Washington, DC - October 24, 2008 - Today marked the fourth day of competition at the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS). Held at Verizon Center, the show will run through October 26th and awards more than $400,000 in prize money.
The competition today started off with the concluding classes for the Junior Hunter divisions. Taking home the Grand Junior Hunter Championship was 15-year-old Jessica Springsteen and her horse, eight-year-old Tiziano. She was also the Large Junior 15 and Under Hunter Champion.
"It is always exciting to win an award like this. I did not know if we were going to be in contention or not," said Springsteen. "Yesterday we were first and fourth, so I knew I needed a good ribbon today if we were going to have a shot."
Springsteen ended up with two firsts, a fourth, and third-place ribbons in the division. Tiziano was purchased from Europe as an equitation horse but did so well in the hunters that Springsteen and her trainer Stacia Madden decided to make it his full-time career.
She was proud of how her horse handled the big arena and how he has grown up over the past two years.
"This is his second year doing the indoor circuit. He is pretty simple to ride; he has a huge stride and never usually looks at anything. He is pretty much the same every time he goes out there. No surprises," said Springsteen. "He will give me a good ride as long as he is reacting to me and not spooky. He has definitely matured since I have owned him. He was a little spooky last year at Devon and has become a very confident horse."
This is Springsteen's fourth time competing at WIHS. She started on ponies and has worked her way up to horses. This is a favorite horse show for her. Tomorrow Springsteen will compete in the WIHS Hunter Classic Derby, which she placed fourth in last year.
In the Small Junior 15 and Under Hunters, taking home the championship was Katie Dinan and her horse Angelo. Dinan piloted her nine-year-old horse to first, second, third, and fifth-place ribbons in the division.
"He was really good. He jumped especially well, and I think he knew it was important. I thought the courses were all really nice to ride. All the lines rode nice and forward so you could really open them up," said Dinan. "The jumps were really pretty so I think all the horses were jumping well."
Making the move from outdoors to indoors, Dinan has her own riding philosophy.
"Personally, I don't try and do anything different. I just make sure I am conscious of the smaller space and make sure I don't get backwards because it is a small area. I try not to psych myself out," said Dinan.
Dinan has had a good year with Angelo. They were champions at the 2008 Capital Challenge, the 2008 Pennsylvania National Horse Show (PNHS) last week, and the 2007 National last year. Even so, Washington is one of her favorite shows.
"He has been so good throughout the year, so we have been really lucky," said Dinan. "I love Washington; I have always loved this horse show. I think it is one that is really special."
Caitie Hope and Lyle were champions of the Small Junior 16-17 Hunters with first, second and third-place ribbons. Owned by Stephanie Keen, Lyle and Hope make a great pair. They have been champions at Capital Challenge, the PNHS, and now Washington this fall. In addition to indoors, they have also been champion at almost every major national horse show they attended this spring and summer.
"Lyle gives me the confidence to try different things. I know he will always give me what I ask from him," said Hope. "I am not afraid to really go in the ring and gallop, which is exactly the type of ride this course demanded. He is teaching me so much and allowing me to get some consistent rides. I can get off of him and feel ready to do the jumpers too."
Hope continued, "I am so excited to win this award. The atmosphere is great, and I always like to come to Washington."
Next to compete was the Large Junior 16-17 Hunters. With a first, second, third and sixth-place ribbons, Nicoletta Von Heidegger and her horse Small Town were champions. In the reserve champion spot was Alise Oken and mount Take Away. They came away with two firsts.
Oken was also awarded the Best Stake Round trophy and award. She received the highest score out of the four junior hunter stake classes today.
Tomorrow's highlights include the start of the pony hunters. There will also be the WIHS Hunter Classic Derby, Junior Jumpers and championship, Style of Riding award, and Best Child Rider on a Horse award. Following that will be the $20,000 Hit & Hurry and the Jumper Phase of the WIHS Equitation Classic. The Buffet Breakfast for Parent's of Junior Riders is sponsored by Don Stewart, Kim Stewart and Scott Stewart, which is scheduled to be held from 7-11 a.m. at the Crown Royal Suite. From 1-3 p.m. there will be a Pony Rider's Ice Cream Party, sponsored by the Peterson Family, and will be held at the Crown Royal Suite.
Saturday evening has a long list of exciting events as well. First will be the WIHS Equitation Final Work-Off and presentation. Next will be the terrier races, Big & Little Act with Caroline Williams, Ashley Holzer Dressage Demonstration, Chester Weber Four in Hand demonstration, and the US Gold Team Presentation. The class of the night will be the $100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix.
For full results and more information, please visit http://www.wihs.org
Photo Credit: Jessica Springsteen and Tiziano, champions of the Small Junior 15 and Under Hunters and Grand Junior Hunter Champions. Photo (C) 2008 Rebecca Walton/PMG. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/jessica-springsteen-hunter-washington-horse-10-08.html">Jessica Springsteen and Tiziano Are Grand Junior Hunter Champions at 2008 Washington International Horse Show</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com