Upper Marlboro, MD – September 29, 2012 - The Capital Challenge Horse Show opened up competition today at the Show Place Arena. This is the first day of the Capital Challenge Equitation Championship Weekend, presented by Bigeq.com. The Capital Challenge Horse Show runs through Sunday, October 7.
The North American Junior Flat Equitation Championship is a fun and competitive class only found at Capital Challenge. Megan MacPherson of Boulder, CO, was able to outlast the field to return into the lineup in first place on her horse, Great Expectations. The reserve champion ribbon went to 14-year-old Hannah von Heidegger.
McPherson finished second in the 15 Year Old Equitation flat class, which qualified her for the Championship class. The judges, Rob Bielefeld and Cynthia Hankins, asked the top 10 riders to ride nearly all of the work-off without stirrups, and included many tests like counter cantering, extensions, and flying lead changes.
She said of the special format, “I love it. It's a really cool, unique class and good to have fun opportunity like that. I just went in saying whatever happens, happens. No pressure. He flats beautifully and does all of the flat tests perfectly. I felt like I tried to hold on a little bit!”
The 17 Year Old Equitation championship, sponsored by Old Salem Farm and Frank Madden Show Stables, went to Kilian McGrath of Thousand Oaks, CA, on Clarequest Chippy Cruise, a horse she rode for the first time this weekend. The pair got into a groove early in their relationship. “This is the best Capital Challenge yet!” McGrath smiled. “I haven't gotten a blue ribbon until this year. I'm really happy about that, especially since I was on a horse that I just rode for the first time this weekend.”
McGrath feels like “Chippy” is meant to be her mount for this year's Indoor equitation finals. Both he and her jumper, Salerno, came from Olympian Laura Kraut. Salerno is called “Salsa” in the barn. “It's Chips and Salsa. They go together!” McGrath laughed.
McGrath and Chippy won the over fences class in the indoor arena and were third under saddle. She noted, “The second round, I felt like I got to know him a little bit better. After the first round I kind of figured out what I needed to do for the second round. I just rode the horse I had and was happy with the results. I felt more confident going into the second round.”
The 17 Year Old Equitation reserve champion was Savannah Jenkins on Capilan 2, who finished with two third places over fences and was second on the flat.
Local Brookeville, MD, rider Ashley Foster took the 16 Year Old Equitation championship, sponsored by Old Salem Farm and Frank Madden Show Stables, riding Raindance, owned by Megan McPherson. Foster said of her mount, “She's perfect. I got her the end of Ocala. I've been riding her for awhile now and we've gotten used to each other. I think we make a pretty good pair.”
She pointed out, “I don't know much about him because I've only been riding him for two days, but he's really awesome and a lot of fun. He's like my horse that I have at home. I couldn't expect much because it was the first time showing him, but it was really fun. He was a really good boy.”
Of her experience today, Wujak said, “It's amazing and a dream come true. It was so much fun to go out there and then trot down the middle.” Wujak will try to repeat her winning performance tomorrow in the THIS National Children's Medal Finals.
Alexandra Worthington and Romina 58 were reserve champions in the 12 Year Old Equitation division. They were first and fifth over fences and third in the flat class.
April Wehle of Wellington, FL, won the Adult Amateur Equitation championship on Icarus. Wehle explained how she got the ride today, “I actually just rode him for the first time yesterday. I didn't have a horse for the weekend and luckily my trainer Tiffany Cornacchio searched everywhere and Ken and Emily Smith were nice enough to let me use their son's horse. They were really, really good to me and let me show him.”
The pair won an over fences class and the flat class. Wehle described, “He is just the real deal. He goes around and is completely soft and smooth. He just guides you around and it's really great.”
Wehle showed once as a junior at Capital Challenge, so winning here for the first time as an adult was a great experience. “I was so excited because I really thought I was just going to be here warming up horses. I was so exited to show. It was really fun.”
The reserve champion in the Adult Amateur Equitation was Annie Finch, who rode W.C. Swing to two second places over fences and another second place on the flat.
The THIS National Children's Medal division championship went to Melanie Selleck, while the reserve champion was Sydney Hutchins.
Tomorrow's schedule concludes the Capital Challenge Equitation Championship weekend, presented by Bigeq.com. The day starts with the North American Equitation Championships of two rounds. Following that is the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Children's Medal Finals and the North American Adult Amateur Equitation Finals.
For full results and more information, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org. If you can’t attend the Capital Challenge Horse Show, remember you can log on to www.equestriansport.tv to see all the action live.
Highlights of the Capital Challenge Horse Show will include the North American Equitation Championship (Sep. 29), the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Children’s Medal Finals (Sep. 29), the World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) Emerging Pro Challenge (Oct. 3), Added Future Hunter North American Championship (Oct. 3), the North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup (two rounds held on Oct. 5-6), the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals (Oct. 5), and the WCHR Professional Finals (Oct. 5).