Lexington, KY – October 28, 2020 – Following Tuesday’s start to hunter divisions at the 137th National Horse Show, the first round of championship honors were awarded Wednesday within the Alltech Arena, which saw a series of awards go to the Schaefer sisters from Shadow Ridge Equestrian. Thanks to a series of winning performances that topped the field of talented contenders in the High Performance, Conformation and Green Hunter divisions, Samantha Schaefer and Take 3 LLC’S Trademark were honored with the title of Meralex Farm Grand Champion Professional Hunter, presented by Bryan Baldwin. Additionally, the Meralex Farm Leading Hunter Rider Award was also presented to Schaefer, for which she earned the Leading Hunter Rider Challenge Trophy presented by Bryan Baldwin, following her standout performances aboard both Trademark and In The Know over the initial days of the competition. In the Amateur-Owner 3’6” ranks, owner-rider Madeline Schaefer and Sutton Place received the “Ruxton & Scot To Do” Challenge Trophy for their Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter title.
The first set of major awards saw Samantha staying in the ring for one accolade after the next, starting with the championship honors in the Judith Murch High Performance Hunters. She and sister Madeline’s In The Know earned the tricolor ribbon thanks to first-place trips over fences and in the handy, as well as third position in the stake and fourth place under saddle. Though the horses swapped, Samantha maintained her place in the winner’s circle, now with Trademark, to accept the Meralex Farm Grand Champion Professional Hunter Award, presented by Bryan Baldwin. The flashy gelding carried his rider to a perfect score in the Goshen Hill Green 3’6” Hunters with four first-place results, as well as top-five placings in all five of the classes in the Mrs. Kenneth Garber Green Conformation Hunters. Considering her lengthy list of standout results, it came as no surprise that Samantha’s list of achievements culminated with her being named the Meralex Farm Leading Hunter Rider.
Samantha’s trophies are the culmination of a successful year for the rider that is based out of Maryland and Florida, who rode to success at Tryon, Kentucky Horse Shows, Traverse City Horse Shows, American Gold Cup, and Capital Challenge Horse Show during 2020. Aboard her two main hunter mounts In The Know and Trademark, the trainer from Shadow Ridge Equestrian topped scorecards all around the country, both in divisional competition as well as derbies.
The Schaefer family name continued to be represented well thanks to Madeline and Sutton Place, the partnership that competed in the Hunt LTD Amateur-Owner Hunters for the Under 35 age group. Much like their familial counterparts, Madeline and the chromey chestnut gelding impressively garnered the division championship due to a perfect 40-point score following four winning rides, which also propelled them to the head of the leaderboard for the overall Amateur-Owner honors as the best-performing Amateur-Owner partnership over the 3’6” fences. Though Madeline and Sutton Place have only been paired together since the summer, the duo has made quick work of show rings around the U.S. beginning with their first event together at Traverse City Horse Shows.
To learn more about the 2020 National Horse Show, click here.
Caroline Passarelli and So Enchanted (Shawn McMillen Photography)
Lexington, Ky. – It was another exciting day of competition at the US Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm as two more championship titles in the US Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans were decided on Friday. Kyla Sullivan and Not So Secret collected Medium Green Hunter Pony honors, while Madeline Schaefer and Minted were named the Large Green Hunter Pony Champions. Both championship divisions completed the Over Fences phase on Friday, earning the final 50% for their overall score. They earned 25% from both the Model and Under Saddle phases on Thursday. Following the completion of the Green Pony divisions, So Enchanted was named Overall Green Hunter Pony Grand Champion, while Minted was the Reserve Grand Champion.
Medium Green Hunter Pony Championship
Sullivan (Wallingford, Conn.) and Not So Secret, a 10-year-old Crossbred Pony gelding owned by Jill Shulman were in fourth place heading into the final phase after earning 247.88 in the Model phase and 250.00 in the Under Saddle phase. A great performance in the Over Fences phase gave the pair a score of 243.75 to finish first in the phase. This strong ride propelled them to the Medium Green Hunter Pony Championship title with an overall score of 985.38.
“It’s very exciting [to be the champion]. My pony is very easy going and a lot of fun to ride. He landed all of his leads, which is really good for him, and he went around very smoothly and nicely. We talked about landing the leads, riding the track, and having smooth jumps,” said Sullivan.
Augusta Iwasaki (Calabasas, Calif.) rode Editor’s Note to Reserve Champion honors with an overall score of 971.36. She and the six-year-old Pony gelding owned by Quartet Farm LLC scored 262.98, 251.00, and 228.69 in the Model, Under Saddle, and Over Fences phases, respectively, to come in second in the championship division.
The third place ribbon in the Medium Green Hunter Pony Championship went to Alexa Aureliano (Old Brookville, N.Y.) and Westwood Oliver Twist. She and Taylor Howard’s seven-year-old Welsh Pony Cross gelding received 235.59 in the Model phase, 249.30 in the Under Saddle phase, and 235.72 in the Over Fences phase for a total score of 956.33.
The Best Turned Out Pony in the Medium Green section was Highlands Polaris ridden by Claire Campbell. The Best Presented Model Pony was awarded to Woodland’s Kennedy, presented by Kierstin Antoniadis.
Large Green Hunter Pony Championship
Schaefer rode her and Catherine Nicholas’ Minted to top honors in the Large Green Hunter Pony Championship, finishing on a score of 1001.51. She and the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding garnered scores of 253.16 in the Model phase and 248.35 in the Under Saddle phase on Thursday. The combination stole the title on Friday evening by earning 250.00 in the Over Fences phase, barely edging out the Reserve Champions Ella Reinauer (St. Louis, Mo.) and Baby Blue with an overall score of 999.70. Reinauer and Bibby Hill’s 16-year-old Welsh Pony Cross gelding had scores of 236.93, 248.77, and 257.00 in the Model, Under Saddle, and Over Fences phases, respectively.
“He [Minted] is super sweet in the barn, and genuinely easy to live with. He was great in the Over Fences. He didn’t look at a thing and showed just like any typical show. I’ve been competing for nine years, and it’s my last year [at Pony Finals]. I’m going to miss the thrill. Coming in on green ponies, you never know what to expect, and both of my ponies were really good,” said Schaefer.
Ericka Koscinski (Center Moriches, N.Y.) and North Shore Equestrian Center’s horse name came in third with an overall score of 996.45. Koscinski and the nine-year-old Thoroughbred/Welsh gelding scored 250.40, 252.35, and 246.85 in the Model, Under Saddle, and Over Fences phases, respectively.
The Best Turned Out Pony in the Large Green section was Timeless, ridden by Erica Felder. The Best Presented Model Pony was awarded to Bracewood’s Foxfire presented by Annalyn Hoffpauir.
Medium Regular Hunter Pony Championship
After two phases of competition, Grace Debney (Hampden, Mass.) and Sportster lead in the Medium Regular Hunter Pony Championship. Debney and her and Karen Debsey’s 16-year-old Warmblood gelding earned 253.27 in the Model phase and 264.34 in the Under Saddle Phase for a score of 517.61. Anna Richardson (Granby, Mass.) and Piper Klemm’s nine-year-old Welsh/Thoroughbred mare horse name, are in second place with a total score of 511.99, while Hunter Champey (Far Hills, N.J.) and News Flash, Annabella Sanchez’s 11-year-old Welsh Pony gelding, are in third with a score of 508.14.
Watch the live stream on the USEF Network presented by the USHJA Foundation, covering competition from the Walnut and Alltech Arenas. Check out the USEF Network for a complete schedule.
Armani and Madeline Schaefer. Photos copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.
Patton and Twisther Clear for Victory in North American Junior/Amateur Jumper Challenge; Foster, Sommers, Farish, and Pilla Win Tricolors
Upper Marlboro, MD – October 5, 2013 – Saturday of Capital Challenge Horse Show highlights the country’s young rider talent with championships for pony, junior and children’s pony hunters. The Grand Pony Hunter Championship was awarded to Madeline Schaefer on Armani. Ashley Foster on Sin City and Samantha Sommers riding Small Affair picked up the top tricolors in the Small and Large 16-17 Hunters, respectively, while Sienna Pilla was the Children’s Hunter Pony division champion. In the evening session, Reid Patton took the top prize in the $10,000 North American Junior/Amateur Jumper Challenge Final Round sponsored by ARIAT on Twisther. The Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center, concludes on Sunday, October 6.
“I’ve always had terrible luck at this show. I couldn’t get myself together here,” said Madeline Schaefer of Westminster, MD. At the young age of 12 she has been able to change her bad luck at Capital Challenge in a big way. The talented rider rode Armani to the lion’s share of awards today on two ponies.
Piloting Armani, her nine-year-old Welsh Pony gelding by Bronheulog Roya, she won the Small Pony Hunter Championship, sponsored by Spring Mill Farm/Jenny Yandell. They placed first, first, and second over fences and were sixth under saddle. The reserve champion was Love Me Tender, ridden by Mimi Gochman for David Gochman. They won an over fences class and were second under saddle.
The Harper Taskier Wright Memorial Trophy, given in memory of Harper by her loving parents Michael and Alexandra Borissoff Wright, friends, and family whose lives she touched, was given to Schaefer for winning the Small Pony Hunter championship.
Armani and Schaefer won the Grand Pony Hunter Championship, sponsored by Lochmoor Stables/Mindy and Greg Darst, and were awarded the VanderMoore Designs Trophy, donated by VanderMoore Designs. Schaefer was named the Best Pony Rider, an award sponsored by Archibald Cox and Brookway Stables. They were presented with the Kitty Borisoff Memorial Trophy donated by her many friends.
The EMO Trip of the Show for Pony Hunters went to Mimi Gochman on Love Me Tender for their score of 90.
Schaefer believes that her luck changed this year due to the hard work she has put in here. “I had a lot of rides this year – four rides – so I got a lot of practice. I got the miles in the saddle in the ring,” she remarked.
Her partner Armani, she said, has “an amazing rhythm.” She added, “He likes to play a little, but we’ll put up with it if he goes like that every day. I showed him here last year when he was a green, and he’s improved a lot. The way you ride him now is a lot easier. He’s a lot more adjustable.”
In addition to the Small championship, Schaefer won the Medium Pony Hunter championship, sponsored by Flagship & Jeff & Kelley Gogul, with Sports Cast, an eight-year-old German Riding Pony gelding by Munser II owned by Gary Schaefer. They won two over fences classes. Mimi Gochman picked up her second reserve championship with True Love. They were first and second over fences.
Schaefer started riding Sports Cast just over a year ago and said that his ride was more like a bigger horse than a pony. “He has a big stride and his canter is similar to some of my sister’s horses,” she explained.
The Large Pony Hunter championship went to 12-year-old Daisy Farish of Versailles, KY, on Beau Rivage, a 17-year-old Holsteiner/Welsh gelding by Magical. They won two over fences classes and placed second and third in the remaining jumping classes. Barbara Ann Merryman rode Storyteller for Samantha Kasowitz to the reserve championship after they placed first, first, and second over fences.
Farish has been paired with Beau Rivage for two years, and they competed at Capital Challenge last year. “He’s really fun because he has a great rhythm and when you get to the jump in the right spot, he just fires over it,” she said.
Farish is a Capital Challenge veteran already. “I was either six or seven when I showed in the children’s ponies. It is one of my favorite shows because it isn’t all spread out. You can see everyone go and everyone comes here. It’s really competitive because at indoors there are only a certain amount who can be there. Here there are a lot more, so there is a lot more competition.”
Farish 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.
The Children’s Hunter Pony championship went to Beaucatcher, ridden by eight-year-old Sienna Pilla of Ridgefield, CT. Pilla and Beaucatcher, a 17-year-old Welsh Pony Cross gelding owned by Abigail Blankenship, won an over fences class and the under saddle. Alyx Goldstein and Summerland were the reserve champions after they placed first and fourth over fences and were fifth under saddle.
Pilla has ridden Beaucatcher since January and started out in the Short Stirrup division, but when a show they attended didn’t have the division, they moved up to the Children’s Hunter Pony classes. With a Grand Champion Hunter title secured there, they never looked back. Advice from her trainer, Lainie Wimberly, has helped get her to this point. She recalled, “I try to keep my hands up and go forward. It helps me get a good distance at the jump – not too tight and not too big.”
Pilla said that she has attended Capital Challenge before to watch her older sister Sophia compete, but this was her first time showing. When she returns to school on Monday, she said, “I’ll tell everyone that I got champion, and I’m really excited about it.”
Wimberly noted, “I think she’s really talented and once she got past the fear of going forward her natural talent and abilities have come out. She has a natural eye and good feel. I was really impressed with the way she rode. I have high hopes for her. She comes from a really great riding family. She’s following in her sister’s footsteps.”
Patton’s Only Clear Round Wins
The course itself was the biggest obstacle in the $10,000 North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Challenge Cup Final Round. There were 30 entries in tonight’s final round, which was held in jump-off format. There was only one clear round over the course designed by Steve Stephens. It featured wide oxers and challenging distances; 18-year-old Reid Patton was the only rider to find the key to a clear on Twisther, a 13-year-old KWPN stallion by Farmer. Vivian Yowan and Stone Hill Farm’s Vornado van den Hoendrik were just over the time allowed to finish with one time fault for second place. Madeline Thatcher’s fast four-fault round on Pony Lane Farm’s Licapo put her in third place.
Patton, of Nashville, TN, started riding Twisther this summer, but she had never ridden him indoors before yesterday. “I was a little nervous because he’s so big and has a giant stride. I was a little nervous for this course, but sometimes I rise to the occasion. I knew I had to be aggressive.”
Thinking the course was “set for a very scopey horse,” Patton felt that it suited Twisther, who previously jumped at the grand prix level with Jonathan McCrea. “He’s a little over-qualified. He’s just really good at scoping over oxers, so I can really leg him over and he won’t run into the front rail. I think that’s what set him apart – his ability to cross these oxers.”
Despite being a stallion, Patton said that Twisther is very calm. “I’ve never ridden a horse like him. When you’re riding him, it feels like he thinks he’s on a trail ride. He just lopes around. He has a really good eye himself, so I never really get nervous if I’m a little off. I try and do my part, but I can’t be perfect all the time.”
About her win, she said, “I’m still kind of shocked. It hasn’t really sunk in. It feels amazing. I’m so thankful to Cara and Donald (Cheska). (They) couldn’t be here since Cara’s grandmother died right before the show. Tom Wright and Hayley Barnhill kind of came in (they are my hunter and equitation trainers) and trained me. I have a great team.”
For their win in the final round, Patton was presented with the Remy Martin Perpetual Trophy, donated by Rolling Acres and Melanie Wright. With her win in yesterday’s first round and seventh place finish in today’s round, Victoria Colvin was the overall winner of the North American Junior/Amateur Jumper Challenge on Monsieur du Reverdy and was awarded the Ariat Congressional Cup. The Best Junior Jumper Rider Award, sponsored by Back Country Farm, was given to Victoria Colvin, while Kelsey Thatcher won the Best Amateur Jumper Rider Award sponsored by Lyman T. Whitehead and Eight Fences, LLC.
Older Junior Hunters Awarded
Traveling from California is never an easy proposition with horses, but Samantha Sommers of Malibu made the trip worth it when she won the Large Junior 16-17 Hunter championship, sponsored by Beacon Hill Show Stables, with Iwasaki & Reilly’s Small Affair. The 18-year-old rode the 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Elf d’Or to two firsts and a second over fences. Erin McGuire and Casallo were reserve champions after they won and placed third in two classes and were sixth under saddle.
Sommers started riding Small Affair in January and felt “a lot of pressure” initially due to her horse’s great success with previous rider Olivia Esse and with professional John French. She needn’t have worried since she was the Overall Champion at the U.S. Junior Hunter National Championships – West among other success. “I ended on the West Coast with a bang, and now I got to do it here too. It’s so hard to compete against the East Coast people with jet lag and the horses have to ship out here across the country. It’s nice when you can represent the West Coast well!” she mentioned.
Sommers said that it take some getting used to Small Affair’s great style. “He has a spectacular jump and an amazing canter. Finding the jumps is nice and easy,” she said. “If you just take your time it’ll just work out.”
In her last junior year, winning at Capital Challenge was a goal. “I’ve never been champion at Capital Challenge before so I was so excited. It’s a really good feeling. It’s fun to be champion anywhere, but to do it at one of the top shows in the country is great. I’d like to thank Elizabeth Reilly, Chris Iwasaki, John French and my parents for all they’ve done for me,” she said.
Ashley Foster of Brookeville, MD, won a junior hunter championship last year, and this year she repeated that feat. This time it was in the Small Junior 16-17 Hunters, sponsored by Heritage Farm, on Sin City, an 11-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Annie Friedman. The pair won two over fences class, were second in the remaining jumping class, and won the under saddle. The reserve champion was Illusion, ridden by Destry Spielberg and owned by Oscany, Inc. They placed first, second and fifth over fences and were second in the under saddle. In addition to Foster’s division championship, Sin City was named the High Point Junior Hunter 16-17, sponsored by The Clothes Horse.
Foster, who is in her final junior year, started riding Sin City this past winter and picked up the ride again at the Maryland Horse and Pony Show. She described, “He’s a blast to ride. He’s so smooth you don’t even know you’re cantering. He’s got the biggest stride possible. You can definitely feel his jump. He’s really fun,” she said.
Capital Challenge is like a hometown show for Foster, and winning here is “so exciting.” She said, “I just love riding and winning is great but riding other people’s horses is really great.”
The winner of the $5,000 WCHR Handy Hunter Challenge, sponsored by Johnson Horse Transportation Inc., was Nick Haness on Winfield, owned by Lexie Looker. In yesterday’s $2,500 WCHR Adult Amateur Challenge, Polly Sweeney rode to victory on Karen Long Dwight’s Pimm’s Cup.
The Capital Challenge Horse Show concludes tomorrow with championships for the 15 & Under sections of the junior hunters, both sections of the Children’s Hunter Horses, the WCHR Pony Challenge, WCHR Junior Challenge, WCHR Children’s Hunter Finals, and the World Champion Hunter Under Saddle Junior class.
About Capital Challenge In its 20th 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 28 – October 6.
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.
Lexington, KY – It was the crowning of the champions today at the Kentucky Horse Park as the 2012 US Pony Finals and US National Pony Hunter Champions completed their fifth day of competition. It was the Large Pony Hunter Over Fences that dawned on the Walnut Arena early this morning, and Meredith Darst aboard For The Laughter stole the show with their fantastic round, capturing the Overall Large Pony Hunter Championship for the second consecutive year. As the US National Hunter Pony Championships presented by Sallee Horse Vans came to a conclusion, the Grand Pony Championship title was presented to Madeline Schaefer and Hi Lite for their efforts in the Small Pony Hunter division.
Earlier in the week, Madeline Schaefer of Westminster, MD, and Hi Lite had an incredible performance in the Small Pony Hunter division. They were third in the rankings heading into the over fences phase, but with a beautiful trip, they scored the blue ribbon and were eventually presented with the Overall Small Pony Hunter Championship. Their phenomenal scores of 88, 90 and 88 gave them overall total of 1047.20 points. The pair was also awarded the International Jumping Derby Perpetual Trophy as Overall Grand Hunter Pony Champion.
Lexington, KY – The rain had dissipated, and a cool brisk day greeted young riders and their ponies for the fourth day of the 2012 US Pony Finals and US National Pony Hunter Championships presented by Sallee Horse Vans. The Large Pony Hunters took center stage in the Walnut ring early in the morning, completing their model and under saddle phases. It was a demanding day of competition for the Small Pony Hunters as they completed the final phase, the over fences. At the end of the day it was Madeline Schaefer and Hi Lite who claimed the Overall Small Pony Hunter Championship for their outstanding consistency throughout the division, and astounding round over fences.
It is Schaefer’s fifth year competing at the US National Pony Hunter Championships, and so far she has proven herself to be a dominating force in the irons of her talented mounts. Already having picked up the Medium Green Hunter Pony Championship on the second day of competition with her own Frosted, Schaefer continued her success with Hi Lite, riding to the blue ribbon in the over fences with the outstanding scores of 88, 90 and 88 for an overall total of 1047.20 points. The duo was ranked second going into today’s class, with the second and third place honors from the model and the under saddle, respectively.