Tri Colored Ribbons Handed Out At 2006 Washington International Horse Show
Washington, D.C. – October 25, 2006 – It was a day full of hunter championships at the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS). Scott Stewart took home the Leading Hunter Rider Award, Popeye K and Tommy Serio were the Grand Hunter Champions, and Bridget Hallman and Grey Slipper were the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champions.
Popeye K was the champion of the Regular Conformation Hunters by winning all six classes in the division. Clockwork, owned by Old Oak Farm and ridden by Jennifer Alfano, was reserve champion.
Popeye K was the talk of the day, winning all of the classes that he competed in and taking home the Grand Hunter Champion Award. "It is always a thrill to win classes of this caliber," Serio said. He has been riding the big bay stallion for four years, and the pair just won a championship at the Capital Challenge horse show a few weeks earlier.
"He is pretty peaceful," Serio explained. "The first night here, he got run into by another horse in the schooling ring, and it shook him up a little," he sighed. "Popeye K is pretty laidback, but I am always careful to take extra precautions in handling stallions. You treat them differently than the average horse." Serio has been Grand Champion at WIHS before but, "to do it again is fabulous, and it’s exciting. I never lose the appreciation of the horses. They have been good to me throughout my career," he smiled.
The First Year Green Hunter Champion was Sterling, owned by Lee Kellogg and ridden by Jennifer Bauersachs. Fiyero was reserve champion, piloted by Pamela Polk and owned by Katherine Press. Sterling tied with Vida Blue, ridden by John French and owned by Leslie Bulechek, for Grand Green Working Hunter Champion.
"What a nice thing that John and I are co-champions together," Bauersachs said sincerely. "He has been a good friend of Rolf’s forever, and he has been stabling with us between shows."
Jennifer Bauersach’s husband Rolf found Sterling, the 6 year old Westphalen gelding, in Germany and imported him in November of last year. "He has been amazing," Bauersachs said. "He is so smooth and powerful over the jumps and feels like he is in slow motion." Bauersachs has been coming to Washington since 1989, when she showed in the Amateur Jumpers.
It was also a special win for Sterling’s owner, Lee Kellogg, who won the Amateur-Owner Hunter championship with Gifted at WIHS a few years earlier. "We have been looking for a horse to replace Gifted someday as he gets older, and I think we have finally found one. I will be handing over the reins now, and Lee will show him in the Amateur-Owner division in Florida."
Vida Blue and John French took home the Second Year Green Hunter Championship. The grey mare is owned by Leslie Bulechek. Reserve champion was Onassis, ridden by Elizabeth Towell and owned by Sarah Ward.
French started riding Vida Blue in March of last year, and it did not take long for the pair to gel. "I was champion in the first show that I rode her in, and Leslie has also been very consistent on her," French said. This was Vida Blue’s first year showing indoors, and French (a California resident) has not competed at WIHS for many years. "It is hard to come from California, so we were not sure if we were going to make the trip this year," he shrugged. "I thought that I better send the entries in just in case." Luckily for French, the team decided to pack their bags and come east for indoors.
The Regular Working Hunter championship was won by Overseas, owned by Laura Wasserman and ridden to victory once again by French. The reserve champion was Grey Slipper, owned by Bridget Hallman with Louise Serio aboard. French sold Overseas to Archie Cox and Laura Wasserman only three weeks earlier. "Overseas had never done indoors before, and he was a little bit looky the first day, but everyday he has gotten better and better," he remarked. "I think the round I rode today in the Stake Class was the best trip of my life, it was so incredible." "I should have never sold him," he teased. Wasserman will be showing Overseas in the Amateur-Owner Hunters this coming show season.
The title of Green Conformation Hunter Champion went to Ashton, owned by Karen Long Dwight and ridden by Scott Stewart. Stephanie Riggio’s Compliment won the reserve championship with Sandy Ferrell.
Stewart was named Leading Hunter Rider of WIHS 2006. He has been showing at Washington since 1984 and has not missed a year except in 2004 when he broke his ankle. "Ashton has been getting better every week and is really quite easy to ride," Stewart explained. "He is a seven year old Oldenburg gelding and is getting in the groove and more relaxed. The jumps today were wider and seemingly bigger than the other indoor shows. Ashton will probably do the Second Year and the Regular Conformation in Palm Beach. He can handle it easily, and it will be nice to have a good horse for that division," he ended.
The Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 championship was won by Grey Slipper and Bridget Hallman, who were also the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champions. Burberry and Ashley Dennehy were the reserve champions. For her success, Hallman was also named the Leading Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider.
In the Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35 division, the championship went to Milan and Caroline Clark Morrison. Reserve went to Reese, shown by Shaw Johnson Price.
The Junior Hunter Divisions will run in the Verizon Center’s indoor arena on Thursday October 26, 2006, from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm. The evening program includes Ladies Side Saddle, Barrel Racing, Terrier Races, The WIHS Dressage Invitational and the Open Jumper Gambler’s Choice.
Photo Credit: Sterling, owned by Lee Kellogg and ridden by Jennifer Bauersachs, was the First Year Green and co-Grand Green Working Hunter champion on Wednesday at the Washington International Horse Show. Photo © 2006 Diana DeRosa.
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