The main feature of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Saturday, March 23, was the $209,000 Wellington Agricultural Services Grand Prix CSI 4*, held on the grass derby field at Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Emil Hallundbaek (DEN) and Chalisco raced to victory in the field full of top competitors.
There were 45 entries that went to post in the $209,000 Wellington Agricultural Services Grand Prix CSI 4*, and five of those recorded a clear round and advanced to the jump-off.
First to return was Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) riding Dacantos Group’s Hunters Conlypso II. He and the 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Contendro I x Calypso II had a rail at the ‘a’ element of the “bogey” double combination for four faults in 45.35 seconds to finish in fifth place.
Hallundbaek and Chalisco were next in, and they galloped around the field and cleared every jump presented to them, crossing the timers clear in 42.37 seconds.
Sergio Alvarez Moya Tops $134,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Jumper Series Final
Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya scored a comeback victory in the $134,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Jumper Series Final during “Saturday Night Lights,” after a six-month recovery from ACL knee surgery. Alvarez Moya bested a field of 60 entries over tracks designed by Steve Stephens and Nick Granat (USA) in the International Arena at WEF by posting one of only three double-clear performances riding his own MHS Attraction.
The top fifteen horse-and-rider combinations based on faults after the first round (25% of the original entries) of the CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Jumper Series Final advanced to a second phase to decide the ultimate winner, and faults were cumulative through the two rounds. Alvarez Moya crossed the final timers in 49.59 seconds for the win over Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) aboard Soory de l’Hallali.
Sophie Gochman and Garfield Reunite to Win Palm Beach International Academy Large Junior Hunter 3’6” 15 and Under Division
Kicking off Saturday competition in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Field, Sophie Gochman and Garfield secured the champion title for the Week 11 Large Junior Hunter 3’6” 15 and Under division. After parting ways when Garfield was purchased by Bikoff Equestrian LLC, the pair reunited in the hunters this circuit and landed the championship after winning both of the day’s over fences classes.
Gochman owned the 16-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Coriano x Love Touch), whom she affectionately calls ‘Kitty’, for a period of time before he was sold a year and a half ago. With his current owner, Ella Bikoff, competing several other horses in the Junior Hunter 3’3” divisions, Gochman was given the opportunity to take the ride on Garfield again and the pair have picked up right where they left off.
Gochman and Garfield held the highest scores in three out of the four over fences classes with two rounds earning 87.00 points and a third earning 88.00 points.
Sophie Gochman Is Unbeatable in the Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under Division
Wellington, FL – January 29, 2017 – It was a win on the final day for Markus Beerbaum (GER) and Tequila de Lile in the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic during week three of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), sponsored by Adequan®, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.
Course designer Luc Musette (BEL) finished out week three with 47 entries in Sunday’s 1.50m Classic and a ten-horse jump-off with six double clear rounds. Katie Dinan (USA) was first to clear the jump-off track, finishing sixth aboard Grant Road Partners’ Galan S, with a time of 45.09 seconds. Richie Moloney (IRL) clocked the fifth place time of 44.24 seconds riding Equinimity LLC’s Button Sitte. Laura Kraut (USA) placed fourth, riding Cherry Knoll Farm’s Constable II through the timers in 41.25 seconds. Daniel Bluman (ISR) guided Bacara d’Archonfosse, owned by Bluman, Kim Douglas, and Alex Schwitzer, to third place in 40.24 seconds.
Kent Farrington (USA) took the lead in 39.69 seconds riding his own and Robin Parsky’s Gazelle, but the best was yet to come, as Beerbaum and Tequila de Lile crossed the timers one 1/100th of a second faster to take the win in 39.68 seconds.
Remarking on the fraction of time that separated his round from Farrington’s, Beerbaum admitted, “That was lucky! I thought I gave it away, because after the double combination I added a stride. I did seven because I did not have the feeling that she was moving forward enough coming out, but actually my start was very quick, and my finish also. I had a really short turn to the second to last, so I got it by that little fraction.”
Tequila de Lile, a 10-year-old Selle Francais mare (Luccianno x Etna Paulelle) owned by Artemis Equestrian Farm, began with Beerbaum in 2014. The European Championships and World Equestrian Games team gold medalist began developing the mare as a seven-year-old and feels that she is now stepping up to the next level.
“It is a fantastic mare,” Beerbaum described. “She is extremely careful; that is why we have taken our time with her. She is ten now, and she is just getting in her prime. She has won a few two-star grand prixs, and she got a ribbon here in last week’s grand prix. This week I did not qualify for Saturday night, so I decided to put her in today, and she feels fantastic and ready to do bigger things.”
The Beerbaums are keeping it all in the family, as Markus’s wife, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, also won the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic just one week ago riding her young mare Daisy. Michaels-Beerbaum, who earned a team bronze medal at this summer’s Olympic Games, also finished second in Saturday night’s $130,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3* with Comanche 28.
“That is fun,” said Beerbaum of their back-to-back victories. “We have a very good group of horses right now, which we have produced over the last few years here actually. They have all been here at the Winter Equestrian Festival numerous times, and now they are all ready to play and show. We had a great two weeks to start. I hope we can keep the ball rolling.”
Also competing in the International Arena on Sunday, Taylor St. Jacques and Qantar des Etisses won the $10,000 SJHOF Sleepy P Ranch High Junior Jumper Classic. Hannah Patten and Curby du Seigneur topped the $10,000 Equiline Medium Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic.
Sophie Gochman Is Unbeatable in the Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under Division
On Sunday morning, Sophie Gochman of Palm Beach, FL captured both the championship and reserve honors in the Small Junior Hunters 15 & Under. She rode Dominik to the champion title and Mythical to reserve. Both horses are owned by Gochman Sport Horses LLC. Aboard Dominik, Gochman won the stake, handy, and under saddle classes, and earned second and fifth places over fences.
Dominik is a nine-year-old Warmblood gelding that Gochman has ridden for the past year. During the 2016 show season, Scott Stewart also showed the gelding in in the Second Year Green Hunter division.
“He’s very sweet and likes a lot of attention and treats,” Gochman said. “He really loves showing and always tries his best. I always have such a great time on him.”
Mythical, a 13-year-old Westphalian gelding by Cornet Obolensky, has been in the Gochman family for several years now. Sophie Gochman’s mother, Becky Gochman, previously showed him in the Amateur-Owner Hunters before giving the ride to Sophie two years ago. Gochman navigated Mythical to first and second place finishes over fences, second place in the stake, fourth place in the handy, and third place under saddle.
“He’s like a little teddy bear,” said Gochman. “If Mythical is lying down in his stall, I can go and lay on top of him. My mother and I have both had a lot of fun on him. He’s a great family horse.”
Gochman has been coming to the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) for eight years now and enjoys the opportunity to encounter riders from all over world here at WEF.
“There are so many people, so many international riders. It’s really great because you get to see all these different cultures and the different styles of riding,” Gochman detailed.
The 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival continues with its fourth week of competition, sponsored by Ariat®, on February 1-5, 2017. The week’s highlights include the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 4 on Thursday, February 2, the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic and Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments®, on Saturday, February 4, as well as the $216,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 4* on the grass field at Equestrian Village at PBIEC on Sunday, February 5, at 3 p.m. For full results and more information, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Bit of Love and Sophie Gochman. Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.
Sandra Zimmerli and Zaza Fastest to Win $10,000 North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup Final Round
Upper Marlboro, Maryland – The Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by World Equestrian Center, featured the smallest athletes on Saturday morning and afternoon. Capturing the Grand Pony Hunter Championship was Sophie Gochman, riding Dr. Betsee Parker’s Bit of Love. In the evening session, Sandra Zimmerli and Zaza won the $10,000 North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup Final Round, sponsored by Johnson Horse Transportation and the overall Challenge Cup, sponsored by Ariat International. The Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, concludes on Sunday, October 9. Every class of the show is live streamed and available to watch online at tv.coth.com or www.capitalchallenge.org.
Thirteen-year-old Sophie Gochman of Palm Beach, FL stepped into the winner’s circle for top honors for the second year in a row. She rode Bit of Love, a 10-year-old Welsh Pony Cross gelding by English Lad, to the Small Pony Hunter championship, sponsored by Mike and Alexandra Borissoff Wright, with two firsts, two seconds, and a fourth. Alexa Lignelli and IParty were the reserve champions. They won the under saddle and were second, third, and fifth over fences.
For their division championship, Gochman and Bit of Love were presented with the Harper Taskier Wright Memorial Trophy. Their top performance earned them the Grand Pony Hunter Championship, sponsored by The Aycox Family and Whispering Willow Farm. They were presented with The VanderMoore Designs Trophy, donated by Vandermoore Designs. Gochman was honored with the Best Child Rider on a Pony title as well, sponsored by Archibald Cox & Brookway Stables. For that award, they were presented with The Kitty Borissoff Memorial Trophy, donated by her many friends.
Last year, Gochman won the top prize on Love Me Tender, and Bit of Love was reserve champion in the Smalls. She believes that it is the time they have spent together that has resulted in the upgrade in prizes for 2016.
“I think our bond has grown bigger,” she explained. “I’ve been riding him for about two years, so I know all of his quirks. I know what rhythm I’m supposed to ride him on, and he knows how I ride too. It’s the bond that’s improved us.”
Gochman said that Bit of Love is “a bit of a diva.” She laughed, “He’s very cute (and) very tiny. He knows he’s very pretty. He thinks that everyone has treats for him. He at first seems a little bit feisty, but he really just wants to snuggle and get food.”
She enjoys showing at Capital Challenge because they “highlight the hunters,” and “it really makes them special.”
She said of winning the Grand and Best Rider titles for the second year, “It’s an amazing experience, especially since this is planning to be my last year on the ponies. It’s really nice to have my last Capital Challenge on the ponies, for me to be Grand Champion and Best Child Rider. It means a lot to me and makes it special.”
The champion in the Large Pony Hunters was Timeless, ridden by 12-year-old Erica Felder of Durham, NC for owner Victoria Haynes. They won two over fences classes and placed second in the under saddle. The reserve championship went to Small Soldier, ridden by Augusta Iwasaki and owned by Iwasaki & Reilly, who won the under saddle and was second in two over fences classes.
Champion in the Medium Pony Hunters, sponsored by Rosemont Farm, was Highlands Heaven Sent, ridden by Luke Jensen for Bill Schaub. They placed first and second over fences. Reserve champion in the division was Blue Chip, ridden by Caroline Passarelli and owned by Heritage Farm, Inc. They jumped to first, third, and fourth over fences.
Luke Jensen traveled to the winner’s circle for two more awards. The EMO Trip of the Show for Ponies also went to Jensen and Highlands Heaven Sent for their score of 88. Jensen was awarded the Stewart Warner Cup for pony riders, given in memory of Laurie Gilbert Stewart & Mary Warner Brown by Donald E. Stewart, Jr. and Louise W. Serio. It is awarded to up-and-coming junior riders, who, in the opinion of the panel of judges, exhibit the best hunter style and show potential as a young hunter rider.
Stella Wasserman and Trillville topped the WCHR Pony Hunter Challenge, presented by Rick Kunkle and RC Stables.
In the outdoor ring, three more champions were pinned. Topping the Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division, sponsored by Heritage Farm, was Boss, ridden by Katherine Dash for Laura Wasserman. Boss was the Grand Hunter Champion earlier in the week with John French. They won two over fences classes and the under saddle. The reserve championship stayed in the family as Laura Wasserman’s Fine Design took the tricolor with Hunter Siebel. Fine Design was second and third over fences and sixth in the under saddle.
Hunter Siebel returned to the winner’s circle in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division, sponsored by Beacon Hill Show Stables and Stonehenge Stables. She rode Pure Abundance, owned by Mountain Home Stables, to first and second over fences and second in the under saddle ribbons. Brett Burlington and Due West, owned by Popish Farms LLC, were the reserve champions. They placed first, third, and sixth over fences and were fifth in the under saddle.
Pomodoro and Hensley Humphries finished as champions in the Children’s Hunter Pony division, sponsored by the Rizvi Family. They were first over fences and sixth in the under saddle. The reserve champions were In the Game and Emma Sameth, who rode for Caroline Tinsley. They won an over fences class.
The winner of the Junior World Champion Hunter Under Saddle class, sponsored by Sweet Oak Farm, was Rockette, ridden by Sophie Gochman for Ramble On Farm.
Sandra Zimmerli Finds the Way to Win with Zaza
Victory in the $10,000 North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup Final Round, sponsored by Johnson Horse Transportation, went to Sandra Zimmerli and Zaza. They were the fastest double clear out of four in the jump-off, in a time of 32.172 seconds. Second place in the class went to Lauren Fischer on Offenbach du Granit, who stopped the timers in 34.638 seconds. Haley Schaufeld and Harley 86 were third with a time of 33.131 seconds with four faults in the jump-off.
Sandra Zimmerli (18) of Fairfax Station, VA first sat on Zaza, a 12-year-old Holsteiner mare by Casco owned by River Farm Sporthorses, four days ago, but the chance meeting led to a first-time win for Zimmerli at Capital Challenge. Zaza is available for lease, and owner Haley Schaufeld asked Zimmerli if she could show the mare here.
“She’s an amazing horse,” Zimmerli said. “She’s quite forward – a lot more forward than my horse. She’ll really take you to the jump. You just have to wait; you don’t want to gun at anything. I love her so much. She’s really adjustable, and you feel like you can win any class, honestly. For tonight I had no doubt I would be clear with her. She just gave an amazing feeling.”
Zimmerli, who normally trains with Conor O’Regan, competed at Capital Challenge last year with her own horse. “I like the show a lot,” she said. “I think it’s a great start before you go to Harrisburg and Washington. Since the classes are 1.35m and 1.40m, it’s a good build up, and it’s confidence for horse and rider. I’ve always dreamed of winning at an indoor show so this is awesome.”
For her win in the final round, Zimmerli was presented with the Remy Martin Perpetual Trophy, donated by Rolling Acres and Melanie Wright. She was also the overall winner of the North American Junior/Amateur Jumper Challenge Cup and was awarded the Ariat Congressional Cup. The Best Junior Jumper Rider Award, sponsored by South Haven Farm, was given to Zimmerli, while Lacey Gilbertson won the Best Amateur Jumper Rider Award.
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.
Rizvi Captures $2,500 WCHR Pony Challenge; Danielle Torano and Herault Rise to the Occasion in Final Round of $10,000 North American Jr./AO Jumper Challenge
Upper Marlboro, MD – Talented ponies ruled the roost today at Capital Challenge Horse Show (CCHS) presented by Well Placed Smile, with Small, Medium, and Large pony divisions honoring their respective champion and reserve combinations for top performances. Sophie Gochman of New York, NY captured the prestigious Grand Champion Pony Hunter aboard Love Me Tender, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, while Farah Rizvi of Greenwich, CT and Trillville, owned by Peacock Ridge LLC, were victorious in the $2,500 WCHR Pony Challenge. Danielle Torano of Wellington, FL and Herault topped the final round of the $10,000 North American Jr./AO Jumper Challenge presented by Johnson Horse Transportation.
Competing in the Small Pony Hunter division aboard Love Me Tender, Sophie Gochman earned the division’s championship title, going on to collect the highest award of the day, the Grand Champion Pony Hunter for her collective rides aboard the 2004 Welsh Pony mare. Gochman, who is 12 years old, earned two first places and a second place finish, alongside a fourth and sixth place to earn overall Grand Champion Pony honors at the 2015 Capital Challenge Horse Show. She also followed herself as reserve champion in the division aboard another Dr. Betsee Parker owned mount, Bit of Love.
Gochman was awarded with the Harper Taskier Wright Memorial Trophy presented to the rider of the Small Pony Hunter Champion, as well as the VanderMoore Designs Trophy donated by VanderMoore Designs. Adding to her memorable day, Gochman also collected the Best Pony Rider Award sponsored by Archie Cox and Brookway Stables. Gochman, alongside sister Mimi Gochman, and Clare Campbell were simultaneously awarded with the EMO Trip of the Show for the Pony division presented by Sue Bopp and EMO Agency for their tied high score of 89.00. Campbell was recognized for her style throughout the week, earning the Stewart Warner Cup presented by Donald Stewart and Louise Serio.
“It’s so exciting. I never expected to win Grand Champion at Capital Challenge. It’s such a competitive show and all of the riders are so good. It feels like such an accomplishment,” Gochman remarked.
Love Me Tender, known in the barn as Princess, is quite the diva and continually lives up to her name, but according to Gochman, she will do anything you ask of her in the ring. The duo proved their talent with incredible consistency throughout the two days of pony competition, which was filled with many of the best young competitors in the country.
“She’s a little princess and can be sassy sometimes. She has a really nice long stride though and she has very solid lead changes. She’s just perfect,” smiled Gochman. “Yesterday when we got the 89 outdoors in the rain was a good moment for me because it was a little bit harder to ride in the rain but she does really well outdoors.”
The Gochman family has continued to support and sponsor Capital Challenge Horse Show throughout the years and the competition holds a special place in their hearts. Sophie related saying, “It’s a great facility here and I always think it is a challenge to go from outdoors to indoors and there are so many competitors that you always have to be on your toes.”
Gochman wished to thank her team and trainers for helping to prepare her throughout the week as they continue to make her a better rider. She said, “I’d really like to thank Scott Stewart, Ken Berkley, and Amanda Derbyshire for all of their help this week and to Betsee for letting me ride Princess. I also have to thank my parents for supporting me and Princess’ groom Luis for taking such good care of her.”
Mimi Gochman, the younger sister of Sophie at eleven years old, also collected top honors today as she was crowned champion of the Large Pony Hunter division aboard Storyteller owned by Fair Play Farm. The beautiful chestnut gelding went wonderfully for Gochman throughout the week and she was excited to earn the tricolor for the division.
“It was really fun today and I’m so excited. It’s a great honor to champion a division here because it’s really competitive and it’s one of the top indoor shows, which makes it really special,” she explained. “Story is a very calm pony and he has a great stride and a fun jump. He’s very easy to turn so I think handy rounds are his forte and he loves all of the classes we do.”
The grounds at Capital Challenge have seen immense rainfall this week, but as competition continued on, so did the riding and Gochman was one of only few who may have been happy to be riding in the rain this week. She recalled, “Yesterday he got an 89 outside and I was really proud of him because he is what my dad calls a ‘mudder’ and he just loves the mud! He jumped great and he always tries his best for me.”
Both of the Gochman girls commented on the importance of the show on their schedule each year and described how it helps them to prepare for the other indoors that are approaching in the fall season.
“Capital Challenge is just challenging,” said Mimi Gochman. “There are so many great ponies here and it’s seems to be a little bit cold every time so they always seem a little fresh. It’s good to ride in the indoor ring though because there are so many lights and banners and you have to get used to that with all of the other shows too.”
Paralleling her sister, Mimi quickly thanked her team, parents, and Fair Play Farm for their support throughout the week. “I would like to thank Scott Stewart, Ken Berkley, Amanda Derbyshire, Kate and Terrance for being my trainers and helping me to ride this week. I also want to thank Fair Play Farm for giving me the ride on Story for this week and Gustavo Hernandez my groom who takes care of him.”
Emma Kurtz of Hudson, OH and All My Love, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, followed Mimi Gochman with reserve honors in the Large Pony Hunter division.
The day of sisterly success continued at Capital Challenge as Zayna Rizvi took top honors in the Medium Pony Hunter aboard Swingtown, owned by Peacock Ridge LLC before her older sister Farah would ultimately be crowned in the WCHR Pony Challenge only a few classes later. Sophie Gochman collected reserve champion honors for the division aboard Truly Noble owned by Pegasus Show Stable Inc.
Rizvi Captures $2,500 WCHR Pony Challenge
Farah Rizvi rode a beautiful round in the $2,500 WCHR Pony Challenge, piloting Trillville to top honors in the class, which boasted 26 entries. Rizvi finished on a score of 87.66, while Kathryn McCarthy of New Canaan, CT and Canterbrook Prince Charming placed second with a score of 84.33, while Adam Edgar of Leesburg, VA and One More Time completed the top three with a score of 83.58.
“It feels really good to win this class and I’m really happy with it. I think it was fun to come down the last line and be like ‘Yay I had a good round!’” she exclaimed.
Piloting Trillville to a solid trip in her first WCHR Challenge win, Rizvi made the most of her ride on the 2004 New Forest Pony gelding, who’s lovingly known around the barn as Trill. The duo mastered the tough course and Rizvi left the ring with an ear-to-ear smile.
“He’s a really good boy and he really likes jumping. He’s usually pretty good but in the jog he always tries to bite me but I know that he doesn’t mean to,” she said as she explained the personality of the silky bay Trill. “We’ve had him for two years but we leased him last year so this is my first year riding him.”
Rizvi was another young rider who recognized the importance and competitiveness of Capital Challenge, as she pointed out that the show is an important step on the road to Harrisburg and Washington International Horse Show. “I like having the indoor and the outdoor rings and it’s a very hard show because of all of the riders. I really like the Hamptons and Washington, Harrisburg, and here. They are my favorites.”
Working throughout the year with goal of competing in the WCHR class, Rizvi commented that she set the goal early in the season. “I did want to do this class and I really like classic kind of things, you know they’re really fun, and you get to wear your shadbelly.”
Dabbling in several equestrian disciplines, Rizvi chose to forgo competing in the pony divisions last year and focused on showing her Children’s Hunter mount and her Children’s Jumper horse. She also began to follow in her mother’s footsteps and tried her hand at dressage, which she truly enjoyed.
“I did do some dressage last spring in Florida,” she confirmed. “My pony is off this week and he’s back next week so we’ll start to do more and I’m actually going to try and do the FEI Pony divisions this year in Wellington.”
Danielle Torano and Herault Rise to the Occasion in Final Round of $10,000 North American Jr./AO Jumper Challenge
Danielle Torano of Wellington, FL and Herault sped to the finish of the $10,000 North American Jr./AO Jumper Challenge presented by Johnson Horse Transportation, which attracted 26 entries, as the duo stopped the jump-off timers in 36.902 seconds for the win. Cloe Hymowitz of Bridgehampton, NY and Romance De Kerliven finished in second with a time of 37.803 seconds while Torano piloted her second mount into the top three as Callas 2 was just a few milliseconds slower than Hymowitz with a time of 37.895 seconds for third. The class saw nine entries move forward to the jump-off round.
Torano, who hadn’t initially planned to compete at Capital Challenge this year, found herself in the award ceremony with two young horses primed for the top levels of the sport. Herault, a 2007 Warmblood gelding, just recently stepped up to the big leagues, contesting a few grand prixs at the Vermont Summer Festival, while Callas 2, a 2007 Warmblood mare, has the scope and steadiness to excel in the larger classes.
“I’ve had Herault for a little over a year. We bought him as a seven-year-old and we started to move him up this year. Callas 2 is also eight but I feel like I can go faster with her because she’s so careful and scopey so I wasn’t sure how I was going to beat my own time on him, but when I talked to Jimmy [Torano] he gave me a few areas that I could possibly shave off time,” she said explaining her strategy for the jump-off. “When I looked back at the scoreboard once I finished I couldn’t believe that I had gone faster than my first ride!”
Torano has had a number of successful upper level talents throughout the years and these two young horses seem to be ready for a successful grand prix debut during the winter circuit.
“I’m really proud of him today because he proved to me that when I ask for more he’s willing to go there. I decided to do both of them here because they’re young and haven’t had much experience showing indoors with us so it was a good prep run for both of them before Harrisburg next week,” Torano said.
Riding in less than favorable weather before the class, Torano admitted that riding in the rain is her absolute least favorite thing to do and she was proud that she was able to pilot both horses to respectable finishes aside from the outdoor conditions.
“I’m soaking wet and I absolutely hate riding in the rain but it was completely worth it and paid off,” she laughed. In terms of her mental preparation for riding two very different horses so close together in the order, Torano detailed the uniqueness of each ride. “Herault is a full-brother to a horse that I used to have, Vancouver, who I did in the really big grand prix classes and he rides very similarly so I’m comfortable with him. It’s like putting on an old glove. Callas 2 is a little bit more difficult for me though because she’s so careful. In my mind I get a little ahead of myself and feel like I have to make sure we get there perfectly every time because she is so scopey and careful.”
JET Stables will head to Harrisburg next, where Torano will finish her fall campaign and give the horses a rest before the winter season. She explained, “After Harrisburg we’ll call it a day in terms of the fall schedule. I am very conservative with my horses and want to make sure that I know them as best as possible before we do any of the bigger classes, but I know Jimmy already has some plans for WEF with these two, so we’ll probably see them doing some of the bigger grand prix classes during the circuit.”
Regularly traveling to compete at Capital Challenge Horse Show, JET Stables continues to bring students and clients to The Show Place Arena, as it has been an important stop on the seasonal schedule for both Jimmy, as head trainer, and Danielle, a rider, every year. Torano noted, “It was a super week and even though the weather was a downer, it was completely worth it, especially when you do well in the ring. We had a really fun week and a lot of Jimmy’s students did very well so it was great.”
Tomorrow concludes the final day of the 2015 Capital Challenge Horse Show, showcasing Junior Hunter riders and Children’s Hunter competition. For more information on Capital Challenge Horse Show and to view a full show schedule, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org. The entire show will be live streamed via EquestrianCounsel.com CCHS Live Webcast, which can be found at www.capitalchallenge.org.
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.
Lexington, KY – August 9, 2015 – Beginning early Sunday morning, 174 young riders and their ponies took their turns around the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park Friday, with each hoping to claim the coveted honor of Marshall & Sterling/USEF Pony Medal Champion by day’s end. Ultimately, it was Sophie Gochman aboard Rico Suave who outshone the rest to take the top prize following two seamless over fences trips and a stand-out performance in the additional flat testing.
“I’m so excited. I came in here thinking that it would be great if I was in the top 10 because last year I was in the top 25. My goal was to just be top 10, but I never expected to win. I’m so excited, I’m so pumped,” Gochman said. “My heart was in my stomach. I was shaking. Just making the top 10, I achieved my goal.”
After the first phase course, 25 riders and their mounts returned to the limelight for one more trip around the natural track. Having whittled down the field to the top contenders, it was only fitting that the equitation course increased in both options and difficulty level. After starting with a diagonal four-stride line, the riders were already faced with an inside or outside fence option at the third effort, which then affected the long approach to the ivy-covered oxer headed towards the gate. A left-hand rollback gave way to another sharp turn in the opposite direction to a two-stride oxer-to-vertical combination, followed by a turn option to the subsequent vertical. The final fence once again presented riders with a jump option. Gochman opted for all of the reasonable inside tracks, undoubtedly showing off her equitation ability and the pony’s handiness.
“The courses were challenging, especially the long four-stride line and several of the rollbacks. The second course had a lot of rollbacks, and you had to be very careful to land on the correct lead or to get the change quickly. Luckily, Rico is very good at getting his lead changes, which made it a bit easier,” Gochman stated.
The 12-year-old from New York City may have believed the course to have its fair share of challenges, but she hid it well, conquering the tough track and consistently impressing judges Frank Madden and Ken Smith.
“What we found out in the second round is that the cream just wasn’t rising to the top, but Sophie was solid all day,” Madden commented. “When we flatted the top five, they were all within two-and-a-half points of each other, so that had a lot to do with the outcome. Sophie was leading headed into the test and stayed on top.”
“She had two of the most consistent rounds of the day, and she was quite good on the flat, so all of that combined put her at the top for us,” echoed Smith.
The young Gochman was quick to note that it was a team effort that contributed to her win, sharing thank yous by the handful just outside the ring, still dressed in the traditional champion garb with a blue sash hanging off her shoulder.
“I really, really want to thank Amanda [Derbyshire], Scott [Stewart], and Ken [Berkley] for training me, my parents for supporting me with my riding, Gustavo, Rico’s groom, and Dr. Betsee Parker. Although she doesn’t own Rico, but she has given me lots of great rides,” Gochman graciously expressed. “And of course, Rico. I gave him a kiss and made sure that he got a candy.”
Gochman had a repertoire of ponies to choose from but felt that Rico Suave, ‘Rico’ for short, was her best bet at a top placing in the Medal class. Owned by Ponies & Palms Show Stables out of Boca Raton, Florida, the small pony had been one of the 12-year-old’s trusty mounts for two years, and on Sunday, it looked like her choice paid off.
“Rico is so comfortable and brave, even when the jumps are a bit spooky. He has a good stride and a nice lead change, so I think that he was the best-qualified pony of ours. Thinking about all the challenging things in the equitation, he was the best at all of them,” Gochman said. “Plus, he is just so cute.”
Another vital member of Gochman’s support team, trainer Scott Stewart, was right by her side throughout both rounds of competition and the flatwork test, offering useful help to keep the young talent riding her best.
“In round two, it seemed that she was a little more relaxed and was able to have fun since she was so excited about making it to the top 25. I had to tell her to be calm because she was almost a little bit too excited,” Stewart laughed. “She has a naturally nice position and is always working on something. It’s exciting to watch her grow as a rider. She rides a lot and tries to get better. It was great for the week to end this way.”
Gochman plans to revel in her win a bit longer, but soon the young talent will turn her eyes to the next competition on the horizon. She hopes to qualify for the pony classes at the Washington International Horse Show during the Indoor season and eventually move on to the open equitation classes when she “gets a bit bigger.” With many more junior years ahead of her, Gochman is certainly one to keep on the radar.
Boasting another strong performance, Natalie Jayne of Elgin, Illinois earned the title of reserve champion. Third place went to Grace Debney of Hamden, Massachusetts, followed by Ellia Giuliani of Middleburg, Virginia in the fourth spot. Jenna Drago of Aurora, Ohio and Jennifer Staniloff of Setauket, New York rounded out the final two top six spots.
The USEF Pony Finals fun came to an end on Sunday, but competition will continue this week at the Kentucky Horse Park with the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show beginning on Tuesday, August 11.
Lexington, Ky. – A week of competition at the 2015 US Pony Finals came to a close Sunday with the most coveted award of the championship. The Marshall & Sterling/US Pony Medal Finals took place in the Alltech Arena with 165 riders vying for top honors in front of judges Frank Madden and Ken Smith. After an especially beautiful first round, Sophie Gochman earned the Marshall & Sterling/US Pony Medal Finals Championship title.
In round one the riders were tested over a demanding course designed by Marc Donovan and Bobby Murphy. Twenty-five riders were called back for round two over a more difficult track to test their equitation skills. After round two, five riders, two from the Small section and three from the Medium section, returned to the ring to be tested on the flat. Gochman, Grace Debney, Jenna Drago, Ellia Giuliani, and Natalie Jayne entered the Alltech Arena to determine the top placings of the Marshall & Sterling/US Pony Medal Finals. In the test, riders were first asked to show walk, posting trot, sitting trot, and canter before reversing direction.
Twelve-year-old Gochman (New York, N.Y.) displayed her proficient equitation to be named the winner and receive the Gold medal in the 2015 Marshall & Sterling/US Pony Medal Finals.
“I’m so excited,” said Gochman. “I came in here thinking it would be great if I was in the Top 10, because last year I was in the Top 25. So my goal this year was to be in the Top 10. I never expected to win and I did. I’m so pumped!”
Gochman noted that the courses were well-designed and brought out the best in her riding.
“I thought that they were challenging, especially the long four and several of the rollbacks. The second course had a lot of rollbacks, so we had to be very careful landing leads and getting lead changes. I found that a bit challenging.”
Eleven-year-old Jayne (Elgin, Ill.) received the Silver medal. The Bronze medal went to 11-year-old Debney (Hampden, Ma.). Thirteen-year-old Giuliani (Middleburg, Va.), the oldest rider in the final field of five, earned fourth place, while 12-year-old Janna Drago (Aurora, Ohio) came in fifth.
The following riders rounded out the top 10 placings:
Sixth – Jennifer Staniloff
Seventh – Augusta Iwasaki
Eighth – Courtney Morton
Ninth – Vanessa Mazzoli
10th – Madeline Flocks
On-demand video highlights, as well as competition recaps, are available at www.usefnetwork.com.