Tara Metzner and Come Monday. Photos © Shawn McMillen Photography.
Gotham Wins $25,000 Future Hunter North American Championship; Scripted and Farmer Take Grand Hunter Championship; Feigus Wins WCHR Developing Pro Challenge
Upper Marlboro, MD – October 1, 2014 – The Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by The Gochman Family, had a full day of hunter competition on Wednesday. The evening session had two major Challenge classes; Tara Metzner and Davlyn Farms’ Come Monday won the $25,000 WCHR Professional Challenge, while Brian Feigus rode Cailin McNamara’s Quinn to victory in the $5,000 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge. During the day session, the professional hunters completed their championships. Kelley Farmer and Scripted took the Grand Hunter Championship title, while Hunt Tosh entered the winner’s circle again with Gotham in the $25,000 Future Hunter North American Championship. The Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, runs through Sunday, October 5.
Watch the winning round for Tara Metzner and Come Monday!
Watch an interview with Tara Metzner!
The $25,000 WCHR Pro Challenge had 26 entries, and 12 were called back for the second round. Tara Metzner of Rancho Santa Fe, CA, and Come Monday, an 11-year-old Holsteiner mare by Cassini I, had a great first round with an average score of 89.33, which put them in second place. Metzner stepped it up in the second round, garnering judges’ scores of 91, 88, and 93 for an average of 90.66 and a total of 179.99 for the win. Metzner was presented with the Little Brook Farm Perpetual Trophy, donated by Gary Duffy.
Sandy Ferrell and Fifty Shades, owned by Meredith Lipke, finished second in the Pro Challenge. They had great scores of 88.66 and 89.41 for a total of 178.07. Third place went to Scott Stewart and Rose Hill Farm’s Garfield. In the first round, they scored an 87.50. They returned in the second round for a 90.16 and a total of 177.66.
Metzner won the WCHR Developing Pro Challenge in 2011, and she started working for Davlyn Farms in August of 2013. She was elated to have graduated to the Pro Challenge win. “It’s incredible. This year I made it a goal of mine just to qualify and make the top 12,” she said.
She described Come Monday as a horse that knows when it is a big class. “She knew coming back out when it was dark that there was something important going on. When I went to pick up the canter in the opening circle, she all of a sudden shook her head. That was her saying, ‘I’m ready guys!’ It made me a little nervous for a second, but it was just her getting into gear,” she said with a smile.
Metzner wanted to prove how talented Come Monday is on a big stage once again. She explained, “She’s an exceptional horse. I knew if I put in a good round, she’s magical. As long as I get her to the right spot, she’ll always jump the best she can. She sort of excels in classes like this because it’s something new and different. I trusted her that she would jump to the best of her ability. Any time I go in the ring and don’t win on this horse, I feel like I’ve let her down. She’s such a special horse, and I just want to make sure people know that. I was really happy for her that she won it.”
With her victory in the Pro Challenge, Metzner is now the sixth rider qualified to compete in the WCHR Professional Finals on Friday night, along with Scott Stewart, Kelley Farmer, Hunt Tosh, John French, and Sandy Ferrell.
Developing Pro Honors Go to Feigus
Twenty-four-year-old Brian Feigus of Colts Neck, NJ had his biggest victory to date in the $5,000 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge. He piloted Quinn, a seven-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Cailin McNamara, and made a big jump up the standings in the second round.
Watch Brian Feigus and Quinn in their winning round!
Feigus and Quinn scored 85.25 and sat in eighth place after the first round of 32 entries. When the top 12 were called back, Feigus decided to go for broke, and it paid off. The judges rewarded them with scores of 87.50, 90, and 90 for an average of 89.16 and a total of 174.41. But Feigus had to wait another seven trips to see if his lead would hold.
“It’s crazy,” he laughed, “especially coming back from eighth to first. Normally, I’m used to being second. We always joke around that I’m always a bridesmaid. I knew it was going to be close. I wasn’t sure I was going to hold on to it (because) the scores were all so close in the first round. I thought it definitely could, but I wasn’t guaranteed anything. It was teeth-chattering toward the end. I’m shocked.”
He continued, “I just decided I had nothing to lose at that point. What’s the lowest you can be, 12th? So I just went in there and rode like I normally do, and it started to just work itself out. As the course went on, it just got smoother and smoother.”
Finishing in second place was Kristy Herrera on Antwerp, owned by Alexis Meadows. They had scores of 85.25 and 87.16 for a total of 173.16. Jennifer Bliss and Harris Hill Farm LLC’s Sugarman were third with scores of 84.25 and 85.08 for a total of 172.28.
Feigus believes that the Developing Pro Challenge is a special opportunity for riders like him. “It just allows you to come to a class like this and experience it and have a chance at winning. Nothing against the big-name riders, but it’s hard to compete against them,” he said.
Quinn was purchased a year ago from Emil Spadone, who trained Feigus before he returned to work with his parents, Barbara and Brad Feigus, at their Nevergreen Farm in New Jersey along with his junior career trainer, Nancy Urban. “I couldn’t have done it without her or Emil or my parents,” he noted.
This was Quinn’s first class in an indoor arena. “He’s a Pre-Green horse, and his demeanor is awesome. He’s mellow and such a sweet horse and very reliable,” Feigus said. “I’m by myself and do my own grooming here. He’s that easy of a horse to manage. He always goes in the ring and wants to do a good job. I couldn’t ask for a better horse.”
Championships for the Top Hunters
The Green Conformation Hunter championship, sponsored by Lisa A. H. Cudahy, went to Scripted, ridden by Kelley Farmer and owned by Glefke & Kensel LLC. Scripted, an eight-year-old Warmblood gelding by Sandro Hit, won the model class as well as all four over fences classes. They placed second in the under saddle. Lucador, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker and ridden by Scott Stewart, was reserve champion. They were second in the model, two seconds, and third over fences, and they won the under saddle.
Watch Kelley Farmer and Scripted’s winning round!
Scripted was also presented with the Grand Hunter Championship, which is sponsored by RSB Farms, Inc., Rob Bielefeld, and Chrystal Knight. He was awarded the Janet Read and Margaret Hough Sabbatini Memorial Trophy, donated by the Goguen Family. As well, he received the Grand Conformation Hunter Championship, sponsored by Sherri Crawford, and awarded the Kenneth M. Wheeler Perpetual Trophy, donated by BJ Meeks and Pablo Perez.
Farmer won the Leading Hunter Rider honor, which was sponsored by the Gibson Family and Shadyside Farm and Hobby Family Foundation. She was presented with the BJ’s Hunt Room Trophy, donated by BJ Meeks and Pablo Perez.
Although Farmer, trainer Larry Glefke, and Farmer’s mother, Bibby Hill (a part owner of Scripted) brought him over from Europe at the end of 2012, he did not enter the show ring much in 2013. Kate Conover and Robert Baader found Scripted in Europe, where he was an approved stallion for dressage, but it was pretty clear that piaffe and passage wouldn’t be in his future.
“I think he’s a bit quiet-minded, almost too quiet, for a dressage horse,” Farmer agreed. “He wants you to not pick up the reins. I don’t think he’d really enjoy a full bridle and big spurs. Kate called and said, ‘We found a very special horse.’ They have found a lot of horses for us. We trusted that they were right, and they were.”
Scripted did three shows in the Green Conformation Hunter division in 2013 before they reinstated his Pre-Green status. He did well and qualified for the USHJA Pre-Green Hunter Incentive Championship, where he was third. “I brought him out, and he has so much ability. I took him a lot of places and a lot of shows and let him adapt,” Farmer recalled. “(After the Championship), I put him away for the year. He didn’t need to do three-foot or 3’3” all year. He just needed to learn how to be a hunter when we bought him.”
Coming out in 2014, Scripted stepped easily to the Green Conformation division and captured the Grand Hunter Championship at the Devon Horse Show. “He’s been unbelievable. He’s a smart, smart horse, and he’s not scared of anything. He’s scopey, he’s big-strided, he’s brave. For a big horse, he’s light. His biggest strength is that he tries to win. He does not let you down ever. I’m so glad that he’s won what he’s won because he’s deserved to win. He’s that great of a horse. I’m a little choked up about it because he’s leaving.”
Scripted was just recently purchased by Pony Lane Farm and will be an amateur hunter with Madeline Thatcher. “It’s been special (to have him) because my mom owns part of him,” Farmer expressed. “The Thatchers have bought horses from us before, and he’s going to go on and have a great career and have a great home. I couldn’t ask for a better place for him.”
This is Farmer’s third Leading Hunter Rider award at Capital Challenge. “I’m lucky enough to have had, and continue to have, an amazing group of horses,” she said. “Without them, we’re just riders. It’s the animals. No matter how hard you work and how well you do, unless you have the horses it doesn’t make a difference. I’ve been very, very fortunate. I hope it continues!”
Chris Payne piloted Truman, a seven-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Maypine Farm, to the championship in the First Year Green Working Hunters Section A, sponsored by Peter Pletcher/PJP Farm. They were first, first, and fifth over fences and won the under saddle class. The reserve champion, Point Being, ridden by Kelley Farmer and owned by Glefke & Kensel LLC, was first, first, second, and third over fences.
Payne has had the ride on Truman for two years, and they were reserve champion in the Future Hunters last year at Capital Challenge. Payne said it “definitely helped” to have last year’s experience in the indoor arena as a Pre-Green horse. “It helped him take a deep breath,” Payne said.
Payne was effusive in his praise for the talented horse. “He’s absolutely the most wonderful horse I’ve ever ridden. He’s so attentive, and he tries so hard to do the right thing,” he described. “He’s a very careful, very smart, but peaceful horse. He’s absolutely delightful to ride. He’s the consummate hunter.”
While Payne has had championships at Capital Challenge in other divisions before, this is his inaugural win in the First Year division. “It’s an amazing show with the top horses and riders in the country, so it means a lot to be competitive with that group of people. I’m lucky that Debbie Bass and Maypine Farm support his showing and allow me the opportunity to ride him and enjoy him to the fullest.”
The champion in the First Year Green Working Hunters Section B, sponsored by Lee Kellogg Sadrian and The Sadrian Family, was Casanova, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Carolus II. Owned by Dr. Betsee Parker and ridden by Hunt Tosh, Casanova won both opening over fences classes and won the under saddle. They returned to place first and third over fences over the next two days. Set to Music, ridden by Havens Schatt for Deborah Perkins, was the reserve champion with a first, second, and second over fences.
Casanova took a lions’ share of prizes today. He was named the Grand First Year Green Working Hunter Champion, sponsored by Summer Hill Farms, Jordan Gilchrist, and Laura Hightower. They received the Magda & George Z. Lefton Memorial Trophy, donated by Stacey Lefton Glick. He also took the Grand Green Hunter Championship, sponsored by Balmoral Farm Inc. and Traci & Carleton Brooks
Tosh started with Casanova last year, where they tied for the win in the USHJA Pre-Green Hunter Incentive Championship. This year they have consistently been champions, but this is Casanova’s first time at Capital Challenge. “He came and won his first two classes and was fabulous. It’s really exciting. Betsee owns him, so it’s great he can come here and win,” Tosh said.
He described Casanova as “a quiet horse and super brave.” He continued, “He gets a little nervous around the in-gate with all of the commotion. I was a little worried with him inside for the first time, but he was good. He’s really a sweet horse. I think all good horses have a little quirk about them.”
With Casanova’s giant stride and abundant scope, the First Year division poses no challenges. “It’s very easy for him,” Tosh confirmed. “You pretty much go around, give him time. You don’t want to hurry him because he’s so long-strided, but he’s a blast to ride.”
The Regular Conformation Hunter division was sponsored by Hidden Hollow LLC, Ginny Edwards, and Revolution Farm and the champion was Showman, ridden by Scott Stewart for Krista and Alexa Weisman. They were second in the model, first, second, and second over fences and won the under saddle. The reserve champion was Mindful, ridden by Kelley Farmer for Kensel LLC. They were first, first, second, and second over fences and fourth under saddle. Mindful was awarded The Tribute Perpetual Trophy, donated by Scott Stewart, which is given for the highest cumulative point total in a single professional division.
Stewart appreciates Showman’s consistency and stability, especially since he only shows him about five times a year. “He doesn’t have to work too hard. He doesn’t take much preparation, so he’s really easy on himself,” Stewart explained. “He’s always the same. He’s consistent. He’s certainly one of the easiest horses to ride. It’s so nice after riding so many green ones, to get on one that you know so well and is the same. That doesn’t happen often, so he’s special that way. He’s the sweetest horse in the world, and he’s so smart. He’s one of a kind.”
The EMO Professional Trip of the Show, sponsored by the EMO Agency, Inc., went to Hunt Tosh riding Douglas Wheeler’s Queen Lattifa, who scored 90.5.
Riding to the Top of the Future Hunter Championship
Douglas Wheeler’s Gotham continued his winning ways, capturing the top spot in the $25,000 Future Hunter North American Championship with Hunt Tosh. In a strong field of the best young horses in the country, Gotham jumped to two top scores of 89.90 and 88.65 for a total of 178.55 for the win.
Watch the winning round from Gotham and Hunt Tosh!
For their win today, Gotham, Tosh, and Wheeler were awarded the Beverly Brooks Solter Memorial Trophy, donated by Hilary Scheer Gerhardt and Zan Martin Dillon. Gotham also picked up the EMO Future Hunter Trip of the Show, sponsored by the EMO Agency, Inc., with a 91.5.
Tosh said of his trips, “Round one I thought he was spectacular. (Round two), maybe a little out of gas compared to the first round. Everyone jumps three-foot (in the championship), and he usually jumps 3’3”. They were a little smaller than he normally jumps. For him, he maybe needed a little more jump in the second round, but he was still really good.”
Havens Schatt and The Closer, owned by Jane Pittman, finished second after a strong second round score of 90.60. Added to their first round score of 86.35, they finished on a total of 176.95.
Holly Orlando and Cathy Zicherman’s Dominik improved in the second round as well. They had an 86.70 in the first round and an 89.60 in the second round for a total of 176.30 and third place.
2014 marks the first time Tosh has won the Future Hunter North American Championship, and it capped an extremely successful week for Tosh. “This is such a prestigious class for a Pre-Green horse. For (show managers) Billy (Glass) and Oliver (Kennedy) to make it happen at this horse show is awesome. I don’t know that there has been a horse that has won this class and hasn’t gone on to have a great career afterwards. It really is special to win it. He went great the last two days, and then come back a third day, is a lot for the young horses, to come back and win again. We love that horse and are fortunate to have him.”
Owner Douglas Wheeler gave credit to Will Roberts, who they bought Gotham from in early August. “Will did a beautiful job of bringing the horse along,” he said. “Hunt was absolutely fantastic with all of the horses, but especially the young ones. He’s a very patient, talented horseman. We cannot thank him enough for the job he does for all of us.”
Wheeler and his brother, Kenneth Wheeler Jr., have a dedicated plan to buy young horses, guide them through their Pre-Green years, and develop them for further careers. He said that the Future Hunter North American Championship is one that his family has wanted to win for a long time. “To come and compete on this stage with that company of horses is just such a special thrill. It’s special because of how special this horse show is to us. To have our name on the trophy with horses like Showman and Bacardi, to win at this show, is just huge to us,” he expressed.
Tosh termed this year’s Capital Challenge as “a fairy tale week,” with five championships and today’s victory. “We’ve had good weeks, but to have every horse do this well and win the (Future Hunter) Championship? This is probably the best week we’ve ever had,” he said.
Wheeler added, “Because this show focuses so much on the hunter discipline and made the hunters so special, and is such an integral part of our industry now, personally for us as a family, it’s absolutely important to support this show. The hunters are all we’ve ever done and that’s what we’ll continue to do, to focus on hunters. The entire management staff does such a great job to focus this horse show on the hunters. You can see how successful it’s become and what a bright future it has moving forward.”
Dr. Betsee Parker’s Celebration and Scott Stewart won the Grand Future Hunter Championship sponsored by David Belford and Christopher Payne/New Hope LLC & Susan Moriconi. They were presented with “A Rare Diamond” Perpetual Trophy donated by “The Friends of Mickey.”
The $1,000 Senior WCHR Under Saddle victory, sponsored by Arcadia Farm, went to Andover, ridden by Ashley Cedillos for Savanah Stuart. They were presented with the Hollywood Challenge Trophy donated by Paula Polk Lillard.
Special thanks go to the grooms of the winning horses today. They include:
Green Conformation Hunters: Scripted/Pancho Gomez
First Year Green Hunter Sec. A: Truman/Francisco Marin
First Year Green Hunter Sec. B: Casanova/Jose Guitierrez
Regular Conformation Hunters: Showman/Juan Bernardo
Future Hunter Championship: Gotham/Gelacio Buenaventura
WCHR Pro Challenge: Come Monday/Hector Garcia
The Capital Challenge Horse Show continues tomorrow with championships for the Amateur-Owner 3’3” and 3’6” Hunters and three sections of Adult Amateur Hunters. The WCHR Amateur-Owner Challenge 3’3” and 3’6” will be held in the afternoon, and the $10,000 Children’s/Adult Jumper Challenge will wrap up the evening festivities.
Additional highlights of the Capital Challenge Horse Show will include the North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup (two rounds held on Oct. 3-4), the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals (Oct. 3), and the WCHR Professional Finals (Oct. 3).
For full results, more information, or to watch the live webcast, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org. Like the Capital Challenge Horse Show page on Facebook and on Twitter @capchallenge and Instagram @capitalchallengehorseshow.
In its 21st year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, this year’s show will take place on September 27 – October 5.
Top competitions include the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals and the THIS National Children’s Medal Finals, along with the Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend, presented by Bigeq.com. In addition to these prestigious equitation events, the Capital Challenge Horse Show will once again host the World Champion Hunter Rider Finals and will assemble the country’s best horses and riders to compete in junior, amateur, and professional hunter classes.
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.