Upper Marlboro, MD – October 6, 2013 – The Capital Challenge Horse Show concluded today with Grand Championships for junior and children’s hunters. The show welcomed more than 1,000 horses to Prince George's Equestrian Center over the past nine days and hosted the best hunter competition in the country. The Grand Junior Hunter Championship was tie between Victoria Colvin on Dr. Betsee Parker's Ovation and Ashley Foster with Sin City. The Grand Children’s Hunter Championship went to Bases Loaded and Ava Free.
Winning is nothing new for Victoria Colvin at Capital Challenge. This is the third year in a row that she has taken home Grand Junior Hunter Champion and Best Junior Rider honors, and she swept the tricolors in the 15 & Under divisions.
“We always aspire to do great at all of the shows, but we don’t really have any set goals. Just to go around nicely and not fall off!” she said with a smile. “I think the fall shows, everyone wants them to go well since they’re the biggest shows of the year for the hunters.”
In the Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, sponsored by New England Farm, the championship went to Ovation, ridden by Colvin for Dr. Betsee Parker. They placed first, first, and second over fences and won the under saddle. The reserve championship went to Dr. Parker's Canadian Blue, who was first and second over fences and fourth under saddle.
Ovation, a 13-year-old Warmblood gelding, was named the High Point Junior Hunter 15 & Under, sponsored by Geddaway Farm. He tied for the Grand Junior Hunter Championship sponsored by Lochmoor Stables/Mindy and Greg Darst, with Annie Friedman's Sin City and Ashley Foster, who were yesterday's Small Junior 16-17 Hunter champions. They were presented with The Spontaneous Perpetual Trophy donated by the Listrani Family. Colvin and Foster shared Best Junior Rider honors, an award sponsored by Karen Healey and Karen Healey Stables.
Colvin and Canadian Blue won the $2,500 WCHR Junior Challenge, sponsored by Elena and David Graves. Canadian Blue, an eight-year-old Warmblood gelding by Converter, is a new ride for Colvin, who is from Loxahatchee, FL. Colvin enjoys riding him and figuring out how to get the best from a younger, greener horse.
“He’s never been indoors,” she said. “He’s funny. He sort of just lopes around all wobbly and wiggling. He jumps amazing, and I think he just needs to keep going and getting experience. It’s fun to have a horse that is automatic, but it keeps it interesting if you have a horse who you really have to ride. It’s fun to see him getting better and better.”
The Large Junior 15 & Under championship went to Way Cool, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Embassy, and Colvin, riding again for Dr. Betsee Parker. They won two over fences classes. Inclusive, a 10-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Dr. Parker, was the reserve champion with a first and fourth over fences and fifth under saddle. The EMO Junior Trip of the Show and Overall Trip of the Show went to Colvin on Inclusive, who scored a 93.
Although she has had plenty of experience jumping from one horse to another, Colvin still has to think about her adjustments in riding their different styles. She said that it usually just means singing a song in her head. “With Way Cool, I need to be softer and nicer, and Ovation I have to go forward. With Inclusive, you have to slow down. They’re all so different, but when I get in the ring I just sing the last thing I’ve heard and make the song go to their rhythm. I don’t really like counting (strides),” she explained.
With such incredible success so far and two years left as a junior rider, Colvin recognized the contributions that Dr. Parker and her trainers, Scott Stewart and Ken Berkley, have made to her career. Of riding Dr. Parker's great hunters, she expressed, “It’s unbelievable. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn't have all these horses to ride. And she loves her horses and is the nicest owner. She’s perfect.”
She continued, “Since I was really little, like six (years old), Scott Stewart was always my idol. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to ride with him and to still be riding with him. He’s supplied jumpers and horses like VIP to ride. If they weren’t there (for me), I’d still be showing my small pony Balou!”
Colvin said she emulates the way that Stewart rides in the hunters. “I think he’s really soft with his horses and really nice to them. He never touches the reins,” she pointed out. Her future goals include doing well at the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals and bigger dreams down the road. “At some point I want to go to the Olympics, but that’s a little far away,” she said.
The Leading Hunter Trainer Award, sponsored by Meridian Riding Club and Tracye Ferguson, went to Scott Stewart and Ken Berkley.
Ashley Foster was awarded the Stewart Warner Cup for junior 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. Foster and Sin City won the $1,000 Junior World Champion Hunter Under Saddle sponsored by Limelight Farm and Suave Pony LLC.
Children's Hunter Champions Wrap Up the Week
The championship in the Children's Hunter 14 & Under Section B, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Gary Duffy and Little Brook Farms, Inc., as well as the Grand Children's Hunter Championship, sponsored by Mary Jane King, went to Bases Loaded, ridden by Ava Free of St. Petersburg, FL, for AM Free, Inc. They were presented with the Laura Pickett Memorial Trophy, donated by Julie Karpan. Free won the Best Children's Hunter Rider Award, sponsored by Wild Sky Farm and The Nelson Family. In their division, they won both over fences classes and were third under saddle. The reserve champion was Lifeline, ridden and owned by Jane Brooks. They were second over fences and fifth under saddle.
Free, 14, and Bases Loaded competed at Capital Challenge last year in much different weather - pouring rain - but she said she still had to concentrate on pace in today's unseasonably warm weather. “I usually don’t get him going enough,” she explained, “but he was really good and listened really well. He didn’t go too slow and I kept him going to the first line. It felt awesome going around. The courses were really fun.”
Free took over the ride on Bases Loaded, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, from her sister Madison, who was also champion at Capital Challenge in 2011. “I thought it would be awesome to win it after my sister did it two years ago,” she said. “We still have her champion ribbon hanging up. We’ve had a really good year, but this is definitely my biggest win this year.”
The champion in the Children's Hunter 14 & Under Section A, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Gary Duffy and Little Brook Farms, Inc., was Crystal Clear, a 10-year-old Polish Warmblood mare ridden and owned by Coco Fath of Fairfield, CT. Fath, who is 13-years-old, rode Crystal Clear to wins in both over fences classes and sixth in the under saddle. The reserve champion was Bella K, ridden and owned by Samantha Camp. They were second over fences and third under saddle.
Fath and Crystal Clear just started in the hunters since the mare was imported. She was a jumper in France, but Fath said she has quickly made the adjustment to her new job. “She’s come a long way,” she remarked. “She’s really stepped up her game.”
Fath said that her “big stride” helps in the hunters, as does her attitude. “She (isn't spooky) about the jumps. She jumps very high over them,” she said.
This is Fath's second time at Capital Challenge, and she has made the step up from the pony hunters. “I like it much better than the ponies. It’s much different,” she compared. “It depends upon the horse show if it’s more competitive, but it’s definitely a step up. I like Capital Challenge a lot. It means a lot to me being champion. I’m really excited.”
Local rider Alexandra McReady of Annapolis, MD, was thrilled to take home the Children's Hunter 15-17, sponsored by The Rizvi Family, championship today with her horse Czech, a 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding. They placed first and second over fences. The reserve champions, Redeemed and Katherine Mistick, won the other jumping class.
McReady and Czech won the EMO Children's Trip of the Show with an 85.5.
“This is my home show,” the 16-year-old rider said. “This is my last year with Czech, so it was nice really nice to be champion. It’s so cool to be here. It’s such an amazing place to show.”
She said of Czech, “He just takes you to the jumps. He’s the best. He has a giant stride, so you have to think about walking the lines and letting it be there and letting him do his pace. He’s so sweet but he likes to have his own time. You know when to leave him alone and when to give him some love. He has totally built up my confidence. He’s the first one to really take me through this experience.”
The winner of the $1,500 WCHR Children's Challenge, sponsored by Stephanie Riggio and MeadowView, was Verona, ridden by Louisa Soohoo for Red Oak Farm LLC. The winner of the $2,500 WCHR Pony Challenge, sponsored by The Wujek Family, was Further Lane Farm's Rolling Stone and Madeline Schaefer. Taylor St. Jacques was awarded the Stewart Warner Cup for children's 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 Capital Challenge Horse Show would like to thank all of its exhibitors, sponsors, and staff for a wonderful and successful show, and they look forward to another in 2014. For full results and more information, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org.