Tag Archives: John French

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

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

John French Sweeps WIHS Grand Hunter Championships

John French and Center Court. Photos © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Last Call and Becky Gochman, Winner and Daryl Portela Take Grand Amateur-Owner Prizes

Washington, D.C. – October 21, 2015 – The 2015 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) continued with its second day of competition Wednesday featuring the presentation of championship honors in the professional and amateur-owner hunter divisions at Verizon Center in downtown Washington D.C. Representing the west coast, rider and trainer John French (CA) dominated the professional divisions, while Becky Gochman (NY) and Daryl Portela (FL) reigned supreme over the amateur-owner championships. WIHS competition continues through Sunday, October 25.

John French, of San Jose, CA, had unprecedented success in this year’s WIHS competition. French capped off his time in the nation’s capital with three championships, three reserve championships, two Grand Hunter Championships, and the 2015 WIHS Leading Hunter Rider title. French guided Laura Wasserman’s Boss to the overall WIHS Grand Hunter Championship, and also won the WIHS Grand Green Working Hunter Championship riding Lee Kellogg Sadrian’s Sochi. He received a special $5,000 bonus for the Leading Hunter Rider Award, sponsored by Dr. Betsee Parker, and was also presented The Robert Coluccio Leading Hunter Rider Perpetual Trophy. Laura Wasserman earned the Leading Hunter Owner Award.

“I do not think I have ever had an indoor show like this. To win this many championships and be reserve this many times as well – it means a lot,” French expressed. “This is where I grew up. As a kid, WIHS was the biggest show you could go to. We did not go to the Garden; it was too far away. WIHS you could come and watch. It is my favorite show. I love being in the city; I love the whole atmosphere and ambiance about showing in the city.”

French had one of the greatest shows of his career, impressively winning classes and tricolors with five different horses. He acknowledged Archie Cox as the trainer of Wasserman’s Boss and Fine Design, as well as Montana Coady’s Ranger. French brought Sochi and Center Court for his own clients.

“It is not often that you have that many good ones,” he admitted. “I had five horses and they all won classes. A lot has to do with Archie. He does a great job. Some of the horses are his, and live at his barn, but Sochi and Center Court are with me at my barn. I just think that it is nice that I get to ride these horses a lot here. Every morning I get to ride them throughout the circuit. At home, a lot of times I just get on a horse and go in a class. For indoors, I get to spend three weeks between Capital Challenge, Harrisburg and Washington getting a real feel for each horse, what it needs and how I need to ride it better. I can put myself in the right mindset for the horse.”

“There are things that you tell yourself before you go in the ring. You get a routine, and a lot of times when you are riding so many horses, you do not have the time to do that. I love indoor shows, and shows with one ring, where you can really focus on your horses and watch instead of running ring to ring. You get a feel for the ring, and a feel for the horse. You do not have so many distractions with other things going on. The competition is good, so you have to rise to the competition. You always ride better when you really have to work at it. I like having the challenge.”

On the way to his leading rider title, French began the day with a championship win in the High Performance Working Hunter division, sponsored by Jacqueline B. Mars. He and Hiller Farms LLC’s Center Court accepted The “NOT ALWAYS” Challenge Trophy, donated by Miss Peggy Steinman. The pair placed first, first, and third over fences, and finished second under saddle. Kelley Farmer and Kensel LLC’s Mindful finished in reserve, placing first, second and third over fences, as well as third under saddle.

Mindful and Farmer were also presented the special Protocol Trophy, sponsored by Platinum Performance, for the second year in a row. The trophy is awarded to the overall High Point High Performance Working Hunter from the Devon Horse Show, Pennsylvania National Horse Show, and Washington International Horse Show.

In the Regular Conformation Hunters, Scott Stewart and Dr. Betsee Parker’s Lucador earned championship honors to be presented with The Mary Farren Perpetual Trophy. The pair finished first and sixth over fences, then topped the under saddle class to secure their championship. French and Laura Wasserman’s Fine Design earned reserve honors, placing first and second over fences, and second under saddle.

The Second Year Green Working Hunters were next to present championship honors. Stewart took another tricolor in that division, finishing third, second, and third over fences, and taking a win under saddle with Dr. Betsee Parker’s Cameo. French rode Montana Coady’s Ranger to the reserve championship, placing first and second over fences, as well as second under saddle.

Competition continued with the Green Conformation Hunter championship, sponsored by The Ingram Family, in which French and Laura Wasserman’s Boss took their first title. The pair earned the Valiant Hark Memorial Challenge Trophy, donated by Mrs. Stephen J. Clark, with two wins and a third place finish over fences, as well as a win under saddle. Stewart and Stephanie Danhakl’s First Light finished in reserve, placing first, second and fourth over fences, and second under saddle.

The First Year Green Working Hunter division was the final deciding factor for this year’s grand championship honors. French solidified his lead by taking the division championship aboard Sochi, with two wins and a third place finish over fences. French also took reserve honors in that division with Boss, placing second, second and fourth over fences, as well as second under saddle.

Sochi was then presented the overall WIHS Grand Green Working Hunter Championship and the Claire Lang Miller Challenge Trophy, as well as the Windy Acres Challenge Trophy for the best Green Working Hunter stake round with a score of 89. Boss was awarded the overall WIHS Grand Hunter Championship and the Rave Review Challenge Trophy, donated by Stoney Hill. French received one final award for the EQUUS Foundation Best Professional Performance of the Day with Boss.

Boss is a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Samba Hit II. Describing the ride, French explained, “With Boss, I have to think about riding a little taller and not let him get too low. Some horses I can relax and lean into the jumps more, but with him I have to tell myself to stay tall, relax about the lead changes, and be soft on his mouth.”

“He is so pretty. You have to like that,” French said of what makes Boss special. “He gets 10 bonus points on that. He just goes like a real hunter. He has a great expression; his ears never go back, and he has a beautiful face and neck.”

Speaking of Sochi, a six-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Quirado, French noted, “I was really happy with him. Capital Challenge at the end of the week, he was acting sort of weird and he got sick. He had a fever and he lost a lot of weight, so I opted not to take him to Harrisburg. I gave him some time off and hoped that he would be ready to come here. He had off from the end of Capital Challenge until last Saturday. It was great that he was able to show here and it ended like this.”

“He is super brave; he is not a hard horse to prepare,” French added. “I just wanted to make sure that he was feeling better. I did not even do that much to get ready this week. I did not ride him in the ring. I just trusted; I did not want to stress him out and work him too hard. He was a little fresh, but I think the judges liked it because he was jumping so high over the jumps.”

In addition to his grand championship mounts, French had a fantastic week with Center Court, earning the High Performance championship. The young Holsteiner gelding gave French his best score of the show with a 92 in Tuesday night’s handy round. French is now done competing for the fall season and looks forward to returning to California with his top prizes.

Gochman and Portela Win Amateur-Owner Titles

The Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions concluded their second day of competition at WIHS Wednesday and awarded championship honors. For the second year in a row, the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” championship was awarded to David Gochman’s Last Call, ridden by Becky Gochman. The pair earned the Frank Counselman Memorial Perpetual Trophy after topping the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” Over 35 division, sponsored by Cembell Industries. They placed first and third over fences and won under saddle. The reserve champion was Airport 48, owned by John and Stephanie Ingram LLC, and ridden by John Ingram. Ingram placed fourth in the first class over fences and then won two more. His stake round score of 87 earned The Shari Hollis Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by the Late Col. J. B. Hollis and Ms. Jeannie Hollis.

In the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” 18-35 division, the championship was awarded to Libertas Farm LLC’s Chablis, ridden by Kelley Tropin. That pair placed first, fourth and fourth over fences and second under saddle. Krista Weisman and her own and Alexa Weisman’s Reality finished in reserve with first and second place ribbons over fences.

Becky Gochman and Last Call
Becky Gochman and Last Call

Gochman’s results also earned her the Leading Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider Award for the 3’6” level, sponsored by Kessler Show Stables. This was her fourth time receiving the honor.

“It has been a lucky show for me. I am so happy because it is a good way to end the year, and now the horses get to go to Florida and relax,” Gochman noted. “All of my horses have been so good this year and I am just very pleased with all of them. I’m sure they’re looking forward to a little break and I’m looking forward to a little break. Everybody needs to rest, but I think they knew that this was important and they tried extra hard. I believe that horses can sense their surroundings and sense the importance of things and they really want to do the right thing most of the time. My horses for sure want to do everything to please me, so I could not be happier.”

Last Call, a 14-year-old Warmblood gelding, is known as Finley in the barn. Gochman explained that he is always determined to get treats.

“He looks for anything that has to do with food at all times,” she laughed. “He is a big horse and you have to be careful around him sometimes, but he’s so good that I can’t help but give him lots of treats. He is such a good boy.”

As Last Call moves into his later years, Gochman is careful to plan every detail of his schedule, and has great help with Scott Stewart and Ken Berkley in their training program at Rivers Edge.

“We try to show him sparingly, and we jump him at home sparingly, because I hope that he can last for a couple more years and then off to a good retirement,” Gochman noted. “He’ll let us know. He doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. In fact, he can sometimes be the opposite. He can get a little up in the classes. I want this to be fun for my horses and I want it to be fun for myself. There are a bunch of great competitors out there and it is really nice to be with them and the sport has been a great family sport for us. We have a good program. Scott keeps a master eye on the horses.”

Last Call’s groom, Georgie Jacinto, makes sure that his horses are always shining and well cared for, and his hard work paid off this week as well. Last Call was presented the Best Turned Out Horse Award, presented by The Clothes Horse.

“All of our grooms are really good and Georgie works very hard on Last Call,” Gochman acknowledged. “Last Call has a very striking look to him. He is very tall, a dark bay with that big stripe and a little bit of white in his eye. He is just so handsome.”

Continuing the day, the Amateur-Owner Working Hunter 3’3” 18-35 division presented championship honors to Nicole Lyvere and Certainty, with a win and two second place ribbons over fences. Alexis Martin and Budweis’czar placed first, second and fifth over fences to finish in reserve.

At the conclusion of the afternoon, Isalou Inc.’s Winner was named Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” Champion, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Earnest M. Oare. Winner’s rider, Daryl Portela, was named the Leading Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider for the 3’3” division overall.

The pair topped the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” Over 35 division with three wins over fences and a third place finish under saddle. Portela also accepted the award for Best Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” Stake Round with a high score of 88 and was awarded the EQUUS Foundation Best Amateur Performance of the Day. Reserve honors went to Glen Senk and Fashion Farm’s Loyalty, with two second-place ribbons over fences, as well as a second place finish under saddle.

Portela has owned Winner, a 12-year-old Warmblood gelding (by Haarlem), for four years. The pair competes with the help of trainer Jimmy Torano and has consistently swept ribbons around the country since their partnership began. Portela also earned the same division championship, grand championship and leading rider titles in 2012 and 2013 with Winner. Those two years, the duo won all four division classes. She took last year off from WIHS while Torano judged the competition.

“It is a little emotional. It feels really good,” Portela said of her overall accomplishment. “I wanted to come back and do it again after my year off. Winner was great yesterday and won the first class, then he was third in the hack and won both classes today, so it is very exciting. He loves this horse show. I like this horse show. It is exciting to be in the city.”

Portela said that she does about 15 horse shows a year, and tries to keep Winner’s schedule focused on the most important events. The horse also maintains a light work schedule at home.

“I don’t show him a lot. I never jump him at home. I hack him,” she noted. “He has been pretty consistent. I know him really well now and I trust him. I try to just go in and have fun, but I am very competitive. He has just been an awesome horse.”

Portela and Winner travel to Kentucky to compete next week and then make the trip to Wellington, FL for the winter, where Winner will enjoy living at Torano’s brand new farm.

Hunter competition at the 2015 Washington International Horse Show continues on Thursday with the beginning of Junior Hunter competition in the morning. In the jumpers, Low and High Junior/Amateur-Owner competition will be featured in the afternoon, along with a $35,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake. The evening session will welcome local horse lovers, riders, trainers, and their families for Barn Night, presented by Dover Saddlery, beginning at 6 p.m. The $20,000 International Jumper Gambler’s Choice costume class, presented by the Winter Equestrian Festival will be the highlight event of the evening.

For those who cannot make it to the show, it will be live streamed in its entirety at www.wihs.org and is also available on USEF Network at www.usefnetwork.com.

About Washington International Horse Show, www.wihs.org
Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the most prestigious equestrian sporting events in the U.S. More than 26,000 spectators attend the six-day show, which includes Olympic-level competition along with community and charity events. More than 500 top horses and riders come to D.C. from all over the globe to jump for more than a half a million dollars in prize money. Event highlights include the $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, for the President’s Cup (Saturday night), The Boeing Company Puissance high jump competition on Military Night (Friday) and Kids’ Day (Saturday), a free, fun and educational community event. The Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition and is recognized as a Top 25 Horse Show by the North American Riders Group. WIHS is rated CSI4*-W by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the world governing body for horse sports.

Tim Goguen and Character Capture Championship at Kentucky Summer Classic

Tim Goguen and Character.

Lexington, KY – July 30, 2014 – At the end of today’s Kentucky Summer Classic Second Year Green Hunters, the hotly contested division championship had come down to a tie. Both Character, ridden by Tim Goguen, and Silhouette, ridden by John French, sat tied at 32 points, but with more points earned over fences it was Goguen and Character who claimed the division’s top title.

“He went nicely this week. He tried hard and ended up champion,” Goguen said of Character, a 12-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Belhaven Stables LLC of Wellington, FL. “We got him the last week of the circuit in Florida, and he’s been pretty consistent. He’s a good horse.”

Goguen and Character came into today with a blue ribbon already under their belt from yesterday, and they added the points from a second and third place finish today to their cumulative tally. French and Silhouette also started the day with a blue ribbon in the under saddle class to their name, and they added one more win to their list with the victory in the Second Year Green Hunter Handy class.

French originally imported Silhouette, a 10-year-old Westphalian mare, from Germany before selling her to current owner Lyn Pedersen. Pedersen, an Old Greenwich, CT native, has had Silhouette on the East Coast while French calls the West Coast home, but French picked up the ride again in the fall of 2013 and has been extremely successful with the mare since.

“She’s a mare, so she’s a little bit sensitive. She has to have a lot of trust in you,” French explained. “You have to keep everything kind of calm and confident. You don’t have to do anything hard to make her jump well. She’s a little cautious – that’s a good word for her. She needs that positive reinforcement.”

John French and Silhouette
John French and Silhouette

French made the trip to the Kentucky Horse Park with numerous mounts this week in preparation for the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, to be held August 14-16 during the Kentucky Bluegrass Horse Show.

“We came for this show, and we’ll give them some time off next week and then have them all ready and fresh for the following week,” French explained. “It’s good to come here and just kind of get a feel for how they’re going to be that week.”

Also feeling out how her horses will be during Derby Finals is Kelley Farmer. She swept this week’s Regular Conformation Hunters with Kensel LLC’s Quotable, winning all five of the division’s classes.

In the High Performance Hunters it was again Farmer who took the tri-color, this time with Why, an 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding.

Since being purchased from Bridget Hallman by Larry Glefke and Kensel LLC, Why has been ridden by Evan Coluccio much of the time, but Farmer took the reins this week, earning back-to-back blue ribbons in today’s High Performance over fences classes.

“When things are going well, I like to change them around,” joked Glefke regarding the rider switch.

“I rode him once when we bought him. I showed him once in Michigan, but I don’t know much about him,” Farmer said. “I do know that he’s big strided; he’s scopey, and he’s quiet. He was great today.”

“He’s probably one of the scopiest warmbloods I know,” Glefke added. “He was jumping jumps a grand prix horse jumps out there. I love him; I genuinely love him. I bought him for Kelley and Evan. I thought he would be a great horse to show. Now I am going to put him in the junior division with Kirklen [Petersen].”

The reserve championship in the High Performance Hunters also went to Lane Change Farm, with Evan Coluccio and Cardozo riding away with the tricolor.

Today marked the end of the professional hunter divisions, but the hunter competition continues tomorrow with the Junior Hunters. In addition to offering a full range of competitive hunter divisions, the Kentucky Summer Classic features the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby on Saturday, Aug. 2.

For more information about the Kentucky Summer Series, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Kentucky Summer Series Fast Facts

Events:
Kentucky Summer Horse Shows, USEF National Pony Finals, Bluegrass Festival Horse Show and KHJA Horse Show, and the 2014 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals.

What:
The Kentucky Horse Show LLC’s 2014 series includes five weeks of top competition throughout the summer. These premier hunter/jumper competitions host the Hagyard Challenge Series with seven grand prix competitions that culminate with a Leading Rider Award, as well as the Hallway Feeds National Derby Series.

Where:
Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY, site of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™. Home to the United States Equestrian Federation.

When:

NORTH AMERICAN JUNIOR & YOUNG RIDER CHAMPIONSHIPS – July 15-20, 2014
KENTUCKY SUMMER HORSE SHOW – July 23-27, 2014
$25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic
$50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix
$5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby

KENTUCKY SUMMER CLASSIC – July 29 – August 3, 2014
$25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic
$50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix sponsored by GGT Footings
$5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby

2014 USEF PONY FINALS – August 5-10, 2014
BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL HORSE SHOW – August 12-17, 2014
USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals
USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship
$25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic
$40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix
$5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby
WCHR Member Event

KHJA HORSE SHOW – August 20-24, 2014
$10,000 Hagyard Welcome Stake
$30,000 KHJA Grand Prix
$5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby

Sponsors:
A special thanks to the generous sponsors of the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows: Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Hallway Feeds, Audi of Lexington, GGT Footing, Equestrian Services International, Johnson Horse Transportation, Farm Vet, Dietrich Insurance, Take2 Thoroughbred Program, Sleepy P Ranch, and the Official Hotel The Clarion

Hours:
8am – 5pm daily

Parking:
Horse Show Exhibitors may purchase a weekly parking pass at the main Horse Park entrance for $15.00. Dogs are permitted at the Kentucky Horse Park on a leash.

Directions:
The Kentucky Horse Park is located 8 miles northeast of Lexington, Kentucky at Exit 120 on Interstate 75.

Information:
Before Show – (859) 233-0492, Email: hakshows@earthlink.net
During Show – Telephone: (859) 254-3343, Fax: (859) 231-6097
Stabling – Email Tom Blankenship at tomblank@bellsouth.net
Stable office – Before Show: (843) 269-4737, During Show: (859) 255-0605
Prize List Advertising – Email Cindy Bozan at cindy@kentuckyhorseshows.com or call (859) 608-3709
Vendors – Email Cindy Bozan at cindy@kentuckyhorseshows.com or call (859) 608-3709

Shownet – www.shownet.biz

Website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Ring Dimensions/Specs:

The Stonelea Ring, Murphy Ring, Walnut Ring, Stonelea/Murphy Schooling Ring, the Alltech Arena and the Rolex Stadium have Otto Sport footing consisting of fine sand and synthetic fiber on pvc mats. The Claiborne, Annex, and Covered Arena (old) rings’ footing consists of a sand cushion on limestone base. The dimensions of the competition areas are as follows:

Stonelea: 140′x 280′, Murphy: 135′x 280′, Stonelea and Murphy Schooling: 110′x 400′
Walnut: 300′x 370′, Claiborne: 140′x 270′, Annex 130′x 250′, Covered Arena (old): 145′x 285′ Rolex Stadium: 360′ x 384′, Alltech Arena: 132′ x 265′

Shopping:
Vendors offering equestrian equipment, apparel, jewelry and home furnishings are located adjacent to the Stonelea Ring.

Hotels:

CLARION HOTEL (Formerly Holiday Inn North) – 859-233-0512 – Approximately 4 miles (OFFICIAL HOTEL)
Discover the place where elegant comfort in an ideal location meets excellent service and affordability. At the Clarion Hotel Lexington, you’ll find well-appointed accommodations with options of double/doubles, double queens, king rooms or suites, exceptional amenities such as our free hot breakfast buffet, and Southern hospitality at its finest. The best hotel for Keeneland – located in the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region – home of the Kentucky Horse Park, the Lexington Convention Center, University of Kentucky, and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail – our Lexington hotel is on Newtown Pike at Exit 115 on I-75, close to all the big attractions, and is the perfect place to stay whether you’re here to get down to business or have some fun. Best of all, bring your furry friends for any trip because the Clarion Hotel in Lexington is also pet-friendly.

CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS:
Reservations may not be made through the Horse Show office. To reserve a campsite at the Kentucky Horse Park for any of the horse shows, please call the Campground store at (800) 370-6416 or 859-259-4157 or email Sherry Logan at sherryd.logan@ky.gov. Be specific as to the show name and the dates you wish to stay. Check-in time is 2:00 p.m. and check-out is 12:00 noon. You must make arrangements with the Campground store if you plan to arrive earlier than 2:00 p.m. or stay later than 12:00 noon. Vehicles that are not removed from a campsite by check-out time will be towed.

Management:
Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC
P. O. Box 11428
Lexington, KY 40575-1428
859-233-0492 (phone)
859-233-0495 (fax)
email: hakshows@earthlink.net
website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Media Contact:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12230 Forest Hill Blvd.
Suite 214
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
www.phelpsmediagroup.com

John French and Soldier Win $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Thermal

©Flying Horse Photography. John French dominated the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Thermal this weekend with two top placings, including a win with Soldier.

THERMAL, CA (January 27, 2014) – The West Coast’s top hunter riders flexed their muscles this weekend at HITS Thermal and battled for top prizes in the first $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix of the HITS Desert Circuit. John French of Woodside, California and Jenny Karazissis of Calabasas, California traded off at the top, with French collecting first and third, while Karazissis was second and fourth.

French and Elizabeth Gabler’s Soldier were the pair to beat, earning a pair of 87s for the top prize. French imported Soldier, an eight-year-old gelding from Ireland, two years ago and sold him to Gabler. “He is such an easy going horse,” said French. “He has done the Medals and the Maclays with Sophie Simpson and did the WIHS Equitation Finals at the Washington International Horse Show last year as a seven-year old.”

Not only did Soldier compete in Washington, he won the Equitation Final with Maddy Darst aboard, proving that he can win in any ring.

The Devoucoux Hunter Prix took place in the Outside Course at HITS Thermal and was set by Tucker Williams of Houston, Texas. “I built in a few bending lines and added a combination on the bank to really utilize this ring,” said Williams, who owns and operates CCI Jumps in Texas. “This was a spectacular group of horses and riders and they showcased themselves well in the first round, while showing off their handy abilities in the second.”

French agreed that the Outside Course is becoming a favorite among hunter riders at HITS Thermal. “It’s really nice to have the two rings to go in and out of,” said French referring to the layout that combines two regular hunter rings, providing an expansive field for a true hunter prix experience.

Karazissis was only a half point off French in each round, pocketing a pair of 86.5s aboard Kelly Straeter’s Norwegian Wood for second place. French answered back in third with Noelle Wolf’s Bay Lane. They earned an 85.5 in the first round and an 87 in the second. Karazissis was fourth with Straeter’s Undeniable and scores of 86 and 85. Hope Glynn rode to her share of the winner’s purse in fifth with Helen McEvoy’s Campari. They scored a 170 after posting an 84.5 and an 85.5.

This weekend’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix kicks off West Coast qualifying for the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final. A Devoucoux-sponsored rider himself, French had to sit the Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final out last year due to injury, but is confident that he will be present at the HITS Championship at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York this year.

Aside from his win in the Devoucoux Hunter Prix, French was also named the Charles Owen Leading Hunter Rider for Desert Circuit I.

About Devoucoux
Devoucoux, makers of fine French saddles, is proud to be the title sponsor of each and every qualifying Hunter Prix leading up to the phenomenal Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final. Devoucoux offers a wide range of saddles in many colors and sizes and matching accessories. Devoucoux craftsmen are devoted to creating beautiful products that reflect their obsession with quality and lovingly finished work. For more information on Devoucoux, visit devoucoux.com.

$1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix
Katie Cook had never jumped a jump on Symphony, owned by Amy Knox before she arrived at HITS Thermal last week. The pair became fast friends, however, jumping to three blue ribbons during Week I, winning the Marshall & Sterling Adult Medal on Friday and guiding Symphony to the top of an Adult Hunter class on Saturday before winning the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix on Sunday.

©Flying Horse Photography. Katie Cook and Symphony jump their way to a win in the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix at HITS Thermal.
©Flying Horse Photography. Katie Cook and Symphony jump their way to a win in the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix at HITS Thermal.

“This horse jumps great from anywhere,” said Cook. “I always know that whatever the distance, he is always going to give me a great effort.”

Cook topped the first round with a score of 86 and returned in the second to earn an 81. “This course was perfect – there were plenty of challenges, but it was straightforward enough for the first week,” said Cook.

Sabrina Tirbor of Tustin Ranch, California was second on her own Caspar after riding to an 85 and 80, respectively. Heidi Kane, who hails from Newport Beach, California, earned a 79 and 83 aboard her own Samba Gracious for third. Jerrie Calandra of Encinitas, California was fourth in the irons of Moonlite Beach, LLC’s Wonderwall. They earned a 77 and 81. Caroline Neirenberg rounded out the top five on her own Bachelor with a 75 and 77.

The $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix will be offered weekly coast to coast this winter as a qualifier for the Platinum Performance $250,000 Hunter Prix Final. The final returns to the HITS Championship in Saugerties, New York this fall and offers junior and amateur hunter riders the opportunity to show for exciting prize money over thrilling courses.

About Platinum Performance
Platinum Performance provides more than 10 supplements essential to your horse’s health and conditioning in just one scoop. Platinum Performance Equine addresses a horse’s total body health from joint and hoof care to athletic performance and coat health, and is the 2014 sponsor of the $250,000 Hunter Prix Final and all qualifiers. For more information on Platinum Performance, visit platinumperformance.com.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
845.246.8833 Tel • Media_Info@HitsShows.comHitsShows.com

Third Time’s a Charm for French and Small Affair in $25,000 WCHR Professional Challenge

Small Affair and John French. Photos copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.

Crolick Named Winner of Developing Pro Challenge, Pletcher and Q Win North American Future Hunter Championship, Stewart and Farmer Share Top Hunter Honors

Upper Marlboro, MD – October 2, 2013 – The Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by The Gochman Family, featured the best hunters in the country as well as up-and-coming talent in both horses and riders. The day was full of competition, but the highlight class was the $25,000 WCHR Professional Challenge. John French took home the win for the third time in class history on Small Affair.

The $5,000 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge victory went to Greg Crolick riding Grey Street. Peter Pletcher rode Susan Baker’s Q to the win in the $20,000 Added North American Future Hunter Championship. After the final four professional hunter divisions finished competition today, the Grand Hunter Champion and Leading Hunter Rider honors were awarded as well. Don’t forget, you can watch all of the winning jumping rounds by clicking on the “Individual Rounds” button at www.capitalchallenge.org.

The remaining highlight class of the week for the professional hunter riders is the $5,000 WCHR Professional Finals, presented by the John R. Ingram Fund, for the top six hunter riders in the country on Friday, October 4. The Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center, will run through Sunday, October 6.

The $25,000 WCHR Professional Challenge, sponsored by Pony Lane Farm, had 23 entries, and 12 of those returned for a second round in the evening session. Coming back on top for the second round was John French on Iwasaki & Reilly’s Small Affair, the winner of this class in 2010 and 2011. In the first round, they scored 90.33, and they returned to score 88.08 for a total of 178.41 for victory. Second place went to Kelley Farmer on Mythical. They scored 88.50 and 89.33 for a total of 177.83. Hayley Barnhill and Fonteyn were third with a total score of 175.66. Jennifer Bauersachs and Avignon placed fourth with a score of 173.91, while Havens Schatt and Bacardi scored 171.66 for fifth place.

French said of his rounds, “His first round was exceptionally great. He just jumped high and it was super smooth. I think I had enough of a lead coming into the second round. I’m not sure where I ended up in the second round, not the top, maybe third or fourth. But when you add the two scores together, it was enough to win. That was good having that cushion coming in. He had a rub in the second round, but otherwise he was great.”

“Third time’s a charm,” French said with a smile. “He loves this class. It’s pretty hard to win it three times on the same horse. Those are the best horses. Most professionals bring in their heavy hitters, their top horses.”

It was a redeeming class for French, who has had a tough year of injuries. In a fall in January, he broke his foot and had major tendon and ligament damage. It has not healed as well as he hoped, and in June, he underwent shoulder surgery as well. “It was kind of an off year, but I got well enough to come to indoors,” he acknowledged. “At first, it was nice to take a little bit of a break. Then when these kinds of shows come, you want to be better and back riding again. I love this horse show and what they do for the World Hunter rider awards.”

French said that his five-year relationship with Small Affair, a 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Elf d’Or, is what leads to their success, even if French doesn’t compete with him very often. “I think there are some horses that you just have a partnership with,” he expressed. “I know what upsets him, what he likes, how much work he needs. I wouldn’t have wanted to ride any other horse in the class tonight because I know him so well. He always gives and tries to jump a beautiful jump every time.”

French and Small Affair were presented with the “Little Brook” Perpetual Trophy donated by Gary Duffy.

Greg Crolick and Grey Street Rise to Top of Developing Pro Challenge

Twenty-eight entries lined up to compete in the $5,000 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge. With equal scores of 88 in both rounds, Greg Crolick and Adrienne Marciano’s Grey Street jumped to victory with a total 176. Close behind in second place was Jamie Taylor on Cipriani. They received scores of 87 and 88.66 for a total of 175.66. Taylor Adams and Taken were third with a score of 174.99, while Jennifer Bliss rode Poker Face to 171.83 and fourth place. Fifth place went to Trentino and Megan Young, who scored 170.50.

Grey Street and Greg Crolick
Grey Street and Greg Crolick

Crolick hails from Bloomfield Hills, MI, and admitted that he doesn’t fit the typical expectation of a “Developing” professional. “This year it was weird to be qualified as a Developing Professional because I’m 41 and have been doing this a while,” he said with a laugh, “but I met all of the qualifications. Hopefully, next year I’ll be in the Professional Challenge.”

Staying relaxed was on the game plan for this class, since it was more of a hunter classic-style course. Crolick explained, “I have a tendency to get aggressive when I’m in there, like a handy derby. So in this type of classical hunter round, you need to be a little quieter and be a little more subdued.”

He has been riding Grey Street, a 10-year-old Brandenburg gelding, since January. The horse was originally imported from Europe to be a jumper by Seth Vallhonrat. When he knew he was qualified for tonight’s class, Crolick chose Grey Street immediately.

“He’s a wonderful horse,” Crolick said. “Just the way he canters across the ground, he’s so pretty between the jumps. The whole picture looks so consistent and nice. And I know his mind-frame walking in there will be dependable. I know him the best.”

Crolick was happy to be a part of the class. “I think this class really highlights the rider and how the rider goes in the ring. It’s nice to have your peers at the gate whooping for you and congratulating you and you’re in competition with them,” he related. “Outside of that, this helps for your profile as a professional moving forward.”

He continued, “Even though I’ve been teased this whole week about why I’m in the Developing Professionals, it’s all fun banter. It means a lot (to win). Last year I was here watching it and this year I’m doing it. I’m glad I was here and had a great outcome. It worked out really well.”

Q Is Letter Perfect in North American Future Hunter Championship

Q and Peter Pletcher
Q and Peter Pletcher

The country’s best Pre-Green horses gathered for the $20,000 Added North American Future Hunter Championship, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Douglas Wheeler, Kocher Tack, Corrine Bevis/San Marcos Training, and Makoto Farm, Inc., in the Show Place Arena this morning. The top Future Hunters from six divisions went head-to-head in the indoor arena, and it was Peter Pletcher on Susan Baker’s Q who took the title. They scored 89.80 in the first round and improved to 90.80 in the second round for a total of 180.60.

Havens Schatt and Kaepernick, owned by Deborah Perkins, were second with scores of 85.40 and 87.40 for a total of 172.80. Third place went to Louise Serio on Lulu, owned by Merrylegs South, who had a total score of 170.90. Hunt Tosh rode Kenneth and Douglas Wheeler’s Crisp to a score of 170.10 for fourth place. Fifth place went to Truman, ridden by Chris Payne and owned by Maypine Farm. They scored a total of 166.05.

Pletcher and Q, a seven-year-old Warmblood gelding by Quite Easy, were the Future Hunter 3’3” champions yesterday and while he mentioned that usually it takes Q a round to get used to a new environment, he easily adapted in today’s class. “It was unbelievable. He was game on, ready. The jumps were little, and that helped me a lot. If he had to walk in there and do a true 3’3” (course), I think he might have been a little more impressed,” Pletcher pointed out. “This is the third day he’s shown. Taking all that into consideration, he was a superstar.”

Pletcher said the second round was even better, “He’d been in there once and he was all business. He was like, ‘I got it.’”

For their win, Q and Pletcher were presented with the Beverly Brooks Solter Memorial Trophy donated by Hilary Scheer Gerhardt and Zan Martin Dillon. The EMO Trip of the Show for Future Hunters went to Scott Stewart and Classical, who scored a 90.5.

Professional Hunter Divisions Wrap Up Competition

The First Year Green Working Hunter Section A championship, sponsored by Peter Pletcher/PJP Farm, went to Bacardi, a seven-year-old KWPN gelding by Casco, ridden by Havens Schatt for Caroline Moran. Bacardi placed first in two classes and second in two classes over fences. The reserve champion was Avignon, ridden by Jennifer Bauersachs and owned by Francesca Migliore. They placed first, second, and fourth.

Bacardi is no stranger to Capital Challenge, having been Grand Future Hunter Champion in 2011 and victorious in the North American Future Hunter Championship in 2012. This year, going from the indoor arena to the outside ring was a benefit, Schatt thought. “Today woke him up a little bit. I think he jumped the best today of the three days because it was something new. He was fresh and it was a new place,” she added.

Having two years of solid competition under his belt has made Bacardi a solid campaigner. “He’s always been a show horse. He loves it here. He was a bit of a quirky horse when he was younger, and now you can count on him when you need him,” Schatt said. “He’s just such an amazing horse. When they win at Pre-Green as much as he did, you hope that they can go on and do it in their First Year because the competition is just so much stronger. He was consistent in every class here. I’m very proud that he’s maintained his top level of competition through three years of showing.”

Bacardi was also presented with the Grand First Year Green Hunter Championship, sponsored by Summer Hill Farms, Jordan Gilchrist, & Laura Hightower and was presented with the Magda and George Z. Lefton Memorial Trophy donated by Stacey Lefton Glick. In addition, they won the Tribute Perpetual Trophy donated by Scott Stewart for the highest cumulative numerical point total in a single professional division. They tied with Victoria Colvin and Way Cool for the EMO Trip of the Show with a score of 90.5

Kelley Farmer picked up two championship ribbons today. The first came in the First Year Green Working Hunters Section B, sponsored by the Sadrian and Kellogg Families, with Mythical, owned by Larry Glefke and Dr. Kenneth Garber. They placed first in three over fences classes. Fashion Farm’s Loyalty, ridden by Scott Stewart, was the reserve champion with first, second, third, and third place ribbons.

Farmer has been riding Mythical, a nine-year-old Westphalian gelding by Cornet Obolensky, just over a year and he immediately stepped up to the winner’s circle. They are on track to win the USEF Horse of the Year award, they won four USHJA International Hunter Derbies, and finished second at the derby finals. “He’s done nothing but be a great horse for me. When it goes wrong, it’s because of me,” she said with a smile. “He’s the smartest horse I’ve ever had. He really believes there’s nothing he can’t do, and he’s probably right.”

She and Quotable were the Green Conformation Hunter champions, sponsored by Lisa A.H. Cudahy, as well as the Regular Conformation Hunter reserve champions. In the Green division, they won the model and three over fences classes, and they finished third in the remaining jumping class. They were also second in the under saddle. In the Regular division, they won the model, were second, second, and fifth over fences, and were second under saddle. Farmer also rode the Green Conformation reserve champion, Backstory, who is owned by Tia Schurecht. They were second in the model, first, fifth, and sixth over fences, and they won the under saddle.

Quotable is an eight-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Larry Glefke and Dr. Kenneth Garber. Although he was ridden by Holly Orlando this winter, a change of rider was no problem for the young horse. He has been champion or reserve every time out in 2013. “He’s unbelievable to ride; there are no tricks to him. He’s not a hard horse,” Farmer said.

Quotable also won the Grand Conformation Hunter Championship and was presented with the Kenneth M. Wheeler Perpetual Trophy donated by BJ Meeks and Pablo Perez.

Having two such great horses in their first year of major competition is fun for Farmer. “They’re like a little and big version of each other. But we don’t do Quotable in the derbies. Mythical is the derby horse. Quotable is the pretty boy and Mythical is the tough boy,” she laughed.

She continued about her young stars, “We’re lucky enough to have one of them, let alone a barn full of them. You always have to look for the next one. If you’re just looking for ‘the one’ or just waiting for one, then that’s all you’ll have.”

The Regular Conformation Hunter champion for the second year in a row was Showman, ridden by Scott Stewart and owned by Alexa and Krista Weisman. They won three over fences classes along with the under saddle, and they placed second in the model. The division was sponsored by Hidden Hollow LLC & Ginny Edwards and Joie Gatlin/Morley Abey Show Jumping Inc.

Thanks to a light showing schedule, Showman, an 11-year-old Westphalian gelding by Showstar, always arrives at Capital Challenge fresh. He is a successful product of the Future Hunter division, having won a Grand Future Hunter championship here in 2009, the First Year Green championship in 2010, the Second Year Green championship in 2011, and last year’s Regular Conformation win.

As a veteran competitor, Showman makes Stewart’s job easy. “It’s nice to have him and Everly. They’re easy horses. They try to do their best, and there are no tricks to them. He’s really simple and he never tries to do anything wrong. It’s nice to fall back on them.”

Showman was one of three horses that finished with 40 points in a division and tied for the Grand Hunter Championship, which is sponsored by RSB Farms, Inc. and Rob Bielefeld. Scott Stewart had two mounts in the presentation in Dr. Betsee Parker’s Everly and Showman, owned by Alexa and Krista Weisman. Kelley Farmer and Quotable joined them in the presentation, and all three were presented with the Janet Polk Read and Margaret Hough Sabbatini Memorial Trophy, donated by the Goguen Family. Stewart and Farmer also shared Leading Hunter Rider honors, which were sponsored by the Gibson Family and Shadyside Farm and Hobby Family Foundation. They were presented with the BJ’s Hunt Room Trophy, donated by BJ Meeks and Pablo Perez.

There was also a tie for the Grand Future Hunter Championship between Knob Creek, ridden by Jocelyn Martin and owned by Dana Nifosi, and Crisp, ridden by Hunt Tosh for Kenneth and Douglas Wheeler. The championship was sponsored by David Belford and Christopher Payne/New Hope LLC & Susan Moriconi. They were presented with “A Rare Diamond” Perpetual Trophy donated by “The Friends of Mickey.”

The Grand Green Hunter Championship is sponsored by Balmoral Farm Inc. and Traci & Carleton Brooks. This year the award went to Queen Lattifa, ridden by Hunt Tosh for Kenneth and Douglas Wheeler.

The Grey Slipper Award and Perpetual Trophy, donated by Bridget Hallman, was awarded to Stephanie Riggio’s Indian Summer and Fiddler’s Bridge for excellence in the professional and amateur hunter divisions.

The $1,000 Senior WCHR Under Saddle victory, sponsored by Arcadia Farm, went to Andover, ridden by Alicia Saxton and owned by Savannah Stuart. They were presented with the Hollywood Challenge Trophy donated by Paula Polk Lillard.

Correction: Yesterday’s release included the incorrect reserve champion for the Performance 3’6” Hunters. The reserve champion was Small Affair, ridden by John French for Iwasaki & Reilly.

The Capital Challenge Horse Show continues tomorrow with championships for the Amateur-Owner 3’3” and 3’6” Hunters and three sections of Adult Amateur Hunters. The WCHR Amateur-Owner Challenge 3’3” and 3’6” will be held in the afternoon, and the $10,000 Children’s/Adult Jumper Challenge will wrap up the evening festivities.

For full results, more information, or to watch the SmartPak live webcast, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org.

About Capital Challenge
In its 20th year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, this year’s show will take place on September 28 – October 6.

Top competitions include the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals and the THIS National Children’s Medal Finals, along with the Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend, presented by Bigeq.com. In addition to these prestigious equitation events, the Capital Challenge Horse Show will once again host the World Champion Hunter Rider Finals and will assemble the country’s best horses and riders to compete in junior, amateur, and professional hunter classes.

For more information, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org or visit the Capital Challenge Horse Show page on Facebook!

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

John Pearce Victorious in the $40,000 Griffis Apartment Funds Grand Prix

Small Affair Dominates the Hunters in Week Five at the Colorado Summer Circuit

Small Affair, shown here with John French, dominated week five of the Colorado Summer Circuit with two championships and two classic wins. Photo credit: Flying Horse Photography

Parker, CO — Have you jumped at a mile high? If not, you are missing one of the most talked about horse shows of the year. With its expanded six-week schedule, The Colorado Horse Park has been the summer vacation spot with big money for both hunters and jumpers. Of course, this show is also about the parties, including the Friday Afternoon Club at A Bit of Tack, sponsored this week by Arenus, and an exhibitor party that rocked for hours after the Grand Prix.

Week five of the Colorado Summer Circuit was highlighted by the $40,000 Griffis Apartment Funds Grand Prix. Twenty-nine entries contested the course designed by Dave Ballard. Among the trouble spots was the triple combination into the crowd, with a related distance to the Griffis Group jump, the final obstacle on the course. Maggie Jayne, Elgin, IL, who had four rides in the class, reflected, “I thought it was a nice, challenging course.”

John Pearce had no difficulty with the first round, qualifying both of his rides, Son of a Gun and Chianto, for the jump-off. Karen Cudmore also qualified two horses and Jayne, rode Thomas Edison to a perfect first round to join the World Equestrian Games veterans in the second round.

Karen Cudmore and Southern Pride were first to return. As always, the perennial winner gave the audience a thrill. The 1998 Holsteiner stallion cut an impressive figure, but he lowered the last fence in a time of 33.892.  Pearce and Son of a Gun were next. Although they had won last week’s $30,000 Grand Prix Presented by Nutrena, this week they too were foiled by the last jump. Although the pair’s time of 31.973 gave the rest of the class something to aim for.

Continue reading John Pearce Victorious in the $40,000 Griffis Apartment Funds Grand Prix

John French Leads an Impressive Group of Hunters at the Colorado Summer Circuit

John French and Crown Affair won the $1,000 Open Hunter Classic Sponsored by Horse Connection. Photo credit: Flying Horse Photography

Parker, CO — While the Grand Prix horses are always a big draw at any hunter/jumper show, the hunters are getting a lot of attention during the Colorado Summer Circuit. Show manager Pat Boyle not only has great prize money in every division, but he’s created a wonderful, lush platform for the course designers to develop classes that show off the athletic ability and beauty of some of the nation’s finest hunters.

Last week John French and Yellow Dog Farm’s Crown Affair won three of four over fences classes in the High Performance Hunter division and also took home the blue ribbon in the $1,000 Open Hunter Classic sponsored by Horse Connection. Crown Affair, a Holsteiner stallion by Cor de la Bryere out of a Capitol I mare, is always a favorite in the Derby classes. “We’re preparing for the Derby Finals in Kentucky,” French explained. “He’s on his farewell tour and will retire at the Hampton Classic.” Although his show schedule is winding down, the handsome bay stallion will continue his already successful breeding career. With Crown Affair’s incredible performances, French said, “It’s hard when he goes so well. Does he really want to retire? I was so proud of how he went this week.”

French also praised the courses. He said, “The jumps were amazing with so much greenery and brush, plus a few natural jumps. It makes the horses jump their best. I was really happy that we came.”

Continue reading John French Leads an Impressive Group of Hunters at the Colorado Summer Circuit