Eleanor Rudnicki and Flugel. Photo Courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography.
Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 21, 2021 – The Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2* was the lead Equitation event in the Walnut Arena on Saturday morning at the Kentucky Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. Texan Eleanor Rudnicki topped a field of 12 young athletes in the competitive division. Augusta Iwasaki was awarded second place with Lion King Van’T Eigenlo and Natalie Jayne rounded out the top three on Charisma.
The Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2* track, designed by Jasen Shelley, consisted of 14 efforts and included a one-stride, a triple combination, and several technical bending lines around the ring. Riders had the option to jump an open-water jump or an oxer for the fifth obstacle on the course. Following the jumping phase, all 12 riders were invited back for the flat portion of the class, bidding them one final chance to make a positive impression on the judges. Rudnicki and Linda Langmeir’s Flugel continued to impress the judges, ultimately capturing the win at the conclusion of the two phases.
Hunt Tosh and Cannon Creek Cap Off Successful Week as Champion of USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship
The grand finale of the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship took center stage on Saturday night in the Rolex Arena. The best hunter athletes from all corners of the United States came prepared to showcase their talents in front of the fixated spectators vying for a share of the prize money totaling more than $300,000. After 38 total trips between the Section A and Section B rounds, Hunt Tosh and Cannon Creek emerged victorious after dominating the competition from the get-go. Samantha Schaefer and Caristo were awarded Reserve Champion honors, while Elizabeth Boyd and Cassico ended up third. Laena Romond had the unique distinction of being fifth in Section A while also being named the Champion of Tier II with Uptown. Evan Coluccio and Radio City were the Reserve Champion of Section B class.
David O’Brien and Olivia SCF. Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography.
Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 19, 2021 – The conclusion of the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship took place Thursday morning in the Walnut Ring at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. Round 1 of the Green Hunter 3’6” and 3’9” Championship was first in the ring to try their hand at the 8-obstacle course that was set forth to challenge the 48-horse and rider combinations by course designer Bobby Murphy. After a competitive first round, 30 athletes were invited back for the final round of the Incentive Championship, with Hunt Tosh taking the lead in round one aboard Chorus.
The Green Hunter 3’0” and 3′ 3” Championship section saw another set of 30 top athletes who had been competing for their seed position over the last two days. Hunt Tosh and Twain once again rode to victory in the Green Hunter 3’0” and 3’3” Incentive Championship after earning an outstanding score of 276 in the Championship Round.
The Green 3’6” and 3’9” Incentive Championship was the feature class for the day, with 30 of the top horse and rider pairs battling for the top position. In the end, Christopher Payne and Reign were crowned the title of Green 3’6” and 3’9” Incentive Champion.
David O’Brien Pilots Olivia SCF to Win $5,000 140m at Kentucky Bluegrass Festival
Elite jumpers converged on the Rolex Stadium Thursday morning during the third day of the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. Fourteen horse and rider pairs contended for the top prize offered in the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper class. Only four competitors accomplished clear rounds, and of those four, it was David O’Brien (IRL) and Olivia SCF who finished out their day with the blue ribbon. Nicholas Dello Joio and Centuria 7 took second, while Wim Janssen rounded out the podium aboard Durango VDL.
Tosh and Cannon Creek Clinch Round One of USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship
Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 20, 2021 – Friday morning in the Rolex Arena saw the start of one of the most famous hunter competitions on the annual calendar, the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship. With a list of 86 athletes on the roster, the order of go was a who’s-who of the top hunter riders from all corners of the United States. After successfully navigating an impressive 12-obstacle course designed by Bobby Murphy, Hunt Tosh and Cannon Creek topped the field with a score of 291, followed by Victoria Colvin and El Primero, who were awarded a score of 284, and rounding out the top three was Scott Stewart and Hudson who earned a score of 279.5.
Daniel Geitner and Fazous Take Top Honors in $25,000 Bluegrass Classic
Show jumping competition at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show returned to the Rolex Arena Friday, August 20, to welcome athletes for the $25,000 Bluegrass Classic. As the concluding class of the day, 52 horse-and-rider combinations entered hopeful to close out Friday’s competition with a win. Just nine pairs managed clear rounds over the tactful course, and it was ultimately Daniel Geitner and Fazous who managed two double-clear efforts to take home the lion’s share of the prize money. Grace Debney aboard her mount Boheme De La Roque is crowned second, while Camille Maddrix and Jack Straw round out the top three.
Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 18, 2021 – Round two of the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship got underway at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show on Wednesday at 8:30 am in the Walnut Ring. 123-horse and rider combinations came back in no particular order to vie for their spot in the final championship round. Hunt Tosh and Twain took over the top spot of the leaderboard to secure the overall standing. Holly Orlando also moved up aboard her longtime mount, Waverly, to secure the second overall position. Scott Stewart and Fine Art held onto their third-place standing in the competitive class.
Future Champions Kick Off Jumper Competition
Young jumper competition kicked off the first day of the jumper competition in the Rolex Arena at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show on Wednesday. The 5-year-old, 6-year-old, and 7-year-old jumper classes took place back-to-back showcasing the top prospective show horses to compete for the blue ribbons and valuable experience. The first-place finishers were David O’Brien and Qualito SCF in the 5-year-olds, Kelly Arani and Procyon SCF in the 6-year-olds, and Sarah Sturges with Bradley in the 7-year-old class.
Hunt Tosh and Bordeaux. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.
Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 14, 2018 – The 2018 Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships brought 145 hopeful entries to the Walnut Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park, with Tuesday’s round of competition serving as the first of three phases for the 3’ and 3’3” exhibitors. A former overall champion in the event, Hunt Tosh navigated Douglas Wheeler’s Bordeaux to a masterful trip to capture the early lead ahead of the lofty field, ultimately capturing the blue ribbon and the lion’s share of the day’s prize money.
Riding 62nd in the order of go as one of the final horse-and-athlete pairs at the 3’ height, Tosh and Bordeaux were chasing Christopher Payne and Moore Park, owned by Still Water Farm, LLC, as the early front runners with cumulative marks of 259.50 from the three panels of judges. Course designer Bobby Murphy presented a 9-fence track to competitors that offered two obstacles from which to choose as fence one, and the pattern proved to lend itself nicely to Tosh and the 4-year-old chestnut gelding as they pulled in impressive scores from the watchful eyes of the judges. The pair earned a total 272 points to catapult to the lead almost halfway through the class.
More than 80 partners would take their turns around the ring in an attempt to usurp Tosh and Bordeaux as the leaders but, though a handful earned scores that broke the 260-point threshold, none would prove successful. Tosh and Bordeaux finished the afternoon as the only pair to break 270 points.
No stranger to the winner’s circle, Tosh is a veteran rider in the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships and won the inaugural event in 2013 aboard both Crisp and Casanova, tying himself for the top honors. This year, Bordeaux was the third of Tosh’s five rides of the day, four of which placed within the top 50 in Tuesday’s rankings. As if Tosh’s performance with Bordeaux was not impressive enough, the fact that the horse is only 4 years old certainly adds to their feat. The chestnut Warmblood only just entered his first horse show past winter in Florida, and is already on a fast track to accruing plenty of accolades. Though the horse has little experience, Tosh credits his quiet and brave demeanor as a factor of their win and will try to take advantage of the horse’s natural ability when they return to the ring Wednesday.
Courtney Lenkart and Lori Mathews’ Alisto nabbed the reserve spot with impressive marks of 268, followed by Patricia Griffith and Callie Seaman’s Endeavor in third position with 263.50 points. Three-time champion Scott Stewart and Samantha Schaefer, with the reins on Rivers Edge’s Everwonder and Take 3 LLC’s Trademark, respectively, are tied in the subsequent two slots with 263 points apiece.
Devon, Pa. – May 31, 2018 – Thursday night at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair once again belonged to the “King of Devon” McLain Ward of Brewster, New York, who surpassed 31 contenders to claim the $250,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4* for a record tenth time in his career. Ward rode the 11-year-old Oldenburg mare, Clinta, owned by Sagamore Farms, around the famed Dixon Oval in front of a packed crowd, consisting of diehard show jumping fans to Pennsylvania locals, hoping to witness some of the greatest names in the sport of show jumping go head-to-head for the most coveted trophy in the Devon collection: the Celeste McNeal Harper Perpetual Trophy.
Hunt Tosh and Flamingo K Claim $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
Thursday afternoon at the Devon Horse Show brought top hunter horses and riders together to showcase their best efforts in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by the Wheeler family. At the end of the afternoon, it was Hunt Tosh of Alpharetta, Georgia and Ceil Wheeler’s Flamingo K who bested the playing field of 30 other entries.
Amanda Murchison and CH Spread The Word Earn Three-Peat Devon Blue in Adult Three-Gaited English Show Pleasure
The Dixon Oval saw “Devon at Sunset” take place on Thursday, where highlighted events included the Adult Three-Gaited English Show Pleasure class with eight horse-and-rider combinations. For the third year in a row, it was Amanda Murchison and her own CH Spread The Word who took home the Robin Hill Challenge Trophy in the competitive class.
Devon, Pa. – May 29, 2018 – The Dixon Oval welcomed its first international show jumping competition at the 2018 Devon Horse Show and Country Fair on Tuesday evening with the $50,000 Jet Run Devon Welcome Stake CSI4*, sponsored by 5R Farms LLC – Helen Rich. Thirty-two horses and athletes went head-to-head for the first place prize, but it was USA’s Ali Wolff who risked it all to come away with her first Devon jumper win aboard Blacklick Bend Farm’s Casall.
Hunt Tosh and Bastogne Bring Home Green 3’6″ Hunter Championship
The championship tricolors for the professional hunter divisions were awarded on Tuesday in the Dixon Oval at the iconic Devon Horse Show, and in the Green 3’6″ Hunters, it was Hunt Tosh and Douglas Wheeler’s Bastogne who took home top honors.
P. J. Crowley Takes the Tricolor in Single Horse Driving Championship
To finish out the evening in the Dixon Oval, the Single Horse Driving division took place with nine entries. The Devon blue was stolen by P. J. Crowley after accumulating the most points in the Single Horse Pleasure Driving Turnout and the Single Horse Scurry. Reserve champion was captured by Steve Wilson in his Brewster County Gig carriage.
Mill Spring, NC – July 7, 2017 – Hunt Tosh of Milton, GA and Flamingo-K, owned by Ceil Wheeler, finished as the winning pair in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). The duo were tied for second place after the first round with a combined score of 177 and turned in another strong performance in the handy round, earning a score of 200, for a total score of 377. Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, NC and Celtic Gold, owned by Meg Valnoski, secured the second place honors with a two round total of 368, while Jennifer Hannan of Wakefield, RI and Olympic Fire, owned by Roger Smith, rounded out the top three with a score of 363.
Tosh and family made a special trip to TIEC for the weekend, bringing only Flamingo-K to contest the duo’s abilities in this very class. Navigating the handy round with precision and beauty, the duo ended the day with a blue ribbon, proving the journey to be well worth their travels. Tosh and Flamingo-K have only been partnered for a short time and this was Tosh’s second class with the 12-year-old chestnut gelding.
“He is very new to us,” Tosh explained. “The Wheelers bought him for me at Devon this year because they have been looking for that special derby horse. I showed him in one other derby before this, so I am really just getting to know him.”
Flamingo-K only started competing in the hunter discipline this year, originally coming from the jumpers, and his transition to the hunter derby ring has been flawless. Tosh detailed how Flamingo-K is very well suited for derbies, saying, “He finds the jumps really well. I hate trot jumps. I think I’ve lost more classes because of trot jumps, but he is a good trot jumper and that helps out! With his scope, you just have so much range. You can be where it’s not optimal and he makes up for it. He has a great rhythm and is just really fun to ride.”
Although the mount is rather new, he spoke very highly of the horse’s ability to perform in the big George H. Morris Arena.
“He is a blast to ride. He is super scopey, brave, very careful, and really just a sweet horse. I think he is going to be an amazing derby horse.”
Tosh’s daughter, Maddie Tosh, competed multiple mounts in last weekend’s $10,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby. Tosh had never showed in this arena and therefore relied on his daughter’s insight for the class.
“The best part about Maddie is that she is so hands on in the barn and she knows all of the horses just as well as I do and everything about them. I told her tonight she would have to give me pointers on how to show in this ring because I have never shown in it before! So I asked her how it rode and for her advice,” laughed Tosh.
Tosh and his team have loved their experience at TIEC, especially after his impressive win. Tosh commented on the layout details of the TIEC, saying, “We love it here. The footing and the facility overall is just so nice. You are standing under shaded covers with fans in-between rounds. I mean you can’t ask for more accommodations at a horse show. What they have done here is phenomenal.”
Tosh was very appreciative of the opportunity to compete in such a large ring, while also expressing his gratitude to the Wheeler family, saying, “I can’t thank them enough for buying him for me to ride. They have been after me for a derby horse for quite some time, and we finally got one!”
Todd Minikus and Exceptional Take $15,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, FL and Exceptional were just that in the $15,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at TIEC. Minikus and Exceptional bested twenty-six other pairings with phenomenal scores of 92 and 96, capturing the win by more than ten points with a final score of 188. Taylor Ann Adams of Ocala, FL and Lucretia finished in second place with a two round score of 177.5, while Kianna Luscher of Hawthorne, NJ and Carissima W took third place with 175 points after two rounds.
Minikus explained that he wasn’t sure how to approach the inside turns for the handy round in particular with this horse, and needed to improvise a bit on course, which Exceptional, owned by Todd Minikus LTD, handled with ease.
He commented, “I thought it was a very nice course. The inside turns in the handy were really inside, which I do have some practice with, but he’s a very green horse and I didn’t know how he would take it. He handled it exceptionally well and evidently the judges thought he did it as well as I did!”
The pair has been together since midway through the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuit in Wellington, FL when a friend of Minikus found Exceptional in Belgium and connected the two. A six-year-old bay gelding, Exceptional has only done six or seven shows in his career.
“He was champion both this week and last week, so he’s turned himself into a real winner,” said Minikus. “We make our living selling horses, so hopefully somebody wants to have a winner and buys him from me, but until that time, I’ll continue to show him in his prospective division and these derbies. Hopefully we’ll keep winning,” he added with a smile.
Sharn Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z Take $6,000 Nutrena® 1.40m Classic CSI 3*
Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Famoso D Ive Z topped the $6,000 Nutrena® 1.40m Classic CSI 3* on the Grass Complex at TIEC, stopping the jump-off timers at 37.09 seconds. Kyle Timm (CAN) and Georgie B sped to second with a 38.179 second dash, while Erynn Ballard (CAN) took third place aboard Thalys Z, stopping the timers in 39.845 seconds.
Famoso D Ive Z, a 2007 Zangersheide gelding (For Pleasure x Chin Chin) owned by Sky Group & Sharn Wordley, has been with Wordley for two years now and the pair have amassed an impressive record together.
“The horse came from Europe, so he jumped on grass quite a bit, but I’ve had him for two years and this was my fifth class on grass,” he explained. “We don’t have much grass around. He loved it today and he was fantastic.”
In the last year, Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z have won seven ranking classes together at TIEC alone and Wordley emphasized that he is an important horse in his successful string.
“He wins a lot of classes. He’s fast. He does the ranking classes to save the grand prix horses or if there’s a grand prix that’s appropriate to him. He’s a good horse and very fast.
“I love TIEC. It’s one of my favorite horse shows. I think now, too, they’ve got the grass fantastic to ride on and it’s really good,” he said. “Oscar [Soberon] did a great job and always builds good courses. He’s a great course designer.”
For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit www.tryon.com.
Ocala, FL (February 8, 2017): Horses and riders descended on HITS Post Time Farm for a shot at winning the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix or the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix. It was the third week of competition at HITS Ocala and riders were hungry to place atop the best of the best.
$5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix
Hunt Tosh of Alpharetta, Georgia grabbed his second win in the Devoucoux Hunter Prix of the 2017 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. Last week, Tosh won the class aboard Gotham, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, in addition to a third place prize with Wiser, owned by Ceil and Kenny Wheeler.
This week, Tosh claimed the victory with Casanova, another winning ride owned by Dr. Betsee Parker. They won the class with scores of 86 and 89 for a total of 175. Tosh would claim another ribbon with Wiser, this week in sixth place.
Second in the ribbons went to Amanda Steege of Bedminster, New Jersey riding Loxley, owned by Finale Partners, LLC. They were awarded a first-round score of 87 and a second-round score of 85 for a total of 172. Steege also took home fifth place with Zidane, owned by Susan Darragh.
Aiken, South Carolina equestrian Daniel Geitner brought home the third-place prize riding Sky Pilot, owned by Allison Wolfe Mills. The judges gave the pair scores of 84 and 85, respectively, for a total of 169.
Fourth place was Caitlyn Shiels of Hampshire, Illinois riding Cassius, owned by Don Stewart. They earned scores of 84 and to secure a total of 167.
$1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix
A supremely talented crop of riders turned out to challenge the course and prove who the ultimate in hunter style was.
Melissa Marshall of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania won aboard her own mount, Valiant. The pair received eighth place in the Platinum Performance Hunter Prix during Week II and they jumped their way up the standings to claim the blue ribbon victory in Week III.
Marshall and Valiant took the lead in the first round with a score of 83; combined by a second-round score of 79, they brought the win home with a total of 162.
The second-place prize belonged to Lauren Lindner of Warren, New Jersey and Quantonius, owned by Nicole Peterson. They earned a 79 in the first round, improving to an 81 in the second round to total 160.
Williston, Florida equestrian Samantha Perlman piloted Willow Bay, owned by Ann Cohen Farm, to the fourth place ribbon. The earned a total of 159, combined by scores of 80 and 79, settling them just behind Lindner.
Fifth place belonged to Grafite, owned and ridden by Madison Pan-kita. Their scores of 80 and 77.5 earned them a total of 157.5 to round out the top five.
Ocala, FL (January 30, 2017): The second week of qualifying opportunities for hunter exhibitors in Florida commenced with the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix and the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix. Both classes are qualifiers for the ever-prestigious hunter events of the season at the HITS Championship in September: the Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final and the Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Final.
$5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix
Hunt Tosh was victorious in Saturday’s Devoucoux Hunter Prix aboard Gotham, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker. They topped the field the highest scores in both rounds, a 90 and an 89, respectively, for a winning total of 179.
Not only would Tosh take home the blue ribbon, but the third place prize as well aboard Wiser, owned by Ceil and Kenny Wheeler. Their total of 170, combined by scores 84 and 86, would score just behind second place earner, Harold Chopping piloting Celtic Gold, owned by Meg Valnoski.
Chopping rode Celtic Gold to a first-round score of 85, improving to an 86 in the second round for a total of 171.
Fourth place belonged to Ehrin Rittmueller and Chicago, owned by Christine Braeutigam, with a total score of 168, and the top five rounded out with Cassandra Kahle riding Applause, owned by Nevergreen Farm, LLC, with a total score of 166.
$1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix
Erin Brody brought home the win in Saturday’s $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix with Z, owned by Heritage Farm, Inc. They took a score of 83 in the first round, combined with their second-round score of 85 for a total of 168.
Second place was awarded to Carla, owned and ridden by Cara Garito. They garnered the highest score in the first round, an 86, and combined with their second-round score of 81.5, took the prize with a total of 167.5.
Third in the ribbons was Amy Lloyd Thomson riding her own Paramount. The received an 82 in the first round from the judging panel, and with a second-round score of 83.5, raked in a total of 165.5.
Alexa Bayko, winner of several Platinum Performance Hunter Prix at HITS Ocala, finished fourth on Whisper, owned by Monica Hunt. The top five rounded out with Leigh Gallagher riding Eternity, owned by Tibri, LLC.
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.