Scott Stewart and Celebration Win Top Honors in Equine Tack & Nutritionals Green Hunter 3’6″ Division
Wellington, FL – January 12, 2017 – Day two of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL saw a win for USA’s Todd Minikus riding Valinski S in the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 1 in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).
2016 Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set the track for Thursday’s $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup to start the 12-week series, with a win for Todd Minikus aboard Wyndmont’s 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Valinski S (Nijinski x Julius). The horse, an Olympic veteran that competed in Rio de Janeiro with Australia’s Matt Williams in 2016, is a new mount for Minikus in January. The pair is already on its second win of the season after also topping the $50,000 Nutrena National Grand Prix at Equestrian Sport Productions’ Holiday Finale last Sunday.
On day two of WEF, fifty-two entries started in round one of the WEF Challenge Cup, with ten advancing to the jump-off and another six clear rounds over the short course. Second to go, but first to clear the shortened track, Minikus and Valinski S set an unbeatable pace of 37.99 seconds for the win.
Marilyn Little (USA) and Karen O’Connor’s Clearwater finished second in 38.33 seconds. Emanuel Andrade (VEN) and Dipssy placed third with their time of 40.99 seconds. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and The Blue Buckle Group’s Cobolt, Emily Moffitt (USA) and Poden Farm’s Harriri, and Quentin Judge (USA) aboard Double H Farm’s HH Quatuor rounded out the top six with double clear rounds. Minikus had another Wyndmont mount, Zephyr, in the jump-off as well and finished seventh with a fast time, but one rail down.
Remarking on his win, Minikus stated, “Valinski also won the grand prix last week, so that’s two classes in a row for him, which is outstanding. Wyndmont has a great team getting those horses ready for me. I just ride them here in the ring. They are doing a good job and making it easy for me, so I can’t take all the credit.
“He has always been a very good horse,” Minikus continued. “When they first got him years ago, Michael Dorman rode him, and I always really liked him. I even asked about him a couple years ago and then it’s funny how things come around. They called a couple weeks ago and asked if I would ride him. Obviously he jumped great for Matt at the Olympics, so it’s not a fluke. He is a top horse.”
Speaking of his strategy for the jump-off, Minikus detailed, “He went so fast for me last Sunday to win that $50,000 class. Basically it is just: ‘Put your foot to the floor and hang on.’ A couple weeks ago when I showed him, I think he didn’t understand how fast I really wanted to go when I said I wanted to go. I think he thought I was joking a little bit, but I think he is getting the drift of it now because that was really fast today.”
Also competing in the International Arena on Thursday, the morning began with a victory for Peter Wylde (USA) riding Beechwood Stables LLC’s Shakira Z in the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m jump-off. Minikus was also the winner of the afternoon’s $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40m jump-off riding Wyndmont’s Cas.
Scott Stewart and Celebration Take Top Honors in Equine Tack & Nutritionals Green Hunter 3’6″ Division
The Equine Tack & Nutritionals Green Hunter 3’6″ division finished Thursday morning with Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL taking the championship aboard Dr. Betsee Parker’s Celebration. Over the two days of competition, the pair placed first under saddle, second in the handy, second in the stake, and first and second over fences. Stewart also took reserve honors on Rivers Edge’s Luster, who earned second under saddle, first in the handy, seventh in the stake, and third and fifth over fences.
Winning runs in the family for Celebration, as he is the son of Dr. Betsee Parker’s extremely successful horse, Dedication. Celebration is a seven-year-old Wurttemberg gelding.
“Betsee bought him as a coming three year in Germany,” Stewart said. “He did well in the Pre-Greens, and last year I did him just two times in the First Years and he was a little green still, so we reinstated him.”
Stewart had nothing but praise for Celebration, saying, “He’s really sweet and laid back. He’s really brave. He doesn’t do a warm-up or anything. He’s nice to ride.”
Looking forward with his mount, Stewart highlighted week six WCHR World Championship Hunter Week, when hunters show in the International Arena. “We try to peak for week six, and we’ll do the First Years,” said Stewart.
The first week of WEF continues on Friday with the Engel & Völkers High Amateur-Owner Jumpers featured in the International Arena and the Triple Crown Adult Amateur 36-49 Hunters crowning championship honors in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Scott Stewart and Catch Me. Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.
Shaw Johnson Price and Custom Made, Virginia Fout and Carma Win Amateur-Owner Grand Championships
October 26, 2016 – Washington, D.C. – The 2016 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) continued with its second day of competition featuring the presentation of championship honors in the professional and amateur-owner hunter divisions on Wednesday at Verizon Center in downtown Washington D.C. For the ninth time, Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL earned the WIHS Leading Hunter Rider title after winning both the WIHS Grand Hunter Championship and WIHS Grand Green Working Hunter Championship aboard David Gochman’s Catch Me.
Stewart guided Catch Me to the division championship in the Second Year Green Working Hunters on their way to top honors on Wednesday. The pair won the under saddle and finished first, second, and second over fences. John French and Iwasaki & Reilly’s Small Gesture earned reserve honors with two wins over fences, as well as a third place under saddle.
For the Grand Green Working Hunter Championship, Stewart and Catch Me were awarded the Claire Lang Miller Challenge Trophy. For the overall WIHS Grand Hunter Championship, they accepted the Rave Review Challenge Trophy, donated by Stoney Hill. Catch Me’s owner, David Gochman, was also presented with an award as the Leading Hunter Owner.
Catch Me is a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding (sired by Casiro) that Stewart began riding in 2015. The pair started off the year strong with a win in the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular in Florida, but Catch Me then spent several months off due to illness, and just started back in competition at the end of the summer. The gelding returned to the show ring without missing a beat, however, and Stewart explained that he has matured a lot in 2016 and has been winning ever since. The pair recently won the Grand Hunter Championship at the Capital Challenge Horse Show and the Grand Green Hunter Championship at Pennsylvania National Horse Show, as well as taking a major win in the $25,000 WCHR Pro Challenge at Capital Challenge.
Describing the beautiful gray gelding, Stewart detailed, “He used to be really spooky, and this year we have been able to do more. I don’t think he showed that much as a Pre-Green horse and we got him as a First Year. He hasn’t shown a lot, but he shows enough now that we just know how to get him ready and he is in the groove. He has been so consistent this year. He has won every big class I have gone in, and he is just really on right now. I think we both know each other 100% now, so it just clicks.”
Speaking of his rounds with Catch Me this week, Stewart added, “He was awesome in every round. He didn’t touch a jump. He went perfect. He got beat twice, but I’m not sure how. I don’t think he could go any better. He has just been so great.”
Stewart also earned the division championship in the Green Conformation Hunters, sponsored by The Ingram Family. He rode David Gochman’s Fun to two wins over fences and a third place under saddle to earn the Valiant Hawk Memorial Challenge Trophy, donated by Mrs. Stephen J. Clark. Fifi Schmidt and Elizabeth Phillips’ No Doubt took the reserve championship with three second-place ribbons and one third place.
“Fun was awesome,” Stewart noted. “He got a little green today, but I didn’t expect him to be this good in these environments yet because he is only six years old. I am thrilled with him. I didn’t think he would be this consistent.”
Stewart continued, “I’m fortunate that all of my horses are pretty quiet, and my staff does an amazing job preparing them. They do everything. I don’t even ride in the ring in the morning. I get here before the class and show. It just works out for me better mentally, but these horses are not very difficult fortunately.”
Stewart also took reserve honors in both the High Performance and Regular Conformation divisions to secure the Leading Rider title. He earned a $5,000 bonus for the Leading Hunter Rider Award, sponsored by Dr. Betsee Parker. It was fittingly renamed this year as The Scott Stewart Leading Hunter Rider Award, for Stewart who has earned the title nine times now in his great career.
Also showing on Wednesday, John French and Laura Wasserman’s Boss earned the Mary Farren Perpetual Trophy for the Regular Conformation Hunter championship with first and second place ribbons over fences and a win under saddle. The pair earned an impressive high score of 94 in the stake class. Stewart and Dr. Betsee Parker’s Lucador finished in reserve with a win under saddle, as well as second and third place ribbons over fences.
John Bragg and Ann Thornton’s Early August took home two championship tricolors this week. In the High Performance Working Hunter division, sponsored by Jacqueline B. Mars, the pair placed first, first, and fifth over fences, and second under saddle to earn the “NOT ALWAYS” Challenge Trophy, donated by Miss Peggy Steinman. Stewart earned those reserve honors aboard Dr. Betsee Parker’s Cameo with a win and sixth place ribbon over fences, as well as a win under saddle.
Stewart and Cameo were then presented the special Protocol Trophy, sponsored by Platinum Performance. 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.
Stewart will continue on to the National Horse Show in Kentucky and then give his horses a break in Florida before the start of the winter season. Commenting on his years of success at WIHS, the rider acknowledged, “This is one of my favorite shows. I love D.C. and I love being here. It is a really special show.”
Concluding the professional divisions, John Bragg and Early August earned their second championship of the day in the First Year Green Working Hunter division to top off a fantastic two days at WIHS. They earned second, second, and fifth place ribbons over fences and won the under saddle. Nick Haness finished in reserve with Lindsay Maxwell’s Technicolor after earning first and second place ribbons over fences. Hillary Johnson and Copper Fox LLC’s Voyager were awarded the Windy Acres Challenge Trophy for the best Green Working Hunter stake round. They earned a high score of 90 in the First Year division.
Shaw Johnson Price and Custom Made, Virginia Fout and Carma Win Amateur-Owner Grand Championships
The Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions concluded their second day of competition at WIHS on Wednesday and awarded championship honors as well.
The Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” championship and the Frank Counselman Memorial Perpetual Trophy were awarded to Shaw Johnson Price, of Chestertown, MD, and her own Custom Made, an 11-year-old Mecklenburg gelding (sired by Chambertin). The pair earned the championship in the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” Over 35 division, sponsored by Cembell Industries, with a win under saddle and second, second, and fourth place ribbons over fences. Virginia Fout and her own Cristiano finished in reserve with first, third, and sixth place ribbons over fences.
Price was then presented the Leading Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider Award for the 3’6” level. The rider was joined at WIHS by her trainer, Havens Schatt, who also showed Custom Made in professional classes this week. Price started showing the gelding at the beginning of 2015 and had great results at the 3’3” level, including a championship win at the 2015 Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg. This year, they moved up to the 3’6” height and have continued to excel. They recently earned champion and grand champion honors at Harrisburg, and decided that the gelding was ready to face the impressive atmosphere at Verizon Center for the first time.
“We were not quite sure he was ready for the atmosphere here last year, but now he really knows his job,” Price stated. “He is sweet, and I think he really likes going in the ring. He seems to know when it’s a big deal. He is always pleasant and happy and looks for the jumps. His ears are forward, and he is very consistent.”
The partnership with Custom Made took a little while to develop, as Price explained, but with the help of Schatt and her team, the horse has come a long way.
“We thought we would get on him and go right into the 3’6”, but he turned out to be a bit more of a project,” Price detailed. “Havens worked with him, and he has just slowly progressed and gotten better and better. I have a wonderful horse and a great trainer. Wayne Robinson is our groom, and he is fantastic. We have a really good team right now, so it has been great.”
Price earned grand hunter and leading rider titles at WIHS once before, but took some time off from showing and was back for the first time in many years. She has two teenage daughters that keep her busy and also loves to sail with her husband. Price competes next at the National Horse Show in Kentucky. Custom Made will return home to Schatt’s Milestone Farm in Lexington before heading to Florida for the winter.
In the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” 18-35 division, the championship was awarded to Samantha Schaefer aboard her own Classified. The pair earned first, third, and fourth place ribbons over fences and a third place under saddle. Kelly Tropin and Libertas Farm LLC’s Chablis finished in reserve with three second-place ribbons and one fourth-place finish. Schaefer and Classified also earned the award for best 3’6” stake round with their high score of 91. Sponsored by Lynn Ellen Rice, the award presents the Shari Hollis Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by the Late Col. J. B. Hollis and Ms. Jeannie Hollis.
Continuing the day, the Amateur-Owner Working Hunter 3’3” 18-35 division presented both championship and reserve championship honors to Margot Peroni of Califon, NJ. Peroni rode her own Encore B to the championship with a win under saddle and second and fifth place ribbons over fences. She also rode her own Orlon to first, second, and sixth place ribbons over fences.
At the conclusion of the afternoon, Virginia Fout of Los Angeles, CA rode her 12-year-old Warmblood gelding Carma (sired by Rhodium) to the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” Over 35 division championship. The pair won two classes over fences, as well as the under saddle. Daryl Portela and Isalou, Inc.’s Argentus finished as reserve champions with first and second place finishes over fences. They also earned a special award for the Best Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” Stake Round with a score of 87.
For their consistency, Carma and Fout were named Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” Champions, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Earnest M. Oare, and Fout earned the Leading Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider title for the 3’3” division overall.
Fout is originally from Middleburg, VA and moved to California 20 years ago. She grew up in a family of equestrians and lived on the family farm where her father was a racehorse trainer and her mother fox hunted. Fout’s sister became a three-day eventer, and her brother is a jockey. For Fout, it has always been horses. She went to college in California, got married and had a baby, but she continued to ride while also juggling a busy career. She owns her own event production company that does major events such as Elton John’s famous Oscar party.
Traveling across the country to compete while she also has an event going on in California this week was demanding, but for Fout, it paid off.
“Days like this make it all worth it,” she smiled. “It’s funny; the only time I have ever won a blue ribbon at Washington was in 1984 at Hunt Night with my mom and my sister at the old US Air Arena. So this is pretty big and pretty amazing.”
Speaking of Carma, Fout detailed, “He is magic. I’m so fortunate. He is a horse I got from one of my stable mates, Montana Coady. He came back from a long injury a couple years prior. I was lucky enough to get to buy him last fall and we have formed a great partnership. He’s tricky, but when he’s good, he’s magic. I just love him, and he’s so special, and I’m so lucky. It is sort of a dream come true with him. We call him a movie star because that is what he feels like.
“He likes a very quiet ride,” Fout continued. “If you’re quiet, he’s quiet. If you’re not quiet, hold on. I have learned how to ride him. He is sensitive, but I have learned to stay quiet. In the first class today, he had a rail down at the first jump and then it was a disaster after that. But when he’s good, he is phenomenal.”
Fout had Jenny Ross helping her at WIHS this week. She will go to her family’s farm in The Plains, VA until the end of the week before flying back to California to spend Halloween with her daughter. She then heads up to Kentucky for her final horse show of the year.
Hunter competition at the 2016 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 with the generous support of The Peterson Family Foundation and National Harbor, beginning at 6 p.m. The $35,000 International Jumper Accumulator costume class will be the highlight competition of the evening. For full results, visit www.wihs.org.
Scott Stewart and Catch Me. Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.
Amber Henter Wins WCHR Developing Pro Challenge
Upper Marlboro, MD – October 5, 2016 – The Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by World Equestrian Center, continued on Wednesday evening with two major classes for professional riders. Repeating their 2015 victory, Scott Stewart and Catch Me won the $25,000 WCHR World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) Professional Challenge, presented by The Gochman Family. In the $5,000 WCHR Developing Professional Challenge, presented by the John R. Ingram Fund, Amber Henter rode Si Bene to the win. The Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, runs through Sunday, October 5. Every class of the show is live streamed and available to watch online at tv.coth.com or www.capitalchallenge.org.
The $25,000 WCHR Pro Challenge had 33 entries, and 12 were called back for the second round. Stewart and Catch Me, a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Casiro owned by David Gochman, set the scores to beat in the first round with judges’ scores of 95, 93, and 92 for an average of 93.33.
While Stewart, of Wellington, FL, has been in plenty of pressure-filled situations, returning for the second round tonight gave him some trepidation. “It’s always hard coming back,” he acknowledged. “The first round felt great too, then trying to have to do it again… then I saw John [French] go, and he had such a good round, so I knew it had to be just as good.”
Luckily, Stewart was sitting on Catch Me, a horse he calls “one of a kind”. They returned with judges’ scores of 95, 96, and 95 for a second round score of 95.33 and a total of 188.66. They would finish more than nine points ahead of the second place finishers.
“I thought that that was probably one of the best rounds that I’ve ever had on any horse,” Stewart revealed.
For their win, Stewart and Catch Me were presented with the Little Brook Farm Perpetual Trophy, donated by Gary Duffy.
Second place went to John French and Boss, who scored 88.33 and 91 for a total of 179.33. Elizabeth Boyd and O’Ryan placed third with scores of 87.66 and 88.66 for a two-round total of 176.32.
“It feels awesome,” Stewart said of his win. “He tries so hard. Even though he’s a little bit tired, he went in there, and he really tried. I think even from round one, the scores seemed higher than they’ve ever been for everybody (in the class). It seemed like it was a good class, so it means a lot to be able to do that. It’s all the horse really. That’s a special horse. There’s not too many like him. He’s a mover, he jumps great, he’s so nice to ride. It’s easy. He’s just phenomenal.”
Last year’s win was a special one for Stewart as Catch Me had recently returned to the show ring after a life-threatening illness. This year, he felt more prepared and ready to go for the win.
He noted, “I think he’s even stronger this year, physically. He was good (last year), but he started to get better, better, and better. He was a little bit greener at indoors last year. He was very good here, but this year he’s even more relaxed. It feels like he has even more jump.”
Stewart thanked the Gochman family for the opportunity to ride such a special horse.
“I’m lucky the Gochmans are letting me ride him. I just want to thank [them] for letting me ride him and supporting him. It’s nice to ride a great horse like that for a great family,” he said.
Riders for Friday’s $5,000 WCHR Professional Finals, sponsored by Madison Hills Farm, have been determined. Going head-to-head in the competition will be John French, Kelley Farmer, Scott Stewart, Hunt Tosh, John Bragg, and Katie Gardner.
Amber Henter Tops Developing Pro Challenge
Amber Henter of St. Petersburg, FL rode to the top of the Developing Pro Challenge, sponsored by the John R. Ingram Fund, with two solid performances on Si Bene, a nine-year-old gelding owned by Findlay’s Ridge Group. In recognition of their win, Henter and Si Bene received the Bittersweet Trophy, presented by Rachel Kennedy.
Henter, who is just 24 years old, has been training with and riding for Findlay’s Ridge and Val Renihan for just over a year in her first job as a professional. Her main ride has been Si Bene, who competes in the First Year Green Hunters. This was Si Bene’s first indoor horse show, and the first big competition for Henter, who graduated from the University of South Carolina and rode for the equestrian team.
“I’d first like to say how much I appreciate [Val], and all that she’s done for me,” Henter said. “She couldn’t be here tonight (because) she’s getting ready for USET Finals. We’re really missing her tonight, but I know she would have done anything to be here. It’s been a crazy year, but I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve gotten back into things. It’s really nice. Since Val wasn’t here, I’d like to thank Louise Serio for helping me.”
Henter and Si Bene led from the start with a first round score of 87.41, and they returned just as strong despite the pressure to record a second round score of 87.16 for a total of 174.57.
Second place went to Geoffrey Hesslink on Chabliano Z. They scored 86.33 and 87.66 for a two round total of 173.99. Erica Quinn and Kodachrome placed third with scores of 85.08 and 87.33 for a 172.41 total.
Henter did not have it in her original plan to compete in the Developing Pro Challenge because she “hadn’t ridden that much.” She explained, “Last year was my first time going to indoors in five years, and not competing, I was just training. I knew about the class and I was like, ‘You know what, I might as well give it a try.’ He just showed in the First Year division, and he’s the only one that I showed this week. I know him so well, so I was really hoping that we’d have a great outcome just because he deserves it all the way. We’ve kind of been teetering in the ribbons all year. I feel like he finally got his recognition this week.”
Leading the class and returning on top was “definitely a little nerve-wracking,” she admitted. “I haven’t had pressure on me in a while. I knew everyone was counting on me no matter how I did, so it was nice. It was a good feeling going in the ring knowing that it was okay to make a mistake, but if I didn’t that was even better.”
She said of her victory, “I think that tonight was a big step in my career and in feeling confident moving forward, knowing that I can be successful. Hopefully I will keep on track and keep pushing forward. We have Harrisburg next week, and I’d really like ‘Zip’ to get a nice show in. I just want to keep moving forward off of that.”
For additional information, full results, and live stream coverage from Capital Challenge, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org.
About the Capital Challenge Horse Show Now in its 23rd year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter and equitation competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, the 2016 edition of the Capital Challenge Horse Show will take place October 1-9. The nine days of competition will include prestigious equitation events and the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Finals with many of the country’s best horses and riders competing in junior, amateur, and professional hunter divisions.
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.
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 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.
Aaron Vale Victorious in 1.40m Open Jumpers at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show
Lexington, Ky. – August 18, 2016 – Scott Stewart’s name is synonymous with winning hunters, and Thursday at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show was no different. Stewart had a total of seven entries that qualified for the final round in the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship, but it was Rivers Edge’s Storm Watch, who was in the lead after Wednesday’s second round with 520.5 points, who took home the prize. For the top thirty horse and rider combinations, it was an even playing field going into the championship round, as everyone had a clean slate.
Stewart and Storm Watch were the second pair to compete in the 3’3″ section, but as soon as the 6-year-old Oldenburg landed from the final fence, it was obvious that the pair had impressed the judges as well as the crowd outside the Kentucky Horse Park’s Walnut Arena. The three judging panels awarded them with scores of 91, 88, and 85.5 for a grand total of 264.5 points.
Thursday’s stellar performance by Storm Watch proved that Stewart had made the right decision to make time to try him out during his vacation in Holland.
“I bought him off a video. Randy Hendri sent me a video and I couldn’t go over to look at him, so it was almost two months before I got to go and the horse was still there,” Stewart said. “He was in Holland, and the week after the National Horse Show, we went over. We didn’t go over specifically to look at horses, but he was sort of in the area so we looked. It was supposed to be a vacation, but it was on the route.”
Stewart has recently returned to the show ring after time off from a pinched nerve in his neck. During his time recovering, Ken Berkeley took the reins for Stewart to prepare the horses before coming to Kentucky.
“Ken has been riding him at home, so he really got the horse ready for here,” Stewart said. “I wasn’t able to ride for a month or so, right after Devon. I got through the last day of Devon and this is my first show back. I rode at home last week, then came to Pony Finals. I went to some very good doctors in New York and they said I just needed physical therapy.”
Stewart said that Storm Watch’s way of going is slightly different than what he prefers, but the gray gelding is improving every day.
“He’s pretty laid back and quiet. He’s naturally a good jumper, but his balance is a little low.” Stewart continued, “He doesn’t pull, but it’s a little of a different ride for me. I don’t really like them that low, but he’s getting better and better.”
In addition to the tricolor ribbon, wool cooler, and generous prize money, Stewart was awarded a free lease for one year on a Sundowner Charter SE two-horse trailer.
Coming in second place was Lisa Hankin’s Hanoverian, Puissance R, ridden to victory by California’s Jenny Karazissis. The duo won the first round of the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship on Tuesday, and Thursday’s efforts in the 3’3″ section proved that the mare is ready to show at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in October. Judges awarded them scores of 88, 89, and 87 for a total of 264 points.
“This is my first time doing the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship. I’m so excited to be here. We were going to choose between here and Capital Challenge,” Karazissis explained. I said, ‘She can come here and if she does well, she could do both.’ So I’m really glad that we made the trip and it was so worthwhile.”
In third place overall was Hunt Tosh and Douglas Wheeler’s Chicago, who campaigned in the 3’3″ section. Tosh led the 8-year-old gelding around the course to finish up with scores of 86, 84, and 92 for a total of 262 points.
All three hunter professionals agreed that the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship was a step in the right direction for the hunter sport. It is a great way to showcase the younger horses and it features good prize money, which attracts the owners.
The next event for hunter fans during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show is the 2016 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, which will take place over the course of two days. Some of the same hunter riders who went head-to-head Thursday will set their eyes on the prize for the derby championship, which starts on Friday at 8 a.m. in the Rolex stadium.
Aaron Vale Victorious in 1.40m Open Jumpers
After coming close to winning the 1.40m Open Jumper class on Wednesday, Aaron Vale and Acolina R returned on Thursday, this time taking home the blue ribbon with their double-clear round during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.
Going near the middle of the order in the Rolex Stadium, Vale and Sarah Turner’s Acolina R tripped the timers in 36.069 seconds in the jump-off and unseated Kyle Timm and Georgie B from their leading time of 37.727 seconds.
“I tried out a different bridle today,” Vale explained. “Acolina is hard to find the right bridle for, so more than anything I was trying a new piece of equipment, and it seemed to suit her pretty well. She kind of likes to go. I caught the fences off the turns really well, so she just ended up being really fast today.”
Vale said he got the ride on the 11-year-old mare about a year and half ago. Together, the duo has had top placings in grand prix events at a number of horse shows, including the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival and Kentucky Horse Shows.
“She gets a little wound up,” Vale explained, laughing. “Her energy probably gets in the way more often than it helps us, but when things come up right and I can do the turns smoothly and keep that gallop, her forwardness is definitely good. Controlling her across a technical course can be difficult, though. You live by the sword; you die by the sword.”
However, Vale said the course rode perfectly for the mare, who was unfazed by the sand sculptures that dotted the ring.
“She wasn’t worried about the sand at all,” Vale said. “It’s nice having the decorations for the [USHJA International Hunter] Derby fences. It livens the ring up. It’s such a big ring, but with the decorations there was more ambiance out there. The courses themselves were really fun and balanced today, and I really liked the tracks. It was a pretty course for my eye.”
Earlier in the day, Sharn Wordley continued his successful week with a win in the 1.35m Open Jumper division aboard Didienne.
“I just got Didienne,” Wordley said. “She’s a cool horse. I gave her a little warm-up yesterday to see how she was in the ring and get to know her, and she was really good. I thought today I’d give her a little try to see how fast she was, and she was really fast. I was only just cruising, and she was just naturally very fast and careful. She’s such a good horse in the ring.”
Wordley purchased the mare with Steve Tinti in Morocco about six months ago. After riding the 8-year-old for the past three weeks at home, this marks the duo’s first appearance together in the show ring.
“She’s a special horse,” Wordley said. “We kept her at our barn in Belgium for six months. My rider there did some shows with her there and got her trained up, because she hadn’t seen a whole lot yet when we got her. This is my first show on her, and she’s turned out to be a real pleasure of a horse; I really like her, and I’m excited about her future.”
Wordley said he plans to continue showing the mare in the 1.35m division, and will try her out in the 1.40m division next week.
“The 1.35m is probably enough for her now,” Wordley said. “She’s had a couple of months off, so from now on, we’ll just see where she’ll be comfortable. She’s improved so much in her rideability in the past three weeks that I’ve had her, so I’ll just see how quickly she wants to go, and she’ll tell me.”
The Bluegrass Festival Horse Show will resume on Friday with the beginning of the 2016 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, which will take place over the course of two days. Other highlight events include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby. Jumper highlights include the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, and the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington.
Sharn Wordley Claims Win in 1.40m Open Jumpers at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show
Lexington, Ky. – August 17, 2016 – Scott Stewart guided Rivers Edge’s Storm Watch into the new leading position on the second day of the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship with a total of 520.5 points. Storm Watch is a 6-year-old Oldenburg by Chacco Blue, and even as a relatively new addition to the River’s Edge team, he has made his mark at the Kentucky Horse Park during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.
“We bought him at the end of last year, when he was still a stallion,” Stewart explained. “He got castrated, and then he was shown a couple times in Florida in the Pre-Green Hunters. Then, he did Kentucky Spring Horse Show and I haven’t really shown my horses since then, so he’s just been at home getting trained.”
The gray gelding placed fifth over the Patrick Rodes-designed course, after being tied for second place Tuesday.
“He was awesome. He was great both rounds. He’s very laid back. He likes to go like a hunter with his head and neck low,” Stewart said. “He’s probably one of the best jumpers I’ve ever had. He really tries hard every time over these jumps that are kind of small for him.”
Stewart’s plan for Thursday’s third and final round of the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship will be simple and straightforward.
“He’s pretty laid-back, so I only jump a few verticals before I go in. He’s brave, so I’m not going to do too much. He’s pretty quiet as well,” Stewart said.
He continued, “Today, I only jumped three jumps and went in. They’re all getting a little tired.”
When asked about the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship, Scott said, “I think it’s great. It’s nice prize money for these young horses and we get to showcase them a little bit. It’s a very good thing for the hunters.”
While Storm Watch is currently in the lead overall, it was Tim Goguen and Davidson that captured the blue ribbon during the second over-fences round of the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship.
Goguen was quick to mention that Davidson really tries to give it his all in the show ring, and that is what helped him both days.
“He went really well today and yesterday,” Goguen stated. “He’s just a trier; he’s been really good. He’s been going well for the past two days. He got a low score the first day from one of the judges. I think he was like 25th overall going in, but I think today moved him up a little bit.”
Davidson, a homebred warmblood, has only been showing under the expertise of Goguen since the end of June. Despite their short time together, Davidson has made it to the winner’s circle every time out.
“I started riding him at the Country Heir Horse Show, which was in June or July, and I’ve shown him maybe three times,” Goguen shared. “He’s been champion all three times. He’s just been a great horse.”
Davidson enters Thursday’s phase in the ninth place position, with a total of 513.5 points.
Dr. Betsee Parker’s Liberty Road is now in second place overall with 519 points. Chicago, owned by Douglas Wheeler, narrowly missed the second place spot with 518 points. Both horses were ridden by esteemed hunter rider, Hunt Tosh.
On Wednesday afternoon, a new winner for 2016 will be crowned as the championship will culminate after the top 30 horses battle it out for the coveted title. The course walk for the third and final round is set to begin at 3:15 p.m. and officials can begin walking the course at 4:15 p.m. The opening ceremonies will take place at 4:30 p.m., and the championship round is planned for a 5 p.m. start.
Sharn Wordley Claims Win in 1.40m Open Jumpers
As the jumper action began on Wednesday in the Rolex Arena, it was Sharn Wordley and Glamour Van De Kakebeek who brought home the blue ribbon in the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper division at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.
The Rolex Arena was filled with intricate sand sculptures, fully decorated and ready for the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, which begin on Friday. Despite the decorations and the light rainfall, Wordley and Glamour Van De Kakebeek navigated the course successfully, going clear in a time of 66.018 seconds.
“My plan was to just go fast,” Wordley said. “There were a lot of fast people in this class, including Aaron Vale and Tori Colvin. I had to go reasonably quick if I wanted to beat those guys. With the course, I know Glamour Van De Kakebeek doesn’t spook at anything, so the sand sculptures didn’t bother him at all. I could have jumped over the sand pile, and it wouldn’t have mattered to him. He felt great today.”
Wordley said that he got the ride on the Kerry Anne LLC entry two months ago, and has been showing the 10-year-old gelding to successful finishes in the 1.40m division. His goal is to eventually show the gelding in FEI ranked classes.
“It’s been really easy getting to know him,” Wordley said. “The first show I went to with him, we won a class. The second and third shows, he was champion in the 1.40m. I’d say I’ve done about seven classes with him, and he’s won five of them.”
The gelding was previously owned by Darragh Kenny, who alerted Wordley when he realized the two would be a great match.
“I had a horse that I bought from Darragh,” Wordley explained. “But he called me saying he had another horse that would be more suited to me. So, he sent me Glamour Van De Kakebeek, and he was right – this one is a great little horse. He’s a real winner, and he just wants to get out there and go as fast as he can.”
Finishing second to Wordley was another rider known for his speedy rounds – Aaron Vale. Vale turned in a clear round aboard Acolina R, tripping the timers just behind Wordley in 66.871 seconds. With a time of 67.328 seconds, Wordley also came in third with Caiman De Sequoias, who is owned by Sharn Wordley and The Sky Group.
Earlier in the day, the 1.35m Open Jumpers had the stage in the Rolex Arena, and it was Richard Rinehart and Virginia Bartholomay’s Donnalaris who swept the field of 32 entries to earn the win.
“I took it as a good sign that it stopped raining before my round,” Rinehart said. “Donnalaris was just awesome. My plan was to try not to take any chances, but to save time where I could. I’m really lucky to have Donnalaris to ride.”
Rinehart, who is based in Indianapolis, said he began riding the 8-year-old mare during July of last year.
“She’s got girl-power,” Rinehart laughed. “She’s very brave, and she gets it done. She’s so nice to ride, and she’s really obedient. I feel like she’s always trying to please. And she likes this ring, even with the sand. I just really wanted her to jump the Diane Carney jump clean, because she’s my trainer, so I’m happy that she did.”
The Bluegrass Festival Horse Show will resume on Thursday with the finale of the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship. Other highlight events include the 2016 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, which will take place over the course of two days, and the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby. Jumper highlights include the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, and the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington. For more information, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
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McLain Ward and Tina La Boheme. Photo By: The Book, LLC.
Devon, Pa. – June 1, 2016 – Some might call it luck, some might call it hard work, most would call it both. Whatever it is, McLain Ward has it. Notching his eighth international victory in a row, Ward rose to the top of the field once again, claiming the $40,000 Devon International Speed Stake CSI4* sponsored by Green Drop. Piloting Tina La Boheme to the fastest clear round, Ward once again led the lap of honor in the Dixon Oval at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair.
“The speed here at Devon has probably gotten more difficult,” said Ward after his win. “Being FEI, you need a little more of a jumper. I thought it was a very good course. Took a little jumping and enough speed. It wasn’t like you could go belly to the ground. You needed to pick a few places to take a moment.”
An international field of entries took their turn over Kelvin Bywater’s track to kick off the evening of competition at the Devon Horse Show, but with a quick pace as the main goal, only 10 riders left all the rails intact in their effort to secure a top ribbon.
As the fourth athlete to tackle the course, Amanda Derbyshire of Great Britain set the pace to beat at 60.29 seconds with a clear round aboard Goldbreaker. With a quick time that left many trying to catch her unsuccessfully, she took home the second place prize.
When discussing how she might have won, Derbyshire admitted, “I chipped really bad at the fifth jump. I did not see that distance. Goldbreaker jumps back feet first, but he’s brave and he’s a good boy. It felt like a win anyway if McLain won! I knew he was going to beat me. I was on the fence waiting for him to beat me.”
Ireland’s Kevin Babington was one of the select few to come close to the 60-second mark, stopping the clock at 60.30 seconds with his veteran partner Mark Q for third place. Sydney Shulman riding Toscane De L’Isle and Laura Chapot on Quointreau Un Prince finished fourth and fifth, respectively, with clear times of 61.31 seconds and 61.92 seconds.
The last in the class would prove to be the best of day. Ward and Tina La Boheme executed a flawless performance as they took the inside options to beat Derbyshire by almost two seconds as they dashed across the finish line in 58.49 seconds for his second victory at the Devon Horse Show.
“I did the plan,” explained Ward after seeing the others show over the course. “I didn’t do anything really different than the plan. Everything showed up nice. She’s a careful mare, so it worked out.”
With victories at Old Salem, Rome and Devon, Ward has racked up an impressive number of wins in the last three weeks. “I always imagine that, but it doesn’t always go that way,” laughed Ward. “I never try to limit what is possible. Every competition I go in I have a plan and I do the best I can to execute that plan. Sometimes it’s not the win, you know, sometimes it’s to train a horse or learn something or to gain some experience, but if it’s to ride a certain round, you try to execute it and sometimes you get in a nice streak. Like I said last night, I have a lot of really nice horses. The horses make you look good.”
Ward will return to the ring Thursday evening for the $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*. This time he will be aboard his veteran mount Rothchild, the reigning individual Pan American gold medalist.
“I’m going to go with my best chance,” explained Ward. “Tina is 9, so she’s not experienced. She’s a green horse, and she’s never jumped higher than 1.50m. I think this being a 4* grand prix, it’s a real enough test. Tina will have a nice, easy couple of days, and I’ll show her Saturday night.”
The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair is the longest running and largest outdoor multi-breed competition in the United States. With the grandeur of Philadelphia’s prestigious Main Line setting the stage, the event features a world-class field that annually ranks among the most prominent internationally. The event also includes the Country Fair that offers world-class shopping, rides and games for kids, multiple dining options and special entertainment events.
Scott Stewart and A Million Reasons Claim Devon Grand Hunter Championship
As the professional hunter divisions came to a close at the Devon Horse Show, Scott Stewart ended up on top to claim the Devon Grand Hunter Championship aboard A Million Reasons.
Stewart and Dr. Betsee Parker’s A Million Reasons earned the championship in the High Performance Working Hunter division, racking up a total of four blue ribbons and one red ribbon to secure the Devon Grand Hunter Championship. The High Performance reserve championship went to El Primero and Louise Serio, who was also crowned Leading Lady Rider.
“I had hopes for A Million Reasons, to be honest,” Stewart said. “She’s been pretty consistent. This is only her third horse show of the year. She was champion in WCHR week in Florida, then we did Kentucky, and she was champion, then we came here.”
Despite the light show schedule, A Million Reasons came ready to win. At home, Stewart prepared the mare by jumping her around a four-foot course a few times in the weeks before Devon.
“She likes a light schedule,” Stewart said. “She’s a mare, but she doesn’t really act mare-ish. She’s almost more like a stallion. She’s a little lazy off your leg. The hardest part is having her focused on what she’s doing because it’s easy for her. She rides like she’s 18h, and she’s only 15.3h. Her style is just to go with her head and neck out.”
In addition to the championships, Stewart accumulated enough points to earn the Leading Hunter Rider award for the eleventh time, while A Million Reasons also took home the Leading Mare Award,
“It always feels great to win,” Stewart said. “Devon is a special show for me. It’s huge with tradition. It’s always a great thing to win here. I try to think less and less about getting the Leading Hunter Rider award because it makes you crazy, but it’s always a thrill to get it.”
Dr. Parker, proud owner of A Million Reasons, said the little mare keeps everyone laughing with her charming personality.
“Scott and I collaborated on her, and we really thought that he was the kind of ride for that mare,” Dr. Parker commented. “We felt that she required a certain sensitive temperament of a rider in order to get the best out of her. She’s emotionally complicated. We laugh about her a lot because she has a lot of opinions.”
Another one of Dr. Parker’s talented hunters, Cold Harbor, took home the championship in the Regular Conformation Hunter division with rider Hunt Tosh in the irons.
Tosh said Cold Harbor, who goes by Larson at the barn, is his horse of a lifetime. The talented gelding also earned the championship in the Regular Conformation Hunters at Devon last year.
“He has just been incredible,” Tosh said. “He’s such a classic hunter. Betsee has been so gracious, and she’s such a wonderful owner for us. He was great all week. He’s one of the best feelings to ride, and just to have a horse like that… so beautiful, a wonderful mover and can jump and all that… he’s truly what you look for in a hunter. He’s proven to us that when it counts, he tries to win.”
Dr. Parker added, “Cold Harbor has broken all the records for Regular Conformation Hunters in this country that can be broken. No horse in history has won it more times than he has. He’s a very mannerly, good-tempered, kind, generous horse in every way. He’s a real, true dream horse.”
Even Tosh’s 9-year-old daughter, Maddie, loves Cold Harbor. Dr. Parker and Tosh plan for Cold Harbor to be Maddie’s Junior Hunter when she is ready to compete in the division.
“Maddie rides him at home,” Tosh added. “He is sweet enough to let her get on him and hack around. He’s her favorite horse in the barn, but it’s hard not to let him be your favorite horse in the barn. He’s just one of those horses that is that special.”
The division’s reserve championship went to Kelley Farmer and Baltimore.
Continuing the hunter action at Devon, the feature $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby will take place on Thursday. The final highlight event during the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair will be the $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*, which takes place on Thursday evening.
Susan Sisco Secures the Ladies Side Saddle Championship and True Blue Challenge Trophy Once Again
For Susan Sisco, being in the winner’s circle is not unfamiliar territory. The skilled rider and trainer has won the Ladies Side Saddle championship tricolor many times at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. This year, the victory was aboard an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse that goes by the name of Ringfort Tinkaturk and is new to the side saddle division.
“He does a little bit of everything,” owner Barbara Wanamaker said. “I’ve only had him since April. He was an event horse. It’s only his third horse show and second sidesaddle show. Susan trains him.”
Wanamaker competed in the side saddle division, as well. While Sisco took control of the reins on Ringfort Tinkaturk, Wanamaker rode her other horse, Between the Lines. The two have been friends and sharing a passion for horses and side saddle for over two decades.
“Susan and I have known each other for over 20 years,” Wanamaker added. “After that long you become family.”
Family means a lot to Wanamaker, whose father and aunt were first in her heritage to compete at Devon. “This is an incredible place to ride and show,” Wanamaker continued. “It’s very exciting to be at a place with so much tradition. My father and aunt showed here. It means a lot to me to ride here and do well.”
Side saddle competitors showed off their skills in a hack and in an over fences class during the day on Wednesday, then returned under the lights Wednesday evening for an under saddle class to complete the division. Sisco locked in a six-point advantage in the division after securing two blue ribbons and a fourth-place finish to ride away with the True Blue Championship Trophy.
Amanda Ramey captured the reserve championship honors aboard Bold Liberty. Together, the pair earned 16 points after collecting a first, second and seventh place finish.
Side saddle has been a part of the Devon Horse Show tradition for as long as anyone can recall. The style of riding was first introduced in Great Britain by Anne of Bohemia in 1382, at the time of her marriage to King Richard II. It introduced a more independent way of travel, since travel was primarily through cart or carriage then.
Breed specialty classes began competing in the Dixon Oval on Wednesday and will continue throughout the week. Thursday evening’s highlight event will be the highly anticipated $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon beginning at 8:00 p.m. featuring some of the sport’s top athletes.
Catch Me and Scott Stewart. Photos copyright Sportfot.
Junior and Amateur-Owner Hunters Round Out WCHR Competition; Ignacio Maurin and Lucy Deslauriers Earn Jumper Wins at The Stadium
Wellington, FL – February 20, 2016 – In the 20-year history of the WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular, one well-known name never made it on to the roster of winners until now. Scott Stewart, of Wellington, FL, showed in almost every year of the competition in his long running and decorated career as a top hunter rider, but the winning prize had eluded him. On Saturday night at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), Stewart finally got his victory with a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding named Catch Me, owned by David Gochman.
The United States Hunter Jumper Association’s (USHJA) World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) competition welcomed hunter riders to center stage Saturday evening under the lights of the International Ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The country’s best professional, amateur, and junior hunters vied for honors in the $100,000 feature event. Stewart and Catch Me took top honors, while Kelley Farmer and Like I Said finished second, and Chris Payne and Truman placed third.
Two jumper classes were also featured on Saturday on the grass derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC. The $10,000 Artisan Farms U25 Welcome, sponsored by EnTrust Capital, was held in the morning with a win for Lucy Deslauriers and Hester. The $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic was featured in the afternoon with victory for Ignacio Maurin (ARG) and Unico. The 12-week WEF circuit runs through April 3 offering more than $9 million in prize money.
Twenty-nine qualified entries jumped the first round course in Saturday night’s Hunter Spectacular with the top 12 returning over a handy test in round two. Scores were tallied from three panels, including judges James Clapperton and Tammy Provost on panel one, Scott Williamson and Rachel Kennedy on panel two, and Karen Healey and Mary Lisa Leffler on panel three. First round scores were combined with handy scores for a two-round total and overall placing.
Scott Stewart and Catch Me first approached the course from the 24th position in the order of go and jumped to second place in round one with a score of 91.33. The pair then returned in round two to earn the highest handy score of 93.83. Their two round total of 185.16 earned Stewart a memorable win.
For his victory, Stewart was presented the Dark Continent Perpetual Trophy, donated by Jim Green, as well as the Let’s Dance Perpetual Trophy, donated by Gene Mische. Catch Me was recently named the USHJA WCHR Hunter of the Year for 2015 and also received the WCHR Peter Wetherill Cup on Saturday night.
Looking back, Stewart recalled, “I have shown in this class a lot and I have been second a lot, and lower, so I am thrilled. He is an amazing horse. After what he went through last year, it is just amazing that he is back and doing it. If you had asked me last week who I would ride in this (class) this week, it would not have been this horse. He is a great horse, but he is really careful and I thought he would be too spooky. Terence (Prunty), who takes care of him, got him ready. He really deserves most of the credit. I just got on.”
Speaking of the aforementioned situation, Stewart stated, “He was great in Florida last year. He went to Kentucky Spring and won every jumping class. Then the week before Devon, he apparently came down with botulism, and Terence caught it right away. He went to Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center immediately, which is pretty much what saved his life. He was in there for two months. He was in bad shape, but he made a comeback. He kept going from there.”
Catch Me, who normally competes in the Second Year Green Working Hunters and was champion of that division earlier in the week, came out like a pro for his classic round and returned with a brilliant handy round, finishing with a bold gallop down to the final oxer that sealed the deal.
“He is really a fun horse to ride, and he is probably the most careful horse I have ever ridden,” Stewart said of his winning mount. “He was actually better under the lights than during the day. I thought he felt awesome. Round one, he was great. He was maybe this much long to jump one because he was so relaxed and quiet. He could not have been any better in the handy. I was a little nervous going to the last jump because it was almost too much, but he came up with it.”
Kelley Farmer, of Keswick, VA, guided her mount Like I Said to a second place finish with an overall score of 181.46. The eight-year-old Mecklenburg mare (whose sire is fifth place finisher Carrico) scored an 89.30 in round one and earned the second highest handy score of 92.16 to move up in the standings.
The mare was owned by Glefke & Farrington LLC up until this week, but was purchased by Maura Thatcher’s Pony Lane Farm. To qualify for the night’s class, Like I Said won the Equine Tack & Nutritionals First Year Green Working Hunter championship this week.
Speaking of her mount, Farmer stated, “We have not had her very long. This is the third week we have shown her. She has just been great every time she walks in the ring. She gives 110%. She is really brave. We just sold her to the Thatchers, so I got to briefly ride her, and she will be moving on. She is an unbelievable mare.”
Top grand prix show jumper Kent Farrington purchased Like I Said and imported her from Europe. She did some jumpers, but at the end of the second week of WEF competition, Farrington called Farmer and said that he had a hunter.
“He was right,” Farmer agreed. “She is quiet. She can jump enough and she is careful, but I think he thought she was a hair too quiet. Kent likes them a little bold. I think that was his intent (for her to be a jumper), but when she got here he decided she would probably make a better hunter. She is careful, and scopey, and light. She is just a blast to ride.”
Chris Payne, of Cincinnati, OH, was aboard Debbie Bass and Maypine Farm’s Truman for his third place finish and also accepted the Charlie Weaver Perpetual Award for the highest scoring horse in the first round with a mark of 92.16. The pair then earned an 88.50 for their handy round to total the third place score of 180.66.
Truman, a nine-year-old Westphalian gelding, was champion of the Shapley’s Grooming Products Regular Conformation Hunters to earn his qualification for Saturday night. Payne imported Truman as an inexperienced five-year-old from Europe and was pleased with his mount’s performance in his first night class. The horse had a light schedule last year as Payne went through chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The rider has been back in the saddle for about four months now after completing his treatment.
“I was quite happy with him. He did not do much last year because of me,” Payne stated. “He just came into this showing a couple times this year. I was not sure if he would get nervous under the lights. He really rose to the occasion and rode beautifully. I thought he jumped wonderfully and was a delight.”
“I went in for the Best Turned Out Award and the Charlie Weaver Award (in between the first and second rounds), and something caught his eye on the side and he got a little bit buzzed by that,” Payne noted. “I think he was just a little more suspect of the crowd after that, but I am thrilled with how he went and could not be happier.”
To come back so strong after a difficult year was exciting for Payne and he thanked Truman’s owner and praised his mount.
“It absolutely is amazing. After everything I went through, I went into this thinking I am the luckiest person and I am just going to go out and have fun,” Payne smiled. “Debbie Bass has been an amazing owner and allowed me to take my time with him, to piece my way through it and come back. I just wanted to say thank you to be able to be here with this wonderful horse and have the support.”
Brady Mitchell earned both the fourth and fifth place prizes with two talented mounts. Mitchell rode Cassanto to the fourth place finish for owner Emily Perez with scores of 89.66 and 88.16 for a 177.82 total. His mount Carrico, owned by Callie Seaman, placed fifth with scores of 88 and 89.66, totaling 177.66. Farmer jumped her second mount, It’s Me, owned by Farmer, Phinney and Hill, to sixth place with a score of 177.49 (88.16, 89.33). Stewart and Dr. Betsee Parker’s Lucador finished seventh with a score of 175 (87, 88).
Junior and Amateur-Owner Hunters Round Out Competition Headed into Hunter Spectacular
In the Bainbridge Companies Amateur-Owner 18-35 3’6″ Hunters, Stephanie Danhakl and her own Golden Rule, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding, took the championship after they placed first and second over fences and were third under saddle.
The reserve champion was Chablis, ridden by Kelly Tropin for Libertas Farm LLC. They were second in the under saddle and won an over fences class.
For Danhakl, it was feeling of shock and excitement when she picked up the championship ribbon. “After yesterday, I was not expecting to be champion,” she admitted. “I don’t think I’ve fallen off in the show ring in 15 years. He was jumping beautifully. He never spooks at the jumps, but occasionally he’ll look at the backside of another jump as we’re turning. We were turning to the trot jump, which was the second to last jump. I was trying to be soft, and he caught his eye and I fell off in the turn. It was a fluke, weird thing. It was my fault for not steering properly. Coming into today, I knew I had to win. I knew that if I put in a good trip, he was going to jump well enough for the win. I’m so lucky to have him.”
This is the pair’s second year competing at WCHR week at WEF and their second championship. It also marks their second time competing in the night class, which they placed ninth in last year. “It’s an honor to be in the company of Scott Stewart and Kelley Farmer and all the other great riders that are in that class,” she said.
Danhakl is currently a research assistant at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, in the American Art Department and is waiting to hear about Ph.D. programs.
John Ingram qualified for his second consecutive appearance in the WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular with 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding Airport 48 by jumping to champion in the Hunt, Ltd. Amateur-Owner Over 35 division.
Airport 48, owned by John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC, won the handy and stake over fences rounds.
“This is always a tough division with a lot of really great horses and really good riders,” said Ingram. “If you’re still riding at this stage then you really like and are dedicated to [the sport].”
“It’s incredibly gratifying to qualify again to compete (at night),” he continued. “It’s an honor to be there, show against the professionals, and have a horse like Airport that will go in and be brave, go around, and give you a good effort.”
Saturday night marks Ingram’s fourth time competing in the Hunter Spectacular, and he is proud to do it with Airport 48.
“I bought him as a potential equitation horse for my daughter Martha and that didn’t really work so he came to me,” said Ingram. “Tom Wright and Hayley Barnhill helped to turn him into a lovely hunter. He’s brave, got a good stride, and a beautiful jump. He’s anything and everything you would want in a hunter.”
Reserve champion honors in the Amateur-Owner Over 35 division were presented to Jessica Cherry and Blue Note after they took first over fences and fourth in the handy.
Fifteen-year-old Emma Kurtz of Hudson, OH continued her dominance in the junior hunters this week with two horses that are a bit more familiar to her than her usual catch rides. Both Prologue and Wisdom spent the summer with her, where she got to ride them every day and get to know them. Kurtz trains with Amanda Lyerly.
Kurtz and Prologue, an 11-year-old Warmblood gelding by Padinus owned by Rendezvous Farm, were champions in the CWD Saddlery Large Junior 15 & Under Hunters. They won all three over fences classes and were sixth in the under saddle. Prologue is trained by Cookie Beck with Chrystal Knight.
While Prologue and Kurtz spent last summer together, WCHR week is their first time competing together this winter. “He loved it in (the International ring). He’s perfect in situations like that. He’s really fun,” she described.
The reserve championship in the Large Junior 15 & Under Hunters went to Cuba, owned by Missy Clark & North Run and ridden by McKayla Langmeier. They placed second, third, and fifth over fences and were fourth in the under saddle.
Kurtz also garnered the Equestrian Sotheby’s Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under championship riding Rivers Edge’s Wisdom, an eight-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Casall. They placed first, second, and fifth over fences and won the under saddle.
Daisy Farish rode Casares for James Lala and Virginia Confer to the reserve championship after they were first, second, and second over fences and sixth in the under saddle.
Kurtz termed Wisdom as “perfect.” She added, “He’s not spooky, and he’s never going to do anything wrong. It’s fun to go out there and have fun. He needs a little bit of room at the verticals, (but) he’s really quite easy. He’s really, really sweet.”
Kurtz competed with both horses in the WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular, the first time for both horses in the class and her second time.
Giavanna Rinaldi dominated the EnTrust Capital Small Junior Hunter 16-17 Division this week, jumping Natalie Jayne’s Outlook to Champion and Bugsy Malone to Reserve Champion for owner Alex Jayne. Rinaldi, 16, was first over fences, won the stake, and scored second in the handy to secure high-point honors with Outlook.
Rinaldi says Saturday’s stake class was the highlight of her week. Saving her best trip for last, she pocketed a 90 in the stake aboard Outlook.
“He’s a lot of fun,” said Rinaldi of the 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding. “He goes around really nicely, is super supple in the mouth and gives such a nice effort.”
Collecting two second-place ribbons – one over fences and one in the stake – in the irons of Bugsy Malone, Rinaldi swept the division titles. But according to her, they were anyone’s for the taking.
“Coming into today I was a little bit nervous because the placings where spread out,” said Rinaldi. “I wanted to have two solid trips, and it went really well. I was happy with them. This is the only time we get to show in [the International Arena] and they handled it great.”
Rounding out the Bruno Delgrange Large Junior Hunter 16-17 Division, Lilli Hymowitz and Garfield, owned by Rose Hill Farm, topped all contenders over fences and collected third in the handy for the championship.
“My horse deserves most of the credit,” said Hymowitz. “He is the most special animal ever.”
Garfield, a 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding, has been the ride of Hymowitz since last year after her sister Cloe campaigned him in the hunter divisions during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
“I had to figure him out because he’s so big, but it all came together,” said 17-year-old Lilli Hymowitz. “My favorite thing about him is his confidence. He’s older and knows exactly where he’s going. I always say to my friends that he finds the jumps himself. My problem used to be that I would try and help him, so as long as you let him do his thing he’s going to try his hardest.”
Splitting her time between hunter and jumper competition, Hymowitz has spent time in the International Arena on her jumper horses, but always looks forward to competing her hunters in the bigger ring. “I think the division was super competitive this weekend and being able to show off in the big ring was super special,” she said.
Teddy Vlock and his own Grey Street were named reserve champions after winning the handy and taking fifth in the stake, as well as under saddle.
Ignacio Maurin Wins Big with Unico
Richard Jeffery (GBR) set the courses on the derby field at The Stadium on Saturday. For the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic, Jeffery saw 34 starters with five clear rounds to advance to the jump-off.
Emanuel Andrade (VEN) was first to jump-off with his horse U and dropped one rail in 45.22 seconds to eventually finish fourth. Laura Kraut (USA) was next to go with Cherry Knoll Farm, Inc.’s Constable, clocking the first clear round in 46.08 seconds for second place honors. Chris Surbey (CAN) and Linda Southern Heathcott’s Quetchup de la Roque returned next with four faults in 45.19 seconds to place third. Josephina Nor Lantzman also finished with four faults in 48.91 seconds to take fifth place honors aboard Unlimited. Last to go, Ignacio Maurin had nothing to lose with Stransky’s Mission Farms’ Unico. The Argentine rider cleared the course in the winning time of 45.51 seconds aboard the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Odermus R x Wuzo).
Maurin first moved to the United States two years ago, working for a family in Seattle before coming to Wellington to work for Lillian Stransky eight months ago. Maurin got the ride on Unico in November and has been getting to know his mount throughout the start of WEF.
“I did this class because in WEF 4 the horse started jumping better and proving himself,” Maurin stated. “He went clean in a 1.45m and he did the Suncast class that week and had two down, so I wanted to try it again this week. I was lucky today. The horse was feeling good. He is a little older, but he is doing his job well and he was fantastic today.”
“When I got the horse at the beginning he was a little hot and nervous,” Maurin noted. “He can be strong, but as time passed by I started learning how to ride him and how to keep him relaxed. I learned to work a lot before the class to calm him down, and get him relaxed so that he does his best in the ring.”
Maurin also learned that Unico likes jumping on the grass better than sand, and used that to his advantage on Saturday. He also had the advantage of his position in the jump-off order.
“I was lucky, because I was last to go, and there were only five in the jump-off,” he detailed. “At the beginning of the jump-off, when I saw that three of them had one down, I thought that I would go for a safe clear. But then I jumped fences one, two, and three in a good pace and knew that my horse was jumping well, so I thought I would give it a try. There was only one clear, and I did not have too much to lose if I had one down. I had my plan to go clear first, but then I felt good and decided to go for it.”
Maurin’s next goal is to compete well for Argentina in week eight’s $150,000 Nations’ Cup CSIO 4*.
“Next week the horse will just rest and flat a little bit,” Maurin said. “He might do one small class before the Nations’ Cup so he gets some confidence and feels good. We would like to help Argentina do something. We have a lot of pressure after the team did so well at the Pan American Games, so we will see what happens. After that we might aim for the Suncast® Final during week 12. The horse is 16 years old, so I am trying to save him a little bit for the good stuff.”
Lucy Deslauriers and Hester Top Under 25 Welcome
Competition on the derby field at The Stadium at The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) kicked off on Saturday morning with the $10,000 Artisan Farms U25 Welcome, sponsored by EnTrust Capital, during week six of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). The speed track set by Richard Jeffery (GBR) saw 71 starters with a win for 16-year-old Lucy Deslauriers and Hester. The pair completed the fastest of 17 clear rounds in 60.73 seconds.
Madison Goetzmann and her own Wrigley took second place honors in a time of 62.37 seconds. Allison Toffolon and Toffolon Partners’ Gatsby finished third in 62.68 seconds. Emily Moffitt and Poden Farms’ For Sale 6 clocked in fourth in 62.86 seconds. Emma Heise and Old Willow Farms’ Viper Vrombautshoeve Z placed fifth in 63.91 seconds, and Eve Jobs and her own Sandor de la Pomme rounded out the top six with a clear round in 63.98 seconds.
Owned by Lucy Deslauriers’ mother, Lisa Deslauriers, Hester is an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Wandor van de Mispelaere x Palestro. The pair has been partnered since 2014 and has earned many top accolades together.
Speaking of her winning round on the beautiful grass derby field, Deslauriers stated, “It was tons of fun. I love when they bring us over to the field. It is definitely a different experience. We do not get to do it every week. I was fortunate enough that I did the same class with Hester last year, so I felt really confident coming in. I thought the course was a good test. Definitely the turn to the third jump tripped a lot of people up, but overall I thought it was a great course. It was a lot of fun with a lot of good galloping.”
Deslauriers drew an early spot, seventh to go in the order for the morning, and knew she had to set a big challenge with so many riders to come.
“Initially when I heard that I went so early I thought I was a little bit unlucky, just because there were so many great riders. There were 70-something (entries in the class), so I knew there were a lot of very fast riders coming behind me, like Maddy (Goetzman). I felt very confident in my horse. I knew that if I set the pace and tried to put the pressure on, his big gallop would help me out there, so I tried to use that to my advantage.”
Deslauriers has a great relationship with Hester, but there are always things to work on in every partnership, and Saturday’s class on the field gave her a chance to get some different experience with her mount.
“Definitely rideability is something I always keep in mind. He can get a little bit rowdy sometimes,” Deslauriers noted. “Even on course today, there were a few spots that I could have gotten him back sooner or been a little bit smoother, but overall he is very nice to ride and I am incredibly lucky to have him.”
Speaking of the Artisan Farms Under 25 Series, the rider added, “I think it is a great series. It really bridges the gap between the junior jumpers and the grand prix division. It is a great in between and I think that all of the venues give you different experience – doing some night classes, and jumping in The Stadium arena, and the field, and the big ring. It is good for the horses, and it is good for us as riders to do something different. Twelve weeks is a long time, so it is nice to change it up every now and then. The field has some natural jumps and it is a little bit spookier, so it is a good change.”
Presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, the Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series will feature three more events showcasing top young talent in show jumping sport this winter. For the final event of the Series, the top 30 riders in the point standings will be invited to contest the $50,000 CSI-U25 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Final held on the derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC on Saturday, March 26.
The $25,000 Artisan Farms U25 Grand Prix, sponsored by EnTrust Capital, as well as the $50,000 WEF 6 National Grand Prix, will both be held on the derby field at The Stadium on Sunday. Hunter competition concludes in the International Ring for the week featuring the $5,000 Peggy Cone Memorial Adult Hunter Classic, the $5,000 WCHR Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunter Classic, and the $5,000 WCHR Junior 3’3″ Hunter Classic. For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Allison Joyce Earns First Major Finals Win in ARIAT Adult Medal; Maloomian and Invincible Collect $2,500 WCHR Adult Amateur Challenge; Cloe Hymowitz Takes First Round of $10,000 North American Jr./AO Challenge Cup
Upper Marlboro, MD – As a highlight of the Capital Challenge Horse Show (CCHS) each year, the WCHR Professional Finals crowned a veteran champion in 2015, as Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL took the top prize in the $5,000 WCHR Pro Finals presented by the show’s title sponsor, Well Placed Smile, for the sixth time in his career. Stewart earned the prestigious top prize in the final round aboard Reality, owned by Alexa Weisman, with a final score of 271.99. The Capital Challenge Horse Show will continue with hunter and jumper competition through Sunday, October 4, at Prince George’s Equestrian Center.
Allison Joyce and Herrold were victorious in the ARIAT Adult Medal Finals presented by Ariat International, the most prestigious Adult Medal finals offered in the United States. Kimberly Maloomian and Invincible, owned by Ellen Toon, captured the $2,500 WCHR Adult Amateur Challenge presented by Kate Considine and Willowbrook Farm with a final score of 88.00. Cloe Hymowitz and Fidalgo van het Leliehof, owned by Rose Hill Farm, won the first round of the $10,000 North American Jr./AO Challenge Cup presented by Johnson Horse Transportation.
As a fun and entertaining twist to the WCHR Professional Finals, the top six professionals who qualify for the class must ride two new mounts for the first two rounds of the division and then may choose a horse from their own string for the final handy round. Stewart was rewarded for his trips aboard his two borrowed partners, earning a 90.33 and 92.00 respectively. Hunt Tosh and Amanda Steege both jumped to a tied high score in the first round with a 93.00, while Havens Schatt took the high score in the second round with a 94.00.
Scott Stewart is no stranger to the WCHR Professional Finals having won the class an incredible six times so far in his career. Riding the 2004 Mecklenburger stallion (D’Olympic x Smilla II) Reality in the final handy round of competition, Stewart collected top honors after receiving a 90.33 in the first round, a 92.00 in the second, and finishing with an 89.66 in the handy.
“For me, a highlight tonight was the handy with Reality because we didn’t chip the trot jump, which I had been doing all week at the same jump,” said Stewart. “I’ve had the ride on him for six or seven years and he’s a stallion. He does the younger amateur classes and he’s just a really steady nice hunter and a blast to ride.”
As to why Stewart chose the seasoned stallion, “He just did the amateur classes yesterday so he was still here on the grounds. I used him last year and he was really good so I wanted to stick with him for this class.”
Havens Schatt, of Georgetown, KY, finished in reserve just behind Stewart piloting three different horses to three lovely rounds. Schatt chose to ride Mostly Sunny, a 2008 Zangersheide gelding owned by CH Farm, LLC in the handy round to help the young horse gain more experience under the lights in a big atmosphere, in which he excelled, receiving an 89.00, 88.00, and 90.00 for a total score of 89.00.
“I hope that next year this horse will be able to do more derby classes and possibly Derby Finals. I’m pretty protective of my horses and I felt like this was a good class to get him out schooling underneath of the lights and change his routine a little bit,” she explained. “It’s luck of the draw when you do this class and you never know what’s going to happen and I hoped that it wouldn’t come down to him winning the class and that we would be in it. It was a great learning experience for him.”
Jenny Karazissis of Calabasas, CA, aboard 2004 Hanoverian gelding Tuscany, owned by Emily Sukert of Newport Coast, CA, also laid down an impressive handy round. The duo made up the gap in Karazissis’ previous two rounds, to earn scores of 93.00, 94.00, and 93.00, leaving them with an average score of 93.33 in the final round. Karazissis finished with a total score of 266.99, good enough for a third place finish.
“He was really on this week when I rode him and I knew that I could rely on him in this class to do well,” said Karazissis. “It was really fun and I had a great time with him this year in this class.”
According to Stewart, who has commented on the competitiveness of the show throughout the week, reiterated the notion tonight that each of the country’s top professional riders bring their best horses to this show and competing together in a fun environment brings a new depth to the sport.
“This horse show I think is the most competitive show of the year. With all of these great riders it is always an honor to be in this group and try to maintain that. I think it is also just a fun class as well. We all are rooting for each other and it’s a fun night.”
The horses used for this year’s $5,000 WCHR Professional Finals class were generously donated by Ally Marrinan (Forester); Emily Cherney (Kinder Scout); Elvenstar Farm (Caracas 89); Gretchen Draper (Czechers); Radi Salim (Jos); and Georgia Saad (Vogue).
Allison Joyce Prevails in Three Rounds of 2015 ARIAT Adult Medal Finals
Allison Joyce of Medway, MA piloted Herrold, owned by Mindy Whitman of Marston Mills, MA, to their first major equitation final championship in the ARIAT Adult Medal Finals at CCHS, as the duo collected a total three round score of 254.30 to narrowly edge Kendall Casaccio of Mamora, NJ and Fortissimo, owned by Pembrook Farm, who finished with a total score of 247.55. Casaccio entered the head-to-head test portion of the class with a score of 171.15 narrowly ahead of Joyce who returned with a 171.10.
“This is pretty surreal. I’ve never won a major final before as a junior or an adult so this is really exciting for me. I had an awesome horse beneath me, Herrold, owned by Mindy Whitman; he’s just amazing,” said Joyce. “He’s a go-getter. He knows his job and he’s there for you every stride and you wouldn’t be able to ask for anything more than that.”
Joyce rode first in the test portion, putting in a bold but elegant round, with a only a small rub at fence two, ultimately receiving an 83.20 from the panel, which would carry her on to victory. Casaccio collected second place honors earning a 76.40 in the test.
“I’ve only ridden him a handful of times and jumped once before getting here, but for me, this class was about staying relaxed and not overthinking it, just having a plan and riding the plan,” noted Joyce.
Going into the first round, which boasted 30 entries this year, Joyce planned to make the most of her trip in front of the judges, prepared a bold and forward plan. Herrold settled nicely for Joyce and she knew that if she rode an accurate round, she would find herself placing nicely before the second round of competition.
“I knew I wanted to go get the first jump as soon as I picked up the canter and then the second I landed I knew where I was and he was really just game for anything. It really fell into place for us,” she continued.
A recent graduate of Oklahoma State University and an alumna of their NCAA Division I program, Joyce will ride through the winter circuit in Florida before making any decisions about her future. “My plan right now, is to go to Florida to ride a bit this winter and take some time off before deciding what to do with my life as an adult,” Joyce smiled.
Kimberly Maloomian Victorious in $2,500 WCHR Adult Amateur Challenge
CCHS continues to serve as an impressive destination for the country’s best amateur hunter riders each year and today served as the final day of amateur competition in the hunter ring with the $2,500 WCHR Adult Amateur Challenge presented by Kate Considine and Willow Brook Farm. Kimberly Maloomian of Needham, MA aboard Invincible, the famous mount of Ellen Toon, challenged a class of 32 entries, scoring a class best 88.00 to take the win.
Maloomian, who rode the 2000 Bayerisches Warmblood to reserve champion honors at HITS Saugerties in the Adult Amateur finals division earlier in September, was thrilled to finally capture a victory with one of the country’s most storied hunter mounts, endearingly known as Shaq.
“I’m not very good with pressure situations and I wanted to come in and make it fun, but I also knew that after yesterday it was going to be really close since there were a lot of really good riders within ten points of each other,” she remarked. “The course was a great course for Shaq though because it was landing on the right lead, which made the bending line perfect, but he’s done so many of these high pressure classes that he doesn’t care. It was more on me.”
Maloomian tried to relieve the pressure by reminding herself that her main and only goal was to do the best that she could do and let the rest just happen. Working all year long to qualify for the class, Maloomian made the most of her moment in The Show Place Arena and left the ring with a smile.
“Being able to ride Shaq worked out fabulously for me. I’ve only been riding him for about a month and we went to the Hamptons then Saugerties and we got a lot of red ribbons. It felt great today to finally earn the blue,” she said.
Winning the class meant a lot for Maloomian, who is very involved with the WCHR program and even coordinates awards for the northeast region. “I’m very into this program and it’s something nice to work towards. It definitely means a lot, especially when you’re invested in the program.”
Lisa Cox and Castleton, owned by The Barracks, who captured divisional reserve champion honors yesterday, continued with their success today earning a second place finish with a final score of 85.66. Ingrid Avera and her own Cadbury rounded out the top three of the class with a final score of 84.50.
Cloe Hymowitz Takes First Round of $10,000 North American Jr./AO Challenge Cup
Cloe Hymowitz of Bridgehampton, NY and Fidalgo van het Leliehof, owned by Rose Hill Farm, raced to the win in the first round of the $10,000 North American Junior/Amateur Owner Challenge Cup, which served as a speed class before the final round of competition tomorrow night, stopping the timers in 57.143 seconds to collect the win.
Hymowitz only began riding Fidalgo van het Leliehof a week ago, as the experienced gelding recently just switched hands to Rose Hill Farm as a High Junior Amateur mount for Hymowitz to compete during the winter season. Also finishing in fifth place aboard Romance de Kerliven, Hymowitz is looking forward to having four mounts in tomorrow night’s final class. “I’m really happy with how today went. I’ve only had him for a week and was just trying to get to know him a bit better, but when I looked at the clock we had actually gone pretty fast. I’m excited for our partnership and will try to get to know him better over the next couple of months before the winter circuit.”
Morgan Ward of Milford, NJ and Conquillas finished in second with a time of 59.132 seconds while Kelli Cruciotti of Elizabeth, CO followed in third aboard Wallenburg with a time of 59.146 seconds.
Competition at CCHS continues tomorrow with a day of Junior and Pony hunter classes, including the WCHR Pony Challenge, as well as the final round of the $10,000 North American Junior/Amateur Owner Challenge Cup.
About Capital Challenge Horse Show In its 22nd 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 26 – October 4. In addition to several 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.
Hunt Tosh and Largesse Conquer $25,000 Future Hunter North American Championship, Stewart and Catch Me Take Grand Hunter Championship, Alexis Taylor Silvernale Captures WCHR Developing Pro Challenge in Class Fashion
Upper Marlboro, MD – With a full day of outstanding amateur and professional hunter competition, the 2015 Capital Challenge Horse Show (CCHS), presented by Well Placed Smile, recognized the first Grand Champion combinations, alongside the preliminary World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) Challenge classes. A highlight of the afternoon was the captivating Future Hunter North American Championship presented by the Wheeler Family and Cismont Manor Farm, which crowned the most gifted young hunter combinations in the country. Capital Challenge Horse Show continues with WCHR Challenge classes including the WCHR Pro Finals at 7pm on Friday, October 2, and will conclude on Sunday, October 4.
The $25,000 WCHR Pro Challenge presented by the Gochman Family, was won by Scott Stewart, of Wellington, FL, piloting the Gochman’s own Catch Me, a dashing 2007 dapple grey Holsteiner gelding, to the top prize. Stewart and Catch Me put together an exceptional week at Capital Challenge, making their mark across the board in a number of competitive hunter divisions. The duo ultimately captured the prestigious 2015 Capital Challenge Horse Show Grand Hunter Champion presented by Rob Bielefeld, RSB Farms, and Chrystal Knight, alongside Grand Champion First Year Green Hunter presented by Summer Hill Farms alongside Jordan Gilchrist and Laura Hightower, as well as the Grand Green Hunter Champion presented by Carleton and Traci Brooks. The duo also collected the Tribute Award presented by Stewart and Ken Berkley. Adding to his ever-growing list of championship awards, he also earned the Leading Hunter Rider award presented by Tracye Ferguson and Meridian Riding Club.
Catch Me, one of the most consistent and attractive young horses in a field of talented and established competitors, continued to wow the judges with Stewart piloting knowledgably from the irons.
The duo scored a 92.66 in the first round, the highest professional score of the evening, combined with an 88.00 in the second over fences round for a final score of 180.66. Leslie Steele and Triumph were incredibly consistent with scores of 87.66 and 89.66 to find themselves just behind Stewart with a 177.32. Nick Haness and Countdown rounded out the top three finishers, receiving an 88.50 in the first class and an 87.91 in the final class of the evening at The Show Place Arena at Prince George’s Equestrian Center for a final score of 176.41.
The class attracted 28 entries found Stewart and Catch Me as the leaders throughout, but saw dramatic changes in the leaderboard as the top twelve were called back for the final round of competition prior to the $2,500 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge.
“The horses are going just great this week, but Catch Me was exceptional. He won every jump class he was entered in this week. Each round was just as good as the one before on him,” said Stewart. “He’s just been amazing. He was great in Florida and we always expected big things from him.”
The road to victory hasn’t been an easy one for Catch Me though. After a phenomenal winter season in Florida the gelding was admitted to a clinic, battling through a two-month stay due to an illness that halted his career and nearly ended his life. In a slow but sure recovery process, Catch Me began competing again under the watchful eye of Stewart who premiered the gelding in a magnificent return at Blue Grass Festival in Lexington, KY, where he proved his fight, earning top finishes in the First Year Green Hunter division, collecting Reserve Champion.
“We’re very lucky that he came back in the fashion that he did and his first show back was this past August in Kentucky and then he went to the Hampton Classic and did very well there also,” Stewart explained. “This is his third show back and he performed beautifully.”
Considering most professionals look to take an experienced horse into the ring for the WCHR Pro Challenge, Stewart did the opposite and brought a relatively green horse in for one of the highlight classes of the competition. When asked how he made his decision, he stated that it was actually a quite simple decision as the horse continued to prove himself throughout the week, showing that he was capable of handling the class and the atmosphere.
“He’s just been great all week and I figured that he was ready to go,” he said. “He’s perfect in the ring. He can be a bit spooky at home, but he’s fine in the ring. I think if you rode him like he was going to spook he would, but if you just ignore it; he’s absolutely fine.”
Stewart commented on the resurgence of Catch Me to the competition ring and it quickly became clear that the gelding’s natural talent will only grow as he becomes more accustomed to competing on a regular basis. “To be honest, he’s never done a class like this and probably has never seen a one-stride. It was the first time that we’ve jumped him indoors at a show and I don’t think he has that much experience inside, but he was incredible this week and it was an easy choice to use him for this class.”
In terms of Stewart’s stellar performance on a number of mounts this week, including seven entries in the $25,000 Future Hunter North American Championships, it seems that the veteran competitor continues to make his mark at the top levels of the sport, no matter the season.
“I always look forward to this horse show and this class. It’s a great class and there were a lot of really great rounds from everyone this year which is exciting for the sport,” Stewart noted. “This is one of my favorite shows and I certainly feel like I’ve had one of my better weeks here this week. Everyone performed to their best and I couldn’t be happier with the results.”
Stewart’s groom Omar Galban received a portion of the prize money for his dedication and hard work behind the scenes preparing Catch Me throughout the week. The Groom’s Award, presented by Goshen Hill, Gary Duffy, and Little Brook Farm, was given to Galban during the presentation ceremony following the conclusion of the class.
West Coast Talent Alexis Taylor Silvernale Tops $2,500 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge with Citation
After a more than 2,500-mile trip from the Pacific Northwest to the Mid-Atlantic, Alexis Taylor Silvernale of Bellevue, Washington made her journey worthwhile as she and Citation, a 2006 Wurttemberger gelding (Cornet Obolensky x Little Lou) owned by student Camille LeBlond, were crowned champions of the $2,500 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge presented by Stephanie Ingram and Well Placed Smile. Silvernale and Citation received an 84.50 from the panel for their first over fences round and retuned to score an 87.50 in the second over fences class to seal their win with a final score of 172.00.
Entering the division as the leading rider for the WCHR Developing Pro series, Silvernale was ecstatic with the duo’s performance throughout the competitive division and embraced her return to the East Coast with happiness and determination. Riding for a number of talented and prominent names in the industry including Leslie Howard and Timmy Kees during her junior years, Silvernale took a hiatus from the sport for nearly a decade, earning a bachelor’s degree from New York University and continuing on to a successful career on Wall Street before realizing where her true passion was calling her.
“My husband Joe and I met training for an Ironman competition and he really inspired me to get back into the sport which has been the biggest blessing in my life,” continued Silvernale. “I found myself riding again and trained through much of my amateur owner career with Hunt and Mandy Tosh but really felt a pull to move back closer to family and took a professional job in the area and decided to open up our own program in Washington State and something I was a little bit more accustomed to.”
Citation plays dual roles at her own Aleron Farm, serving as a junior hunter mount for owner LeBlond, while testing the bigger tracks with Silvernale. The team will head to Harrisburg next where Silvernale will compete in the High Performance division and LeBlanc will test the prestigious equitation classes on a separate mount. A solid citizen and a true talent, Citation proved his worth with a flawless second round, which ultimately secured the win for the duo, who were in fifth place going into the final round.
“We actually imported him to be an equitation horse but my client decided that she wanted more experience in the hunter ring, so we decided to mold him into a hunter,” she explained. “He’s exceeded all of our expectations and he has an incredible jump. He has an amazing personality in the barn but he’s incredibly athletic and just safe and kind. He will continue to do the Junior Hunters with his owner and I am hoping that I will be lucky enough to keep campaigning him through the High Performance divisions next year and the international derbies.”
Quick to thank her husband, team, and owners, Silvernale also made mention of her longtime groom Luis Jiminez and his wife Maria Jiminez who have been with the Aleron team since its inception.
“I want to thank Luis and Maria for all of their hard work and the dedication they put forth every day to ensure the best care of our horses. They helped to found our business and are exceptional. They truly are family and they’re known around the barn as Papa Luis and Mama Maria.”
Sara Green and Batman followed with reserve honors in the division, narrowly trailing Silvernale and Citation, receiving an 83.00 in the first round and lifting their average with an impressive 88.33 in the second over fences class for a total score of 171.33 and broke a tie with Alexandra Wedemeyer and Wish List who collected third place with the same score.
Hunt Tosh Captures $25,000 Future Hunter North American Championships aboard Largesse presented by The Wheeler Family
After a strong showing, piloting young hunters through the divisions over the past two days, Hunt Tosh of Alpharetta, GA earned champion honors for the second year in a row in the Future Hunter North American Championships presented by the Wheeler Family, this time aboard 2007 Warmblood gelding Largesse owned by Ceil and Kenny Wheeler. Tosh and Largesse captured divisional championship honors yesterday in the Future Hunter 3’3” division and continued to build, receiving the highest scored round of Future Hunter North American Championships and the entire Future Hunter division, with a 92. The duo finished with a score of 177.30.
Jennifer Alfano and The Exchange, who were divisional winners in the Future Hunter 6 & Over, collected Reserve Champion honors with a total score of 175.15 while Liza Boyd and Gala placed third, after two lovely over fences classes, which received an 86.47 and 86.18 for a total score of 172.65 respectively. Tosh and Largesse also received the Grand Champion Future Working Hunter honors awarded by David Belford, Christopher Payne, Sue Moriconi and New Hope LLC.
“He is just an incredible horse. He’s just fabulous and he was everything that we had talked about yesterday but just even better today. He went beautifully the first round and the second round being 3’ it was a little bit smaller for him, but he held it together and went nice and he’s a really great horse to have the ride on,” Tosh explained.
With their score of 92 and a first round average of 88.90, Tosh and Largesse also received the EMO Future Hunter Trip of the Show presented by Sue Bopp and EMO Agency. “I thought he really tried hard the entire round and its fun when you can go into a class like that and start to pull off scores like a 92 and get good scores. He’s a great horse and I’m really excited about him next year as a First Year horse.”
As for their back-to-back consistent trips seen throughout the week, they followed their 88.90 in the first round with an 88.40 from the panel after their second trip in The Show Place Arena. Tosh commented that he felt the gelding begin to understand and respond to small changes and adjustments throughout the course, but his willingness to try throughout the round is what truly impressed Tosh.
“In the first round he was jumping beautiful and I turned a little wide to stay out for the six and I had to take him a little bit right over the vertical and he really tried. He was with me and put in that extra little bit of effort that made the difference and helped me out the most there in the first round. He was trying as hard as I was,” Tosh remembered.
Three days of consecutive competition for young horses can be draining but Tosh couldn’t have been happier with the performance of Largesse throughout the course of the week. “This ring sometimes lights ‘them up a little bit and I think it’s great to give them a new atmosphere on day three when they can start to get a bit tired. The lines rode very well in the ring and you needed to carry a bit of pace but all of the courses were perfect for this class.”
Scott Stewart and Lucador, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, received Grand Champion Conformation Hunter honors awarded by Kitty Barker and Eight Oaks, as well as the Kenneth Wheeler Perpetual Trophy presented by B. J. Meeks, Pablo Perez and Kenneth Wheeler. Stewart also earned the Best Professional Trip of the Show presented by Sue Bopp and EMO Agency for his round in the Performance Hunter aboard A Million Reasons, also owned by Dr. Betsee Parker.
Hayley Barnhill and Ice Time earned distinguished honors in the Professional World Champion Hunter Under Saddle presented by Molly Flaherty and Patty Peckham of Arcadia Farm.
Capital Challenge continues tomorrow with amateur hunter divisions including the WCHR Amateur Owner Challenge and the continuation of the $10,000 Children’s/Adult Amateur Jumper Challenge presented by Equis Boutique.
About Capital Challenge Horse Show
In its 22nd 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 26 – October 4. In addition to several 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.