See How It's Done By the Best - Scott Stewart and Catch Me - Hunter Rider Maestro
Saturday, October 9, 2021
Upper Marlboro, Md.—Oct. 9, 2021—In his 21st time competing in the $10,000 World Championship Hunter Rider Professional Finals, the inimitable Scott Stewart of Wellington, Florida, scored a record seventh win against the five other best hunter riders in the country on Friday, October 8, 2021, at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
Scott Stewart Tops $10,000 World Championship Hunter Rider Professional Finals Record Seventh Time
Stewart rode Catch Me, owned by Gochman Sport Horses LLC, for his first score in Wednesday’s WCHR Professional Challenge, then returned in the opening Playoff Round on Friday evening. Riding four other unfamiliar horses to scores above 90, Stewart captured the victory by more than five points.
Second place went to John French, while Jimmy Torano was third, Victoria Colvin finished fourth, Amanda Steege placed fifth and Geoffrey Hesslink was sixth.
Stewart came into the Finals, presented by the Rein Family, with a score of 87.75 in the WCHR Professional Challenge. He and Catch Me, a 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Casiro I, had the high score of 91.33 in the handy Playoff Round, which qualified Stewart for the Final Four, where the riders started on a clean slate.
"Most Fun Round"
“It was really one of my most fun rounds on him, and he was great,” said Stewart of his veteran partner Catch Me. “He is just a phenomenal horse, and I appreciate having him.”
On his first horse Spectacular, owned by Sarah Entzian, Stewart had even scores of 90 across the board. With Q King of Hearts Z, owned by Brannon Loomis Mooney, he upped his score to 93, while he received a 92.66 with Diablue 7, owned by 7 Dog Farm LLC. Heading into his last round, Stewart was trailing John French by one point. But with Elise Iafrate’s Nabisco, he received his highest score of 93.33, which catapulted him into the lead by more than five points with a total of 368.99.
Veteran Trainer Admitted to Nerves on His 20th Time
Stewart admitted that going into his final round with Nabisco, who was presented with The Far West Perpetual Trophy, donated by the Karazissis Family, as the horse with the highest cumulative point total in the four rounds, nerves struck him. “The instructions of the way to ride him were the opposite of the way I ride, and I didn’t know how to do it,” he admitted. “I just really listened to [the horse’s trainer and owner] about how to ride him, and it worked.”
While Stewart admitted that competing in the WCHR Pro Finals more than 20 times “means I’m really old,” he also remarked, “It means I’m really lucky and fortunate to be doing this at this level and competing against these great riders and having nice horses to show, so I’m very grateful for that.”
Stewart has seen the format for the class change throughout the years, and he praised this year’s class and that the WCHR Pro Challenge score carried over, as well as Joseph Carnicom’s interesting handy hunter course. “I thought it was pretty exciting,” he said.
For his victory in the WCHR Professional Finals, Stewart was presented with the All The Way Perpetual Trophy, donated by Elizabeth Busch Burke and Lysa Burke Horkan.
French ended up coming in second place with a total score of 363.66. He led following the Playoff Round, where he rode Marnell Sport Horses’ Ocean Road. His highest score in the Final Four came from Spectacular, who received an average of 94.
French echoed the feelings about the class format. “I liked that my score from the other day brought me into this round,” he said. “I was able to not have to do anything crazy in the handy round tonight to make the top four. I rode a horse in the handy, Ocean Road, who is owned by the Marnells and actually, he was really good. I don’t normally ride him, so it was nice for them to give me the opportunity to ride him tonight.”
A First Time for Jimmy Torano
This was Torano’s first time competing in the WCHR Pro Finals, and he also has the notable statistic of being one of three people to ever compete in and judge the class (the others are Russell Frey and Rick Fancher). Torano rode Isalou Inc.’s Laskano in the Playoff Round, and his highest score in the Final Four came with Diablue 7, who scored 91. He finished with a total of 359.15. Torano’s Playoff Round mount Laskano, groomed by Francisco Martinez, was later presented with the Shapley's Best Turned Out Award.
“I would like to thank all of the owners and trainers of all these horses that were donated,” he said. “I thought we had a good group of horses tonight. It was my first time doing it, and I’ve watched it a lot of years.
“It’s nice going head-to-head with these guys,” he continued. “We do this day in and day out. We show against each other every single week, and this is fun because it’s a different format. I’d like to do it again if I have the horses.”
Finishing in fourth place was Victoria Colvin, who piloted Montauk, owned by Libbie Gordon, in the Playoff Round. Her high score of 91 came with Diablue 7, and she finished with a total of 353.32.
“I was fortunate to have Libbie Gordon’s Montauk to show in the handy round,” said Colvin. “I wasn’t sure I’d have a horse, so I’m grateful she lent me that horse and he was great to get me into the top four. I thought everybody had a great night, and it was a good class. It was a lot of fun.”
Lots of Winners and Awards at the Capital Challenge Horse Show
Also held throughout the week are eight WCHR Challenge classes in the following sections: Professional, Developing Professional, Amateur-Owner 3'6", Amateur-Owner 3'3", Adult Amateur, Junior 3'6", Junior 3'3", Children’s and Pony. These classes are open to the top-ranked riders nationally and regionally, as well as from the corresponding section at the Capital Challenge Horse Show. Congratulations to the following winners:
- $25,000 WCHR Professional Challenge and Little Brook Perpetual Trophy donated by Gary Duffy - John French and Babylon
- $5,000 WCHR Developing Professional Challenge and Bittersweet Perpetual Trophy donated by Rachel Kennedy - Heather Williams and DiCaprio 3
- $5,000 WCHR Amateur Owner 3’6” Challenge and Amateur Owner Challenge Perpetual Trophy donated by the Texas Hunter Jumper Association - Ellen Toon and Gabriel
- $2,500 WCHR Amateur Owner 3’3” Challenge - Catherine Cowie and Traveller
- $2,500 WCHR Adult Amateur Challenge and Pat Thompson Memorial Perpetual Trophy donated by Page Tredennick in memory of her mother - Lindsey Tomeu and Nightfall
Also in the Challenge classes, the Shapley's Best Turned Out Awards honored the grooms of the horses the judge's determined to be well-presented:
- Professional Challenge - Ariel Morales, groom of Necofino, ridden by Caroline Willard Biles
- Developing Professional Challenge - Juan Pedro Beltran, groom of Emilio, ridden by Ashley Foster
- Amateur-Owner 3'6" Challenge - Saul O'Tenorio, groom of Tycoon, ridden by Keli Gibson
- Amateur-Owner 3'3" Challenge - Luis Mandujano, groom of Chevoit, ridden by Lexi Maounis
- Adult Amateur Challenge - Javier Arredondo Ayala, groom of Sidenote, ridden by Betty Oare
The following WCHR awards and trophies were also presented throughout the week:
- In Disguise Perpetual Trophy donated by Ellen and Jim Toon and presented to the trainer of the WCHR Amateur Owner 3’6” National Champion - Nick Haness
- Professional American Style of Riding Award - Holliday Ryals
- Developing Professional American Style of Riding Award - Jared Depermentier
- Charles Johnson Perpetual Trophy in memory of Charles Johnson and presented to the high-point rider from the Midwest region - Christopher Payne
- Urlala Perpetual Trophy donated by Kimberly Maloomian and presented to the Adult Amateur horse-and-rider combination earning the most points in the Adult Amateur sections using their top four WCHR Member Events plus the Capital Challenge Horse Show - Brooke Cole and Poetic
- Rox Dene Trophy donated by Elaine and Chanda Boylen and presented to the owner of the horse ridden by a Professional or Developing Professional earning the most points in the High Performance Working Hunter, First Year Green, Second Year Green, Green Conformation, Regular Conformation or Performance Working Hunter 3’6” using the horse’s top four WCHR Member Events plus the Capital Challenge Horse Show - Cheryl Olsten, owner of Lafitte De Muze
- Jeffrey Katz Trophy donated by Lisa Cudahy in memory of Jeffrey Katz and presented to the Professional or Developing Professional horse-and-rider combination earning the most points in First Year Green, Second Year Green or Green Conformation using their top four WCHR Member Events plus Capital Challenge Horse Show - John French and Babylon
- Alabama Clay Conformation Hunter Perpetual Trophy donated by the Weisman Family and presented to the owner of the horse earning the most points in Green or Regular Conformation using their top four WCHR Member Events plus Capital Challenge Horse Show - Dr. Betsee Parker, owner of Charlemagne
- Derbydown Trophy donated by Louise Serio of Derbydown and awarded to the highest scoring hunter round by a Professional in the Pro Sections at the Capital Challenge Horse Show - John French and Babylon with a score of 92
- Winter’s Run Sportsmanship Award donated by Patricia Bosley in memory of her mother and presented by WCHR membership vote to a person who best exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship - John Ingram
- Daniel P. Lenehan Perpetual Trophy in memory of Daniel P. Lenehan and presented by the WCHR Committee to a person who exemplifies dedication and lifetime commitment to judging show hunters - Brian Flynn
- David Peterson Perpetual Trophy donated by Kavar Kerr and Jim Anderson and presented by the WCHR Committee to a person who exemplifies dedication and commitment to the care and well-being of horses - Senobio Cruz Old Springhouse Perpetual Trophy donated by the
- Old Springhouse Corporation and presented by WCHR membership vote to the winner of the WCHR Lifetime Achievement Award - Walter "Jimmy" Lee
- USHJA/WCHR Course Designer Perpetual Trophy Presented by USHJA to the Course Designer of the Year - Andy Christiansen
Capital Challenge Honors 2021 National Champions
- Professional - Scott Stewart
- Developing Professional - Jef Lauwers
- Amateur-Owner 3'6" and Spiff ‘N Polish Perpetual Trophy donated by Elizabeth Busch Burke and Lysa Burke - Tonya Johnston
- Amateur-Owner 3'3" - Martha Ingram Adult Amateur - Brooke Cole
- Professional Owner - Dr. Betsee Parker
- Developing Professional Owner - Avery Winston
- Professional - Scott Stewart Developing Professional - Jef Lauwers Amateur-Owner 3'6" and Spiff ‘N Polish Perpetual Trophy donated by Elizabeth Busch Burke and Lysa Burke - Tonya Johnston Amateur-Owner 3'3" - Martha Ingram Adult Amateur - Brooke Cole Professional Owner - Dr. Betsee Parker Developing Professional Owner - Avery Winston
The Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, runs through Sunday, October 10. Watch the competition, including the remaining WCHR Challenge classes and awards for Junior 3'6", Junior 3'3", Children’s and Pony riders, live on USEF Network and find full results here.
The USHJA extends special thanks to the entire Capital Challenge team for hosting the event as well as Official Sponsors CWD, Nutrena, Parlanti and Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital and Awards Sponsor Shapley's.
Release by Jump Media for USHJA. Photos by Jump Media and Tricia Booker
WCHR Professional Finals Results
Place - Rider - Challenge Score - Playoff - Playoff Total Final 1 - Final 2 - Final 3 - Final 4 - Final Total
- 1 - Scott Stewart - 87.75 - 91.33 - 179.08 90 - 93 - 92.66 - 93.33 - 368.99
- 2 - John French - 95 - 87 - 182 92.66 - 94 - 90 - 87 - 363.66
- 3 - Jimmy Torano - 88.16 - 88.33 - 176.79 87.66 - 91 - 90.16 - 90.33 - 359.15
- 4 - Victoria Colvin - 89.66 - 80 - 169.66 91 - 90.66 - 83.66 - 88 - 353.32
- 5 - Amanda Steege - 79.75 - 87 - 166.75
- 6 - Geoffrey Hesslink - 85.95 - 45 - 130.95
Please note, these are older videos, not yet from the 2021 Capital Challenge Horse Show
Capital Challenge 2021 on the USEF Network