Washington International Horse Show 2019 Wrap-Up

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There was an abundance of top-notch talent at the historic 61st annual Washington International Horse Show 2019 (WIHS), which ran for six days (October 22-27, 2019) at Capital One Arena in downtown Washington, D.C.

October 27, 2019

Samantha Takacs and Brighton
Samantha Takacs and Brighton. All Photos by Shawn McMillen

Samantha Takacs and Brighton Take Top Pony Hunter Honors

Among those claiming victories on Sunday was Samantha Takacs, who rode Brighton to the Grand Pony Hunter Championship title and claimed The Miles River Moonglow Perpetual Trophy, donated by Scott Novick and Rustic Woods. Takacs, 14, of Oldwick, N.J., and Brighton, owned by Ellie Sadrian, won the under saddle and earned a first and second over fences in the Large Pony Hunter division to clinch the division championship and the Pegasus Stable Perpetual Trophy, donated by Ms. Fenwick Kollock, on their way to the grand championship title.

Takacs topped the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals last year riding Storyteller, and this year, she got the ride on Brighton from the pony’s owner, who is a good friend and fellow rider. She began showing the 10-year-old German Riding Pony in May of this year. “He’s so amazing,” she said. “He rides like a little horse. His canter is so smooth, and he jumps so nice.

She also claimed the Best Child Rider on a Pony title, sponsored by Gotham North. Takacs has trained with David Belford and Christopher Payne at New Hope Farm for the last nine years, and she was not the only Belford and Payne-trained student seeing success on Sunday, as all three of the pony hunter division championships went home to New Hope.

In the Medium Pony Hunters, the championship and the Shenandoah Sundowner Perpetual Trophy, donated by Evan Coluccio and Ashmont Farms, went to Alexa Lignelli of New York, N.Y., riding EMC Entourage, owned by the Lignelli Family.

It was also Lignelli who claimed the Small Pony Hunter championship and the Stombock Saddlery Challenge Trophy, donated by Stombock Saddlery in Memory of E.P. (Bud) Stombock, this time aboard Rollingwoods Knee Deep, also owned by the Lignelli Family.

The day’s reserve championships were awarded to Vivian Golden of Wyomissing, PA, and her own Dressed to Go in the Small Pony Hunters; Emilia Richard of Middlefield, Conn., and Blue Chip, owned by Heritage Farm, Inc., in the Medium Pony Hunters; and Caroline Signorino of Basking Ridge, N.J., and Storyteller in the Large Pony Hunters.

Hallie Moss and Birtley's Crown Jewel
Hallie Moss and Birtley’s Crown Jewel

Hallie Moss Wins WIHS Pony Equitation Finals on Her First Try

Hallie Moss topped the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals aboard Birtley’s Crowned Jewel to take home The Jane Marshall Dillon Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by the Friends and Students of Mrs. Jane Marshall Dillon.

Moss watched Sam Walker win the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals on Saturday evening at WIHS and carried her inspiration from that into her performance in the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals to take the blue.

Moss, 11, scored an 84.5 in the over fences phase of the class to stand in third before the flat phase, after which the judges, Sue Ashe and Timmy Kees, put her on top as the winner of the riding Birtley’s Crowned Jewel. It was Moss’s first time showing in the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals, though she showed in the pony hunter divisions last year.

“It’s my last show on ‘Teddy,’ so it’s pretty incredible,” Moss said. Teddy is a 12-year-old Welsh Pony by Eyarth Tayma and owned by Three Ships LLC.

Moss, of Fishers, Ind., rides with Abby Blankenship at Three Ships LLC. Her mother, Kristen Moss, teaches the beginner rider lessons at Three Ships, while Blankenship trains the students who show.

Moss has grown up at the barn, so she’s familiar with horse care. She doesn’t own a pony of her own, and leased Teddy for the year. “Hallie is essentially a working student, so she’s been put on a lot of different ponies,” Blankenship said.

The final events of the 2019 WIHS were the Regional Hunter Finals, which kicked off last week at the WIHS Regional Horse Show at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Md.

With a win in the WIHS Regional Pony Hunter Finals, McKenna Gregorio of Ashland, Va., was named grand champion of the division riding her own Autumn Frost. The reserve championship went to Caroline Pennington of Washington, D.C., riding Dreamscape, owned by Mosie LLC.

Olivia Brown of Whaleyville, Md., and her own Lapis topped the WIHS Regional Hunter Finals and received the Black, Starr and Frost Perpetual Trophy, donated by Black, Starr and Frost. The reserve championship went to Caroline Childs of Lothian, Md., and Aladdin, owned by Gabriella Conte.

October 26, 2019

Laura Kraut and Fleurette
Laura Kraut and Fleurette

Laura Kraut Adds Coveted FEI World Cup Win at the WIHS

Laura Kraut finally added a title she has been coveting to her record at the 61st Washington International Horse Show (WIHS). Riding Fleurette, Kraut jumped to victory in the $136,300 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington, presented by Events DC for the President’s Cup, on Saturday, October 26.

“It’s been a class that I wanted to win for many, many years,” said Olympic team gold medalist Kraut, who was fifth in the class in 2018 riding Confu. “I think I’ve been jumping in the international division [at WIHS] since the late ’80s. I’ve had quite a few seconds and thirds and fourths, but it’s just always seemed to elude me. I said at the beginning of the week, ‘I think this is going to be my week.’” Kraut first competed at WIHS in 1978 in the pony hunter divisions.

As the seventh to go, Andrew Welles and Primo Troy were the first pair of the 30-horse field to find their way clear over Olaf Petersen Jr.’s first-round course. The packed crowd in Capital One Arena waited to see another clear round until Kraut and Fleurette came into the ring as the final horse to jump, and a massive cheer went up when she made the jump-off.

In the jump-off, Welles ran into trouble on an early turn with his 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse, who is owned by the Itasca Group. The stallion stopped, and after Welles circled and finished the course, they had accumulated 12 faults in a time of 45.69 seconds. “I tried to lay down the best round I could,” Welles said. “With a rider like Laura behind you, you want to take a shot. I tried to do that. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, but I’m thrilled with my horse tonight.”

Kraut knew the score she had to beat. Kraut and Fleurette, a 10-year-old Selle Français mare, did have one rail in the jump-off, but with four faults in 40.99 seconds they secured the win.

Brianne Goutal Marteau finished in third with Viva Columbia, a 14-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Rose Hill Farm. They completed the first round with one time fault.

Fleurette joined Kraut’s string in May, and Kraut has high hopes for the mare owned by Barb and David Roux of St. Bride’s Farm. “She’s one of these horses that I think has all the jump, all the scope, is careful, is brave, is sensible and lets you ride her. The only thing she’s missing at this point is the mileage at this level,” Kraut said.

WIHS was Kraut’s first indoor show outing with Fleurette. The mare shipped across the Atlantic to show, as Kraut is based in England. “She flew to New York on Sunday, was in quarantine on Monday and Tuesday, and then got on a truck and came straight here. She’s just amazing because not a lot of horses could put up with that,” Kraut said.

Kraut makes a point of adding WIHS to her schedule even though she’s based in England. “This is a fantastic horse show,” she said. “I come back for it every year. Normally I’m in Europe going full throttle, but I always have taken the time to come back and jump at Washington, because I think it’s one of the shows we don’t want to do without.”

For her victory, Kraut was presented with The President of the United States Perpetual Cup, donated by Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy in 1961. Additionally, she collected The Margaret Chovnick Memorial Trophy as winner of the $10,000 Leading International Rider Award and the Leading Lady Rider Award, sponsored by Longines. Fleurette’s owners were presented with Leading Jumper Owner Award.

Sam Walker and Waldo
Sam Walker and Waldo

Sam Walker Walks Off With Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals

Sam Walker simply could not be beaten in the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals on Saturday. Walker, 17, from Nobleton, Ontario, led the three-phase competition from start to finish riding Waldo, becoming the first Canadian rider to win the class.

A field of 40 started the competitive, year-end equitation final, which spanned two days. Riders started with a hunter phase held on Friday, then completed a jumper phase held on Saturday afternoon, and then 10 riders qualified for a final work-off held during Saturday night’s featured session. Riders’ average scores from the first two rounds were combined, with the 10 top-ranked competitors then swapping horses in the work-off. The highest combined total score won the class.

Walker joked that his preparation for this year’s win began immediately after the class last year. “I was 10th place here last year and third the year before, so I was a little bit hungry to get back in the ring here,” Walker said. “I just wanted to say thank you to the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund for sponsoring this class and always making it a great event every year.”

Walker set the tone early with Waldo, a 12-year-old warmblood gelding owned by Missy Clark and North Run. The judges, Chance Arakelian, Laura Kraut, Timmy Kees and Sue Ashe, scored him with a 93 in the hunter round, giving him the blue in that phase. In the jumper round, Walker finished second with a score of 92, but retained his lead in the overall standings with a 185 total. Ava Stearns, who won the jumper phase with a score of 93.5, was hot on his heels in the standings with a 182.5 total.

In the work-off, Walker and Stearns switched horses, with Walker getting on Stearns’ mount Acer K, an eight-year-old gelding also owned by Clark and North Run, and Stearns getting a leg up onto Waldo. Walker and Stearns both train with Clark, John Brennan, and their team at North Run, so they were familiar with each other’s horses.

Walker answered her challenge with a seamless round of his own as the last to go. The judges rewarded him with another score in the 90s, a 93. Stearns posted a score of 86.5 in the work-off, giving the win to Walker with a 278 total score and putting her in second place with a score of 269.5. For the win, Walker was presented with the WIHS Equitation Classic Trophy, donated by Mr. & Mrs. G. Ralph Ours, III, and, as the winning horse, Waldo was awarded the Lugano Memorial Trophy, donated by Stoney Hill.

Finishing in third was Dominic Gibbs, 16, of Colorado Springs, CO, riding Cent 15, an 11-year-old Hanoverian owned by Mountain King Ranch LLC. Gibbs is in his first year of the prestigious fall indoor equitation finals, and trains with Stacia Madden and the Beacon Hill team.

Paige Matthies and Climbus
Paige Matthies and Climbus

Paige Matthies Makes Clean Count in $15,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic

Last year, Paige Matthies had to settle for second in the $15,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic with the fastest four-fault round. This year, there was no stopping her as she claimed the title, and the Ambassador’s Cup Perpetual Trophy, donated by Ambassador and Mrs. Marion H. Smoak, with the only clean round in the class riding Climbus. “He has a heart of gold,” Matthies said of the 13-year-old Holsteiner by Cartani and owned by Barbara Smith.

Matthies, of Lake Leelanau, MI, has been riding Climbus for two and half years. He was her first high junior jumper, and he’s helped her gain confidence in the division. This is Matthies’ last year as a junior rider, so she was a bit nostalgic about her last junior jumper class at WIHS.

Finishing second in the class with the fastest four-fault round in 58.44 seconds was Elizabeth Lang riding her own Zephyr. Sophie Gochman rode Gochman Sport Horse’s Carola BH into third with four faults in 59.05 seconds.

October 25, 2019

Sydney Shulman and Villamoura
Sydney Shulman and Villamoura

Sydney Shulman Makes it Two in a Row

Friday’s events showcased thrilling displays of speed and power. Israeli rider Sydney Shulman of Greenwich, Conn., topped the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final on Villamoura, while Aaron Vale and Schuyler Riley of the United States shared victory in the $25,000 Land Rover Puissance. The classes were part of a full schedule of exciting competition and entertaining exhibitions during Military Night, presented by Caterpillar, Inc.

Shulman, 24, came to WIHS to jump in the international jumper division for the first time with a pretty specific goal. “I came here with the plan to do just these two speed classes and hopefully be in the top five with all these elite riders in the classes,” she said.

She ended up winning both of them. Shulman rode Villamoura, a 10-year-old Selle Français mare by Diamant de Semilly and owned by Jill Shulman, to the blue in the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final, adding her name to the General Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Perpetual Trophy donated by the late Arthur J. Morris. The night before, she and Villamoura won the $36,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class.

Shulman’s time of 50.84 seconds was untouchable; Australian rider Rowan Willis came the closest, stopping the timers in 53.19 seconds for second place with Everse W. Third place went to U.S. rider Andy Kocher on Cat Ninja, who posted a time of 53.58 seconds.

Villamoura and Shulman were more than two seconds faster than the 23 other riders in the starting field.

For every clear effort over the Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors (TAPS) fence, $1,000 was donated to TAPS as part of Military Night tradition at WIHS. After 11 riders cleared the plank vertical, $11,000 was donated to TAPS by generous sponsors Ride TV and Dish.

Having Villamoura back in top form is emotional for Shulman because a year ago, she wasn’t sure if the mare would jump again. Villamoura scratched her eye while stabled at a show in September 2018 and needed eight months to heal.

She noted that for the first month that Villamoura was in the equine clinic, she stayed with her. “I was there with her 24 hours a day, and I slept in my car. That horse is my life,” she said.

Luckily, Villamoura’s eye healed well, and she retained her vision. “I knew she would come back in some capacity once we realized her eye was going to be fine,” Shulman said. “The key was building her fitness back up. I have to give a lot of credit to our staff at Back Country Farm. It was around-the-clock care getting her healthy, bringing her back, and getting her fit. The whole team was involved, emotionally and physically. I’m really grateful to everyone for it.”

Aaron Vale and Finou 4
Aaron Vale and Finou 4

Aaron Vale and Schuyler Riley Share the Win in the $25,000 Land Rover Puissance

The win in the $25,000 Land Rover Puissance came down to a battle between a three-time WIHS puissance-winning horse and a horse contesting the class for the first time. In the end, they tied for the win, with both Aaron Vale and Finou 4 and Schuyler Riley on Very Chic Du Tillard clearing the 6’9″ height.

Vale and Finou 4, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding by For Pleasure and owned by Thinks Like A Horse, had won the class the last three consecutive years and were hot favorites. Five other horse-and-rider combinations joined them on the starting list.

Schulyer Riley and Very Chic du Tillard
Schulyer Riley and Very Chic du Tillard

Riley described E2 Show Jumpers’ Very Chic Du Tillard, a 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Diamant de Semilly, as a horse with the experience level of a younger horse. He was jumping in his first Puissance class and has spent the majority of his show experience at the 1.45 meter level. “I knew he has the scope and the talent, but I knew he’d never done one before, so I sort of expected to go in there and jump one or maybe two and then come out, but he jumped it so easily,” Riley said.

All six riders started over the wall set at 5’9″, and it was subsequently raised to 6’3″, 6’5″, and 6’9″. Only Riley and Vale cleared the 6’9″ height, and both returned to attempt 6’11”. When they both knocked blocks off at that height, the class ended in a tie between them.

The Puissance is a favorite event for Vale, of Williston, Fla., who has now won the class six times. His first win came in 1996 with Big Joe.

Finou 4 and Very Chic Du Tillard were both presented with the Sweet ‘N Low Trophy, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Donald G. Tober for the winning horse in the Puissance, while Riley and Vale will share the Armed Forces Cup, presented by Land Rover to the winning rider in the Puissance. They’ll also be represented on the Congressman’s Challenge Trophy, donated by the late Honorable Rogers C.B. Morton and the late Honorable F. Robert Watkins.

Augusta Iwasaki and Small Affair
Augusta Iwasaki and Small Affair

Small Affair Makes a Tricolor Finale in the Junior Hunters

Small Affair has a storied history at WIHS, having previously claimed the Grand Junior Hunter Champion title with Tori Colvin riding in 2015, and earning the Large Junior Hunter, 15 and Under, championship with Augusta Iwasaki in 2017.

This year, Iwasaki returned to WIHS with the 16-year-old Selle Francais to collect the Ides of March Perpetual Trophy, donated by Linda Lee and Lee Reynolds, for the Grand Junior Hunter Championship again.

Iwasaki and Lyn Pederson’s Small Affair won an over-fences class, the stake class, and the under-saddle class on their way to the Large Junior Hunter, 15 and Under, title before returning to the ring to claim the Grand Junior Hunter Championship. Iwasaki also picked up the reserve championship in the division with Eliza Kimball’s Sea Side.

Iwasaki was thrilled with the result, as she and her family have decided that this year’s WIHS would be Small Affair’s last indoor show appearance. Iwasaki, 15, was just five years old when Small Affair joined her parents’ Makato Farm in Calabasas, Cali., as a green five-year-old. While Iwasaki honed her skills on ponies, Small Affair collected tricolors with other riders. When Iwasaki was old enough in 2016, she got the ride.

Iwasaki and her mother, Liz Reilly, and father, Chris Iwasaki, planned Small Affair’s final fall tour carefully, and purposely chose WIHS for his encore. “I chose this one as his last because it’s a show that he enjoys,” she said.

Small Affair will eventually transition to retirement at Dr. Betsee Parker’s farms in Florida and Virginia. “He means so much to me and my family. There’s such a special bond between my whole family and this horse. He’s been part of our family for more than 10 years, so he’s everything to us,” Iwasaki said.

Maggie Hill of Jackson, Wyo., claimed the Best Child Rider on a Horse title, sponsored by Gotham North, receiving the DiVecchia Perpetual Trophy, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Frederick DiVecchia, after being selected by the judges as the rider who demonstrated the highest quality in horsemanship and sportsmanship, combined with good appearance and courtesy.

Hill also rode Cassanto to the Large Junior Hunter, 16-17, title for the Chance Step Perpetual Trophy, donated by Brooke Carmichael McMurray-Fowler and Pam Carmichael Keenan. She also rode her O’Ryan to the Small Junior Hunter, 16-17, tricolor. She then collected the Georgetown Trophy for High Score Owner-Rider Award with O’Ryan.

The Large Junior Hunter, 16-17, Reserve went to Jordan Allen riding Caroline Loyd’s Cartello Z, while the Small Junior Hunter, 16-17, Reserve went to Violet Lindemann-Barnett riding Sloan Lindemann-Barnett’s Luscious.

Stella Propp of New York City, N.Y., rode Aquitaine Equine’s Inquisitive to the Small Junior Hunter, 15 and Under, Championship, sponsored by the Wasserman Foundation. Finishing in reserve were Ishi Swani on Shadowfax Equestrian LLC’s Bond.

October 24, 2019

Jos Verlooy and Varoune
Jos Verlooy and Varoune

Jos Verlooy of Belgium Turns on the Speed

The international show jumpers took center stage on Thursday for their first two competitions of the week during Barn Night. In the $50,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake, Jos Verlooy of Belgium rode Varoune to victory.

Verlooy, who has competed at WIHS in years past and won the Puissance class in 2015, made a daring turn between fences 3 and 4 in the second round to slice seconds off his time. “In a jump-off you have to take a few risks, and the risk paid off for me tonight,” he said. He finished with a time of 41.62 seconds, relegating U.S. rider Alex Granato and Carlchen W to second with a time of 41.75 seconds. Irish rider Darragh Kenny took third with a 42.16-second round on Classic Dream.

The $50,000 Welcome Stake was held as a “winning round” format, where the top 16 riders, regardless of how many faults they had in the afternoon’s first round, were invited back for the second round, which was held in the evening session. Verlooy came back for the second round as the 14th in the order and set the pace. For the victory, he accepted the Ben O’Meara Memorial Challenge Trophy.

Verlooy has been riding Varoune, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Eurohorse BVBA, for just four months. Verlooy is just 23, but already is a veteran of Belgian championship teams and earned individual bronze and helped the Belgian team win team gold at the 2019 FEI European Championships in August. While Verlooy last competed at WIHS in 2015, when he placed in the top five of every class in the international open jumper division, he decided early this year to include the show in his 2019 schedule.

Sydney Shulman and Villamoura as Ash and Pikachu
Sydney Shulman and Villamoura as Ash and Pikachu

Sydney Shulman Goes Like Lightning to Win $36,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class

Sydney Shulman, who rides for Israel, just couldn’t stop grinning after picking up the blue ribbon in the $36,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class in her first year of competing in the international open jumper division at WIHS. She topped the class riding Villamoura as the fastest round of the nine riders who picked up 65 points over the jumps, finishing in 41.04 seconds.

“I looked at the list of riders and I had dreamed to be in a class with these people, let alone to beat them,” Shulman, 24, said.

The first through ninth place riders all collected 65 points, which meant they cleared all 10 jumps on course, including the final “joker” fence worth 20 points. There was also a special Washington Nationals World Series-themed fence on course, and Irish rider Shane Sweetnam dressed up as Nationals shortstop Trea Turner in honor of the baseball team’s World Series appearance the same week as WIHS.

With nine riders out of the 24 starters on the same score, the class results came down to speed. U.S. rider Adrienne Sternlicht ended up in second place riding Fantast with 65 points in 42.34 seconds, while fellow U.S. rider Catherine Tyree piloted Catungee into third place with 65 points in 44.09 seconds.

Riders dressed themselves and their horses in costume for the class, and Shulman crowdsourced from her students for ideas for her costume. “We wanted something fast, because the horse is very fast, so they thought of Pikachu, who is a lightning bolt. So, then I automatically became the Pokéman trainer, Ash,” she said. “When we were walking the course, I threw 30 plush Poké balls out into the crowd. And the kids I threw them to were so excited at the end when I won.”

For their victory, Shulman was presented with the Crown Royal Trophy, while Villamoura was awarded the Sue Ann Geisler Memorial Trophy, donated by the Washington International Horse Show, as the top horse in the class.

Kristen Vanderveen and Faustino de Tili as Cruella de Ville and a Dalmation
Kristen Vanderveen and Faustino de Tili as Cruella de Ville and a Dalmation

The Best Costume Award, presented by The Stephens Family, was given to Kristen Vanderveen, who dressed as Cruella de Ville riding Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili, who was decorated to look like a Dalmatian. Her groom, Luis Salazar, will share the prize money. With 10 clear rounds over the Buck Breast Cancer jump, $5,000 was donated to the Capital Breast Care Center.

October 23, 2019

Charlotte Powers and Escot 6
Charlotte Powers and Escot 6

Charlotte Powers Changes Gears to Win the $10,000 WIHS Adult Jumper Championship

Jumper riders took their turn in Capital One Arena during the second day of competition on Wednesday. As Charlotte Powers watched the last rider jump off in the $10,000 WIHS Adult Jumper Championship and realized she had won, she jumped up and down and hugged her sister and trainer, Justine Powers Jarvis. Powers claimed the blue aboard her own Escot 6, turning in a clear round in 31.59 seconds to defeat the six other riders who had qualified for the jump-off out of the starting field of 26.

Megan Winkhaus claimed second place riding Speedy Chicolina with a clean jump-off round in 33.78 seconds, while Stephanie King guided Lexus to a four-fault jump-off effort in 30.84 seconds for third place.

Both Powers, of Ashburn, Va., and Escot 6 are new to the jumper ring. Powers showed in the hunters and equitation as a junior but took a step back from showing while she went to college and graduate school for her PhD in organizational psychology and started her career in human resources. She also spent a year and a half working in the United Kingdom. For those years, she kept riding, but did not show. When she moved back to the U.S. in October 2018, she told Jarvis she wanted to get back into the show ring.

Escot 6, a 13-year-old Hanoverian, evented to the four-star level with Colleen Rutledge on board but switched careers. “We leased him from Colleen, and one month in, I was like, ‘I can’t give him back,’” Powers said. “Colleen was very kind to let me buy him, because I could never part with him. He’s the sweetest and wonderful. My sister is probably sick of hearing me swoon over him.”

Powers and Escot 6 developed a partnership quickly and became quite successful in the adult jumpers in the Mid-Atlantic area. Powers noted that Escot 6 is a bit of an unconventional choice to return to the show ring on.

Caroline Nadalin and Boujis
Caroline Nadalin and Boujis

Caroline Nadalin Takes the Inside Track to Victory in the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship

A tough inside turn proved to be the key for Caroline Nadalin and Boujis to win the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship. It was a turn that hadn’t worked out for a couple of the nine jump-off qualifiers from the original starting field of 25.

“My trainers told me I could do it, so I just believed in it,” Nadalin, 14, said of the turn. “I knew my horse could do it, so I had to believe I could do it, and I just went and did it!”

The move resulted in a clean round in the winning time of 34.75 second, more than a second faster than second-placed Katalena Prusso on Camera Ready, who stopped the timers in 35.95 seconds. Stella Propp took third riding Baral Preciosa with a time of 40.94 seconds.

Nadalin rides with the team at Ken and Emily Smith’s Ashland Farm as well as her mother, Jennifer Nadalin. She’s been riding Boujis, an 18-year-old Irish Sport Horse, for a year. Nadalin shows in the hunters, equitation, and jumper divisions. This is her first year doing the fall indoor show circuit.

Scott Steward and Cameo
Scott Steward and Cameo

Scott Stewart Makes a Clean Sweep in Professional Hunter Divisions

Scott Stewart of Flemington, N.J., not only claimed the 2019 WIHS Grand Hunter Championship and his 10th WIHS Leading Hunter Rider title, but he also swept every professional hunter division championship along the way. He also claimed two reserve championships in addition to his five division championship titles.

Stewart’s highest honors came aboard his first champion of the day, Cameo, who topped the High Performance Hunter division. The 12-year-old warmblood gelding owned by Betsee Parker won the under-saddle and two of the over-fences classes and finished third in another on his way to clinching the division tricolor and ultimately the Grand Hunter Championship. For the grand championship title, Stewart was presented with the Not Always Challenge Trophy, donated by Miss Peggy Steinman.

Stewart and Cameo’s consistent performances across the Devon Horse Show, the Pennsylvania National Horse Show and the Washington International Horse Show also earned them the Protocol Trophy, sponsored by Platinum Performance, as the high-point High-Performance Hunter from all three shows – marking the third time Cameo has claimed the trophy.

The reserve championship behind Cameo in the High-Performance Hunter division was awarded to Get Rowdy, ridden by Karli Postel and owned by Teton Farms LLC.

Stewart’s next championship of the day came aboard Private Life, also owned by Parker, following two wins and a second-place finish in the High-Performance Conformation Hunters on the eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding that he rode to a score of 90 in the first class of the division. For the High-Performance Conformation Hunter championship, Stewart received the Mary Farren Perpetual Trophy. The division reserve championship went to John French and Boss, owned by Laura Wasserman.

In the Green Conformation Hunters, it was Critics’ Choice, owned by Bikoff Equestrian LLC, that Stewart rode to the championship, while he also claimed the reserve title aboard another Bikoff Equestrian LLC entry, Everwonder. For his third championship of the day, Stewart was awarded the Valiant Hawk Memorial Challenge Trophy, donated by Mrs. Stephen J. Clark.

With a win, a second, and a third place over fences, as well as a second place under saddle, the Green 3’6″ Hunter Championship and the Claire Lang Miller Challenge Trophy, donated by Miss Claire Lang Miller, went to Stewart and Love Note, owned by Richard Prant. Stewart also received the reserve championship in the division with Bikoff Equestrian LLC’s Cabrio.

The Green 3’9″ Hunter Championship went to Stewart and Sports Page, owned by Alexa Weisman, and the division reserve championship went to High Society, ridden by Victoria Colvin and owned by Lindsay Maxwell.

For his exceptional two days at WIHS, Stewart was presented with the $5,000 Scott Stewart Leading Hunter Rider Award, sponsored by Betsee Parker, marking his 10th time receiving the highest professional hunter honor at the show Stewart first began competing at WIHS more than 30 years ago.

“It was at the U.S. Air Arena; it was probably 1986 or ’87,” said Stewart of his first time at the show. “I believe I was on working hunters at that point, but I don’t really know if I got any ribbons. I doubt that I did!

Becky Gochman and Catch Me

Becky Gochman Repeats Victory in Amateur-Owner 3’6″ Hunters

When Becky Gochman collected her blue ribbon in the first class of the Amateur-Owner 3’6″ Hunter, Over 35, she looked up into the stands. Spotting a young fan watching wide-eyed, she walked over and handed her winners’ spoils of a ribbon and silver plate to the young boy.

“I like to give away my ribbons because I know that there are a lot of kids out there watching,” Gochman said. “It’s fun for them to get a little more into it. It helps make the horse show a little more special for others.”

Gochman, of Wellington, Fla., had plenty of ribbons to give away by the end of her time at WIHS as she and Catch Me repeated their 2018 results, claiming the Grand Amateur-Owner 3’6″ Hunter Championship, the Amateur-Owner 3’6″ Hunter, Over 35 division tricolor, and the Leading Amateur-Owner 3’6″ Hunter Rider title. Her name and Catch Me’s will be engraved a second consecutive time on the Frank Counselman Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by friends of Frank Counselman, for their grand championship.

Gochman offered Catch Me one of the Georgetown Cupcakes they received as champions, and she finished it off as they walked out of the ring together.

She and the striking gray gelding topped the first class with a score of 88, then won the under-saddle class on Tuesday. On the second day of the division on Wednesday, they topped the stake class with a score of 87.

Gochman has a special relationship with Catch Me, who was also the Grand Champion Hunter at WIHS in 2016 with Gochman’s trainer, Stewart, riding.

The championship in the Amateur-Owner 3’6″ Hunter, 35 & Under, division went home to New Canaan, Conn., with Kelly Tropin and Chablis. They also won the Shari Hollis Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by the late Col. J.B. Hollis, Jr., and Ms. Jeannie Hollis, for the Best Amateur-Owner 3’6″ Hunter Stake Round and Chablis was given the Technicolor Award as the Classic Hunter of the Amateur-Owner 3’6″ divisions.

The reserve championship in the Amateur-Owner 3’6″ Hunter, Over 35, division went to Jean Sheptoff and her own Verdict, while the Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter, 35 & Under, reserve championship was awarded to Incognito, owned and ridden by Kirsten Pollin.

Dorli Burke and Classic
Dorli Burke and Classic

Dorli Burke Dominates Aboard Classic in Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunters

Dorli Burke has been competing at WIHS for decades, but success there will never lose its significance for the Salisbury, Md.-based rider who claimed the 2019 WIHS Grand Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunter Championship. “It is just a huge honor,” said Burke who earned the grand champion title riding her own Classic. “My horse was so fantastic. I’m beside myself. It means a lot.

Before claiming the grand championship, for which they were presented with the Bucky Reynolds Memorial Award, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Ernest M. Oare, Burke and Classic earned a win and two second-place finishes over fences in the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunters, Over 35, division. For the division championship, Burke was awarded a Human Touch massage chair. “[Classic] really was consistent,” Burke said of the 11-year-old Warmblood gelding.

Finishing as the reserve champions in the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunters, Over 35, division were Kirsten Pollin and her own Incognito. Both Pollin and Burke train with Mary Lisa Leffler and Patty Foster at Rolling Acres Farm.

In the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunters, 35 & Under, the division championship went to Stephanie Danhakl and her own Enough Said. The reserve championship was awarded to Charlotte Jacobs and Iladin du Rouet, owned by North Star.

October 22, 2019

Priscilla Denegre and String of Pearls
Priscilla Denegre and String of Pearls

Priscilla Denegre Claims $10,000 WIHS Adult Hunter Championship

Earning wins in the $10,000 WIHS Adult Hunter Championship and the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship were Priscilla Denegre, of Middleburg, Va., riding String of Pearls and Abby Cole on Q-Bella, respectively.

Winning the $10,000 Adult Hunter Championship during Hunt Night, presented by Buckeye™ Nutrition, had very special meaning for Denegre, who collected the Diane Wade Memorial Award for the win. Not only does Denegre have a long history with WIHS, but she’s also just coming back from a serious injury.

“I’m so lucky and blessed to be able to come back and do this. I know that. To have this horse, and to win this, is big for me,” she said. Denegre’s 2017 fall resulted in multiple broken bones and extensive time out of the saddle. When she was ready to start jumping again early this year, String of Pearls was her pick to ride.

From the field of 31 starting round one over the Alan Lohman-designed course, Denegre and “Pearl” scored an 83, which put them into third. A score of 85 in round two sent them on top of the standings and earned them the blue with a total score of 168.

Devon Degan finished in second place riding Zippo with a score of 162, while Amy Winner placed third on Venture Backed on a score of 161.25. Denegre’s son-in-law and trainer, Gavin Moylan, found Pearl for her as a four-year-old in Germany and showed her in the green divisions.

The WIHS Adult Hunter Championship originally wasn’t a goal for Denegre this year, but when her daughter, Alden Moylan, entered her and Pearl in the $5,000 WIHS/NAL Adult Hunter Classic qualifying class at the Upperville Colt and Horse Show in June, they won. “It sort of just happened,” Denegre said. “She didn’t know that I didn’t do classics, so we did it and went on.” In honor of Pearl, Alden wore a sweater decorated with pearls to WIHS.

Denegre, 65, is also an avid foxhunter and serves as the Master of Foxhounds of the Middleburg Hunt. She’s back out hunting after recovering from her injuries, leading the hilltopping field. She’s also an accomplished side-saddle rider, having won U.S. Equestrian national year-end titles and championships in that division at major shows in the past.

WIHS holds a special place in Denegre’s heart, as she started showing there on her small pony when she was seven. When she graduated from college, her first job was at WIHS, serving as the assistant to the show secretary. She continued showing there through her adult riding career, focusing on the side-saddle classes, and also served on the show’s Board of Directors.

Abby Cole and Q'Bella
Abby Cole and Q’Bella

Abby Cole Conquers the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship

Abby Cole is a huge fan of WIHS, so she was delighted to lead the victory gallop for the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship. Cole, a 14-year-old from Ashburn, Va., has been attending WIHS as a spectator for years. She rode Kelsey Campbell’s Q-Bella to the win with a total score of 165 to earn the H. Fenwick Kollock Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by Friends of Fen.

Madeline Rubin and Nuff Said finished in second with a score of 164.5, while Juliette Propp took third on Premium Blend with a score of 163.

From the 30 horses that started the class, 12 returned for the second round. Cole and Bella scored an 80 in the first round and stood fifth before the second round, but a stellar trip in round two and a score of 85 vaulted them into the lead for the win.

A group from Cole’s trainer Jenny Graham’s farm, Cedar Creek Farm in Sterling, Va., joins the crowds for Barn Night at WIHS each year. In 2014, they won the “Best Spirit” award and earned a clinic from team Olympic gold medalist Peter Wylde. Cole was involved in the production of the group’s video entry for Barn Night this year, so she’s hoping her WIHS good fortune continues.

This was Cole’s first win at WIHS, but she’s competed at WIHS in two previous years. Cole has only ridden Q-Bella for three months, and she qualified for the WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship by taking the reserve champion title in the Children’s Hunter, 14 and Under division at the WIHS Regional Horse Show on October 18-20.

Q-Bella formerly competed in the junior hunters with owner Kelsey Campbell, who now works for Graham at her farm. Graham put Cole and “Bella” together this summer when a few other mounts didn’t work out for Cole.

The event will return to Capital One Arena in downtown Washington, D.C. for a 62nd season from October 20 through 25, 2020. For more information about the Washington International Horse Show, visit www.wihs.org.

 

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