Washington, D.C. – The fans at the 52nd annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) had a full day of exciting jumper competition to watch today. 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 returned in the $20,000 Gambler's Choice sponsored by Louisburg Farm and Beth Johnson to win with Palouchin de Ligny. Kristin Glover and The Boy Wonder topped the opening class for the Amateur-Owner Jumpers, and Chase Boggio guided Hennessey to victory in the Junior Jumpers.
The WIHS continues through Sunday, October 31 with the best hunter, jumper, and equitation riders in the nation competing for top prizes at Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C. The highlight classes of the week are the $25,000 Puissance sponsored by The Boeing Company on Friday, October 29, and the $100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix presented by Washington Convention and Sports Authority, CSI 3*-W on Saturday, October 30. This week's jumper course designer is Michel Vaillancourt of Aiken, SC.
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.
“It was pretty difficult,” Pessoa said of the course. “The whole day today was difficult and it’s a small arena. Fences come up very quick and you need the horses to be really obedient. It was a good test, a nice preparation for Saturday.”
Going into the jump-off, Pessoa did not want to go all out. “Until now I haven’t gone very fast in the jump-offs. Last week the jump-off was pretty slow, so I just wanted to try and have a good track and not go crazy, keep some for Saturday. Hopefully we make it to the jump-off and it just worked out.”
Pessoa and HH Ashley have a new relationship, having only been together since May, but they have been successful. They won the World Cup qualifier grand prix in Harrisburg just last week. “I have been taking her along quite slow. She’s getting better every time now. It was time to start pushing her a little bit and start doing some bigger courses. She’s been really serious the last two weeks,” Pessoa noted.
He said of HH Ashley, a 10-year-old Hanoverian mare by Accorado, “She is a nice type and really powerful, really the sort of horse that you dream of. (She's) small and compact, but she has a lot of scope and she’s really careful. The rideability is still not 100% but we’re still working on that. I think she’s really a special horse.”
The $20,000 Gambler's Choice Costume Class sponsored by Louisburg Farm and Beth Johnson 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.
Pessoa won the Crown Royal Trophy donated by Crown Royal as the winning rider, and Palouchin de Ligny, owned by Pessoa Stables, was presented with the Sue Ann Geisler Memorial Trophy donated by the Washington International Horse Show. Hillary Dobbs rode Marengo, owned by The Dobbs Group, to second place. Shane Sweetnam 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.”
Pessoa enjoyed the costume class and feels that it is a great addition to the WIHS schedule. “It's fun and it's important for the crowd. Tonight they had a nice turn-out with all the kids that are here. They saw a traditional class and it was a little bit more fun for them. It's important to give back to them as well. Without the fans, the sport would not be much,” she said.
Kristin Glover and The Boy Wonder were the only clear trip in a time of 64.873 seconds in today'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.
Glover, who is from Richmond, VA, has owned The Boy Wonder, a 14-year-old Appendix Quarter Horse, for three years. “It has just been a blast,” she said of their partnership.
For tonight's round as the only clear trip, Glover said, “It was smooth. So many times my first round is a little rough, but this one we came right out and just put in a nice clean round, so I was happy.”
This is the first time that Glover has shown at the WIHS. “This was a nice way to start and I really like the ring. This is something that I have always wanted to do. I stopped riding for a long time and got back into it about six years ago. It has just been a lot of fun and it has gone great,” she remarked.
For her win tonight, Glover was presented with the “Footloose” Perpetual Trophy in remembrance of Ruth Ellen Wilmot, donated by The Curtin Family, in honor of the 1990 winner “Footloose,” ridden by Caroline Curtin.
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.
Boggio has only had Hennessey, a 12-year-old Mecklenburg gelding by Heraldik, since May when he purchased him from New Zealand Olympian Kirk Webby. Boggio said of his horse, “He's done a lot of grand prix classes. He's a lot hotter than my old horse Perfekt, who was sort of a slug. You don't have to worry about covering the back rail of the oxers. He just has enough blood to cover them without a lot of leg.”
The pair have won two other classes together in their short time together, but this is Boggio's first win in the jumpers at the WIHS. “It feels good because I don't get a lot of ring time in the jumpers. It's just nice and reassuring that my hard work in the jumpers pays off too,” he said with a smile.
Boggio was presented with the Beagle Brook Farm Perpetual Trophy donated by Beagle Brook Farm.
The Washington International Horse Show continues tomorrow with the championships for the junior hunter divisions as well as the hunter phase for the WIHS Equitation Classic Finals. The amateur-owner and junior jumpers will have speed classes in the afternoon session, while the International Open Jumpers have a 1.40m faults converted class.
The evening session begins with an International Open Jumper 1.50m faults converted class, followed by terrier races, a dressage freestyle exhibition by Pamela Goodrich, and a driving exhibition by World Equestrian Games silver medalist Chester Weber. The night closes with the electrifying $25,000 Puissance sponsored by The Boeing Company.
For full results and more information, please visit www.wihs.org.
Final Results: $30,000 International Open Jumper Time First Jump-off
1. HH ASHLEY RODRIGO PESSOA BRA DOUBLE H FARM 0.00 0.00 31.88
2. TOP GUN KENT FARRINGTON USA IRON HORSE FARM 0.00 0.00 32.58
3. INDIGO MARGIE ENGLE USA GLADEWINDS FARM 0.00 4.00 33.22
4. VICOMTE D MARIO DESLAURIERS USA JANE F. CLARK 0.00 4.00 34.17
5. VENT DU NORD KATE LEVY USA KATE LEVY LLC 0.00 8.00 35.99
6. PAPARAZZI 10 AARON VALE USA THINKS LIKE A HORSE 0.00 9.00 40.89
7. CADENCE MEGAN EDRICK USA PROCEDURES 1.00 68.84
8. SAPPHIRE McLAIN WARD USA WARD/BLUECHIP BLOODSTOCK 4.00 65.12
9. TORONTO CANDICE KING USA AAA EQUESTRIAN LLC 4.00 65.15
10. G&C SINATRA PABLO BARRIOS VEN G&C FARM/MIRABAL 4.00 65.30
11. PAVAROTTI TODD MINIKUS USA TODD MINIKUS LTD 4.00 65.33
12. ATHENA CHARLIE JAYNE USA THE LONDON GROUP 4.00 65.82
Final Results: $20,000 Gambler's Choice sponsored by Louisburg Farm and Beth Johnson
1. PALOUCHIN DE LIGNY RODRIGO PESSOA BRA RODRIGO PESSOA 1230
2. MARENGO HILLARY DOBBS USA THE DOBBS GROUP 1170
3. ALLISSON SHANE SWEETNAM IRL SPY COAST FARM 1170
4. ESPLANADE 7 McLAIN WARD USA LOUISBURG FARM 1170
5. UP CHIQUI KENT FARRINGTON USA BOONE/DOBBS/FARRINGTON 1090
6. LIRVING DE VOLSIN KATE LEVY USA LEVY/WOSHENKO 1010
7. NORTON DE VAINS MARIE HECART FRA TOP STALLION 990
8. UDONNA BENJAMIN MEREDITH AUS RAYLYN FARMS INC 960
9. RADIO CITY GEORGINA BLOOMBERG USA GOTHAM ENTERPRIZES 860
10. BALLAD VAN HET INDIHOF BRIANNE GOUTAL USA REMARKABLE FARM 860
11. HC PAMINA L MARGIE ENGLE USA HIDDEN CREEK FARM 780
12. CORDIA DE LAUBRY MARILYN LITTLE-MEREDITH USA RAYLYN FARMS INC 750
Final Results: $2,500 Amateur-Owner Time First Jump-off
1. THE BOY WONDER KRISTIN GLOVER 0.00 64.873 STONEY BROOK FARM LLC
2. LARONE TRACEY WEINBERG 4.00 63.785 TRACEY WEINBERG
3. PEACHES JEAN SHEPTOFF 5.00 69.680 JEAN SHEPTOFF
4. BEATRIX KIDDO LAUREL BLAKEMORE 8.00 65.392 LAUREL BLAKEMORE
5. EL GRECCO ROBERT LEE 9.00 69.296 ROBERT LEE
6. LINDA Z TRACEY WEINBERG 12.00 66.509 TRACEY WEINBERG
7. SALADIN MARY ANTONINI 16.00 66.213 MARY ANTONINI
8. NO FEAR NAVONA GALLEGOS 16.00 67.012 BAR X RANCH LLC
Final Results: $2,500 Junior Jumper Time First Jump-off sponsored by AAA Equestrian LLC
1. HENNESSEY CHASE BOGGIO 0.00 64.106 CHASE BOGGIO
2. DELILAH HASBROUCK DONOVAN 1.00 69.046 HASBROUCK DONOVAN
3. WHAT EVER KAREN POLLE 4.00 62.897 KAREN POLLE
4. THORSTIN LAURA PFEIFFER 4.00 64.434 FOX MEADOW FARM
5. PRACHT MICHAEL HUGHES 4.00 65.331 DRUMNACROSS FARM/FRIED
6. FLIGHT REED KESSLER 4.00 67.378 REED KESSLER
7. KARTOUCHE VD WATERING CHARLOTTE JACOBS 4.00 68.057 NORTH STAR VENTURES OF EA
8. SINATRA IV MEG O'MARA 8.00 64.972 THINKS LIKE A HORSE
9. VANCOUVER KATIE DINAN 8.00 65.476 KATIE DINAN LLC
10. OUCAN TANGO HAYLEY BARNHILL 8.00 66.697 HAYLEY BARNHILL
11. OLINDA AMBER HENTER 8.00 67.175 HOULIHAN LAWRENCE
12. CACHETTE Z KAREN POLLE 8.00 67.407 KAREN POLLE
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.
Photos: HH Ashley and Rodrigo Pessoa, Palouchin de Ligny and Rodrigo Pessoa in costume, Rodrigo Pessoa and Palouchin de Ligny joined in the Qatar Airways Winners Circle by ringmaster John Franzreb, Qatar Airways Senior Vice President - The Americas Tony Hughes, and WIHS CEO Eric L. Straus, The Boy Wonder and Kristin Glover
Photo Credit: Photos © Jennifer Wood Media, Inc. Gambler's Choice presentation photo © Diana DeRosa photo.