Upper Marlboro, MD – October 5, 2014 – The Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by The Gochman Family, concluded with another day of fantastic hunter competition. Junior and Children's riders were featured in the Show Place Arena and the outdoor ring, and six championships were presented. Lili Hymowitz and Tiffani won the Grand Junior Hunter Championship, while Savanah Stuart and Andover were named Grand Children's Hunter Champions. The Capital Challenge Horse Show hosts the premier hunter competition in the United States and welcomed more than 1,000 horses to Prince George's Equestrian Center over the past nine days.
Hymowitz and Tiffani found success in the Large Junior 15 & Under Hunter division, where they won all three over fences classes. Tiffani was also named the High Point Junior Hunter 15 & Under, sponsored by Geddaway Farm, and the Grand Junior Hunter Champion, sponsored by The Schaefer Family. They were presented with The Spontaneous Perpetual Trophy donated by the Listrani Family. Hymowitz won Best Junior Rider honors, an award sponsored by Karen Healey and Karen Healey Stables. The reserve champion in the division was Prologue, ridden by Emma Kurtz for Rendezvous Farm. They placed second, second, and fourth over fences.
Hymowitz (15) is from New York, NY, and has owned Tiffani for two years. Tiffani came from the jumper ring, so early on she had the learning curve of being calm and collected on course. Hymowitz remembered, “She was a challenge for me because she was young, and she was a jumper before I got her. Last year was her first time doing the hunters. She was always a little rushed in the turns. The handies were harder because she got jumpery, but with Scott (Stewart)’s help and with Jane’s help she’s learned to calm down and go slower. Her jumper parts that were good are so helpful in the hunters [now].”
Tiffani learned quickly; they were champions at the Washington International Horse Show last year. “She’s super easy now. She’s so adjustable because of doing the jumpers. She’ll go from wherever I tell her,” Hymowitz said. “She can collect and extend pretty much in a second and that makes it so much easier because going into the class I feel like I have so many options. I’m not worried about finding each jump, and I really trust her.”
Hymowitz felt like this was the perfect start to her indoor finals season. “I like riding her indoors because she likes going slow around the ring, and I think in indoors it looks more flow-y. In a big ring you need to have a gallop, and I’m still learning to do that part I think.”
This is Hymowitz's fourth time competing at Capital Challenge, but her first championship. “It’s amazing, and it’s a great way to start indoors and go into Harrisburg and Washington. I was really excited about winning yesterday, and I didn’t expect much more. I just wanted to ride well,” she related.
The EMO Junior Trip of the Show went to Hymowitz and Tiffani, as well as Vivian Yowan on Alliy Moyer's Libretto, who both scored an 89.
In the Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, sponsored by Suave Pony LLC, the championship went to Chromeo, ridden by Samantha Wight (16) of Boca Raton, FL, and owned by Melissa Wight. They were first and second over fences and second in the under saddle. The reserve champion was Oscany Inc.'s Clooney, ridden by Emma Kurtz. They were first, second, and fourth over fences.
Wight and Chromeo have been paired for a year and a half, and from the start, she appreciated her hunter's better qualities. “He’s just a really sweet horse. You can tell he always wants to do his best. He always puts his best foot forward,” she described. “He really put himself out there when we started. He put so much effort out for me because we bonded right from the beginning.”
Wight has learned to ride forward and get an early pace from Chromeo. “He’s allowed me to learn that because he has such a great stride on his own. He taught me how to open up and leave him and let him do his job,” she pointed out.
This is Wight's third time at Capital Challenge and her first championship at an indoor show. “It feels great. I’m really happy with my horse and my trainers and my whole support team has been great,” she said. “It’s a big help going on to the next indoor [show] and being able to look back on the prior indoor and say I did really well there and was champion, so I can do it.”
New to Capital Challenge this year was the Junior Hunter 3'3” division, and the first champion was Bella K, ridden and owned by Samantha Camp, 13 years old from Glenmoore, PA. They won two over fences and placed fifth in the remaining jumping class for the top tricolor. Askaro, ridden by Sarah Jane Haskins for Emily Hilton, was the reserve champion after placing first and second over fences. They also won the EMO 3'3” Junior Hunter Trip of the Show with an 88.5.
Camp has been riding the eight-year-old Bella K for two years and describes her as smooth, but also “sassy sometimes.” She continued, “She likes to be herself. She loves Twizzlers. It’s her favorite thing. When she hears the package open she starts pacing.”
This was only their fourth show, and their best finish, at the 3'3” height. They competed and were reserve champions in the Children's Hunters at last year's Capital Challenge, which is at a height of three-foot. “She likes the bigger jumps a lot better. She’s a lot happier,” she said. “She’s taught me pretty much everything I know. It means a lot to be champion here because I really wanted to do well at this show, especially since I did well here last year. This is my favorite show all year.”
The Leading Hunter Trainer Award, sponsored by Meridian Riding Club and Tracye Ferguson, went to Scott Stewart.
Claudia Freeman 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.
A Perfect Ending for the Grand Children's Hunter Championship
In her last junior year, Savanah Stuart made the trip to the East Coast from her home in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, a worthwhile one. She and Andover won the Children's Hunter 15-17 division, sponsored by The Rizvi Family, with two firsts and a second place. Those top ribbons gave them the Grand Children's Hunter Championship, sponsored by Mary Jane King, and Stuart was presented with the Laura Pickett Memorial Trophy, donated by Julie Karpan. Stuart won the Best Children's Hunter Rider Award, sponsored by Wild Sky Farm & The Nelson Family. The reserve champion was Kissme, ridden by Mary Margaret Dodd and owned by Anna Wells-Sharp. They placed first and sixth over fences and fourth under saddle.
Andover is just six years old and competes in the Pre-Green Hunters. Stuart has ridden him for a year, calling him her “project horse.” Andover competed at Capital Challenge last year in the Pre-Green Hunters as well. Although he is still young, Stuart said his good brain and level-headedness is what brings success.
“You never have to worry about him doing anything crazy. He does have a little ADD so when he has his baby moments, he will look outside the ring at something,” she pointed out. “We worked a lot on building his straightness and really keeping him connected. But for the most part, he has the mindset of a 12-year-old. He’ll jump anything.”
The change from last year's competition was a positive one, Stuart said, “I brought him last year, but I was still figuring him out. Coming back this year I could really see the improvement, so that’s been great.”
Stuart is finishing the last few shows of her junior career, and Capital Challenge is the only indoor show in which she will ride Andover. “I didn’t have the best junior career. I had a lot of horses that would get hurt midway through the season. I was always challenged with that. I never had a steady, consistent ride, so having the year that I had being able to ride my horses has been a blessing. This was a great way to end my junior career. I think going out with a bang was kind of nice. I finally got there,” she expressed.
The championship in the Children's Hunter 14 & Under Section B, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Gary Duffy and Little Brook Farms, Inc., went to Central Park, ridden by Mimi Gochman for David Gochman. The 10-year-old rider from New York City rode Central Park to first over fences and first under saddle. The reserve champion was Monopoly, ridden by Aubrienne Krysiewicz-Bell for owner Margaret O'Meara. They jumped to first and fifth places and were fourth under saddle.
Gochman started with “Duke” this winter. “He’s slow, and he has a lopey canter. His jump isn’t too big. He’s a good mover, he’s pretty and he’s sweet. He has a good personality,” she said.
Transitioning to the horses from ponies has been easy for Gochman. “(Central Park) has a bigger stride so it’s almost easier. And the jumps seem so much bigger when you’re on a large (pony than) to him because he’s so big. You don’t need to go very fast, so it’s nice to keep a steady pace,” she said.
Central Park has taught Gochman “how to sit still” when riding. “In the first class, I moved up and I leaned, and he said, 'No way, we’re not jumping that far!' He’s taught me how to sit still and hold him because he can still jump very well while I’m sitting up. He’s good at fitting it in even though his stride is big,” she recalled.
It was a winning affair for the entire Gochman family at Capital Challenge, with her sister Sophie winning in the pony hunters yesterday. “It’s sweet because we’ve been practicing and trying really hard to do really well here, and we did it. And my mom was WCHR Challenge winner!” she added.
The champion in the Children's Hunter 14 & Under Section A, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Gary Duffy and Little Brook Farms, Inc., was Chelsea, ridden by Emma Weiss and owned by Baylor Wickes. The 15-year-old rider from New York, NY, started riding Chelsea in February. They won an over fences and were second under saddle. Weiss was also awarded the Stewart Warner Cup for children's riders. The reserve champion was Mimi Gochman on David Gochman's Romance. They placed second and third over fences and third under saddle.
Weiss described Chelsea as “not easy, but not too hard. We have a bond where I let her do her thing, and she lets me do my thing. We have that relationship where it just works out that way,” she said.
Chelsea is only 15.1 hands high, “but she makes up for it with her stride,” Weiss said. Weiss also said that Chelsea loves treats. “She knows she’s the princess!” she said.
This is Weiss' first time at Capital Challenge. “I came in on Friday because I had the presentations for WCHR,” she said. “I spent all yesterday just hanging out, watching the ring to see how it runs so that when I showed it would go easier. It’s incredible (to win). I was really happy because my lease ends with her soon, so it’s nice to end it on a high note.”
Grooms of the winning horses today included:
Small Junior 15 & Under Hunter: Chromeo/Bailey Manning
Large Junior 15 & Under Hunter: Tiffani/Ubaldo Duron
Junior Hunter 3'3”: Bella K/Lauren McKay
Children's 14 & Under Hunter Sec. A: Chelsea/Mauricio Gaytan
Children's 14 & Under Hunter Sec. B: Central Park/Gabriel Barcena
Children's 15-17 Hunter: Andover/Katie Ambrosio
Capital Challenge gives thanks to their exhibitors, sponsors, staff, and spectators for another fantastic event. They look forward to welcoming everyone back in 2015.
For full results, more information, or to watch the archived individual rounds of video, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org. Like the Capital Challenge Horse Show page on Facebook and on Twitter @capchallenge and Instagram @capitalchallengehorseshow. For behind-the-scenes photos, videos, and more!
In its 21st year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George's Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, this year's show will take place on September 27-October 5.
Top competitions include the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals and the THIS National Children’s Medal Finals, along with the Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend, presented by Bigeq.com. In addition to these prestigious equitation events, the Capital Challenge Horse Show will once again host the World Champion Hunter Rider Finals and will assemble the country's best horses and riders to compete in junior, amateur, and professional hunter classes.