Erin Stewart and Quality Time Make It Worthwhile with Grand Amateur Hunter Championship at Capital Challenge

Annie Frazier and Bijou Win Grand Adult Hunter Championship - Tim Hooker Leads NA Jr/A-O Challenge Cup - Katherine Edgell Captures Children's/Adult Jumper Challenge

The Amateur-Owner Hunters were split by age into two divisions. In the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters, Erin Stewart of Ocala, FL, rode Quality Time (left) to the championship for her father, Don Stewart. Quality Time and Stewart swept the division, impressively winning all five classes. Their incredible performance easily gave them the Grand Amateur Hunter Championship, and Stewart was named the Leading Amateur Hunter Rider. They also won the EMO Amateur Trip of the Show.

The reserve championship went to Dawn Fogel on Royal Oak, who had two second places over fences and a fourth under saddle.

Stewart has only ridden Quality Time, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, since March. The pair started in the Low Hunters after Quality Time came back from six months off. Quality Time showed in the Amateur Hunters with previous owner Laura Wasserman and trainer Archie Cox. Along with Stewart, Quality Time competes with Hasbrouck Donovan in the Junior Hunters.

Stewart did not know what to expect when she brought Quality Time to Capital Challenge. "I had no idea if he was going to be scared or if he was going to be good. I've only shown him indoors once, in Raleigh this summer," she explained. "He was pretty good, (but) I rode defensively. I didn't know how he would be. Here he felt like he wanted to be perfect, so I wasn't worried about it after the first round. I wasn't worried at all."

Although she won in the Junior Hunters at Capital Challenge, she has never won a Best Rider title. "It's awesome; he's so nice to ride, and he definitely wants to win here," she said. "It's (also) really rewarding to bring him back. He's one of those horses that if I'm not doing it right, he won't pretend I am. It's very rewarding to ride and to have that experience."

The championship in the Amateur-Owner Hunter 36 & Over division went to Stacy Arani and Bolero. Arani and Bolero earned a first, two seconds and a fourth over fences. Bolero is owned by Marigot Bay Farm of Dover, MA. The reserve championship went to John Ingram and his own Hush. Hush earned a first over fences and a first under saddle.

Arani has owned Bolero, a nine-year-old Warmblood gelding, for two years. Arani rode Bolero sparingly last year while he focused on the First Year Green Hunters with trainer Sandy Ferrell. This year, she has shown more and has consistently won championships.

"He has way surpassed any expectations we ever had," Arani expressed. "He's been just a consistent and wonderful horse for us. He's always on, he's always his best, and he tries so hard. We just love him. He's always there for you. If there is ever a mistake, it's mine, never his. I basically waited my entire life for this horse, and I feel like I lucked in to him. Sandy has done the most amazing job ever with him. She is a dream come true as a trainer and with this horse. Nobody would give this horse the time, and she did and it's working."

Arani also felt lucky to win in such a competitive division. "This is really one of my favorite indoor shows. The facility is really nice, and there is room to ride. The competition is amazing, and you know the horses in there are so good. You know you have to be good in every class!"

The World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) Amateur-Owner Challenge immediately followed the championship pinnings. Tracy Scheriff of Wellington, FL, rode her own Absolut (right) to victory. The refined pair had a graceful and faultless round collecting the high score of 85.66. The class featured the top amateur riders and their horses from both divisions in a one-round class.

Scheriff has placed numerous times in the WCHR Challenge, finishing second last year. Her move up to win this year was very exciting for her. "I love the WCHR. I think it's great, and my goal every year is the WCHR National Championship. For years I've been wanting to win this class," she remarked.

Absolut, a seven-year-old Holsteiner gelding, was perfectly comfortable showing indoors at Capital Challenge. Scheriff has owned the pretty grey for two years and was very happy with his performance today. "He's just been awesome. Actually here he's probably been the best he's ever been. It was a last minute decision to do him in the class," she revealed.

In the outdoor arena, Annie Frazier and her horse Bijou took home the championship in the Adult Amateur Hunter 18-35 division. The pair was first and third over fences and won the under saddle. The reserve champion was Lisa Arena aboard her own Endo Fino. They took home a first and a third over fences.

Frazier's top ribbons gave her and Bijou the Grand Adult Amateur Hunter title and Leading Adult Hunter Rider. The EMO Adult Trip of the Show award went to Bliss and Laura Beckworth, who scored an 88.5 in the Adult Amateur 51 & Over Hunter division.

Annie Frazier and Bijou won the Grand Adult Hunter Championship.  

Frazier has owned Bijou, a 10-year-old mare, for over a year but just started showing her in May. Frazier, who trains with Havens Schatt, feels that the horse is very special. "I've had so many amazing horses but this one, I'm so matched with her," she said. "We go in and she is amazing every time. I've never won a class here, so just winning would have meant a lot."

Bijou and Frazier have won a tricolor in every outing together. "Bijou is really sensitive, but she's always trying. She and I are both a little nervous, but somehow we cancel each other out. For me I feel so relaxed when I get on her and start jumping. It just comes naturally," she concluded.

In the Adult Amateur Hunter 36-50 division, Amy Brubaker and CR Franz Marc took home the champion tricolor. CR Franz Marc is owned by KAC Horses LLC. Reserve went to Laura Beckworth and her own Bliss.

Marilou Case and her horse, Unwritten, were the Adult Amateur Hunter 51 and Over division champions. The reserve championship went to Motown ridden by Karen Long Dwight. Motown is owned by Karen Long Dwight and Barbara Ridder Irwin.

The North American Junior/Amateur Challenge Cup kicked off today with a Time First Round class. There were 27 entries in the class, and there were eight clean rounds. This was the first round of three in the Challenge Cup, which awards $40,000 in total prize money.

Today's winner took home a share of the $5,000 in prize money for the first round, which was sponsored by Heritage Farm and Kate Considine/Willow Brook Farm. Tim Hooker of Wellington, FL, rode Sirius 127 (right) to a very quick round of 53.734 seconds to win over Tracey Weinberg, who finished second on Larone in 54.483 seconds and third with Cromwell in 58.459 seconds. Weinberg and Larone are the defending champions. Round two is tomorrow afternoon and offers $10,000 in prize money for a Time First Round-Faults Converted class.

In tomorrow's hunter competition, four sections of the Junior Hunters and three pony divisions will start. The WCHR Adult Amateur Finals and Ariat National Adult Medal Finals are highlights for the day's schedule, as well as the second round of the North American Junior/Amateur Challenge Cup.

In the $10,000 Children's/Adult Jumper Challenge, 52 entries went to post, but only 17 were able to find the path to a clear round. These 17 returned for a jump-off against the clock. The eight-fence jump off was a fast track offering up long galloping lines yet tested riders with a tight roll-back to an in and out.  Eleven riders kept the rails from hitting the dirt and the chase for the blue came down to speed.

The last rider on course was Katherine Edgell on Miss Kitty. They were the fastest fault-free round, stopping the clock in 34.755 seconds. They beat the next fastest time by more than two seconds as the last horse in the ring. Second place went to Joann Williams on Weekend Warrior, who was double clean in 36.949 seconds. Jeanine Cash and Turbo were third with a clear round in 36.979 seconds.

Edgell, from Mendham, NJ, trains with Emil Spadone. She has owned Miss Kitty (left), an 11-year-old Hanoverian mare, for four years. This is their fourth time showing in the Children's/Adult Jumper Challenge. Edgell felt secure in her last spot in the jump-off. "I always like to be the last one in the jump-off. Either I'm going to win or die trying," she laughed.

Edgell rides as an adult, and she feels that Miss Kitty has taught her how to compete at this level. "I started riding when I was 14, but only really knew how to ride when I got her. She took me from Low Adult Jumpers to being competitive. For the past four years, she's really been amazing," she described. "She's taught me that hard work and a big heart go a long way. I put in the time, but if I didn't have a mare like her it wouldn't happen. You can put in the hours, but there has to be a balance between horse and rider. She definitely does more than her 50 percent."

Edgell was named Leading Adult Jumper Rider, while Colleen Lewis on Orlando, who placed fourth in tonight's class, was named Leading Children's Jumper Rider.

In the evening session, the biggest event of the week will be held. At 7:30 p.m., the fun begins with the AHJF/WCHR Awards Ceremony, and immediately following will be the WCHR Professional Finals, where the top six hunter riders in the nation will go head-to-head for top honors. Previous winners Peter Pletcher, John French, and Scott Stewart will be joined by Kelley Farmer and first-time competitors Hunt Tosh and Ken Berkley.

For more information about the show including photos, news, and results, visit the official web site at www.capitalchallenge.org. To watch live footage of this year's horse show, please visit www.equestriansport.tv. This year's Capital Challenge Horse Show will run from September 26 through October 4 at the Prince George's Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD.  The horse show is conveniently located off of Route 4, just seven miles east of the Capital Beltway.

Final Results: North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Challenge Cup Round 1
1. Sirius 127, Tim Hooker: 0/53.734
2. Larone, Tracey Weinberg: 0/54.483
3. Cromwell, Tracey Weinberg: 0/58.459
4. Ultimate VDL, Kalvin Dobbs: 0/58.746
5. Linda Z, Tracey Weinberg: 0/58.857
6. Endeavor, Lauren Crooks: 0/59.224
7. Devito, Erin Stewart: 0/59.235
8. Caribik Louis, Ashley Romano, 0/59.270
9. Quriel, Clara Lindner: 4/59.176
10. Kolette, Kirstie Dobbs: 4/59.922

Final Results: $10,000 Children's/Adult Jumper Challenge
1. Miss Kitty, Katherine Edgell: 0/0/34.755
2. Weekend Warrior, Joann Williams: 0/0/36.949
3. Turbo, Jeanine Cash: 0/0/36.979
4. Orlando, Colleen Lewis: 0/0/37.230
5. Undercover, Meghan Abbott: 0/0/37.531
6. Uthaliet-Utopia, Barbara Ruziska: 0/0/37.896
7. Carella, Carter Ware: 0/0/38.107
8. Deep Snow, Kelsey Duffy: 0/0/38.155
9. Golden Boy, Anne Gardner: 0/0/38.635
10. Rex The Rascal, Debbie King: 0/0/39.962

Photo Credit:   Tracey Scheriff and Absolute won the WCHR Amateur Challenge. Katherine Edgell and Miss Kitty were tops in the Children's/Adult Jumper Challenge. Photos © 2009 Jennifer Wood/PMG.




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