Washington, D.C., October 26, 2008 - The 2008 Washington International Horse Show was an exiting and fun event for riders and spectators alike. The six day competition offered more than $400,000 in prize money, held exciting night time sessions full of exhibitions and demonstrations, and hosted some of the best hunter and jumper competition in the country.
The highlight event of the week was the $100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix, which was won by two-time Olympic gold medalists McLain Ward and Sapphire. Angel Karolyi (VEN) and Ron Krise's Sun God finished second as the only other double clear, while Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, FL, and Pavarotti were third.
Ward and seven other riders were clear in the first round to advance to the jump-off over the Richard Jeffrey-designed course. In the jump-off, Karolyi and Sun God were the first to attempt the shortened course. They went for the clear round with a little speed to put pressure on the other riders following. With the exception of a slip in one turn, Karolyi executed his plan beautifully. They finished with no faults in 39.47 seconds.
Margie Engle and Hidden Creek's Pamina L gave a huge bid in the jump-off when they sped around the turns, had a long effort at jump 9, and galloped down to the final oxer. Pamina just barely tipped the back rail on the final jump, and it fell to the dismay of the crowd for four faults. Engle finished in 34.94 seconds and took fourth place.
Next in, Todd Minikus and Pavarotti, were another duo that could offer a big chance for speed in the jump-off. They ended up with the fastest time of the night, 34.80 seconds, but it came at the expense of a rail at jump 7c. They took home third place.
Ward and Sapphire were next to attempt the jump-off. They approached the first jump, a vertical straight on the rail, to an easy distance and Sapphire took a stutter at take-off. They cleared the jump and then made it down the forward four-stride line. Ward then opened up the mare's stride, and they cruised through the rest of the course. He galloped hard down the last line, and Sapphire sailed over the final oxer with room to spare. They finished clear in a winning time of 35.79 seconds.
Ward and Sapphire's record speaks for itself and the 33-year-old rider has amassed many of his biggest achievements with the 13-year-old mare. "She's obviously incredible, and our sights are on the World Cup in Las Vegas and the World Championships after that. I've been so blessed; all of us have, to have this horse in our lives. She keeps doing and doing for us. There's nothing I can do to thank her enough. We have a lot of goals still that we want to accomplish; there's a lot left on the plate," he said. "I'm so lucky to have the team of people around her; Lee, Erica, Carrie, Jenny, Thomas Grossman, and my father. They make my life very easy."
While Ward has two Olympic gold medals and over 100 grand prix wins, his victory tonight at Washington still holds significance. "It means a lot. This is one of the most coveted grand prix in America. I actually came here this year with a strong desire to win. I like to win every day, but sometimes a little more than others. I really came up with a plan for here."
Jumper Results: Wednesday through Saturday
The 2008 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) opened up jumper competition on Wednesday. In the $10,000 WIHS Children's Jumper Championship, O'Mara and Raya de la Cour were one of 15 pairs to advance with a first round clear to the jump-off. O'Mara went seventh in the jump-off and lowered the leading time to 23.900 seconds with a second clean round. The last to go in the jump-off was Zoe Glassman on Nobilis. They were clear in 24.078 seconds to finish in second place.
O'Mara has owned the 13-year-old mare only since this past January and calls Raya her "perfect match." O'Mara trains with Mary Babick and Mary Donner and was excited to compete again at the WIHS.
Kenzie Donovan, a 19-year-old adult jumper rider, piloted Max to the win in the $10,000 WIHS Adult Jumper Championship. Donovan and Max were the fastest clear round in a jump-off of 12 competitors. They crossed the finish line in a blazing fast time of 22.656 seconds to take the lead over Olivia Fry Weeks and Atman, who were quick in 23.407 seconds.
Donovan called Max, an 11-year-old gelding, her "great little horse." Standing just over 15 hands high, Max is fast with a deceptively long stride, she said. "He is a really fast turner. He can go from nothing to a huge stride in no time and turn in the air. We say that he has a little jet pack because he can just gallop right up there," she laughed.
The Open Jumpers began on Thursday with the $25,000 International Open Jumper class. Mario Deslauriers of Canada rode Paradigm to the win in the first class, which was a qualifier for Saturday night's $100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix. Hillary Dobbs of Sussex, NJ, and Marengo put together the highest score to win the $20,000 Gambler's Choice class in the evening session.
The course designer for all of the jumper courses this week is Richard Jeffrey of Bournemouth, England. The $25,000 International Open Jumper class was a Time First Round format, and there were 26 entries in the class. Deslauriers went tenth in the order and was chasing the fast time of 53.76 seconds set by Darragh Kerins on Night Train, owned by Double H Farm. Kerins finished in second place, while Carolyn Kelly and Rulanda were third in 53.46 seconds.
Deslauriers and Paradigm, a 14-year-old gelding, sped easily through the course with neat turns to bring the winning time down to 52.16 seconds with no faults. Although there were eight clear rounds in the class, nobody was able to catch his time.
Hillary Dobbs, last year's Leading Open Jumper Rider, kept her winning form in Washington by taking the blue ribbon in the $20,000 Gambler's Choice. She rode Marengo, her horse that won two classes here last year.
McLain Ward just missed winning the Gambler's Choice class two years in a row. He and Goldika 559 finished in second with 1200 points, just behind Dobbs' 1270 accumulation. Christine McCrea and Twisther finished third with 990 points.
It was a very exciting night at Verizon Center when five horses and riders took center stage to tackle one of the most difficult classes in show jumping on Friday. 23-year-old Michael Morrissey of Bradenton, FL, on Scaraberas, owned by Eugene R. Mische, topped seven feet and a half inch to win the $25,000 Puissance class. Charlie Jayne of Elgin, IL, and Thomas Edison tied for second place with Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, FL, with Sleepy P Ranch's Presidente.
Although only five riders attempted the puissance wall, the big crowds were on the edge of their seats through five rounds of high-action jumping. In the first round, all five riders cleared five feet, seven inches over the solid wall with the green rolltop.
The second round progressed to six feet, one inch, and again all five riders were clear, to the thrill of the crowd. The wall was raised again to six feet, seven inches for the riders to attempt. This is where two horses were unable to go clear: Aaron Vale on Claudia Billups' Aristide 7 knocked the rolltop off. Angel Karolyi and Curioso Z, owned by Ron Krise, also had blocks fall off the wall during their attempt. However, it was a fantastic effort by both riders. This was Vale's horse's first puissance class, and it was 21-year-old Karolyi's first puissance as well. They ended up tied for fourth place, having cleared 6'1".
Minikus, Jayne, and Morrissey sailed over 6'7" to advance to a fourth round, where they built the imposing wall up to seven feet and a half inch. Minikus and Presidente were the first to go, and the big grey horse refused the wall. Minikus took a practice jump and stopped, not wanting to risk his horse's confidence by trying to jump the wall again.
Jayne and Thomas Edison made it to the wall and over the top, but blocks rained down when the bay American Thoroughbred could not quite clear the height, leaving the door open for a win for Morrissey.
Morrissey and Scaraberas, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding that he has ridden for five years, were the final pair in the ring. The crowd fell silent as Morrissey approached the practice jump. He rounded the corner and came down to the trot, where he switched to the outside lead- the horse's more comfortable way of going. He then cantered easily down to the wall and slipped over the top, clearing over seven feet for the win.
As soon as Morrissey cleared the wall, every rider at the in-gate blocked his exit with their thumbs up, calling for an attempt at the North American record, which was set in 1983. The record was set at the WIHS by Anthony d'Ambrosio and Sweet N' Low at seven feet, seven and a half inches. Morrissey talked it over with his team at the in-gate and decided he would go for the record.
The wall was raised to a staggering height of seven feet, eight inches for Morrissey's record attempt. Hopes were dashed, however, when Scaraberas was unable to clear the top and came down awkwardly. He fell to one knee upon landing and Morrissey was unseated, but both horse and rider walked out of the ring unharmed. Although he did not set a new record, Morrissey was applauded for his efforts and still took home the blue ribbon and top prize money.
When asked why Morrissey went for the record, he said with a smile, "I wanted to get my name in the books. There was a lot of encouragement in the in-gate with the other riders, and I wanted to give it a try."
Paige Johnson of The Plains, VA, took victory in the $10,000 Ambassador's Cup Classic for amateur-owner jumpers this afternoon. She piloted La Martinee to the win over Whitney Weeks and Subliem. Subliem was named the Amateur Jumper Champion while La Martinee was the reserve champion.
On Saturday afternoon, there were two jumper classes on the schedule. Kaitlin Campbell of Pipersville, PA, rode Rocky W, owned by Krestwood LLC, to victory in the $10,000 Senator's Cup Junior Jumper class. She had two time faults in the jump-off to beat the fastest four-faulter, Laura Pfeiffer on Thorstin. The junior jumper division champion was Jamison, ridden by Kimberly McCormack for Athlone Partners. The reserve champions were Saphira and Alexandra Arute. The Shalanno Style of Riding Award also went to McCormack, while the Best Child Rider on a Horse honors went to Jessica Springsteen of Colts Neck, NJ.
Hillary Dobbs rounded out the week with her third win in the open jumpers aboard Marengo in the $20,000 Hit and Hurry class. Her incredible success gave her the Leading Open Jumper Rider title for the second year in a row. Angel Karolyi was named the Leading International Rider.
Equitation Results: Saturday
Katherine Newman of Upperville, VA, rode Class Action, a nine-year-old gelding owned by Bar X Ranch, for the first time three days ago. This evening, she rode through two beautiful rounds to win the 2008 WIHS Equitation Classic Finals. Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, MD, placed second, while Matt Metell of North Falmouth, MA, was third.
The top 30 junior riders in the nation qualified for the 2008 WIHS Equitation Classic Finals by placing well throughout the year. They started the competition yesterday with a hunter phase. Newman scored a respect
The jumper phase commenced this afternoon. All 30 riders returned for the second round and tackled a 12 jump course set by Richard Jeffrey. Two imposing bending lines in a row with a Swedish oxer proved to be the most difficult part of the course.
Newman won the jumper phase with a fantastic score of 92.67, an average from six judges at three positions in the ring. Schaefer and Aston scored an 85.83 to continue their consistency.
After the two rounds of scores were added up, the top ten riders were asked to return for the third phase, a final work-off where riders switch horses. At this point in the class, Newman sat in third place behind Emma Lipman and Kimberly McCormack.
In the final round, Samantha Schaefer rode Logan, a horse owned and ridden by Chelsea Moss. She put in a smooth round and received an average score of 91.666, which gave her a total of 266.165. This moved Schaefer up from fifth place to second in the final standings.
Matt Metell and Rodin, Carolyn Curcio's horse, put in a solid round as well for an 89 and a total of 263.750. They would end up in third place.
Newman was next and she piloted Papillon 136, Jessica Springsteen's mount. They flowed easily around the course, hiding the fact that it was their first course together. The judges rewarded them with an average score of 91.333 for a total of 269.415. This vaulted them to the lead.
Hunter Results: Tuesday through Sunday
Tuesday evening showcased the $10,000 WIHS Children's Hunter Championship and the $10,000 WIHS Adult Amateur Hunter Championship. A culmination of the top 30 qualified riders were invited to compete. The children's class went first with 29 riders. Competitors received one high score after another. At the end of the first round, there was only one elimination. The top 12 riders were invited back to jump a revised second round course.
Coming out on top was Kristen Mohr and her horse Marvel. The 12-year-old grey Holsteiner was just recently passed down from older sister Lindsey Mohr to younger sister. Eleven-year-old Mohr trains with Beacon Hill. Mohr's older sister Lindsey also trains with them. Mohr looks up to her sister for confidence and advice.
Taking home the $10,000 WIHS Adult Amateur Hunter championship award was 19-year-old Lindsey Mohr and her Dutch Warmblood Lion King. She has owned him for five years. "I love my horse; he is my favorite to ride," said Mohr. "He is so consistent and I don't have to worry about him going into the ring and spooking or taking off. He is just a very quiet horse and he is so sweet."
Scott Stewart of Flemington, NJ, spent much of Wednesday morning accepting championship awards. Stewart was named Second Year Green Working Hunter Champion, Green Conformation Hunter Champion and tied for Grand Hunter Champion on his horse Ovation, a horse he owns himself. Aboard another one of his mounts World Time, Stewart was First Year Green Working Hunter Champion. To top everything off, he was also Leading Hunter Rider for the fourth time at WIHS. The reserve champion in the Second Year Green Hunters was Sting, ridden by Jennifer Alfano for Helen Lenahan. The Green Conformation Hunter reserve champion was Sambalino, ridden by Ken Berkley and owned by Gina Day. Rosalynn and Hunt Tosh, who rode for Mr. and Mrs. Ernest M. Oare, were reserve champions in the First Year Green Hunters.
David Wright and Renaissance, owned by South Point Farms, came away with the championship award in the Regular Working Hunters. Wright only rides the horse at horse shows when he is shipped in from South Point Farm in Kansas City, Missouri, and they keep him on a light training program. The reserve champion in the division was Jersey Boy, ridden by Jennifer Alfano for SBS Farms.
In the Regular Conformation Hunters, Leslie Steele and mount Smitten, owned by Stephanie Danhakl, came away with the championship. Steele also tied with Stewart for Grand Hunter Champion. White Oak, ridden by Archie Cox for Delanie Stone, was the reserve champion. Smitten is still on the green side and stands at a height of 15.2, but that does not damper his athletic abilities. The pair picked up two firsts, a second and third place ribbons.
Later in the day the Amateur-Owner Hunters competed. The Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunter Championship tricolor was awarded to Tracy Sheriff with Lavari. The reserve championship prize went to Zach Parks and Castleton. In the Amateur-Owner 35 and Over Hunter division, Player, with Penelope Ayers in the irons, took home the championship honors. Larkspur and Ashley Kennedy Whitner received the reserve championship trophy. Tracy Sheriff and Lavari won both the Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter title and the Leading Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider title.
The competition on Friday 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. The reserve champion in the Large Junior 15 & Under division was Perfectionist, ridden by Samantha Schaefer for Scott Stewart.
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. Victoria Birdsall rode Cool Blue for Paris Sellon to the reserve championship in the division.
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. Jennifer Waxman and Seduced, owned by Erin Tormondsen, were reserve champions.
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.
The WIHS Pony Equitation Classic was held following the pony hunters. A class of 26 riders competed in the first round jumping phase, and the top twelve riders were invited back for a second round flat phase. Coming home with the blue ribbon was 13-year-old Shawn Casady and pony Liseter Clever Star, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker. Helping to present the award was last year's winner, Taylor Ann Adams.
In the $15,000 WIHS Hunter Classic, Scott Stewart piloted World Time to the win. The class was by invitation only; extended to those horse and riders who won championship honors in this week's hunter divisions.
Today's Hunter Classic course included tight rollbacks, as well as an intricate snake fence. During his first round, Stewart received a score of 90.333 with World Time, which put him in the lead going into the second round. Jessica Springsteen and Tiziano returned to the second round in the fourth place position. Their second round was impeccable, taking a very tight inside option after a two-stride. The performance would earn them a score of 95.333 and total of 176.333, as well as resounding cheers from the audience. Stewart would not be outdone though, and returned to the ring to produce another terrific round. He received a score of 91.666, resulting in total of 181.999 and today's trophy.
World Time and Stewart qualified for the $15,000 WIHS Hunter Derby Classic by winning the championship in the First Year Green Working Hunters. Springsteen and Tiziano's incredible second round earned them the reserve honors in the Hunter Classic. Katie Dinan and Angelo also produced two solid efforts, for a total score of 167.333 and the third place ribbon.
Taking home the Grand Pony Hunter Championship was Meredith Darst and pony All About Me, who is owned by Megan Davis. Darst also won the Medium Pony Hunter Championship with two firsts, a second and fourth-place ribbons. Katie Dinan's Light Up the Year and rider Lillie Keenan came away with reserve champion honors. Darst has been champion at this horse show three years in a row; the past two years have been with this particular pony.
"She has not shown him since Devon, so we came with absolutely no expectations," said Mindy Darst, Meredith's mother. "He got to come because of winning a championship last year. He literally came out of the field and had shoes put on. It was beyond our wildest expectations to win. He and Maddy have been a match from day one, and it has been a great success story. The venue doesn't matter; there is just a very special bond that those two have. They have just picked up right where they left off."
In the Large Pony Hunter division, Shawn Casady and A Day at the Beach, owned by Katie Dawson, were champions. Casady rode to first, second, and sixth-place ribbons. Taking home reserve champion honors were Lillie Keenan and Beau Rivage, owned by Casey Green.
Rolling Stone and Sophie Michaels came away with the championship award in the Small Pony Hunters. Ten-year-old Michaels, who resides in New York, NY, piloted her pony Rolling Stone to first, second and seventh-place ribbons. Reserve champion was Aleece Jarman and her pony Rico Suave.
The local horse and pony hunters competed today as well. Taking home championship top honors in the Local Pony Hunters was 15-year-old Lindsay Wolf and Otteridge Black Hawk, owned by Amanda Groher. Behind Wolf in the reserve champion position was Silver Rain and Madeline Schaefer, who won today's final class.
In the Local Hunter Horse division, Keri Guanciale and Westport were named champions. Taking home reserve championship was Jessica Chappell and Gran Cru.
For more information and full results from the Washington International Horse Show, please visit http://www.wihs.org
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/washington-international-horse-wrap-up-10-08.html">2008 Washington International Horse Show Wrap-Up: October 21-26, 2008</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com