The Green Conformation Hunter championship, sponsored by Lisa A.H. Cudahy, went to Scripted, ridden by Kelley Farmer and owned by Glefke & Kensel LLC. Scripted, an eight-year-old Warmblood gelding by Sandro Hit, won the model class as well as all four over fences classes. They placed second in the under saddle. Lucador, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker and ridden by Scott Stewart, was reserve champion. They were second in the model, two seconds, and third over fences, and they won the under saddle.
Scripted was also presented with the Grand Hunter Championship, which is sponsored by RSB Farms, Inc., Rob Bielefeld, and Chrystal Knight. He was awarded the Janet Read and Margaret Hough Sabbatini Memorial Trophy, donated by the Goguen Family. As well, he received the Grand Conformation Hunter Championship, sponsored by Sherri Crawford, and awarded the Kenneth M. Wheeler Perpetual Trophy, donated by BJ Meeks and Pablo Perez.
Farmer won the Leading Hunter Rider honor, which was sponsored by the Gibson Family and Shadyside Farm and Hobby Family Foundation. She was presented with the BJ's Hunt Room Trophy, donated by BJ Meeks and Pablo Perez.
Although Farmer, trainer Larry Glefke, and Farmer's mother, Bibby Hill (a part owner of Scripted) brought him over from Europe at the end of 2012, he did not enter the show ring much in 2013. Kate Conover and Robert Baader found Scripted in Europe, where he was an approved stallion for dressage, but it was pretty clear that piaffe and passage wouldn't be in his future.
“I think he's a bit quiet-minded, almost too quiet, for a dressage horse,” Farmer agreed. “He wants you to not pick up the reins. I don't think he'd really enjoy a full bridle and big spurs. Kate called and said, 'We found a very special horse.' They have found a lot of horses for us. We trusted that they were right, and they were.”
Scripted did three shows in the Green Conformation Hunter division in 2013 before they reinstated his Pre-Green status. He did well and qualified for the USHJA Pre-Green Hunter Incentive Championship, where he was third. “I brought him out, and he has so much ability. I took him a lot of places and a lot of shows and let him adapt,” Farmer recalled. “(After the Championship), I put him away for the year. He didn't need to do three-foot or 3'3” all year. He just needed to learn how to be a hunter when we bought him.”
Coming out in 2014, Scripted stepped easily to the Green Conformation division and captured the Grand Hunter Championship at the Devon Horse Show. “He's been unbelievable. He's a smart, smart horse, and he's not scared of anything. He's scopey, he's big-strided, he's brave. For a big horse, he's light. His biggest strength is that he tries to win. He does not let you down ever. I'm so glad that he's won what he's won because he's deserved to win. He's that great of a horse. I'm a little choked up about it because he's leaving.”
Scripted was just recently purchased by Pony Lane Farm and will be an amateur hunter with Madeline Thatcher. “It's been special (to have him) because my mom owns part of him,” Farmer expressed. “The Thatchers have bought horses from us before, and he's going to go on and have a great career and have a great home. I couldn't ask for a better place for him.”
This is Farmer's third Leading Hunter Rider award at Capital Challenge. “I'm lucky enough to have had, and continue to have, an amazing group of horses,” she said. “Without them, we're just riders. It's the animals. No matter how hard you work and how well you do, unless you have the horses it doesn't make a difference. I've been very, very fortunate. I hope it continues!”
Chris Payne piloted Truman, a seven-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Maypine Farm, to the championship in the First Year Green Working Hunters Section A, sponsored by Peter Pletcher/PJP Farm. They were first, first, and fifth over fences and won the under saddle class. The reserve champion, Point Being, ridden by Kelley Farmer and owned by Glefke & Kensel LLC, was first, first, second, and third over fences.
Payne has had the ride on Truman for two years, and they were reserve champion in the Future Hunters last year at Capital Challenge. Payne said it “definitely helped” to have last year's experience in the indoor arena as a Pre-Green horse. “It helped him take a deep breath,” Payne said.
Payne was effusive in his praise for the talented horse. “He's absolutely the most wonderful horse I've ever ridden. He's so attentive, and he tries so hard to do the right thing,” he described. “He's a very careful, very smart, but peaceful horse. He's absolutely delightful to ride. He's the consummate hunter.”
While Payne has had championships at Capital Challenge in other divisions before, this is his inaugural win in the First Year division. “It's an amazing show with the top horses and riders in the country, so it means a lot to be competitive with that group of people. I'm lucky that Debbie Bass and Maypine Farm support his showing and allow me the opportunity to ride him and enjoy him to the fullest.”
The champion in the First Year Green Working Hunters Section B, sponsored by Lee Kellogg Sadrian and The Sadrian Family, was Casanova, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Carolus II. Owned by Dr. Betsee Parker and ridden by Hunt Tosh, Casanova won both opening over fences classes and won the under saddle. They returned to place first and third over fences over the next two days. Set to Music, ridden by Havens Schatt for Deborah Perkins, was the reserve champion with a first, second, and second over fences.
Casanova took a lions' share of prizes today. He was named the Grand First Year Green Working Hunter Champion, sponsored by Summer Hill Farms, Jordan Gilchrist, and Laura Hightower. They received the Magda & George Z. Lefton Memorial Trophy, donated by Stacey Lefton Glick. He also took the Grand Green Hunter Championship, sponsored by Balmoral Farm Inc. and Traci & Carleton Brooks
Tosh started with Casanova last year, where they tied for the win in the USHJA Pre-Green Hunter Incentive Championship. This year they have consistently been champions, but this is Casanova's first time at Capital Challenge. “He came and won his first two classes and was fabulous. It's really exciting. Betsee owns him, so it's great he can come here and win,” Tosh said.
He described Casanova as “a quiet horse and super brave.” He continued, “He gets a little nervous around the in-gate with all of the commotion. I was a little worried with him inside for the first time, but he was good. He's really a sweet horse. I think all good horses have a little quirk about them.”
With Casanova's giant stride and abundant scope, the First Year division poses no challenges. “It's very easy for him,” Tosh confirmed. “You pretty much go around, give him time. You don't want to hurry him because he's so long-strided, but he's a blast to ride.”
The Regular Conformation Hunter division was sponsored by Hidden Hollow LLC, Ginny Edwards, and Revolution Farm and the champion was Showman, ridden by Scott Stewart for Krista and Alexa Weisman. They were second in the model, first, second, and second over fences and won the under saddle. The reserve champion was Mindful, ridden by Kelley Farmer for Kensel LLC. They were first, first, second, and second over fences and fourth under saddle. Mindful was awarded The Tribute Perpetual Trophy, donated by Scott Stewart, which is given for the highest cumulative point total in a single professional division.
Stewart appreciates Showman's consistency and stability, especially since he only shows him about five times a year. “He doesn't have to work too hard. He doesn't take much preparation, so he's really easy on himself,” Stewart explained. “He's always the same. He's consistent. He's certainly one of the easiest horses to ride. It's so nice after riding so many green ones, to get on one that you know so well and is the same. That doesn't happen often, so he's special that way. He's the sweetest horse in the world, and he's so smart. He's one of a kind.”
The EMO Professional Trip of the Show, sponsored by the EMO Agency, Inc., went to Hunt Tosh riding Douglas Wheeler's Queen Lattifa, who scored 90.5.