Washington, DC – October 24, 2012 – The first portion of the Washington International Horse Show was dominated by New Jersey’s Scott Stewart as the professional hunter divisions wrapped up their second day of competition. Stewart and his talented mounts nabbed three championship awards, two reserve championship titles, and the Grand Hunter Championship. In a clear victory Stewart was also presented with the Leading Hunter Rider Award for the second year in a row, and his seventh year earning the title since it began in 2000.
This year, Stewart’s leading mount was Enjoy, a six-year-old gelding owned by Rose Hill Farm. The talented young horse won the First Year Green Working Hunter Handy and also picked up three second place ribbons to eventually capture the division’s championship award. At the end of the professional divisions, Enjoy was still on top to take home the Grand Hunter Championship.
“Enjoy is a really simple and easy horse,” explained Stewart. “His first horse show was Capital Challenge and he went right into the First Year Green division in Florida, where he was champion a number of times.”
Stewart continued, “He usually doesn’t worry about the environment at all, but today he was a little bit spooky in a good way because he kept his jump pretty sharp. He is the same every day. He’s like a big pony, very sweet to work around, just really friendly”
Stewart was an unstoppable force this week. He also took home the High Performance Championship with Garfield, the Green Conformation Hunter Championship with Beholden, the Regular Conformation Hunter Reserve Championship with Showman, and the Second Year Green Working Hunter Reserve Championship with Dedication.
“It’s always a little nerve-wracking here and the divisions at this horse show are always a tight race,” admitted Stewart. “We try to just bring horses that can deal with the situation, and we have great help back at the barn. My job is pretty easy now with the staff that we have. They do a great job.”
Stewart added, “The hard part about it is the good part; I like being here in the city. There is a little more atmosphere than some other shows. It’s definitely a special place. We make sure the horses are rested and ready to come here.”
Texan Peter Pletcher was not about to let Stewart take home all of the ribbons though. With two mounts owned by Becky Gochman, Pletcher captured two championship awards of his own. First, he showed Sambalino to the Regular Conformation Hunter Championship with a win in the model, the under saddle, and the handy class. Two wins in the Second Year Green Working Hunter division gave Empire a big lead yesterday, to help Pletcher claim his second championship ribbon.
“Empire was amazing yesterday,” expressed Pletcher. “He was super here, very brave, he can walk in any ring just like at Harrisburg. He’s so straightforward and game; you never have to worry about him letting you down.”
Pletcher continued, “Sambalino was awesome too. I loved winning the model; it was a really good start to the day. He won a class yesterday, and today it came down to the under saddle. I figured, finally, winning the model would come into play, which it did. I loved it; it was perfect. This was the end of the year for us, and it was a good way to go out.”
The High Performance Hunter Reserve Champion was Rosalynn with Hunt Tosh in the irons. The duo also won one of the industry’s most coveted titles, the Protocol Trophy, which is awarded to the High Point High Performance Working Hunter from Devon Horse Show, Pennsylvania National Horse Show and Washington International Horse Show.
Professional rider Tom Brennan also had an excellent week with his talented mount Gramercy Park. The pair competed in the Green Conformation Hunter division and the First Year Green Working Hunter division, taking home the reserve championship award in each for their excellent efforts in the ring. Lynn Ellen Rice owns Gramercy Park, and two reserve championship titles helped her win the WIHS’s newest award, the Leading Hunter Owner Award.
Amateur Owner Hunters Highlight Afternoon
The Amateur-Owner Hunters were the main event at the Washington International Horse Show this afternoon. Wesley Newlands had her eye on the prize this year, wanting a set of the delectable Georgetown Cupcakes that only champions receive. The motivated rider rose to the occasion, winning the under saddle and the stake aboard her veteran mount Pure Abundance. Coupled with a second place finish over fences yesterday, their efforts were good enough to win the Amateur-Owner 35 & Under 3’6” Hunter Championship, and eventually the Grand Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter Championship.
“Pure Abundance was really good, I was a little timid, but he was great,” said Newlands. “It is so nice to have a horse that you can depend on. I have had him for five years. He was the exact same horse -- He was very green, never having shown. We knew as soon as we went into the ring that he was going to be the winner, no matter what. He needs a confident, smooth ride. He gets nervous, so you have to be still on him. He knows his job; you just have to find the jumps.”
“Instantaneous is by far the nicest horse I have ever ridden,” smiled Hone. “He is incredible; he does everything I ask and more. I have had him since he was four. He has been a little crazy at times, but he has been pretty trainable, always does exactly what you asked and learns quickly.”
Hone added, “He needs a really soft ride. I was a little nervous because usually you can’t pull him out of his stall and go, but he has responded great. He’s not a fan of all of the traffic outside, but once he was in here he calmed down and immediately went to work. He really stepped up his game this time.”
The hunter competition at the Washington International Horse Show will continue tomorrow as the Junior Hunter divisions get underway, with championship and reserve championship honors on Friday. Saturday’s highlight event will be the WIHS Equitation Finals, followed by the Pony Hunter Championships on Sunday. For more information about WIHS, please visit http://wihs.org/.