The 25th anniversary Capital Challenge Horse Show concluded on Sunday, October 7, with the awarding of the final Junior and Children’s Hunter championships at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD.
The Overall Grand Junior Hunter Championship was presented to Emma Kurtz of Hudson, OH, riding A Million Reasons, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker.
Kurtz, 17, and the 13-year-old Holsteiner mare (by Coriano) swept every class of the
Small Junior 16-17 Hunter division on Saturday, making them the far and away frontrunners for the Grand Junior Hunter Championship title, sponsored by Shadow Ridge and presented on Sunday.
“It’s always good to do well here because you then kind of know how they’re going to be going in to the rest of indoors,” said Kurtz, who is no stranger to success at Capital Challenge, having won numerous classes and championships over the years. “It’s such a great horse show, so it feels amazing.”
The 25th anniversary Capital Challenge Horse Show spotlighted the show’s youngest and smallest competitors on Saturday, October 6, at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD. The top honor of the day, the Grand Pony Hunter Championship, went to Gabrielle Sokolow of Westlake Village, CA, and Benetton.
On their way to earning the grand championship title, 13-year-old Sokolow and Benetton, a 10-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Pretty Penny Farm, swept all three of the Large Pony Hunter division over fences classes to also take the Large Pony Hunter Championship, presented by the World Equestrian Center.
“I’m so happy about it,” said Sokolow, who trains with Elizabeth Reilly and only started leasing Benetton in May. “I love this pony. It was such a big accomplishment for me. I’ve only been riding him since Devon, so it wasn’t for very long. He goes back soon, but I’m just so happy with it.
“He’s such a good pony,” continued Sokolow. “He always tries his best to be amazing. He never really cares about anything; he’s always so focused and listens so well. And he’s so cute!”
Professional hunter competition at the 25th anniversary Capital Challenge Horse Show concluded on Friday, October 5, with the highlight $10,000 World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Professional Finals, sponsored by Radwanski Enterprises.
The top six professional hunter riders in the country went head-to-head at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center, with Liza Boyd of Camden, SC, ultimately emerging victorious for the second year in a row following three phases of competition.
“It’s a great feeling; it’s exciting,” said Boyd. “I’m glad my husband, Blake, and my daughter, Elle, are here to experience it with me.”
In a format new for 2018, the first round of the $50,000 WCHR Professional Challenge, held on Wednesday, October 3, also counted as the first round of the $10,000 WCHR Professional Finals, with the top six riders in the national WCHR professional standings bringing forward their scores from Wednesday night into Friday’s class. While John French was in the top six, he opted not to compete, opening up a spot for Boyd in the top six.
Tracy Scheriff-Muser and Lindsay Maxwell Take Grand Amateur-Owner Championships
Tracy Scheriff-Muser of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, riding Aristocrat, and Lindsay Maxwell of Beverly Hills, CA, aboard Belgravia, claimed the Grand Amateur Owner Hunter Championship titles on Thursday, October 5, at the 25th anniversary Capital Challenge Horse Show.
Earning the Adult Amateur Hunter Championship at the show, which continues through Sunday, October 7, at the Prince George’s County Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, was Garland Alban of Luthersville, MD, on Remix.
For Maxwell, winning the Grand Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter Championship with Belgravia was déjà vu, as she and the 10-year-old warmblood gelding claimed the same honor in 2017.
“It’s such an honor to win here,” said Maxwell. “I love this horse show; I was excited to be back with [Belgravia] again, and to do this twice in a row is really incredible. I’m really proud of him.
“It’s so nice to be able to compare the same show at the same facility,” she continued. “Last year, he was still relatively new to me. I’d only had him for a few months, so we’ve really grown a lot together and gotten much more consistent. I was a lot less nervous this year, because I’ve now known him so much longer; I knew exactly what to expect. He’s an incredible horse, and he’s the same every time that we go in the ring.”
Continuing a year of great success, Amanda Steege of Ocala, FL, and Lafitte de Muze captured the top prize in the $50,000 WCHR Professional Challenge, sponsored by The Gochman Family and Radwanski Enterprises, at the Capital Challenge Horse Show (CCHS) on Wednesday, October 3.
In the $5,000 World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Developing Pro Challenge, sponsored by The John R. Ingram Fund, Karli Postel piloted Banksy to the win. Laena Romond and Traveller topped the $25,000 North American Green Hunter 3’ and 3’3” Championship, sponsored by The Wheeler Family. The three classes marked a highlight day of CCHS, which runs through Sunday, October 8, at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD.
With the biggest prize money of the week, the $50,000 WCHR Professional Challenge brought out 26 of the best horses and riders in the country to compete over two rounds. The Capital Challenge Horse Show doubled the prize money in this class from 2017, honoring the 25th anniversary of the show by adding another $25,000 to the total.
Steege piloted Lafitte de Muze to a score of 88.33 in the first round, which put them in fourth place. They returned in the second round to a score of 90.33 for a total of 178.66 and the win.
Twelve new hunter champions were named on Tuesday, October 2, during the 25th anniversary edition of the Capital Challenge Horse Show at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD.
Christopher Payne of Pleasant Plain, OH, kicked off the day’s 3’6”-4’ professional hunter divisions by sweeping the Green Conformation Hunters aboard Fibonacci, an eight-year-old warmblood gelding owned by Still Water Farm LLC.
“It was a good day – a good two days!” said Payne, who won all three of the division’s jumping classes, the model, and the under saddle.
“He’s an amazing horse,” continued Payne in speaking of the gelding that was only imported to the U.S. in January. “He didn’t get a pre-green year like a lot of these horses. He just came over, got gelded, and started doing this. He’s such a natural athlete and has such an amazing fantastic jump. He has the most amazing, natural jump that I’ve ridden.”
The Capital Challenge Horse Show named two new equitation championship winners on Sunday, September 30, to conclude the show’s Equitation Weekend, presented by BigEq.com, at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD. The 25th anniversary edition of the horse show continues with hunter, jumper, and equitation competition through Sunday, October 7.
Sunday’s victors were Grady Lyman of San Diego, CA, who won the Palm Beach International Academy (PBIA) North American Junior Equitation Championships, and Avery Glynn of Petaluma, CA, who topped the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Children’s Medal Finals.
From a field of 138 entries, Lyman was one of the top 20 to return to the ring for a second jumping round in the North American Junior Equitation Championships. When she returned, she executed the highest scoring round of the weekend – earning a 96 from one of the three panels of judges and an average score for the round of 94.66.
Upper Marlboro, Maryland – Eleven new champions were crowned on Saturday, September 29, at the 25th anniversary Capital Challenge Horse Show, at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD.
Among the winners on the second day of the BigEq.com Equitation Weekend was Jessica Stone of West Bloomfield, MI, who clinched victory in the second annual United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Final – East.
In order to secure the win, Stone had to top 121 entries over three phases of competition, including flat and gymnastics phases held on Friday and a final, jumping phase held on Saturday.
Coming into Saturday, Stone sat in third on a score of 216.80, while Breanna Bunevacz of Calabasas, CA, held the lead with a score of 220.12. However, Stone soon shot to the top of the leaderboard after earning a score of 89 from judges Mark Jungherr and Sissy Wickes. That score, multiplied by a coefficient of two and combined with her score from Friday, gave Stone a 394.80 total that would prove to be untouchable by the final two riders to return. Bunevacz, 15, finished the round with a score of 84.50 in the jumping phase for a 389.12 total.
The 25th anniversary edition of the Capital Challenge Horse Show began on Friday, September 28, at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, with the start of Equitation Weekend, presented by BigEq.com, and the naming of the show’s first three 2018 champions.
Adam Edgar of Leesburg, VA, riding Magnolia, and Lily Walton of Shelbyville, KY, aboard Callahan, claimed championships in the Adult Amateur Equitation Section A and Section B, respectively, and the North American Adult Amateur Equitation Championship title was awarded to Martha Ingram of Nashville, TN.
Ingram, 21, of Nashville, TN, made the trip from Furman University in South Carolina to Capital Challenge, just long enough to top the 26 total entries in the championship class.
“I actually skipped school today to be here, but I fly back tomorrow!” said Ingram, who is currently in her junior year. “This is my first time doing the amateur equitation here. I did the juniors; I did the Taylor Harris [National Children’s Medal Final]; I didn’t even make it to the second round in the Taylor Harris, so really coming here I just wanted to have a good time.”
Since its inception 25 years ago, the Capital Challenge Horse Show has been home to prestigious year-end finals showcasing the best in the sport. For the past decade, Capital Challenge has also shined a spotlight on the up-and-coming professionals in the hunter industry. This year’s event will be no different, as the Capital Challenge Horse Show returns to Prince George’s Equestrian Center on September 28-October 7, 2018, in Upper Marlboro, MD.
Each year, the top developing professionals who meet certain criteria are invited to contest the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Developing Pro Challenge, to be held this year on Wednesday, October 3, and offering $5,000 in prize money, presented by The John R. Ingram Fund.
The class gives less experienced professional riders a chance to compete against their peers on center stage for a coveted title. For many of the past WCHR Developing Pro Challenge winners, the class has served as a valuable springboard for their professional careers.
“It put me onto the hunter stage a little bit; it got my name out there,” said Tara Metzner, of Rancho Santa Fe, CA, who won the class in 2011 and went on to win the WCHR Professional Challenge in 2014.
“Capital Challenge is one of the biggest stages for the hunters,” continued Metzner. “For a young, developing rider to go in the ring there following a Scott Stewart or a Liza [Boyd] can be super intimidating. To be able to have a class where you’re still on a national stage, but that is specifically for developing pro riders where you’re competing against your peers instead of those really seasoned riders, gives a nice opportunity for developing pros to really shine on that bigger stage.”
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