World Championship Hunter Rider Awards
Wellington, FL – October 10, 2006 – This past weekend, the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Upper Marlboro, MD, held the Monarch International’s Show Circuit Magazine Professional World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) finals. The WCHR National Awards program recognizes the top Professional, Junior, Adult Amateur, Pony and Amateur riders through points accumulated throughout the year at the rider’s top four WCHR shows. The top six riders from each region and the top ten riders in the standings are then invited to compete directly against one another in Challenge Classes at the Capital Challenge Horse Show.
In the Professional Division, the top four riders compete in a four rider challenge to determine the Monarch International’s Show Circuit Magazine Professional World Championship Hunter Rider. Returning champion John French of Redwood City, CA, continued his reign of victory over the weekend and led the victory gallop for the second year in a row. The other top three professional riders included Scott Stewart of Flemington, NJ, Peter Pletcher of Magnolia, TX, and Louise Serio of Kennett Square, PA. Stewart and Pletcher had each won this honor three times, and Serio was the recipient of the award twice in previous years.
Before the class, Capital Challenge show manager Billy Glass commented, “Tonight you guys are in the spotlight. You are under a lot of pressure, but it is a fun competition. I applaud you for your professionalism. We are all doing the best we can to make a good, fair competition to pick out this year’s top World Hunter Rider.” Co-manager Oliver Kennedy added, “This is the true test of a hunter rider’s ability to showcase their riding skills on a variety of different horses.”
The riders alternated on riding four different horses. These included Intuition, an 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Madaline and Rosemary Toulas; Locatelli, a 10-year-old German Warmblood owned by Morgan Hill Partners; Larona, an 8-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Jimmy and Danielle Torano; and Fortunate, a 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Crystal Row and Rolling Oaks Equestrian Center.
A score of 89.33 to Pletcher’s 84.66 in the final round was what gave French just the slightest of an edge to win the 2006 title. French’s score of overall score of 346.82 was less than a fraction ahead of second place finisher Pletcher (346.65). Third went to Stewart (337.99), with Serio placing fourth (323.98).
The rounds were scored by three teams of two judges using the open numerical system. The judges included Mindy Minetto, Susan Ashe, Jim Clapperton, Hap Hansen, Randy Mullins, and John Roper.
In the WCHR Amateur-Owner Final Standings, Rachel Geiger of Malvern, PA, took home the win. The WCHR Pony final results ranked Schaefer Raposa of Wellington, FL, in the top spot, and Jennifer Waxman of Chagrin, OH, earned the title for the WCHR Juniors. Carol Cone of Weston, MA, also triumphed for the win in the WCHR Adult Amateur division.
Representing Monarch International’s Show Circuit Magazine, Joe Thorpe, who is the trainer of Nicoletta Heidegger, remarked, “We are happy to sponsor something like this for the professionals. They are the hard working guys around here, all times of the day and night, and they deserve this chance to be showcased and honored for their talents.”