Washington, D.C. – The 52nd Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) hosted the best hunter, jumper, and equitation riders in the nation competing for top prizes at Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C. over six days of competition, and the WIHS thanks all of the sponsors, employees, exhibitors, volunteers, and spectators for making this year's show an incredible success.
“The WIHS was a success,” said horse show manager Robert Ridland. “We felt, and it seems to backed up by input from riders, that it was run very smoothly in terms of the unusual logistical problems it has inherently. It's a unique challenge, and we don't want it to disappear. We are happy to go through what it takes to keep this show going. We have the support of many riders who come to this show because they feel the same way.”
Show manager David Distler agreed, “I was happy with the way everything went. There was a lot going on at the same time in the city, with the The Daily Show and President Obama next door, to the rally, and the marathon all in the same week. A lot of issues could have been very difficult, but we overcame them in large part because we have a great staff.”
This year's show saw one of the strongest fields of show jumpers in recent history. Ridland noted, “It was one of the best grand prix classes we've seen in some time with a phenomenal jump-off. As a fan of the sport, to see McLain and Sapphire - one of the greatest combinations in the history of the sport - was a privilege. When they came in for the presentation, they got a standing ovation, which you don't see very often.”
"Our goals were to bring in new sponsorship, new exhibitions, attract new vendors and to make the show a positive experience for competitors and spectators alike," said Eric L. Straus, CEO of the Washington International Horse Show. "We hit most of the high notes and I'm very pleased with the outcome."
WIHS President Juliet Reid stated, “I am extremely grateful for the support of all of our sponsors and the whole team at the Washington International Horse Show. This event could not have happened without them. Everyone really seemed to enjoy the horse show and it was a wonderful event.”
The spectator attendance was extremely strong this year, thanks to a well-attended Barn Night, Kids Day program, and various exhibitions in addition to the competition. “The crowds were good this year, which was really encouraging,” Distler said. Ridland added, “Verizon Center is an incredible venue; there is always electricity in the air. That's what is fun about it.”
As with any large event, the management of the WIHS is always looking for ways to improve. “We are always listening to feedback from riders and trainers and working to improve the show every year,” Distler said. “We welcome comments from anyone on how we can make the show better.”
McLain Ward and Sapphire Triumph in $100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix, CSI 3*-W
Saturday night's $100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix presented by Washington Convention and Sports Authority, CSI 3* was an exciting example of the sport of show jumping and a qualifier for the FEI World Cup Finals in April. Two-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, and Sapphire, owned by Ward and Blue Chip Bloodstock, came away with the win in the highlight class of the 52nd Washington International Horse Show (WIHS).
McLain Ward and Sapphire Triumph in $100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix, CSI 3*-W
Sapphire and Ward repeated the success that they had in 2008 in the grand prix at the WIHS when they were the fastest clear round in a jump-off of seven. There were 24 entries in tonight's grand prix class, which was designed by Michel Vaillancourt of Aiken, SC.
First into the jump-off was the trailblazer in the first round, Ireland's Darragh Kenny on Gael Force, owned by Missy Clark and North Run. They had two jumps down for eight faults in 37.77 seconds for a sixth place finish. Charlie Jayne (USA) and Athena followed them with a four-fault performance in 37.64 seconds. They ended up in fourth place.
Aaron Vale (USA) and Paparazzi 10, owned by Thinks Like a Horse and Norman Peterson, were next in and set the first clear round and the “Travelers Time to Beat” in 34.87 seconds with a fantastic jump-off ride. His time would hold up for second place.
Vale is a past winner of the President's Cup Grand Prix in 2001 and 2003. He added with a smirk, “I was just looking to get gas money out of here and came out second, so I am pretty thrilled.”
G&C Quick Star 11 and rider Pablo Barrios (VEN) would be the next to contest the shortened course. With a slower rollback from the first fence to the second, Barrios tried to make up time through the rest of the jump-off, but they were just off the winning pace with a clear round in 35.89 seconds. They would finish in third place.
Barrios was pleased with his G&C Quick Star's performance, noting that this is their second show together indoors. He and the 12-year-old KWPN mare by Quick Star were clear last week in the first round of the grand prix in Harrisburg. “I think she is great indoors. This is my first time here ever and I have never done indoors here in the United States, so I am happy to be here and she is jumping great,” he said.
Ward and Sapphire entered the ring to the cheers of the crowd, and the fever pitch only grew when they crossed the timers with a clear round in a time of 34.09 seconds, just fast enough for the win.
Ward explained, “I thought my horse jumped beautiful in the first round. It felt very smooth. In the jump-off, I decided to do the four up at the end of the ring to the oxer and it got a little farther away than I had anticipated. It felt a little rough just for a few strides there, but when you have a partner like Saaphire you don’t have to be 100%. She is 110%, so she makes up for a lot of my mistakes.”
Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and HH Ashley, owned by Double H Farm, faulted at fence 11 for four penalty points in a time of 38.82 seconds and fifth place. Kent Farrington (USA) and Top Gun, owned by the Iron Horse Farm, had trouble heading into the in-and-out, pulling a rail and stopping at the “b” element. They retired on course and settled for seventh place.
“This is a classic American horse show, it is traditional, it is an important grand prix, it is a world cup class and it is a wonderful opportunity for us to get our sport in front of some people and get a crowd in here to watch,” Vale described. “It is wonderful the prize money that the show puts up for us and we need to do the best we can to put a good show on for them.”
Ward added, “I think it is great to be here in the city. I hope we can stay for many years. I think it gives the show a real electric atmosphere. I think this is still a very prestigious show to win in our country, so I want to bring my best horse. I think this was one of the best fields there has been in a few years here, so that is exciting.”
Jumper Results: Wednesday to Saturday
The $10,000 Children's Jumper Championship opened up jumper competition at the WIHS, and 11-year-old Katherine Strauss of Southampton, NY, led the victory gallop on Caretino. The class had 32 entries, and 10 of those were clear to advance to the jump-off. Strauss and Caretino put down a clear round in a time of 32.120 seconds to take the win over Thunderbay and Alexa Boggio, who finished in 32.468 seconds. Rose Borzillo piloted The Flying Dutchman to third place in 32.789 seconds.
Strauss has been riding Caretino, a 12-year-old gelding, for almost two years. “Tino was really great. We have been working hard all year and it feels great to finally pull it together. He was reserve circuit champion at WEF, but this is the first really big win and this is my first time at Washington. It is really fun; it is cool that it is in the city. It is really exciting to be here.”
The evening session highlight, the $10,000 Adult Jumper Championship, saw Rebecca Smith of Stuarts Draft, VA, with the blue ribbon on Kick the Clouds, a 19-year-old Thoroughbred gelding. They have placed multiple times at the WIHS in the Adult Jumper Championship, but this is their first win. “It feels really nice to win!” Smith said. Smith was able to stay clear and was quick in 33.048 seconds for the win. Ahmed Alali and Palermo Park finished second with a time of 33.340 seconds, and Emily Winburn Bowron was third on Cahaba Heights in 36.765 seconds.
The fans had a full day of exciting jumper competition to watch on Thursday. Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and HH Ashley, owned by Double H Farm, won the opening international jumper class, which offered $30,000 in prize money. Pessoa and HH Ashley competed in the second half of the class held during the evening session. They were one of six clear rounds to advance to the jump-off. Pessoa and HH Ashley set the “Travelers Time to Beat” with no faults in a time of 31.88 seconds. Pessoa won the Ben O'Meara Memorial Challenge Trophy. Kent Farrington (USA) rode Top Gun for Iron Horse Farm to second place in 32.58 seconds, while Margie Engle (USA) and Gladewinds Farm's Indigo finished third with four faults in 33.22 seconds.
Pessoa returned in the $20,000 Gambler's Choice sponsored by Louisburg Farm and Beth Johnson to win with Palouchin de Ligny. The class was a treat for the crowd as riders dressed as various characters competed over a course where each jump represented a point total, and each jump cleared added to the rider's points. Hillary Dobbs rode Marengo (USA), owned by The Dobbs Group, to second place. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Spy Coast Farm's Allisson were third.
Pessoa had an authentic Formula One racing outfit for the class, complete with helmet. His jumpsuit, signed by Formula One World Champion Mika Haakinen, is something that usually hangs in his home, but he brought it out for this special class. “It was a bit slippery, but it was okay,” he said with a smile. “(With the helmet), you only see what's ahead of you, you don't see the blind spots on the side. If you just keep your head a little bit up it's fine because it's much heavier than we're used to. I'm really a fan of motorsports. It would have been my job if I didn't ride horses.”
Kristin Glover and The Boy Wonder were the only clear trip in a time of 64.873 seconds in Thursday's $2,500 Amateur-Owner Jumper Time First Jump-off class. In second place as the fastest four-faulter was Tracey Weinberg on Larone, who finished in 63.785 seconds. Jean Sheptoff and Peaches were third with five faults in a first round time of 69.680 seconds.
In the $2,500 Junior Jumper Time First Jump-off class sponsored by AAA Equestrian LLC, a similar situation took place. Chase Boggio of Canton, GA, and his horse Hennessey were the only clear round (64.106 seconds) in the class to take the blue ribbon. Hasbrouck Donovan and Delilah were just off the pace in the first round in a time of 69.046 seconds, which gave them one time fault. The fastest four-faulter was Karen Polle on What Ever in 62.897 seconds for third place.
The $25,000 Puissance sponsored by The Boeing Company is always one of the most anticipated classes of the year at the WIHS. This year was no different as Pablo Barrios (VEN) and G&C Blanchee Z, owned by G&C Farm/Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal, cleared a height of 6'1” for victory.
In the first round, the Boeing wall was set at 5'7”, and all five riders in the class were clear. In the second round, first in was Andrew Kocher (USA) on Babaganoush, owned by BSSB1. They knocked the blocks off to finish on four faults. Aaron Vale (USA) and Alegro 95, owned by Claudia Billups, were next in. They too just touched the top block of the wall and sent it to the ground for four faults. Barrios was next in with G&C Blanchee Z, a nine-year-old BWP mare by Utrillo van de Heffinck x Darco. They cleared the wall for a second time for a clear round, and then Barrios watched as no one was able to repeat that feat.
Benjamin Meredith (AUS) and Udonna, owned by Raylyn Farms Inc. followed in after Barrios. They ended up being eliminated for jumping a vertical that was not on the prescribed course. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Traffic Boy, owned by Sweet Oak Farm, were last in. They attempted the triple bar fence on course before the final wall and had four faults there, then cleared the wall. Those four faults left them in a tie for second place with Vale and Kocher, while Meredith finished fifth.
While Barrios won an exhibition puissance in Florida this winter and tied for the win in the puissance at the Dublin Horse Show in Ireland this summer, those two classes were with his other horse, G&C Sinatra. “It is the first time that I have done the mare (Blanchee) in the Puissance,” he acknowledged. “I have a very good horse for the Puissance with Sinatra, but I did him in the other classes so I tried it with her. Sometimes it helps horses a little to jump more and get braver, so that is what I wanted with her. I thought she was doing great, and if we had jumped a little more she would have made it.”
Since there were no other clears in the second round, the competition was officially over. “I was disappointed; everybody is always expecting to see a bigger wall and I was really surprised to win in just the second round,” Barrios said.
Kent Farrington and Up Chiqui put in a thrilling speed round in the Friday evening session to win the $30,000 International Open Jumper 1.50m faults converted class. Farrington, who has won multiple times at WIHS and was the President's Cup Grand Prix winner in 2005, racked up another win when he finished with the fastest time of 51.59 seconds. Margie Engle (USA) and crowd favorite Hidden Creek's Pamina L, owned by Hidden Creek Farm, were just behind in second place in 54.48 seconds. Pablo Barrios (VEN) and G&C Sinatra, owned by Barrios and G&C Farm/Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal, were third when they crossed the timers in 54.84 seconds.
“It was your typical fast 1.50m $30,000 class here at Washington,” Farrington noted. “Indoors is usually very, very fast. That's why I brought him here, just basically to do that class. You usually need a speed specialist. (He's) really fast and very careful.”
Rodrigo Pessoa won his third class of the show on Friday afternoon in the $15,000 International Open Jumper 1.40m faults converted class. He and Palouchin de Ligny were lightning fast in 49.72 seconds to take the top prize. Marilyn Little-Meredith (USA) finished second in 52.01 seconds with Cordia de Laubry, owned by Raylyn Farms Inc. Third place went to Hillary Dobbs (USA) and Marengo, owned by The Dobbs Group. They had the fastest time in the class in 49.14 seconds, but with four faults added their final time was 53.14 seconds.
Karen Polle of New York, NY, and What Ever, an 11-year-old BWP gelding by Darco, finished first in the $2,500 Time First Round class for the Junior Jumpers sponsored by AAA Equestrian LLC. They finished quickly and with no faults in a time of 52.427 seconds. Pracht and Michael Hughes were second when they stopped the timers in 54.204 seconds. Third place went to Charlotte Jacobs on Promised Land, who had a time of 57.258 seconds. Polle and What Ever were awarded the Eleanor White O'Leary Memorial Perpetual trophy donated by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ashton Hill and Miss Linden Joan Hill.
In the $2,500 Amateur-Owner Jumper Time First Round class, Tracey Weinberg of Lovettsville, VA, came away with the win and the Cover Story Perpetual Trophy donated by Rolling Acres Farm. Larone, a 17-year-old KWPN stallion by Concorde, was the only clear in 57.297 seconds for the win. Weinberg was second on her other horse, Linda Z. They had four faults in 55.839 seconds, while Navona Gallegos on Vatricia finished third with a time of 59.688 seconds with four faults.
The $10,000 Ambassador's Cup Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic on Saturday had just nine entries, but two were able to find the clear round for a jump-off. First in was Tracey Weinberg on Larone. They had a quick time of 36.634 seconds, but had a rail for four faults. However, that would be just enough when Navona Gallegos and No Fear also had a fence down for four faults and one time fault. They finished on a slower time of 40.812 seconds.
Larone and Weinberg, winners of this class in 2007, were presented with the Ambassador's Cup Perpetual Trophy donated by Ambassador and Mrs. Marion H. Smoak. Larone and Weinberg were also the division champions and won the Foxbrook Perpetual Trophy donated by Joy Slater in honor of Space Citation. The reserve champion was The Boy Wonder, ridden by Kristin Glover and owned by Stoney Brook Farm LLC.
Weinberg first showed at the WIHS in 1975 in the pony hunters. “This is one of my favorite shows. There is nothing like riding at Washington – the prestige. There is just a panache to the horse show, so it is always exciting to end the year here,” she said.
Reed Kessler captured the win in the $10,000 Senator's Cup Junior Jumper Classic sponsored by AAA Equestrian LLC. She piloted Ligist, a 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding by Levantos II, to the only clear round in the jump-off of five entries in a time of 31.573 seconds. Amber Henter and Olinda, owned by Houlihan Lawrence, were second with four faults in 30.843 seconds. Kessler finished third with her second mount Flight, who had four faults in 31.589 seconds. For their win, Kessler and Ligist were presented with the Swan Lake Perpetual Trophy donated by Beagle Brook Farm, in honor of the 1992 winner Swan Lake ridden by Jennifer F. Miller.
Kessler made very tight rollbacks in the jump-off for a quick time. “He really saved me in the jump-off,” she acknowledged. “I was cowgirling, almost jumping jumps backwards, and he was so on it. I'm really happy for him.”
For her consistency through the three classes in the Junior Jumper division, Karen Polle of New York, NY, was awarded with the championship on her horse What Ever. She was presented with the Greenberg Challenge Trophy donated by Mr. and Mrs. Hermen Greenberg. Chase Boggio and Hennessey were reserve champions. Charlotte Jacobs won the Shalanno Style of Riding Award.
The $10,000 International Open Jumpers had a Pair Relay class, and it was the duo of Shane Sweetnam (IRL) on Allison and Hillary Dobbs (USA) with Marengo for victory.
Hunter Results: Tuesday to Sunday
Movado and Bailey Boyland won the $10,000 Children's Hunter Championship on Tuesday evening. Boyland and Movado, a nine-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Katie Stewart, went 29th out of 35 in the first round and scored an 84 from the three judges – Ralph Caristo, Linda Hough, and Jimmy Torano. They returned second to last in the second round of the top 12 horses and received another score of 84. That was the highest in the second round, and they finished on a winning total of 168. For the Fun and Kaylen Schwartz placed second with a total of 166, while Scott Petrie's One Hundred and One and Jenna Petrie-Moran were third with a combined score of 162.5. Boyland said, “This is my biggest win. It means everything to win here. It's what I've been working for all year. I can't believe it. I'm just so excited.”
After four years of competing in the $10,000 Adult Hunter Championship, Phoebe Weseley and Just Ask Me finally got their victory. The pair had a first round score of 75 and came back with a vengeance in the second round. They scored 86 for a total of 161 and the win. First round leader Wise Counsel and Jessica Lohman, who rode for Alan Lohman, finished second with a score of 158.5, and Laurie Barna on Laguna placed third with a total of 155.
Weseley hails from Bedminster, MD, and has owned Just Ask Me, a 10-year-old Mecklenberg gelding by DeNiro, for more than four years. They placed fourth in last year's Championship. For this year's competition, Weseley felt about her rounds, “My first round was good. The five (strides) rode a little tighter than I thought and I had a little rub because I over released in the four to the two. But I fixed it all in the second round,” she remarked.
Maggie Jayne of Elgin, IL, rode Francesca for Pony Lane Farm to the Grand Hunter Championship. With strong results and the championship in the Regular Conformation Hunters sponsored by Pony Lane Farm, Maggie Jayne and Francesca, owned by Pony Lane Farm, were awarded the Grand Hunter Championship. They were first, second, and third over fences and won the under saddle and model class. For their division championship, they were awarded the Mary Farren Perpetual Trophy, a repeat performance from last year.
For the Grand Hunter Championship, Jayne and Francesca were presented with the Rave Review Challenge Trophy, donated by Stoney Hill. The reserve champion in the Regular Conformation Hunter division was Listen, owned by Jane Gaston and ridden by Kelley Farmer. Listen won two over fences classes and received a fourth, and was second in the model.
Kelley Farmer of Keswick, VA, was named the Leading Hunter Rider. She and Listen, a six-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, went on to win the championship in the Green Conformation Hunter division sponsored by Mrs. Stephen C. Clark, Jr. They won two over fences classes and were second in the model. The Valiant Hawk Memorial Challenge Trophy, donated by Mrs. Stephen J. Clark, was presented to Listen and Farmer. The reserve champion was Whatever, ridden by Emily Williams for Boggs Hill. They placed second, second, and third over fences, were third in the under saddle, and fifth in the model.
Farmer picked up another championship in the Regular Working Hunters sponsored by Kim Davis and Rustica Farm with Rosalynn, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ernest M. Oare. They won two over fences and were second, and they were fourth in the under saddle. For their win, they were awarded the “NOT ALWAYS” Challenge Trophy donated by Miss Peggy Steinman. They also won the Protocol Trophy, awarded to the Regular Working Hunter with the most points at the Devon Horse Show, Pennsylvania National Horse Show, and Washington International Horse Show. Jersey Boy, owned by SBS Farms and ridden by Jennifer Alfano, were the reserve champions in the Regular Working Hunter division with a first, third, and fourth over fences.
Jayne rode Summer Place, another Pony Lane Farm entry, to the championship in the First Year Green Working Hunters sponsored by Penelope Ayers and Ravens Wood Farm. They were first, second, and third over fences and third in the under saddle. Farmer rode Taken, owned by Nancy Amling, to the reserve championship after they were first, second, and fourth over fences. Summer Place and Jayne also won the Grand Green Working Hunter Championship and were awarded the Claire Lang Miller Challenge Trophy, donated by Miss Claire Lang Miller.
In the Second Year Green Working Hunters, Mary Lisa Leffler of Brookeville, MD, won the championship on Just Dessert, owned by Rolling Acres Farm. They were first and third over fences and third under saddle. Farmer and Bases Loaded, owned by Madison Free, were reserve champions with a first and second over fences.
The Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship went to Stacy Arani of Dover, MA, on Bolero, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding. They were presented with the Frank Counselman Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by Friends of Frank Counselman. The pair were the division champions in the Amateur-Owner Over 35 Hunters after they placed first, third, and third over fences and sixth under saddle. The reserve champion was Sanmorino, ridden and owned by Lisa Williams. They were second, second, and sixth over fences and third under saddle. Arani was also presented with the Leading Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider award sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Ernest M. Oare, while Bolero wore a cooler sponsored by Willow Brook Stables.
The champion in the Amateur-Owner 35 & Under Hunters was Do Tell, ridden by Bridget Hallman and owned by Hallman and Merry Leggs South. They placed first, second, and fifth over fences. Saving Grace and Grace Stuntz, who were first, fourth, and fourth over fences and fourth under saddle, finished as reserve champions.
The best junior hunters in the nation went head-to-head on in their respective divisions to determine championships. The West Coast was well represented in the presentations.
Olivia Esse and Illusion were very successful in the Small Junior 15 & Under Hunters. Their first, second, and third places over fences and second under saddle gave them enough points to also garner the Grand Junior Hunter Championship. The reserve champion was Falcao, ridden by Hasbrouck Donovan and owned by Donald Stewart. They placed first and second over fences.
Hannah Goodson-Cutt contributed half of California's championship haul with her horses Caretano and Superman. Caretano, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding, was the champion in the Small Junior 16-17 Hunters. They won the handy hunter and stake classes and were fourth in the remaining over fences class. The reserve champion in that division was Ruby, ridden and owned by Holly Labry of Memphis, TN. They were second and third over fences and second under saddle.
In the Large Junior 16-17 division sponsored by The Wasserman Foundation, Goodson-Cutt and Superman were champions with first and fourth places over fences and they won the under saddle. Truly and Ashley Pryde of Medina, WA, were the reserve champions with a first and second over fences. Superman and Goodson-Cutt were presented with the Chance Step Perpetual Trophy, donated by Brooke Carmichael McMurray-Fowler and Pam Carmichael Keenan.
Although Shawn Casady hails from Tennessee, the 10-year-old Warmblood mare Cachet kept the California vibe alive when she and Casady won the Large Junior 15 & Under championship for owners Caroline Spogli and Cavallo Farms of San Diego, CA.
Casady piloted Cachet to first place over fences and third place under saddle for the division championship. Walk the Line (owned by O'Mara and Donald Stewart) and Abby O'Mara of Rumson, NJ, were the reserve champions after they placed first and fifth over fences and fifth under saddle.
For her great success in the junior hunters, Hannah Goodson-Cutt of Beverly Hills, CA, was awarded as the Best Child Rider on a Horse. The award is sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. John R. Ingram. Although she was already back in California, her trainer Kate Considine accepted the award on her behalf. She was presented with the DiVecchia Perpetual Trophy donated by Mr. and Mrs. Frederick DiVecchia.
In the Medium Pony Hunter division, it was Ever Luvin and Victoria Colvin who came away with the championship. They placed first, first, and second over fences to win the top tricolor. These points gave them the Grand Pony Hunter Championship. The reserve champion in the Medium division was Tuscany, ridden by Sophie Michaels for West End Stables, LLC. They were pinned third under saddle and won the stake class.
Colvin also picked up the championship in the Large Pony Hunters with For the Laughter, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker. They won two over fences classes and were second under saddle. The reserve champion was Franklin's Tower, ridden by Rachel Tavelman and owned by Donald Stewart. They won the final stake class in the division and also placed fourth over fences.
Colvin and For the Laughter had the high score of 90 in the handy hunter class after they put down a stellar trip with inside turns. “He was really good,” Colvin affirmed.
Colvin and For the Laughter were presented with the Pegasus Stable Perpetual Trophy donated by Ms. Fenwick Kollock. Colvin won this trophy last year with All the Best. This year, she was also won with the Best Child Rider on a Pony award sponsored by Gotham North. She was presented with the Captain V.S. Littauer Perpetual Trophy donated by Hugh J.B. Cassidy III, Mrs. William Dillon, and Miss Marion Lee.
The Small Pony Hunter championship went to Cardiff Mardi Gras, who is ridden and owned by nine-year-old Sabrina Slagowitz of New York, NY. They won two over fences classes for the tricolor. McKayla Langmeier rode Blackberry for Victoria Press to the reserve championship after they won the handy hunter class.
The competition wrapped up on Sunday with Finals for the WIHS Regional Hunters for ponies and horses. The winner of the WIHS Regional Hunter Finals for ponies, sponsored by Dr. Betsee Parker, was Wild Card Cody, ridden and owned by Sarah Anderson. Second place went to Rock Star and Elizabeth Parent, while Will Kennedy on No Boundaries was third. Rock Star and Parent won the Regional Pony Hunter Grand Championship, sponsored by Dr. Betsee Parker, and they were presented with the new Liseter Clever Star Perpetual Trophy, donated from Dr. Betsee Parker. The reserve grand champion was No Boundaries, ridden by Will Kennedy and owned by Blake Schindler.
In the WIHS Regional Hunter Finals for horses, sponsored by Randall Johnson and Greener Pastures Equine LLC, first place went to Valente, ridden by Megan McGovern for Eileen Johnson. Second place was awarded to Kelly Kaiser's Sailaway and Ashley Chucker, and Bridget Love Meehan with Rio's Merlin finished in third. The Regional Hunter Grand Champion went to Valente and Megan McGovern. They were presented with the Black, Starr, & Frost Perpetual Trophy donated by Black, Starr & Frost. They won a cooler sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Crown and custom chaps from Journeymen Saddlers, Ltd. The reserve champion was Sailaway, ridden by Ashley Chucker.
Equitation Results: Friday and Saturday
In her second year competing in the WIHS Equitation Finals, 13-year-old Lillie Keenan of New York, NY, rode impressively through three rounds for victory. Adding to the unbelievable finish as one of the youngest riders to win the class is the fact that she has only ridden her mount Uno, owned by Madeline Turner, for two weeks.
“I'd never sat on him before (Harrisburg),” Keenan said. “He's got such a big stride, and he's so automatic. You have to control yourself from doing too much because he wants to do everything for you. You have to stay out of his way and let him do his job. I can't thank the Turners enough for letting me ride such an amazing horse. It was really gracious of them.”
Keenan went into second place in the opening hunter phase with a score of 88.67 behind Molly Braswell of Ocala, FL, on The General, who scored a 89.67. In the jumper phase, she and Uno were consistent and took the lead with a score of 88.17.
For the third round, the top 10 riders came back and switched horses. Braswell was still in second place and came back on Baheera, the mount of Victoria Birdsall. She earned scores of 87, 87, and 91 from the three sets of judges for an third round average of 88.91 and a three round total of 265.082. She would finish in second place by a slight margin.
The highest score in the third round was set by Michael Hughes of Allandale, NJ, who rode Dynasty, the horse from Hayley Barnhill. Their average of 89.666 helped them rise three spots in the final order. Hughes' three round total was 259.832 and he finished in third place.
The judges awarded Keenan with scores of 91, 86.75, and 89 for a third round average of 88.91. This gave them a final total of 265.74, which was just enough for the win.
Keenan's trainers, Patricia Griffith and Andre Dignelli, knew from the start that she was a talented rider. She proved herself many times in the pony ring, winning multiple Grand Pony Hunter Championships at all of the major horse shows in the country. “Without Patricia and Andre and everyone at Heritage, I don't think I would have been able to get to the ring and done as well as I did,” Keenan said.
“There's always hope, but I wasn't necessarily expecting it,” Keenan said of her victory. “I always hope for the best. I knew I could trust the horse, I just needed to trust myself. I don't have to worry about it again, so that's kind of nice. It still hasn't really kicked in. It's really exciting.”
Thirteen-year-old Vivian Yowan of Darien, CT, topped the list in the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals over the 24 other best pony equitation riders in the country. Yowan and Rockette, owned by Grand Slam Farm LLC, scored an 80 in the over fences round and sat in second place when the top 10 returned for an flat phase. The judges moved Yowan to first place following the flat phase. Meredith Darst on Better Than Good was second, Alexa Effron rode Blu Venture Rainbeau for third place.
“I thought it was very good,” she said about the course. “You had a chance to gallop forward, but you also had to show rollbacks and the trot.”
This was Yowan's first time in the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals and her last show on Rockette. She said through tears that the win was “a little bittersweet,” and “It means a lot because this my first time doing the Equitation and my last show on Rockette.”
For full results and more information, please visit www.wihs.org.
About the Washington International Horse Show
An equestrian tradition since 1958, the Washington International Horse Show brings top horses and riders from the U.S. and abroad, including Olympic champions, to the nation's capital to compete for more than $400,000 in prize money and championship titles. About 500 horses participate in show jumping, hunter and equitation events during the six-day show. Special exhibitions, Kids Day, Barn Night, WIHS World of the Horse, boutique shopping and educational and community events round out this family-friendly show. Since its debut, the Washington International has been a popular Washington, DC, fixture visited by presidents, first ladies, celebrities, business and military leaders, as well as countless horse enthusiasts of all ages. WIHS, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, charitable organization, is headquartered in Washington, DC. Learn more at www.wihs.org.