Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 17, 2018 – John Ingram continued his winning streak aboard Airport 48, owned by John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC, well into WCHR week six at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Ingram and the 15-year-old Holsteiner gelding were crowned champion of the Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35 division on Saturday, after claiming two firsts and a second over fences and a fourth in the under saddle.
Airport was originally intended to be Ingram’s daughter’s equitation horse, but made it clear that he was destined for the hunter ring. The duo has succeeded at WEF ever since, and this year’s Wellington competition marks Ingram and Airport’s fourth consecutive qualification for the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Hunter Spectacular.
“That’s not easy to do, and I am thrilled,” said Ingram of the pair’s achievement. “When he is right like he is now, you get your stride going, and just keep coming, and it’s easy. He is a pleasure to ride and a very special animal, and he loves it [in the International Arena]!”
Jean Sheptoff jumped her mount, Heartcore, to the reserve championship with a third, third, and sixth over fences and a first in the under saddle.
Dedication and Emma Kurtz Prevail in Bruno Delgrange Large Junior Hunter 16-17
Emma Kurtz entered the International Arena on Saturday afternoon to claim her championship ribbon in the Bruno Delgrange Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division. Unfortunately, her mount, Dedication, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, was unable to accompany the young rider in the big ring for Saturday’s competition, as he was not feeling his best the night before. However, the pair still bested the division by claiming both blue ribbons over fences and a fourth place in the under saddle on Friday.
“He had a little bellyache last night, but he will be fine,” said Kurtz. “I’ve been riding him for almost a year and a half. Occasionally he picks something out that he doesn’t like, but he’s usually so brave, and he jumps and moves so well.”
Kurtz’s plans for the 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding are to continue on to the Devon Horse Show later this year, but for now, they are enjoying their time together.
“I don’t think he has much to prove to us,” said Kurtz. “[We] just [want] to go out and have fun!”
Daisy Farish and Cinemagic, owned by Meralex Farm, Inc., took the reserve championship with a third in the under saddle and a first over fences.
Emma Kurtz and A Million Reasons Take Small Junior Hunter 16-17 Championship
Saturday’s daytime hunter competition came to a close with Emma Kurtz, aboard A Million Reasons, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, being crowned the Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division champion in the International Arena. The duo took two first place ribbons over fences and a first under saddle.
This championship win marked Kurtz’s second tricolor ribbon of the week after a champion finish in the Bruno Delgrange Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division earlier on Saturday afternoon. The pair were also champion in the division last week.
“[Winning this] is such an amazing feeling, especially with a newer horse,” said Kurtz of her victory aboard the 13-year-old mare. “I started riding her at the beginning of circuit [this year]. She is much slower than anything I am used to, and has the biggest stride of anything I’ve ridden, but other than that she is easy. It took some time to adapt, but [we] got there!”
When asked about what made her stand out today, Kurtz, of Wellington, FL, replied that the mare does it all on her own, and that competing in the International ring offered a great opportunity to shine.
“The horse is so beautiful and so fancy,” said Kurtz. “I love showing out there. The horses start to get bored here after a few weeks, so it’s a nice change of scenery for them.”
Devin Seek, aboard Bugsy Malone owned by Don Stewart, claimed reserve honors with a sixth in the under saddle and three seconds over fences
Kelly Tropin and Callie Seaman Earn Lugano Diamonds Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 Titles
The Lugano Diamonds Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 division ended in a California split on Saturday with champion ribbons going to Kelly Tropin riding Chablis, owned Libertas Farm, and Callie Seaman aboard her own Chicago.
Tropin, who hails from New York, NY, and works as an economist at Graham Capital Management in Norwalk, CT, won two jumping classes and the under saddle to take a championship with her ten-year-old Wurttemberger gelding by Camparino.
She woke up at 3:30am on Saturday morning with excitement about the final classes of the division, saying, “I couldn’t stop thinking about the hack and what the courses would be like. This week is extremely exciting and it’s my 13th year trying to qualify for the Hunter Spectacular. I was really proud of Chablis and this championship is one that was on my bucket list for him.”
Under the direction of Peter Lutz and Mary Manfredi in North Salem, NY, Tropin qualified for the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular to highlight WCHR week at WEF.
“I have had Chablis since he was four and he’s a spectacular jumper and a dream to ride, which in my opinion is hats off to my trainers,” said Tropin. “I would imagine he’s one of the very few hunters that didn’t get shown by a professional this week, walked right up to this ring for the first time since last year, and didn’t blink an eye. We like him to be fresh and have energy, but we can trust that he knows his job and that’s a real luxury.”
After coming back from a spinal fusion surgery in July, Seaman started riding again in early January and has been showing for three weeks. She hails from Greenwich, CT, and piloted Chicago to two seconds and a fourth over fences as well as a win under saddle.
“I was definitely really nervous because he was champion during this week last year and I still feel a little rusty, so I just wanted to ride really well,” said Seaman, who got the ride on Chicago after she and trainer Patricia Griffith of Heritage Farm found him from Hunt Tosh at the Capital Challenge Horse Show two years ago. “I saw him showing and was like ‘I have to have that horse’.
“He’s an unbelievable mover, incredible jumper, and has a great brain,” continued Seaman. “He is so easy to ride and his consistency is what helped me get that champion ribbon today. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse and I feel very lucky to have him!”
Technicolor, owned and ridden by Lindsay Maxwell, and Screenshot, owned and ridden by Jef Lauwers, shared reserve champion honors in the Lugano Diamonds Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 division.
Augusta Iwasaki and Small Affair Take Home Champion in Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under Division
Augusta Iwasaki, 13, of Calabasas, CA, claimed the champion tricolor in the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division to qualify for the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular aboard Small Affair, owned by Iwasaki & Reilly.
Iwasaki and the 15-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Elf d’Or were first, second, and third over fences as well as sixth under saddle. She said, “This has been a really good experience because usually just the jumpers get to come in [the International Ring]. It’s an honor because a lot of very prestigious events and horses have competed here.”
This year marks Iwasaki’s second time competing in the Hunter Spectacular.
“It’s nerve-wracking, but a lot fun,” she said. “Small Affair is an incredible horse; you can go in and if you do it right, you’re going to get a big score. He always tries for you and has such a presence in the ring.”
Runner up to Small Affair, Cassanto, owned and ridden by Maggie Hill, took reserve champion in the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division.
Natalie Jayne and Cracker Jack Win Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under Championship
Fourteen-year-old Natalie Jayne of Elgin, OH, collected two firsts and a third-place ribbon over fences as well as fifth under saddle to win the Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under Championship riding Cracker Jack, her own 11-year-old Warmblood gelding.
“I have never been in the International Ring before and Cracker Jack has never been to this horse show before,” said Jayne of a day of firsts for her and the horse she got the ride on in June of 2017. “Going in and having him be so good was actually almost a better feeling than ending up champion.”
Cracker Jack handled the experience well for Jayne, who noted, “There were spooky jumps and hard courses all week, but he went in and just hacked around.
“It’s a good experience to get to show under the lights here,” she continued. “He has been really good the past two weeks and staying consistent with him is my biggest goal right now.”
Dominik, owned by Gochman Sport Horses and ridden by Sophie Gochman, was named reserve champion in the Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under division.