Kelley Farmer and Mindful. Photo © Tricia Booker/USHJA Archives.
Rachel Boggus Achieves Goal in Winning ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals
Upper Marlboro, MD – October 3, 2014 – Two major finals were held today at The Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by The Gochman Family. In the WCHR Professional Finals, sponsored by the John R. Ingram Fund, the top six hunter riders in the country went head to head over three rounds, and Kelley Farmer took the top spot. Rachel Boggus achieved her goal of six years by winning 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 5.
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. In the first round, the high score went to Sandy Ferrell on All The Right Moves, with an 88.16. In round two, Hunt Tosh and Askaro jumped to a high score of 91.33.
But it was still Ferrell in the lead after round two, with a total of 177.16 after a solid second round of 89 on Game On. Tosh sat in second place with 174.66, just in front of Kelley Farmer and Scott Stewart who had equal scores of 173.66. John French had 168.33, and Tara Metzner was on 148.33.
It all came down to the handy round to determine the night’s winner. While Kelley Farmer came into the round in fourth place, a spectacular round with her Regular Conformation horse Mindful sealed the win for her. The judges gave her scores of 92, 92, and 95 for an average of 93 and a three round total of 266.66.
“Fortunately, since my horse is an ex-grand prix horse and so light on his feet and light to ride, he’s an amazing handy horse,” Farmer explained. “He’s used to doing that at four-foot, so at 3’6” he thought it was really simple. Whatever I ask him, he’s willing and tries hard. When I walked the course I knew I could go inside smoothly to the hand gallop, and he’ll pretty much follow you wherever you want. There’s nothing you can’t ask him to do.”
Farmer, of Keswick, VA, also thanked the owners of her first two horses and the trainers that brought them to the Finals. “They were lovely, and thank you to Karen Healey and Jim Hagman. Those were really nice horses. I think they were all a really good group of horses. Thank you to everyone who loaned us horses,” she said.
Three more riders went after her, and while Ferrell had a solid lead, a mistake cross-cantering after the first jump landed her in fifth place with a total of 254.16.
Ferrell praised course designer Kenny Krome’s courses for the night. She talked about her strategy for the handy round, and what happened to take her from first to fifth. “I didn’t get to see the first few riders go, but you know we had a little different strategy. We tried the first jump off the left lead. My horse is much more of a left-leaded horse, so that was the approach I took,” she recalled. “I didn’t get in trouble with the jump, but upon landing, he landed hard and spooked from the flowers. What are you going to do? He’s been amazing this week, and I’m certainly not going to be upset with my horse. We had a little bit of bad luck, but that’s okay.”
Second place went to Hunt Tosh, who had a good handy round score of 88.33 on Libretto, and he finished with 262.99.
Tosh rode Libretto for the first time on Monday, and was offered the ride by trainer Tammy Provost two weeks ago in Kentucky. Tosh explained that his First Year horse wasn’t ready, and his other horse at Capital Challenge is “a little funny with crowds and at night.” He added, “When Tammy told me I could use him in Kentucky, I kind of just stuck with him. I’ve seen him a couple times, and I knew he would go in and be simple and do everything I asked him.”
Tosh enjoyed the ride on Libretto. “He was super and fun to ride,” he said. “That was the first time I jumped around a course, tonight. He went great. It was a fun class tonight. We all have a good time together; during the week, and on a night like tonight. We had a blast.”
Scott Stewart rode Reality in the handy round and scored 88 for a total of 261.66, finishing in third place. Stewart has the most experience in the WCHR Pro Finals, and spoke about the three-round format saying, “I like the format for the most part. It’s good for the crowd. It’s a fun class and moves quickly because we did just three rounds.”
Fourth place went to John French, who finished on 255.33. French rode his handy hunter horse, Y Wonder Y, for the first time today. “I’ve seen him in California because Jenny Karazissis rides him. Gail, the owner, was nice enough to let me borrow him. It’s hard to find a horse that’s not already been showing in the professionals, juniors, amateurs, for this class. Like Hunt said, I didn’t have too many options,” he explained. “But he was really good tonight. I’m really happy that they loaned him to me.”
Tara Metzner, riding in her first ever WCHR Pro Finals, had a great handy round on Illusion with an 89.33 and a total of 237.66 for sixth place. “He’s a super horse,” she said of Illusion. “I’ve ridden him for about a year on and off, for Destry Spielberg. I can’t thank her enough for allowing me to ride him. He’s brave and handy, and he’ll do all the tricks, anything I ask. I had a great time.”
Talking about her first experience in the WCHR Pro Finals, she said, “I had a fantastic time tonight. For me, qualifying for this class was a complete shock and just an extra bonus. I had a super time. The horses I had were a little bit spooky, but you know what, I found the jumps, and I was excited that I did that. It was amazing, and these guys all gave me a riding lesson. I was honored to be in the bunch.”
Ferrell praised the USHJA and Capital Challenge teams for making this night special for the riders and fans of the hunter sport. “We as riders and trainers who participate need to remember that the people behind the scenes are working very, very hard to make this a nice night for all of us. I just wanted to say thank you to Geoff (Teall), Louise Serio, and everyone else on the team out there who does this for us and for making this happen.”
Farmer broke her collarbone in a fall on August 3 and had surgery on August 11, and she came back to the show ring two weeks ago in Kentucky. She wanted to make sure she had a show in hand before coming to Capital Challenge. “I was a little bit ahead of schedule coming back to riding,” she admitted. “I was going a little stir crazy being on the ground. But I’m happy to be back.”
Farmer called her win tonight “a relief,” since she made winning the class a goal for the past six times she has competed in the class. “My horse won tonight. He’s an amazing animal, and I could not have done it without that horse. (He) belongs to Ken and Selma Garber of Kensel LLC. We got him shortly before Devon at Kentucky Spring. He’s as amazing as you saw this evening. He has never let me down, (and) no matter what you ask him to do, he’s capable. I’m very fortunate to have him.”
For her win tonight in the WCHR Professional Finals, Farmer 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 Askaro, owned by Emily Hilton, as the Best Horse.
Boggus Tops ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals
After working for six years to qualify for and achieve her ultimate goal of winning the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals, Rachel Boggus of Indianapolis, IN, succeeded today. She rode Papillon 136 through two rounds of equitation competition and came away with the win over 30 competitors.
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.
The top 10 from the first round returned for the second round, and Boggus stood on top with an average score of 89. She and Papillon extended their 2.1 point lead after a stellar second round, where they received judges’ scores of 91, 89, 90, 90, and 90 for an average of 90 and a total of 179. They won by a margin of 10.05 points.
When she saw scores of 90s, Boggus was thrilled. “It was great, and gratifying that my hard work is paying off, and that I’m accomplishing my goals. I think maybe once in my life I’ve gotten a 90, when I was 14 in a hunter classic at a local show! Never at a big show, so to do it here in this class has been a goal and that horse, who I love so much, and my trainer, who tries so hard, and my groom, I didn’t want to disappoint my groom [Jose Castillo] — he’s so into it. When I came out of the first round, he was more happy than anyone, hugging me. He gets really excited and really tries hard and wants everybody to do well. And so I like to represent the team.”
Amy Cooper rode last year’s winner Acovibu to second place with scores of 85.90 and 83.05 for a total of 168.95. Third place went to Carly Corbacho and Blue Highway. They scored 82.55 and 85 for a total of 167.55.
Regarding achieving her goal, Boggus said, “It’s just never come together for me. I’ve always had to lease a horse, or my horse was hurt, or I’m using a horse that’s just coming back from an injury. So I was talking with (trainer) Abby (Blankenship) last year, and this was my main riding goal.”
To achieve that goal, Boggus needed a dedicated equitation horse. When Papillon 136, a 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Guidam de Dartay, stepped to the three-foot level, Boggus and Blankenship knew he would be perfect. “Pappy” had a stellar career in the big equitation finals with junior riders like Jessica Springsteen, Sloane Coles, Mahala Rummell, and Kristen Mohr. Boggus jumped at the chance to ride him, and has since purchased him. Following this win, he will do select classes next year and then live a life of leisure at Treesdale Farm in retirement.
With one piece of the puzzle solved in Papillon, Boggus turned to fine-tuning her riding. “This year has just been really about concentrating on tweaking things and perfecting things because it’s so hard to go in that ring on a horse you don’t know. I felt more prepared this year because I’ve been riding him all year, not just for a month, or only at finals,” she explained. “I’ve been watching a lot of videos of myself riding and videos of some of the top equitation riders. And I think, the best way Abby and I described it, is last year I was almost too workmanlike. You could see all my adjustments very obviously. So this year we tried to make everything very smooth. When I see the distance, don’t attack it, just let it happen. And then same thing when he’s settling: don’t sit straight up and pull and make him obvious, just kind of sink down and be more subtle about it. So this year we really tried to perfect the more subtle aspects of my riding. And Papillion is perfect.”
With more than 60-hour work weeks as an anesthesiologist, Boggus has to manage her time well in order to stay riding fit and ready to show. For the past five years, she has used her one week of vacation to come to Capital Challenge. With a win and her goal achieved, she laughed, “I might take maybe a real vacation now!”
Round 1 of the North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup kicked off this afternoon with a $5,000 speed class. Kelli Cruciotti and Zidante sped to the win with a clear round in 55.767 seconds. Alliy Moyer and Etoile Van’t Lambroeck were second in 56.927 seconds. Samantha Kasowitz and The Man To See were third with a time of 58.125 seconds.
The Capital Challenge Horse Show continues tomorrow with championships for the 16-17 sections of the junior hunters, the pony hunters, the Children’s Pony Hunters, the WCHR Handy Hunter Challenge, and the final round for the junior/amateur-owner jumpers.
For full results, more information, or to watch the live webcast, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org. Like the Capital Challenge Horse Show page on Facebook and on Twitter @capchallenge and Instagram @capitalchallengehorseshow.
In its 21st 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 27 – October 5.
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.