Nick Haness & Queen Celeste. Photo © Sportfot.
From across North America, the top horses and riders in the hunter discipline flocked to Wellington, FL this week for World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Week at the Winter Equestrian Festival. The sixth week of competition shines a spotlight on all divisions of the discipline and gives amateurs, juniors, and professionals alike the chance to qualify for Saturday night’s $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular.
Over one hundred of the country’s best performance hunter horses took center stage in Wellington International’s International Ring. Two champions were crowned in the California Split Rein Family 3’6” Performance Hunter division. The two tricolor awards were presented to Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL and Nick Haness of Temecula, CA for their top placings.
Mitchell and Stewart Claim Tricolors in Equine Tack & Nutritionals 3’6” Green Hunter Division
Canada’s Brady Mitchell riding Epic Style and Scott Stewart aboard Spirit D’Intro Z shared the Equine Tack & Nutritionals 3’6” Green Hunter title in the International Ring. Thirty-six entries stepped into the ring, but it was Mitchell and Epic Style, a Warmblood gelding by Cloney owned by Rein Family LLC, as well as Stewart and Spirit D’Intro Z, a Zangersheide gelding by Stakkato owned by Gochman Sporthorses, who were crowned champions of the division.
Mitchell was thrilled after his winning round and said, “My horse was very good yesterday; he was Section A winner of the jumping class yesterday and he won the hack. In one way the pressure was off because I knew I would probably have the tricolor, but of course you want him to keep winning. He’s a horse that really seems to rise to the occasion, so I feel really lucky to be able to ride him.”
With consistent top ribbons, Stewart was similarly pleased after taking home the tricolor with Spirit D’Intro Z. “Spirit is actually a new ride for me. He’s a really talented jumper, and before circuit we decided to play with him in the hunters because he’s a lovely mover,” said Stewart. “We are all very pleased. It’s always great riding in the International Arena here at WEF. He was brave and it rode great out there today.”