Third Time's A Charm for French and Small Affair in $25,000 WCHR Professional Challenge

Small Affair and John French. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.
Small Affair and John French. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.

Upper Marlboro, MD – October 2, 2013 – The Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by The Gochman Family, featured the best hunters in the country as well as up-and-coming talent in both horses and riders. The day was full of competition, but the highlight class was the $25,000 WCHR Professional Challenge. John French took home the win for the third time in class history on Small Affair.

The $5,000 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge victory went to Greg Crolick riding Grey Street. Peter Pletcher rode Susan Baker's Q to the win in the $20,000 Added North American Future Hunter Championship. After the final four professional hunter divisions finished competition today, the Grand Hunter Champion and Leading Hunter Rider honors were awarded as well. Don't forget, you can watch all of the winning jumping rounds by clicking on the “Individual Rounds” button at www.capitalchallenge.org.

The remaining highlight class of the week for the professional hunter riders is the $5,000 WCHR Professional Finals, presented by the John R. Ingram Fund, for the top six hunter riders in the country on Friday, October 4. The Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at the Prince George's Equestrian Center, will run through Sunday, October 6.

Mythical and Kelley Farmer. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.
Mythical and Kelley Farmer. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.

The $25,000 WCHR Professional Challenge, sponsored by Pony Lane Farm, had 23 entries, and 12 of those returned for a second round in the evening session. Coming back on top for the second round was John French on Iwasaki & Reilly's Small Affair, the winner of this class in 2010 and 2011. In the first round, they scored 90.33, and they returned to score 88.08 for a total of 178.41 for victory. Second place went to Kelley Farmer on Mythical. They scored 88.50 and 89.33 for a total of 177.83. Hayley Barnhill and Fonteyn were third with a total score of 175.66. Jennifer Bauersachs and Avignon placed fourth with a score of 173.91, while Havens Schatt and Bacardi scored 171.66 for fifth place.

French said of his rounds, “His first round was exceptionally great. He just jumped high and it was super smooth. I think I had enough of a lead coming into the second round. I'm not sure where I ended up in the second round, not the top, maybe third or fourth. But when you add the two scores together, it was enough to win. That was good having that cushion coming in. He had a rub in the second round, but otherwise he was great.”

“Third time's a charm,” French said with a smile. “He loves this class. It's pretty hard to win it three times on the same horse. Those are the best horses. Most professionals bring in their heavy hitters, their top horses.”

It was a redeeming class for French, who has had a tough year of injuries. In a fall in January, he broke his foot and had major tendon and ligament damage. It has not healed as well as he hoped, and in June, he underwent shoulder surgery as well. “It was kind of an off year, but I got well enough to come to indoors,” he acknowledged. “At first, it was nice to take a little bit of a break. Then when these kinds of shows come, you want to be better and back riding again. I love this horse show and what they do for the World Hunter rider awards.”

French said that his five-year relationship with Small Affair, a 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Elf d'Or, is what leads to their success, even if French doesn't compete with him very often. “I think there are some horses that you just have a partnership with,” he expressed. “I know what upsets him, what he likes, how much work he needs. I wouldn't have wanted to ride any other horse in the class tonight because I know him so well. He always gives and tries to jump a beautiful jump every time.”

French and Small Affair were presented with the “Little Brook” Perpetual Trophy donated by Gary Duffy.

Grey Street and Greg Crolick. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.
Grey Street and Greg Crolick. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.

Greg Crolick and Grey Street Rise to Top of Developing Pro Challenge
Twenty-eight entries lined up to compete in the $5,000 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge. With equal scores of 88 in both rounds, Greg Crolick and Adrienne Marciano's Grey Street jumped to victory with a total 176. Close behind in second place was Jamie Taylor on Cipriani. They received scores of 87 and 88.66 for a total of 175.66. Taylor Adams and Taken were third with a score of 174.99, while Jennifer Bliss rode Poker Face to 171.83 and fourth place. Fifth place went to Trentino and Megan Young, who scored 170.50.

Crolick hails from Bloomfield Hills, MI, and admitted that he doesn't fit the typical expectation of a “Developing” professional. “This year it was weird to be qualified as a Developing Professional because I’m 41 and have been doing this a while,” he said with a laugh, “but I met all of the qualifications. Hopefully, next year I’ll be in the Professional Challenge.”

Staying relaxed was on the game plan for this class, since it was more of a hunter classic-style course. Crolick explained, “I have a tendency to get aggressive when I’m in there, like a handy derby. So in this type of classical hunter round, you need to be a little quieter and be a little more subdued.”

Second place finishers Katie Taylor and Cipriani. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.
Second place finishers Katie Taylor and Cipriani. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.

He has been riding Grey Street, a 10-year-old Brandenburg gelding, since January. The horse was originally imported from Europe to be a jumper by Seth Vallhonrat. When he knew he was qualified for tonight's class, Crolick chose Grey Street immediately.

“He’s a wonderful horse,” Crolick said. “Just the way he canters across the ground, he’s so pretty between the jumps. The whole picture looks so consistent and nice. And I know his mind-frame walking in there will be dependable. I know him the best.”

Crolick was happy to be a part of the class. “I think this class really highlights the rider and how the rider goes in the ring. It’s nice to have your peers at the gate whooping for you and congratulating you and you’re in competition with them,” he related. “Outside of that, this helps for your profile as a professional moving forward.”

He continued, “Even though I’ve been teased this whole week about why I’m in the Developing Professionals, it’s all fun banter. It means a lot (to win). Last year I was here watching it and this year I’m doing it. I’m glad I was here and had a great outcome. It worked out really well.”

Greg Crolick and Grey Street with last year’s winner Melissa Feller and Geoff Teall. Photo copyright Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Greg Crolick and Grey Street with last year’s winner Melissa Feller and Geoff Teall. Photo copyright Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Q Is Letter Perfect In North American Future Hunter Championship
The country's best Pre-Green horses gathered for the $20,000 Added North American Future Hunter Championship, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Douglas Wheeler, Kocher Tack, Corrine Bevis/San Marcos Training, and Makoto Farm, Inc., in the Show Place Arena this morning. The top Future Hunters from six divisions went head-to-head in the indoor arena, and it was Peter Pletcher on Susan Baker's Q who took the title. They scored 89.80 in the first round and improved to 90.80 in the second round for a total of 180.60.

Havens Schatt and Kaepernick, owned by Deborah Perkins, were second with scores of 85.40 and 87.40 for a total of 172.80. Third place went to Louise Serio on Lulu, owned by Merrylegs South, who had a total score of 170.90. Hunt Tosh rode Kenneth and Douglas Wheeler's Crisp to a score of 170.10 for fourth place. Fifth place went to Truman, ridden by Chris Payne and owned by Maypine Farm. They scored a total of 166.05.

Pletcher and Q, a seven-year-old Warmblood gelding by Quite Easy, were the Future Hunter 3'3” champions yesterday and while he mentioned that usually it takes Q a round to get used to a new environment, he easily adapted in today's class. “It was unbelievable. He was game on, ready. The jumps were little, and that helped me a lot. If he had to walk in there and do a true 3'3” (course), I think he might have been a little more impressed,” Pletcher pointed out. “This is the third day he's shown. Taking all that into consideration, he was a superstar.”

Pletcher said the second round was even better, “He'd been in there once and he was all business. He was like, 'I got it.'”

For their win, Q and Pletcher were presented with the Beverly Brooks Solter Memorial Trophy donated by Hilary Scheer Gerhardt and Zan Martin Dillon. The EMO Trip of the Show for Future Hunters went to Scott Stewart and Classical, who scored a 90.5.

Q and Peter Pletcher. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.
Q and Peter Pletcher. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.

Professional Hunter Divisions Wrap Up Competition
The First Year Green Working Hunter Section A championship, sponsored by Peter Pletcher/PJP Farm, went to Bacardi, a seven-year-old KWPN gelding by Casco, ridden by Havens Schatt for Caroline Moran. Bacardi placed first in two classes and second in two classes over fences. The reserve champion was Avignon, ridden by Jennifer Bauersachs and owned by Francesca Migliore. They placed first, second, and fourth.

Havens Schatt and Kaepernick. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.
Havens Schatt and Kaepernick. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.

Bacardi is no stranger to Capital Challenge, having been Grand Future Hunter Champion in 2011 and victorious in the North American Future Hunter Championship in 2012. This year, going from the indoor arena to the outside ring was a benefit, Schatt thought. “Today woke him up a little bit. I think he jumped the best today of the three days because it was something new. He was fresh and it was a new place,” she added.

Having two years of solid competition under his belt has made Bacardi a solid campaigner. “He's always been a show horse. He loves it here. He was a bit of a quirky horse when he was younger, and now you can count on him when you need him,” Schatt said. “He's just such an amazing horse. When they win at Pre-Green as much as he did, you hope that they can go on and do it in their First Year because the competition is just so much stronger. He was consistent in every class here. I'm very proud that he's maintained his top level of competition through three years of showing.”

Bacardi was also presented with the Grand First Year Green Hunter Championship, sponsored by Summer Hill Farms, Jordan Gilchrist, & Laura Hightower and was presented with the Magda and George Z. Lefton Memorial Trophy donated by Stacey Lefton Glick. In addition, they won the Tribute Perpetual Trophy donated by Scott Stewart for the highest cumulative numerical point total in a single professional division. They tied with Victoria Colvin and Way Cool for the EMO Trip of the Show with a score of 90.5

Bacardi and Havens Schatt. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.
Bacardi and Havens Schatt. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.

Kelley Farmer picked up two championship ribbons today. The first came in the First Year Green Working Hunters Section B, sponsored by the Sadrian and Kellogg Families, with Mythical, owned by Larry Glefke and Dr. Kenneth Garber. They placed first in three over fences classes. Fashion Farm's Loyalty, ridden by Scott Stewart, was the reserve champion with first, second, third, and third place ribbons.

Farmer has been riding Mythical, a nine-year-old Westphalian gelding by Cornet Obolensky, just over a year and he immediately stepped up to the winner's circle. They are on track to win the USEF Horse of the Year award, they won four USHJA International Hunter Derbies, and finished second at the derby finals. “He's done nothing but be a great horse for me. When it goes wrong, it's because of me,” she said with a smile. “He's the smartest horse I've ever had. He really believes there's nothing he can't do, and he's probably right.”

Quotable and Kelley Farmer. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.
Quotable and Kelley Farmer. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.

She and Quotable were the Green Conformation Hunter champions, sponsored by Lisa A.H. Cudahy, as well as the Regular Conformation Hunter reserve champions. In the Green division, they won the model and three over fences classes, and they finished third in the remaining jumping class. They were also second in the under saddle. In the Regular division, they won the model, were second, second, and fifth over fences, and were second under saddle. Farmer also rode the Green Conformation reserve champion, Backstory, who is owned by Tia Schurecht. They were second in the model, first, fifth, and sixth over fences, and they won the under saddle.

Quotable is an eight-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Larry Glefke and Dr. Kenneth Garber. Although he was ridden by Holly Orlando this winter, a change of rider was no problem for the young horse. He has been champion or reserve every time out in 2013. “He's unbelievable to ride; there are no tricks to him. He's not a hard horse,” Farmer said.

Quotable also won the Grand Conformation Hunter Championship and was presented with the Kenneth M. Wheeler Perpetual Trophy donated by BJ Meeks and Pablo Perez.

Having two such great horses in their first year of major competition is fun for Farmer. “They're like a little and big version of each other. But we don't do Quotable in the derbies. Mythical is the derby horse. Quotable is the pretty boy and Mythical is the tough boy,” she laughed.

She continued about her young stars, “We're lucky enough to have one of them, let alone a barn full of them. You always have to look for the next one. If you're just looking for 'the one' or just waiting for one, then that's all you'll have.”

Showman and Scott Stewart. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.
Showman and Scott Stewart. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography.

The Regular Conformation Hunter champion for the second year in a row was Showman, ridden by Scott Stewart and owned by Alexa and Krista Weisman. They won three over fences classes along with the under saddle, and they placed second in the model. The division was sponsored by Hidden Hollow LLC & Ginny Edwards and Joie Gatlin/Morley Abey Show Jumping Inc.

Thanks to a light showing schedule, Showman, an 11-year-old Westphalian gelding by Showstar, always arrives at Capital Challenge fresh. He is a successful product of the Future Hunter division, having won a Grand Future Hunter championship here in 2009, the First Year Green championship in 2010, the Second Year Green championship in 2011, and last year's Regular Conformation win.

As a veteran competitor, Showman makes Stewart's job easy. “It’s nice to have him and Everly. They’re easy horses. They try to do their best, and there are no tricks to them. He’s really simple and he never tries to do anything wrong. It’s nice to fall back on them.”

Showman was one of three horses that finished with 40 points in a division and tied for the Grand Hunter Championship, which is sponsored by RSB Farms, Inc. and Rob Bielefeld. Scott Stewart had two mounts in the presentation in Dr. Betsee Parker's Everly and Showman, owned by Alexa and Krista Weisman. Kelley Farmer and Quotable joined them in the presentation, and all three were presented with the Janet Polk Read and Margaret Hough Sabbatini Memorial Trophy, donated by the Goguen Family. Stewart and Farmer also shared Leading Hunter Rider honors, which were sponsored by the Gibson Family and Shadyside Farm and Hobby Family Foundation. They were presented with the BJ's Hunt Room Trophy, donated by BJ Meeks and Pablo Perez.

There was also a tie for the Grand Future Hunter Championship between Knob Creek, ridden by Jocelyn Martin and owned by Dana Nifosi, and Crisp, ridden by Hunt Tosh for Kenneth and Douglas Wheeler. The championship was sponsored by David Belford and Christopher Payne/New Hope LLC & Susan Moriconi. They were presented with “A Rare Diamond” Perpetual Trophy donated by “The Friends of Mickey.”

The Grand Green Hunter Championship is sponsored by Balmoral Farm Inc. and Traci & Carleton Brooks. This year the award went to Queen Lattifa, ridden by Hunt Tosh for Kenneth and Douglas Wheeler.

The Grey Slipper Award and Perpetual Trophy, donated by Bridget Hallman, was awarded to Stephanie Riggio's Indian Summer and Fiddler's Bridge for excellence in the professional and amateur hunter divisions.

Andover and Alicia Saxton. Photo copyright Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Andover and Alicia Saxton. Photo copyright Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

The $1,000 Senior WCHR Under Saddle victory, sponsored by Arcadia Farm, went to Andover, ridden by Alicia Saxton and owned by Savannah Stuart. They were presented with the Hollywood Challenge Trophy donated by Paula Polk Lillard.

Correction: Yesterday's release included the incorrect reserve champion for the Performance 3'6” Hunters. The reserve champion was Small Affair, ridden by John French for Iwasaki & Reilly.

The Capital Challenge Horse Show continues tomorrow with championships for the Amateur-Owner 3'3” and 3'6” Hunters and three sections of Adult Amateur Hunters. The WCHR Amateur-Owner Challenge 3'3” and 3'6” will be held in the afternoon, and the $10,000 Children’s/Adult Jumper Challenge will wrap up the evening festivities.

For full results, more information, or to watch the SmartPak live webcast, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org.

Final Results: $25,000 WCHR Professional Challenge
1 SMALL AFFAIR JOHN FRENCH 91.00 90.00 90.00 90.33 88.25 87.50 88.50 88.08 178.41
2 MYTHICAL KELLEY FARMER 89.00 87.50 89.00 88.50 87.50 89.50 91.00 89.33 177.83
3 FONTEYN HAYLEY BARNHILL 87.00 88.00 87.00 87.33 88.50 88.50 88.00 88.33 175.66
4 AVIGNION JENNIFER BAUERSACHS 83.75 84.50 86.50 84.91 89.00 89.00 89.00 89.00 173.91
5 BACARDI HAVENS SCHATT 82.50 82.00 84.50 83.00 91.00 91.00 84.00 88.66 171.66
6 PADDINGTON NICK HANESS 86.00 84.00 86.00 85.33 87.00 87.00 85.00 86.33 171.66
7 BAY LANE JAMIE TAYLOR 87.50 87.00 85.00 86.50 85.00 83.00 82.00 83.33 169.83
8 QUATRAIN ELIZABETH BOYD 83.50 81.00 83.00 82.50 86.00 88.00 87.00 87.00 169.50
9 EVERLY SCOTT STEWART 84.00 83.00 81.00 82.66 88.00 84.00 86.00 86.00 168.66
10 UNDENIABLE JENNY KARAZISSIS 88.00 85.00 88.00 87.00 83.00 82.00 80.00 81.66 168.66
11 INVINCIBLE AMANDA STEEGE 82.00 86.00 84.00 84.00 84.00 86.00 83.00 84.33 168.33
12 ROMANCE PETER PLETCHER 87.75 85.50 86.75 86.66 50.00 45.00 45.00 46.66 133.32

Final Results: $5,000 WCHR Emerging Pro Challenge
1 GREY STREET GREG CROLICK 87.50 88.00 88.50 88.00 89.00 87.50 87.50 88.00 176.00
2 CIPRIANI JAMIE TAYLOR 85.50 86.50 89.00 87.00 90.00 88.00 88.00 88.66 175.66
3 TAKEN TAYLOR ADAMS 88.00 87.00 88.00 87.66 88.00 87.00 87.00 87.33 174.99
4 POKER FACE JENNIFER BLISS 86.25 84.50 85.75 85.50 87.00 86.00 86.00 86.33 171.83
5 TRENTINO MEGAN YOUNG 87.00 86.50 86.00 86.50 84.00 84.00 84.00 84.00 170.50
6 HUNDRED ACRE KEIRSTIN JOHNSEN 86.00 86.00 85.00 85.66 82.00 82.00 83.00 82.33 167.99
7 LIMBO COLLEEN ACOSTA 86.50 86.25 86.00 86.25 83.00 80.00 82.00 81.66 167.91
8 SAMBA SHAWN CASADY 84.00 80.50 84.50 83.00 85.00 83.00 85.00 84.33 167.33
9 ALLURA LAENA ROMOND 85.00 81.00 81.00 82.33 80.00 81.00 80.00 80.33 162.66
10 MAXIMUS CASSANDRA KAHLE 85.75 83.50 85.50 84.91 77.00 77.00 79.00 77.66 162.57
11 TUNDRA HILLARY JOHNSON 83.00 85.00 84.00 84.00 78.00 78.00 78.00 78.00 162.00
12 MALDINI KATIE GARDNER 85.25 79.75 82.50 82.50 45.00 45.00 45.00 45.00 127.50

Final Results: $20,000 Added North American Future Hunter Championship
1 Q PETER PLETCHER 92.00 91.00 88.00 90.00 88.00 89.80 92.00 91.00 89.00 90.00 92.00 90.80 180.60
2 KAEPERNICK HAVENS SCHATT 86.50 86.50 82.75 86.25 85.00 85.40 87.00 87.00 87.00 87.00 89.00 87.40 172.80
3 LULU LOUISE SERIO 83.00 85.00 86.00 86.00 86.00 85.20 86.00 85.00 85.50 85.00 87.00 85.70 170.90
4 CRISP HUNT TOSH 82.00 82.00 87.00 86.50 87.00 84.90 84.00 86.00 85.00 86.00 85.00 85.20 170.10
5 TRUMAN CHRIS PAYNE 77.25 80.50 86.50 89.00 86.50 83.95 80.00 81.00 83.00 83.00 83.50 82.10 166.05
6 RANSOM TIM GOGEN 87.00 87.00 83.75 85.00 84.50 85.45 83.00 80.00 78.00 83.50 78.00 80.50 165.95
7 CANDID JENNIFER ALFANO 90.00 89.00 84.50 87.00 83.85 86.87 79.00 75.00 82.00 82.00 75.00 78.60 165.47
8 MTM YOWZA TRACY FENNEY 80.00 84.00 82.00 82.00 81.00 81.80 85.00 84.00 82.00 81.00 81.00 82.60 164.40
9 MTM CASH TRACY FENNEY 80.50 83.00 84.00 83.00 82.50 82.60 80.50 81.00 82.50 80.00 80.00 80.80 163.40
10 CLASSICAL SCOTT STEWART 80.50 88.00 76.25 77.00 83.35 81.02 81.00 82.00 81.00 84.00 82.00 82.00 163.02
11 WISDOM SCOTT STEWART 89.00 90.00 85.00 88.00 83.50 87.10 62.00 65.00 63.00 70.00 60.00 64.00 151.10
12 STAND ALONE CHRIS PAYNE 86.00 86.00 80.00 84.00 84.00 84.00 40.00 40.00 40.00 40.00 40.00 40.00 124.00

About Capital Challenge
In its 20th 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 28-October 6.

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.




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