What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog

John French Prevails in WCHR Professional Finals at 2011 Capital Challenge Horse Show

October 08, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Kristi Siam Wins ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals

The best six hunter riders in the country this year  – Scott Stewart, Kelley Farmer, John French, Jenny Karazissis, Hunt Tosh, and Elizabeth Boyd – competed in the WCHR Professional Finals presented by the John R. Ingram Fund. The head-to-head unique competition saw John French of San Juan Bautista, CA, jump to the top of the leaderboard for his third win in the history of the class. Earlier in the day, Kristi Siam led the victory gallop in the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals sponsored by ARIAT International. The Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center, will run through Sunday, October 9.

The Top Six WCHR Riders: Jenny Karazissis, Scott Stewart, John French, Elizabeth Boyd, Kelley Farmer, and Hunt Tosh

John French was the picture of consistency as he rode through four rounds with no score lower than 87.33. In his first round, he posted an 87.33 riding Kennzo De Conte, owned by Kristen Abbatiello-Neff. He received the same average score from three panels of six judges in the second round, riding Mamba owned by Haven Farm LLC. His third round score of 88.25, riding Kaile Rudy’s Serendipity, put him in second place going into the final handy round.

John French and Kennzo De Conte

French may have had the luck of the draw in the handy round, riding Scott Stewart’s VIP Z. He received his highest score of the night, an 88.66. This gave him a total score of 351.57. VIP Z was named the High Score horse of the night.

John French and VIP Z in the handy round

“Hunt was definitely in the lead after the first three rounds,” French said. “I was in second place so I just thought, ‘Be safe, make a couple of the turns,’ but there were a few turns that other people did that I didn’t want to try and sort of blow it. I thought the only place to really show off was the hand gallop. Maybe that would be good enough. So that was my plan.”

Hunt Tosh barely missed the win, as French beat him by just 8/100ths of a point. Like French, Tosh had consistently high scores, starting with an 87.83 on Serendipity. His second round received an 87.66 on VIP Z, and he rode Capilin II, owned by Georgie Maskray Segesman, to a score of 89. His final handy round on Ostentacious, owned by Sheila Motley, scored an 87 for a total of 351.49.

Hunt Tosh and VIP Z

Tosh noted, “We’re all obviously competitive and want to win. But we’re out there having a great time. I want to thank Karen Healey for giving me a horse this morning and all of the owners.”

Third place went to Kelley Farmer, who received scores of 87.6 (Ostentacious), 84.66 (Kennzo de Conte), 87.66 (Mamba), and 86.66 (Serendipity) for a total of 346.64.

Kelley Farmer and Ostentacious

“We had six great riders and six really good horses,” Farmer remarked. “All of us are down there helping each other and rooting for each other. We all want our horses to go well. We want it to go well. I had a blast.”

Scott Stewart finished in fourth place with scores of 87 (VIP Z), 83.33 (Capilin II), 90 (Ostentacious), and 84.66 (Kennzo de Conte) for a 344.99 total score.

Stewart said, “I thought it was a great class and especially the handy the course (where) you could do some crazy things if you wanted to. It was a fun class. And everyone did such a great job putting it together.”

The highest score of the night went to Elizabeth Boyd on Mamba in the handy round. The judges gave them scores of 90, 92, and 90 for an average of 90.66. This helped Boyd finish in fifth place.

“I was so proud of [Jenny’s] horse,” Boyd expressed. “You know, of course I had to go first, and I really wasn’t sure of the options to take. And with him being a first year horse I didn’t want to scare him and land in the middle of an oxer, so he really stepped up to the plate for me. He was amazing.”

Jenny Karazissis was sixth with scores of 81.66 (Mamba), 84.33 (Serendipity), 86.16 (VIP Z), and 87 (Capilin II) for a total of 339.15.

The courses were designed by Michael Rheinheimer of Chardon, OH. Karazissis commented, “I thought the courses were terrific and it ran so smoothly. It was fun.”

For all of the riders, the hard part is qualifying for the finals during the year. They then get to enjoy themselves but still be competitive at the event. French acknowledged, “Just making the top six is a real feat.”

While this was French’s third win in the finals, he still was excited to win and share it with his friends and family. “I live all the way in California and my parents live here in Maryland so it is easy for them to come to the horse show. They never get to see me ride.”

For his win tonight in the WCHR Professional Finals, French was presented with the “All the Way” trophy. The Far West Farms Perpetual Trophy donated by the Karazissis Family was given to Scott Stewart’s VIP Z. French also won an Arc de Triomphe saddle, the WCHR Official Saddlery Sponsor, presented by Jean Pierre and Rebecca Bissilliat. WCHR Official Cooler Sponsor, Blue Ribbon Blankets by Royal Riders, gave a custom blanket. Merial is another supportive WCHR Contributing Sponsor.

Siam Stays the Course for ARIAT Win

Kristi Siam of Chatsworth, CA, came away with the win in the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals after a three-round battle with Mahala Rummel on Papillon 136. The two riders went head to head in a work-off when they were less than two points separated after round two. The judges asked for various questions in the test, including counter cantering the first jump, a trot jump, and hand galloping the final fence.

Siam went first and put down a smooth, correct test and the judges rewarded her with an average score of 86.20 for a three round total of 257.40. Rummell followed and while she had no big mistakes, the judges gave her a slightly lower score of 83.85 for a total of 256.80 and a second-place finish. Miranda Scarpone on Rosso Rossini finished third.

“I knew we were prepared. I was concerned that I would let my head get in the way. I’m an older amateur!” she laughed. “I struggle with being cool and confident. I am so happy to be here. It’s the whole journey for me. This is unbelievably special, but just being here and participating for me, I feel like a winner. It’s a really big deal to be here.”

Kristi Siam and Krosus

This was the third time that Siam has competed in the ARIAT finals, and she rode her eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding Krosus, who she also shows in the Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunters. “He does double duty. I think that’s a little bit unusual. Yesterday he had three hunter rounds and I thought he might be tired today. He’s my spoiled doll. But Karen and the crew knew just how to prepare him. He’s basically a nice, quiet, centered horse,” she described. “He was green when we bought him. It took time for him to get as comfortable as he is now. He’s just now really come into his own. I just had to trust him. I’m just so thrilled and my horse was fantastic. We were just in sync.”

Dawn Fogel was victorious in the WCHR Adult Amateur Finals on her horse Royal Oak. Paris North and Chiara Parlagreco finished second, while Lindsey Evans Thomas rode Music Street to third place.

Round 1 of the North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup sponsored by Kate Considine/Willow Brook Stables kicked off this afternoon and birthday girl Kaitlin Campbell was able to speed to victory. She and Rocky W set the fastest time with no faults in this speed phase, with a time of 62.063 seconds. Victoria Colvin and Waminka were second in 63.316 seconds. Alicia Gasser rode Don Francisco to third place in 66.651 seconds.

The jumpers will return tomorrow night for their final round, the $10,000 North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup.

Other WCHR awards presented tonight were:

Charles Johnson Memorial Perpetual Trophy: Meredith Darst

WCHR David Peterson Perpetual Trophy: David Seymour Clark

WCHR Old Springhouse Perpetual Trophy: Geoff Teall

WCHR Daniel P. Lenehan Award: Linda Andrisani

Correction from yesterday’s press release: Evans Thomas’ trainer, Sandy Ferrell, was awarded The Gail Knieriem Memorial Trophy donated by Lynley Reilly and Randy Johnson.

The Capital Challenge Horse Show continues tomorrow with championships for the 16-17 sections of the junior hunters, the pony hunters, the Children’s Pony Hunters, the WCHR Handy Hunter Challenge, and the final round for the junior/amateur-owner jumpers.

For full results, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org and for live scoring please visitwww.equestrianlive.com. 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.

Article and photos courtesy of Jennifer Wood Media.