateur equitation and to junior riders in five age group-based equitation divisions. The equitation championships resume on Sunday, October 2, and competition at the Capital Challenge Horse Show continues through Sunday, October 9.

Riders in each of Saturday’s equitation divisions competed in two over fences classes, one held outdoors and one indoors, as well as an indoor flat class prior to the naming of the division champions.

The 17-Year-Old Equitation division championship, sponsored by Old Salem Farm and Frank Madden, was awarded to Sophie Simpson of Wellington, FL and You Wish, owned by Ashland Farms. The pair finished first and fourth over fences and third on the flat. The reserve champion was Katherine Strauss of Southampton, NY riding Canterbury.

Simpson, who trains with her mother, Nicki Simpson, and Ken and Emily Smith of Ashland Farms, just started riding You Wish about two months ago, immediately after the 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding was imported from Europe.

“His first show as an equitation horse was the Hampton Classic, and this is his first indoor start,” Simpson said. “He’s so awesome. He’s just got a great brain. He’s just really been so super easy to do. Everywhere that we’ve gone so far, he’s been great.”

Saturday’s competition marked not only You Wish’s indoor debut, but also Simpson’s first visit to the Capital Challenge Horse Show. As she concludes her final junior year, Capital Challenge presented the perfect opportunity for her and You Wish to gain extra mileage together in the equitation ring before the remaining equitation finals.

“It’s been obviously a nice experience so far!” Simpson said. “For the first equitation indoors for this horse, for getting to know him a little bit more, and for tweaking a couple of things, it’s really a great experience.”

Lolly McLellan of Ashland, OR was named the 16-Year-Old Equitation Champion, riding Rockford to a first and fourth over fences and competing Contelido on the flat. The reserve championship in the division was shared by Jordan Stiller of Needham, MA on A Picobello Star Z and Louisa Brackett of Grayslake, IL on Efendi.

“Rockford was great,” McLellan said of the 17-year-old Warmblood gelding that she has owned for three years. “He likes to show. He’s kind of a show pony. He goes in the ring, and he puffs up his chest. He loves to win. He’s always so good to me in the ring.”

With her home base in Oregon, this year marks McLellan’s third time competing on the East Coast and her first time at Capital Challenge. McLellan trains with Wendy Krohn while in Oregon, and she began training with Stacia Madden and Max Amaya on the East Coast following this year’s Winter Equestrian Festival [WEF].

“I can’t say enough about how wonderful my trainers are,” McLellan said. “On both the East Coast and the West Coast, they’ve really been great.”

The championship in the 15-Year-Old Equitation, sponsored by Suave Pony and Limelight Farm, went to veteran Capital Challenge winner Emma Kurtz of Hudson, OH aboard Clearway, a mount who has also seen great success at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center. Kurtz and Clearway, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, finished first and second over fences and second on the flat. The reserve championship ended in a tie between Grady Lyman of San Diego, CA on Titan Des Chenes and Madison Goetzmann of Skaneatles, NY on Stallone.

“[Clearway] was perfect,” said Kurtz, who last year earned the 13 & 14-Year-Old Equitation championship on VIP Z. “I started riding Clearway right at the beginning of Florida. He’s incredible. He has the best canter. He’s just so much fun.”

Kurtz currently trains with Amanda Lyerly and Mike Rheinheimer of Madison Hills Farm, as well as with Scott Stewart and Ken Berkley. This year marks her fourth year competing at Capital Challenge, where, in addition to her equitation success, Kurtz has earned Junior Hunter and Large Pony championship titles.

“We like it here,” Kurtz said. “It’s nice because you get a mix of indoor and outdoor. You don’t just get thrown right into indoor season; you get a nice transition.”

Kurtz and Clearway will return to the ring on Sunday for the Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships before setting their sights on the remainder of the indoor circuit.

“I would love to be top ten in a couple of the equitation finals,” Kurtz said. “I haven’t before, so I think it would be really cool.

Samantha Cohen of New York, NY piloted Trump and Cicero to the 13 & 14-Year-Old Equitation championship, sponsored by Citrus Hill Farm. Cohen won both over fences classes and claimed eighth place on the flat. The division reserve championship again came down to a tie, this time between flat class winner Charlotte Novy of Wilmette, IL on Cimberly and Kaitlyn Lovingfoss of Santa Clarita, CA riding Hasta La Vista.

Cohen has spent the past year training with Stacia Madden and the team at Beacon Hill, and she was thrilled with the positive start to the indoor equitation season.

“I’ve never done the age group equitation so winning feels great,” Cohen said. “It’s really boosting my confidence. Capital Challenge is a great show to prepare. I love everything about this show. It’s such a great space. I love how, especially in the age group equitation, we get to do one class outdoors and one class indoors. Today is great preparation for tomorrow’s big class [the Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships].”

When Cohen returns to the ring on Sunday, she will again be aboard Trump, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding that she has owned for the last two years.

“He’s very special to me,” Cohen said. “When I got him he hadn’t done any equitation. So I’ve kind of grown with him and really learned the equitation with him. He is amazing. He is such a funny horse. He has such a personality in the barn, but definitely when he goes in the ring he knows when it’s time to step it up.”

Catalina Peralta and Capito
Catalina Peralta and Capito

The champion in the 12 & Under Equitation, sponsored by Caraneen Smith, was Catalina Peralta of Geneva, FL riding Capito, owned by Arnoud Dobber. Peralta finished first on the flat and third and seventh over fences. The reserve championship in the division went to Sophie Gochman of Palm Beach, FL riding VIP Z and Alonso.

This year marks Peralta’s second year competing at the Capital Challenge Horse Show, and her second year earning major Capital Challenge victories. In 2015, Peralta won the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Children’s Medal aboard Cornello.

This time, Peralta’s victory came aboard a relatively new mount for her, as she just started riding Capito this summer.

“This is his first year doing the equitation. He used to be a jumper,” Peralta said of the nine-year-old gelding. “He’s owned by Arnoud Dobber who had the idea that maybe he could become an equitation horse. He sent the horse to my mom [Wendy Ritter Peralta] and dad [Ezequiel Peralta] to learn the ropes of equitation a little bit, and I started working with him because I ride a lot of horses at home.”

Peralta continued, “We always knew from the moment that I got on he was going to be a pretty good equitation horse. He has a great personality. He’s very goofy; he’s not like a lot of other equitation horses who can sometimes have dull personalities.”

Following the conclusion of the age group equitation divisions, the top three ribbon winners in each of the flat classes were invited back for the North American Flat Equitation Championships. After extensive testing both directions of the ring, the flat championship title was presented to Ransome Rombauer of Saint Helena, CA.

“I love flatwork. Gaston and I are flatting queens!” Rombauer said of her 15-year-old Czech Warmblood mount. “This is my first time bringing Gaston east. I wanted to bring him because it is my last junior year, and we have a really special relationship. He was amazing.”

Riders in the North American Flat Equitation Championships all compete on the rail until, one by one, they are ranked and called into the center of the ring in descending order of their placings. On Saturday it came down to Rombauer and last year’s class winner Emma Marlowe of Lake Balboa, CA.

“I love the format. It is so fun when they call the people in,” Rombauer said. “It’s very motivating. I didn’t even know I had made it so far until they called in the third place, and I realized, ‘Oh, it’s just me and Emma!’ We’re friends; we are both from California, and we show together.”

Marlowe road Citadel, owned by Pam Stewart to the reserve championship.

In the Adult Amateur Equitation division, Helen Voss of Versailles, KY took the championship in Section A riding Prosecco 24, and Kathryn Luke of Arlington, VA earned the championship in Section B on Brazos. Claiming the reserve champion titles were Lindsay Maxwell of Beverly Hills, CA on Way Out West in Section A and Jaime Krupnick of Westlake Village, CA and Conux in Section B.

The THIS National Children’s Medal Final also hosted three warm-up classes, with over fences wins going to Kelsey King of Seattle, WA riding I’ll Say JSF and Melissa Deryn Foster of Ocala, FL on Startin’ Monday. The victory in the flat went to Adam Edgar of Leesburg, VA on Dante, who also claimed the THIS National Children’s Medal Equitation Warm-Up championship. Finishing in a three way tie for the reserve championship were Foster, King, and Tess Lenihan of Chester, VT.

Sunday’s schedule concludes the Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend, presented by BigEq.com. Competition will begin at 8 a.m. with the Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships, followed by the THIS National Children’s Medal Finals and the North American Adult Amateur Equitation Championships.

For additional information, full results, and live stream coverage from Capital Challenge, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org.

About the Capital Challenge Horse Show
Now in its 23rd year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter and equitation competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, the 2016 edition of the Capital Challenge Horse Show will take place October 1-9. The nine days of competition will include prestigious equitation events and the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Finals with many of the country’s best horses and riders competing in junior, amateur, and professional hunter divisions.

Emily Riden
Jump Media
emily@jumpmediallc.com

Catch All of Capital Challenge with Live Stream Beginning Saturday

Photo by Michelle Bloch.

Upper Marlboro, Maryland – The Capital Challenge Horse Show kicks off on Saturday, October 1, at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center, and for those unable to be in attendance, the show will be live streamed in its entirety online at tv.coth.com.

The live stream, hosted by the Chronicle of the Horse, will include full coverage of both the indoor and outdoor arenas at the Capital Challenge Horse Show and will be available all day through the conclusion of competition on Sunday, October 9.

Competition opens Saturday with Equitation Weekend, presented by Bigeq.com, including the Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships, the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Children’s Medal Finals, the North American Adult Amateur Equitation Championships, and more.

As the popular year-end horse show continues throughout the week, don’t miss a beat and tune in for the complete live stream coverage, including all hunter divisions and featured classes such as:

  • Wednesday, October 5: World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Professional Challenge, WCHR Developing Professional Challenge, Future Hunter North American Championship
  • Thursday, October 6: WCHR Amateur Owner 3’3” Challenge, WCHR Amateur Owner 3’6” Challenge, Children’s/Adult Amateur Jumper Challenge
  • Friday, October 7: WCHR Adult Amateur Challenge, Ariat National Adult Medal Finals, $15,000 North American Junior/Amateur Owner Challenge Cup Round 1, WCHR Professional Finals
  • Saturday, October 8: WCHR Pony Challenge, $15,000 North American Junior/Amateur Owner Challenge Cup Final
  • Sunday, October 9: WCHR Children’s Hunter Challenge, WCHR Junior 3’3” Challenge, WCHR Junior 3’6” Challenge

Horse Network is the Official Media Partner of the Capital Challenge Live Stream. Visit www.horsenetwork.com during the show to see unique content, interviews, and behind the scenes at CCHS!

Access the live stream online at tv.coth.com or at www.capitalchallenge.org.

About the Capital Challenge Horse Show
Now in its 23rd year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter and equitation competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, the 2016 edition of the Capital Challenge Horse Show will take place October 1-9. The nine days of competition will include prestigious equitation events and the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Finals with many of the country’s best horses and riders competing in junior, amateur, and professional hunter divisions.

Emily Riden
Jump Media
emily@jumpmediallc.com