Storyteller and Mimi Gochman. Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.
Sophie Gochman Tops WIHS Pony Equitation Finals; Sage Wolf and Grace Glover Win Regional Finals
Washington, D.C. – The 58th annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) came to a close on Sunday, October 30, after an unforgettable week of equestrian sport in the nation’s capital. The final day of competition featured pony and regional hunter champions at Verizon Center in downtown Washington D.C. WIHS ran October 25-30, welcoming over 500 horses to compete for more than $500,000 in prize money. With top sport, exciting exhibitions, fabulous shopping, and more, the 2016 WIHS had something for everyone and celebrated another successful equestrian event in the nation’s capital.
Rounding out competition for the week, the Miles River Moonglow Perpetual Trophy, donated by Scott Novick & Rustic Woods, was presented to Fair Play Farm’s Storyteller, ridden by Mimi Gochman, for Grand Champion Pony honors. The WIHS Pony Equitation Finals were held in the afternoon with a win for Sohpie Gochman, and the WIHS Regional Finals, sponsored by The Linden Group at Morgan Stanley, capped the day with blue ribbons presented to Sage Wolf and Grace Glover.
Set your DVRs now to catch the broadcast of the $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, on NBC Sports Network coming up on Sunday, November 6, at 1:30 p.m. EST.
On their way to the Grand Pony Hunter Championship, Mimi Gochman and Storyteller earned the Large Pony Hunter division championship, sponsored by Further Lane Farm, with two wins and a second place finish over fences. They were presented with The Pegasus Stable Perpetual Trophy, donated by Ms. Fenwick Kollock. Reid Arani and Victoria Press’s Love and Laughter took the reserve champion title with a win over fences and a third place ribbon under saddle.
Gochman (12), of Palm Beach, FL, has ridden Storyteller for almost two years and also won last year’s WIHS Pony Equitation Finals with the 13-year-old German Sport Pony gelding. Gochman trains with Scott Stewart, Ken Berkley, and Amanda Derbyshire. This was her final show in the pony divisions and her final time competing with Storyteller, going out on a high note in her first grand championship at WIHS.
“He has always been a reliable pony. I can always trust him and know that I can succeed on him,” Gochman said of “Story,” as the pony is known in the barn. “He is really nice around the barn. He tries his best at all times. It feels good to go out on top in the ponies at WIHS. I have never been Grand here, which is a really big thing for me. This is one of the toughest shows. The rings are small, and you really have to maneuver around the schooling area, but it is definitely one of the best experiences I have had in the past few years. Doing it with Story was such an amazing end since it is my last day on him and other ponies. I’m going to be sad that he is leaving, but he’s moving on to another child, which is good.”
Speaking of the ride on Storyteller, Gochman detailed, “He has a comfy canter, so you have to get your pace established and kind of let him canter on his own. You can’t use too much hand because he likes to stick his head up, and it doesn’t always look great on him because he has such a big neck. The further down it goes, the more he uses it, and it looks better. He has to have a soft hand, but he knows that when you pull he needs to back off, so that makes him an easier pony for me to ride. He has the stride of a horse. I wish he were a horse so I could keep going on him, but he will make some other kid very happy.”
Storyteller was also grand champion at WIHS in 2013 with Ashton Alexander and will continue on to teach a new young rider the ropes. Gochman will continue on to compete in Kentucky with her horses next week and then goes back to Florida for the winter. Concluding her 2016 experience at WIHS, Gochman stated, “This is one of the best cities to have a show in because it has the show component, and then the fun sightseeing, and all the fun activities in the city. This is one of my favorite shows for sure.”
Mimi Gochman’s sister, Sophie Gochman, rode Dr. Betsee Parker’s Bit of Love to earn the Small Pony Hunter Championship, sponsored by Further Lane Farm, and was awarded The Stombock Saddlery Challenge Trophy, donated by Stombock Saddlery in Memory of E. P. (Bud) Stombock. The pair placed first, fourth, and fourth over fences, and finished third under saddle. Alexa Lignelli and her own Rollingwoods Knee Deep earned the reserve championship with two second-place ribbons over fences.
Hannah Bernstein’s Woodlands Stevie Ray and Emily Aitken took championship honors in the Medium Pony Hunter division and earned The Shenandoah Sundowner Perpetual Trophy, donated by Evan Coluccio and Ashmont Farms, Ltd. The pair won two classes over fences and placed second under saddle. Bill Schaub’s Highlands Heaven Sent and Luke Jensen won one class over fences to earn the reserve championship.
Aitken (13), of Westchester, NY, was then presented with the award for Best Child Rider on a Pony, sponsored by Gotham North, and put her name on the Captain V. S. Littauer Perpetual Trophy, donated by Hugh J. B. Cassidy, III, Mrs. William Dillon, and Miss Marion Lee.
Aitken trains with Kristen Carollo and Kristen Lutz. Commenting on her special honor, the rider stated, “It feels really good. This is my first year here, so it is really exciting to be Best Child Rider on a Pony. I have Woodlands Stevie Ray, who was champion. He was really good. I got an 89 in the handy, so I was really happy with how I was riding him. Then I also had Cleverist. He was really good too, and he is really fun to ride.”
Aitken works on staying tall and keeping everything still when she is riding. The middle school eighth grader also heads on to show in Kentucky next week, but had a great experience showing at Verizon Center.
“It was a lot of fun riding here, just knowing that this is where all the sports teams play and stuff, so that was really cool,” Aitken concluded.
Other awards on Sunday included the Best Pony Hunter Stake Award, which went to Claire Campbell and Natalie Jayne’s Blueberry Hill, for their score of 90 in the Small Pony Hunter division. Tessa Downey and Bringing Home the Blue won the 2016 Potomac Trophy for the high score junior hunter rider on a pony.
Sophie Gochman Wins 2016 WIHS Pony Equitation Finals
Pony competition at WIHS 2016 continued on Sunday afternoon with the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals and crowned Sophie Gochman the winner. Just one year after her sister Mimi secured the title in 2015, Sophie Gochman kept the honor in the family by winning her last class as a pony rider aboard Storyteller, owned by Fair Play Farm.
Gochman scored an 86 over fences to sit in second place before the judges called the top ten riders back to be tested on the flat. After the final lineup, she was called forward as the winner and was presented with the Jane Marshall Dillon Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by the friends and students of Mrs. Jane Marshall Dillon.
“It is really special to have two Gochmans on that trophy,” said 13-year-old Sophie. “I was really hoping to make this day memorable because it is my last day on ponies. For the Washington [Pony Equitation Finals], I just wanted to have fun and have a good time for my last round.”
Mimi, Sophie, and their mother Becky shared an emotional farewell with Storyteller on Sunday as the sisters end their careers on ponies. When asked about Storyteller’s career with the Gochman family, Sophie said, “He is a really special pony to us. My mom rides him at home, Mimi usually competes him, and I have shown him a couple times. He is an equitation pony, and I wish I could take him in the big eq. It was a really great win, and I was confident that he could do it because he is such a special pony.”
Isabelle Aldridge led the jumping phase of the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals with a score of 87 riding Woodland’s Misty Rain, owned by Aldridge Equestrian, LLC and finished in second place overall after the flat phase. After pocketing a score of 84 over fences, Grace Debney and Denmark, owned by John Skinner, took third, and Saylor Shea claimed fourth with an 82.5 riding Magical Diamond, owned by Strawberry Hill, LLC. Luke Jensen rounded out the top five with a score of 82 aboard Fox Creek’s Curious George, owned by Dianna Orona.
Gochman had a successful week at WIHS competing in jumper, hunter, and pony classes, and enjoys showing amidst the atmosphere of downtown Washington D.C., saying, “It is really great how the general public can come in and the stands are packed every night to watch the jumpers. It introduces them to this sport because it is not always known to everyone. [It] spreads awareness about how important it is and what a great tradition this sport is. I think it is really great for people to see this aspect of horse showing.”
Regional Winners Crowned at WIHS
Sunday concluded with the culmination of WIHS Regional Hunter Finals, presented by The Linden Group at Morgan Stanley, which kicked off last week at the WIHS Regional Horse Show at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD.
The win in the WIHS Regional Pony Hunter Finals went to 11-year-old Sage Wolf, a hometown girl from Washington, D.C. riding her 14-year-old gelding Dun Paintin’. The pair earned the high score of 90 for their round in the final. Nicole Marquie and CKE Horse Enterprises’ Pendermere Legacy finished second with a score of 85. Kate Howlin rode Lillie Honiberg’s Stoneledge Coralea to third place with a score of 78.
Wolf trains with Leigh Stitzer in Great Falls, MD and got her pony Dun Paintin’ in January 2016. She was second in her class at the WIHS Regional Horse Show at Prince George’s Equestrian Center last week to qualify to compete at Verizon Center on Sunday. This was her first time competing on the main stage at WIHS and an exciting win for the young equestrian, who started riding when she was seven.
“This is my first time ever at the Washington International Horse Show. It is amazing to ride here. It is a really cool place,” Wolf acknowledged.
“Dun Paintin’ is normally a very slow ride,” Wolf said of her pony. “He is very smooth, but he is not normally very peppy. It is a pokier ride, but he is a lot of fun. He was a bit faster than he normally is in this ring today. It is a cool new place, so he got a little excited and it gave him a little more energy. It was really cool to be riding in that ring, and I felt amazing about my round. I was really happy with the way it went. He was a really good boy, and I am really proud of how good he was.”
Nicole Marquis and Pendermere Legacy finished out the season as grand champions of the WIHS Regional Pony Hunter division overall. Shannon Maguire and her own Brownie Points, and Sarah Entzian aboard Suzanne Chambers’ Check Me Out, tied for the reserve championship.
The WIHS Regional Hunter Finals, presented by The Linden Group at Morgan Stanley, were held next with a win for Grace Glover, another Washington, D.C. resident, riding Michael Perez’s Pura Vida. The pair earned the high score of 88 for their round over fences. Fallyn Belcastro rode her own Chapter Three Z to the second place prize with a score of 85. Nicole Bailin and Pembroke Pointe’s Zachary finished third with a score of 84.
Originally from Lexington, VA, Glover moved to the nation’s capital three years ago after attending college at the University of Virginia and riding on their intercollegiate equestrian team. After graduating, Glover took a year off from riding to adjust to professional life in her job as a healthcare consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers. In 2015, Glover took up the reins again and started training with Melanie Wright, Patty Foster, and Mary Lisa Leffler at Rolling Acres. She half leased her mount Pura Vida, a seven-year-old gelding, this year from his owner Michael Perez.
“Today was really exciting because it is just hard to manage showing and professional life,” Glover stated. “I only did one other show before local day, and it was very exciting to qualify, and then to do so well here. It was a really great situation that I got to do a half-lease with Michael this year. It was really generous of him to share Vida with me so that I could make it affordable and get to do some of these bigger shows as well.”
Glover competed twice in the WIHS Children’s Hunter Finals before and had a great experience both times.
“It is great to be back, and I know this horse show is just a blast, so any way that I could get here I wanted to make it happen,” Glover detailed. “My round was really fun. I felt like I picked up the right pace, and it was one of those rare rides where you just see the distances. Vida was so perfect and soft and just felt like he was listening perfectly, which made it really fun.”
Nicole Bailin and Zachary were then awarded the grand championship for the WIHS Regional Hunter Horse division for the conclusion of 2016. They were presented with the Black, Starr & Frost Perpetual Trophy, donated by Black, Starr & Frost. Fallyn Belcastro and Chapter Three Z finished in reserve.
Sunday’s competition concluded the 2016 Washington International Horse Show. For full results, please visit www.wihs.org.