Tim Gredley and Unex Valente clear 2.10m. Photos © Shawn McMillen Photography.
McLain Ward and Wings Top $50,000 Open Jumper Speed Final; Hymowitz and Strauss Victorious in Junior/Amateur-Owners Jumpers; Sommers, Hymowitz and MacPherson Tie for Grand Junior Hunter Championship
Washington, D.C – October 25, 2013 – The 55th annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) continued on Friday, October 25, with an exciting day of hunter, jumper, and equitation competition at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The $25,000 Open Jumper Puissance, presented by The Boeing Company, was the highlight class of the evening with a win for Great Britain’s Tim Gredley and Unex Competition Yard’s Unex Valente, clearing the imposing wall in five rounds up to a height of 2.10m.
McLain Ward (USA) topped the $50,000 Open Jumper Speed Final, Cloe Hymowitz and Katherine Strauss triumphed in the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers, and Meredith Darst took the early lead in the Hermès WIHS Equitation Finals Hunter Phase. Samantha Sommers, Lili Hymowitz, and Megan MacPherson all finished in a three-way tie for the Grand Junior Hunter Championship. Sommers was also named Best Child Rider on a Horse for 2013.
WIHS continues through Sunday, October 27. The $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, a FEI World Cup qualifier presented by Events DC, will be the highlight class on Saturday, October 26.
Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios is the course designer for the jumpers at WIHS this week. Palacios set the wall for the evening’s $25,000 Puissance at 1.70m in height and continued through five rounds up to 2.10m (6’11”). The Armed Forces Cup, presented by The Boeing Company, was awarded to Gredley and Unex Valente for clearing the 2.10m wall in the final round. Gredley also accepted The Congressman’s Challenge Trophy, donated by the Late Honorable Rogers C.B. Morton and the Late Honorable F. Robert Watkins, on behalf of Unex Competition Yard Ltd. as the owner of the winning horse.
The class began with four fences to clear, including a vertical, oxer, and triple-bar leading up to the wall set at a starting height of 1.70m. McLain Ward and his brand new mount, Kroner Z, had an unfortunate stop at the triple-bar that immediately took them out of the running. The four other competitors, including Aaron Vale (USA) and DaSilva Equine LLC’s Smartie, Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Walstib Stables LLC’s Aragon Rouet, Charlie Jayne (USA) and Pony Lane Farm’s Uraya, and Tim Gredley aboard Unex Valente all cleared the first round to advance.
Those four competitors also cleared the wall in round two at 1.80m and round three at 1.90m in height to continue to a fourth round. Darragh Kenny and Aragon Rouet knocked the blocks off the wall at 2.00m to conclude their evening, while the other three attempted another increase. In the fifth and final round, Vale and Jayne were not able to clear the obstacle, and that left Tim Gredley and Unex Valente to jump 2.10m to win top prize.
Gredley and Unex Valente have jumped in a few Puissance classes together and won them at the Alltech National Horse Show in 2012 and the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in 2013. Valente is an 11-year-old KWPN gelding by Gentleman x Sit This One Out that Gredley has owned since the horse was four years old. They have a trusting partnership that helps with jumping the big wall.
“A lot depends on the horse,” Gredley said after his win. “He gives you the confidence to ride it the right way. He just has brilliant technique for it. He is very good in the front and learning to be really good behind. He’s very versatile, and I think in order to jump a very big wall they have to have a bit of quality and be very brave, as well.”
Gredley and Valente have attempted the 2.38m record twice now and had the wall down both times. He made some changes today and will try for two in a row at the Alltech National Horse Show in Kentucky next week. “I changed a few things around today, including the bridle, and he felt like he was jumping really well behind today, so it would be nice to try it with this kind of arrangement,” Gredley noted. “With this horse, it isn’t me being arrogant, he just makes it easy. He loves it, and I trust the horse so much.”
Talking strategy, Gredley explained, “To be honest, the first round is the most difficult. You want to get into a rhythm. Everyone has a different way of doing it. Some people like to wait and pull, I like to just keep coming at the wall and set him up a couple of strides out. The first round is always more worrying for me than any of the others. Once I feel that I have a rhythm on him and everything feels good, it is not a problem after that.”
McLain Ward and the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Wings (Lexicon x Jersey) were the winners in the $50,000 International Open Jumper Speed Final, a faults converted class sponsored by Sleepy P Ranch. Twenty-five entries jumped the course and five cleared the obstacles without fault. Ward and Wings jumped with ease in a blazing fast time of 51.35 seconds for the win.
Wings is an experienced jumper that Ward originally purchased for his wife to ride, but ended up showing himself. “Someone called me in January about him because he was getting a bit older,” he explained. “I bought him for Lauren, and he actually ended up being a little too careful for her, so I confiscated the ride. He was good for me this summer. He won a couple Grand Prix at Saugerties and won one class and was second in another at Harrisburg. He is actually an easy horse to ride, but electric-careful.”
“He needs a solid ride; he’s not one to take a joke,” Ward described. “He is a fifteen-year-old horse and has shown very successfully with a Dutch rider for many years, so he has jumped a lot of indoor shows. This is his first time here with me, but he certainly has a lot of miles.”
Talking about Palacios’ track for the night, Ward remarked, “The course was very difficult. It was quite twisty and turny. There was a lot of misdirection. The horses didn’t really know where they were going. It helped to have a nice old horse. He has a big stride, and he is a quick horse by nature. There was that big question at the end, the inside turn to the pink vertical, and I felt where I went in the order that was very risky. I felt that if I was fast up and to the Hermes vertical, that I would go around and take my chances and it would put enough pressure on them. I think you had to do the inside turn to catch my time and I don’t know how doable it was.”
Twenty-year-old Katie Dinan (USA), to a second place finish in 53.14 seconds riding Grant Road Partners’ Glory Days. Another up-and-coming young rider, Meagan Nusz (USA), finished third in 53.31 seconds with Amalaya Investments’ Vesuvius. Callan Solem (USA) and Horseshoe Trail Farms’ VDL Wizard were fourth with a time of 55.56 seconds.
Sommers, Hymowitz and MacPherson Earn Top Junior Hunter Awards
The Junior Hunter divisions concluded their second day of competition at WIHS on Friday morning with the presentation of championship awards. The Grand Junior Hunter Championship, sponsored by Roseknoll Sporthorse and Victoria Holstein-Childress, ended in a three-way tie between Samantha Sommers and Oscany, Inc.’s Small Celebration, Lili Hymowitz riding Danielle Staci’s Tiffani, and Megan MacPherson aboard Meridian Partners’ Good Humor. The three young ladies and their horses shared the winner’s circle and were presented with The Ides of March Perpetual Trophy, donated by Linda Lee and Lee Reynolds.
Eighteen-year-old Samantha Sommers of Malibu, CA, had a fantastic two days of competition with her top mounts, Small Celebration and Small Affair, in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division sponsored by Chansonette Farm. Sommers and Small Celebration earned the individual division championship on their way to the grand honors with first, second and fourth place ribbons over fences and a second under saddle. They were awarded The Chance Step Perpetual Trophy, donated by Brooke Carmichael McMurray-Fowler and Pam Carmichael Keenan.
Sommers also earned the division’s reserve championship riding Iwasaki and Reilly’s Small Affair to two first place ribbons and a fifth over fences. The pair’s stake score of 95 was the best Junior Hunter stake round of the day, the highest score of the week so far and Sommer’s best score ever. For that, they were presented with the The Lyrik Challenge Trophy, donated by Ashley and Courtney Kennedy. Sommers was then named the 2013 Best Child Rider on a Horse and earned the special DiVecchia Perpetual Trophy. The award was sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Crown; the trophy donated by Mr. and Mrs. Frederick DiVecchia.
Sommers, a cinema student at the University of Southern California, bought Small Celebration from trainer John French two years ago. The eight-year-old Hanoverian mare by Embassy I has shown mainly with French and rider Olivia Esse. When Esse went off to college, Sommers started showing Small Celebration and the partnership has worked out very well.
“She was awesome and brilliant in the handy and she was great in the under saddle,” Sommers noted. “I knew she’d get a top ribbon there. Overall you can tell she wasn’t too tired or wired. She walks in the ring and she wants to win. I just had a lot of fun on her.”
Sommers also has a great relationship with reserve champion, Small Affair. Small Affair is a 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Elf d’Or owned by Chris Iwasaki and Elizabeth Reilly of Calabasas, CA. Small Affair gave Sommers the ride of a lifetime this week with their high score of 95 in the stake round.
“That’s the highest score I’ve ever gotten,” Sommers beamed. “Yesterday when I got the 93 on Small Affair, I thought, ‘That’s my highest score at indoors.’ Then I got the 95 today, and it was my highest score ever! I was really happy with how Small Celebration went in the stake too. I didn’t put pressure on myself to win the highest score in the stake but I was like, ‘That’d be fun!’ I just went in and thought I already did well on her, and thought I had nothing to lose.”
On the honor of being Best Child Rider, she smiled, “I’m very excited. We were just taking the championship picture and we heard it over the intercom. John got all excited. He’s very serious when working with him, but when I got the 95 and got off, he ran and gave me a hug. I think that was the best moment of the day! It means a lot when they’re so proud and happy for you.”
“I’m so happy and I’m happy to share the Grand title,” she continued. “It was like you won it, but you didn’t. It was nice that we could all share it. This is my last year as a junior, so it’s a little emotional. I’ll probably be on the airplane home thinking, ‘I want to do it again!’ At the same time, it’s good to end on a good note.”
On their way to the tie for grand champion, Megan MacPherson of Boulder, CO, and Good Humor won the Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division championship. They placed first, second and second over fences and fourth under saddle. O’Ryan and Meghan Flanagan finished in reserve with a third place under saddle and first, third and sixth place ribbons over fences.
MacPherson has had Good Humor, an 11-year-old Warmblood gelding by Vigaro 2, for two years. She bought him in Kentucky after watching the horse compete with professional rider Hunt Tosh.
“He’s so easy. He’s like a Children’s Hunter. I’ve never ridden an easier horse,” MacPherson described. “We were sitting in the stands at Harrisburg with my trainer Stacia (Madden) and she said, ‘What do you think about that horse Good Humor?’ and I said ‘I love it. It’s young and Hunt does a really good job with it.’ At that point he had been champion at Harrisburg, Devon, here, all in the First and Second Years. We were all over it.”
This is MacPherson’s second year showing at WIHS. “I like the energy. It’s so unique,” she stated. “There’s no other show like it. I like this show a lot.”
Tiffani and Lili Hymowitz of New York, NY, got their names into the grand championship as well with a win in the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division sponsored by Entrust. The pair placed first, second and third over fences and were also third under saddle. Bergen Sanderford and Happenstance repeated their reserve performance from 2012 with a win in the under saddle and first and sixth place ribbons over fences.
Fourteen-year-old Lili Hymowitz has been riding Tiffani, a 10-year-old Holsteiner mare by Chello I, since this past winter and this was a big win for the duo. The mare originally competed in the High Junior Jumpers but has shown her top form as a hunter with trainer Scott Stewart. This was Tiffani’s first time showing in the Junior Hunters at WIHS as well as the first Junior Hunter championship at any final for the young rider.
“Even though she’s new to this, I did feel confident going in there,” Hymowitz stated. “Ever since she’s started doing the hunters, I’ve never been scared to go in. She feels comfortable, so I trust her a lot. It’s obviously a lot cooler to win this here than anywhere else.”
“She’s amazing,” Hymowitz noted. “She always brings her best out at big shows. I got her in the middle of WEF (the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival) this year. When I tried her she was really ‘jumpery,’ but Scott does that. He finds the great ones.”
The final championship of the day was for the Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under division with a double tricolor presentation for Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL. Colvin earned the championship with Dr. Betsee Parker’s Ovation and finished in reserve with Parker’s Canadian Blue. Ovation won under saddle and placed second, third and fourth over fences. Canadian Blue won both classes over fences on Thursday.
The final Junior Hunter award of the day was another three-way tie for the high score Junior Hunter riding his or her own horse. The Georgetown Trophy, sponsored by Sheila and Britton Sanderford, was awarded to Megan MacPherson and Good Humor, Cloe Hymowitz and Rose Hill Farm’s Joyful, and Hunter Holloway and Hays Investment Corporation’s Cascina for their scores of 90 in their respective divisions.
Junior/Amateur-Owners Go for Speed
The $5,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class, sponsored by Ellen and Daniel Crown, went earlier in the day and saw a win for Katherine Strauss of Southampton, NY, riding her 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding Chellando Z (by Chellano Z). The pair earned the Cover Story Perpetual Trophy donated by Rolling Acres Farm for the fastest clear round in 44.25 seconds. Out of 23 entries, eight cleared the course without fault.
Yesterday’s winners, Charlotte Jacobs and Deeridge Farms’ Kachina, finished second in 44.75 seconds. Kalvin Dobbs and Treesdale Farms’ Winde were third in 46.10 seconds, and Haley Schaufeld finished fourth in 46.15 seconds riding Harley 86.
The $2,500 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class, sponsored by North Star, saw a victory for Cloe Hymowitz of New York, NY, with Rose Hill Farm’s Bon Vivant, who were also the winners of yesterday’s jump-off class in the division. Twenty-two entries showed in the class with seven clear rounds. Hymowitz and Bon Vivant had the fastest time of 43.97 seconds to earn The Eleanor White O’Leary Memorial Perpetual Trophy donated by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ashton Hill and Miss Linden Joan Hill.
Michael Hughes and Drumnacross Farm’s stopped the clock in 45.76 seconds to finish second. Alexandra Crown and Starnato placed third in 48.04 seconds, and Charlotte Jacobs and North Star’s Cyrina Z were fourth in 48.13 seconds.
Equitation Begins with Hunter Phase
In addition to Junior Hunter championships on Friday’s day session, Verizon Center hosted the hunter phase of the Hermès WIHS Equitation Finals with an early lead for Meredith Darst of Lebanon, OH, with a score of 88.75 riding Elizabeth Gabler’s Soldier. Close behind, Kelli Cruciotti scored an 87 with Nicole Lyvere’s Cincinatti. Caitlin Boyle finished the day in third with a score of 86.75 riding Micaela Kennedy’s Loredo. Michael Hughes and Whipstick Farm Ltd.’s Joey stand fourth with a score of 86.25, and Victoria Colvin placed fifth with her score of 86 riding Monsieur du Reverdy.
The Hermès WIHS Equitation Finals will continue tomorrow with all riders returning for the jumper phase. The hunter and jumper scores will then be averaged out to determine the top ten riders who will participate in the final work-off. The riders change horses by determination of a random draw by lot and then compete over the jumper course for final scores.
The competition will also continue on Saturday with the opening classes for the pony hunters followed by the $5,000 Senator’s Cup Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, sponsored by North Star, and the $10,000 Ambassador’s Cup SJHOF High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, sponsored by Ellen and Daniel Crown. The jumper phase for the Hermès WIHS Equitation Finals will close out the afternoon session.
The evening session begins at 7 p.m. with the Hermès WIHS Equitation Finals work-off with the top 10 riders. The $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, a FEI World Cup qualifier presented by Events DC, will conclude the night.
The Washington International Horse Show Silent Auction is now available online with an easy-to-use bidding website. Don’t miss your chance to win special items that range from a private riding lesson with Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden to a Private Decorating Party at Georgetown Cupcake Lab. Other incredible items include two tickets to Saturday Night Live’s live show, a diamond horseshoe pin from Tiny Jewel Box, full show attire from The Saddlery, and much, much more. Bid from your computer or smart phone at home, at the barn, at work, or anywhere you have Internet – just go to http://wihs.maestroweb.com.
The Acela Club on the Sky Box level of Verizon Center is the perfect place to socialize with friends and a wonderful vantage point for watching the action in the ring. WIHS is hosting three special social events and we hope you’ll join us! Have fun, watch great sport and support worthy local organizations. Party tickets include dinner and an open bar. $150/per person. Order by phone at 202-525-3679 or visit http://www.wihs.org/social-events/.
Along with six days of world-class competition, WIHS features a unique boutique shopping experience for exhibitors and spectators alike. The main concourse at Verizon Center brings together a diverse group of vendors for everyone’s shopping enjoyment. Shoppers can find everything from equestrian tack and apparel to fine art and jewelry. This year’s show features over 50 vendor stands and boutiques for all of your shopping needs throughout the week.
Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
About the Washington International Horse Show
An equestrian tradition since 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is the country’s leading metropolitan indoor horse show and the pinnacle of the equestrian year with leading riders, including Olympic medalists, and fabulous horses. More than 500 horses participate in show jumping, hunter and equitation events during the six-day show. Highlights include the $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, the Puissance high-jump competition; and WIHS Equitation Classic Finals featuring the country’s top junior riders. Special exhibitions, boutique shopping and community activities will round out this family-friendly event.
Since its debut, the Washington International has been a Washington, DC, institution attended by presidents, first ladies, celebrities, business and military leaders, as well as countless horse enthusiasts of all ages. Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.