Strike Three For Williams & Strapless In AHJF Hunter Classic
Day was a day late for Emily Williams and Strapless, who claimed
their third victory in a row (2001, 2002, & 2003) on Saturday
night, February 15, 2003 in the eighth annual American Hunter-Jumper
Foundation Hunter Classic Spectacular held during the Winter Equestrian
Festival in Wellington, FL.
just cant believe it. I didnt think I could win it twice
and to win it three times, said Emily. Her eyes and her smile
said it all. As many classes as Williams has won with Strapless,
you would think she would get used to her victories, but she claims
each new win with the same enthusiasm, appreciation and joy as if
it were the first time shed ever won anything.
pair seems to rise to the top, added her trainer, Tom Wright.
I just never thought it could happen again.
were 28 riders who qualified to compete in the first of two rounds.
Williams was 24th to go when she took over the lead. Then the last
competitor, McLain Ward on Monte Christo, matched her score but
claimed the lead by a judges decision.
off her last turn she (Strapless) came off her lead for half a stride.
She bobbled and went right back on it, explained Williams
about her first round. That bobble cost her getting scores over
90 from the four teams of judges, but it seemed as though Strapless
realized that shed have to show just how good she is in the
swear that horse knows when it counts. I give 100% and she gives
110%. I was so lucky. She was right there always looking. Ready
to answer, continued Williams. I really think she says
2 PUTS THE HORSES TO THE TEST
the second round when only the top eight riders returned first Charlie
Jayne on In Sync went off course. Then Addison Phillips on So Be
It scored 87. Phillips was third in line behind Williams and Ward
in the first round (89) after having to wait a half hour to go after
the lights went out on the course during her first attempt. Next
came Sandy Ferrell on Marvin (85.5). Then Lyman T. Whitehead on
Moulin Rouge (87.5). But it was Scott Stewart on Chopard who made
Ward and Williams know they were going to have to earn this win
when he put in a brilliant round and claimed the first score over
90 (90.5). Jimmy Torano followed on Just (79.5). And then it was
time for Williams.
the next to last rider to go, Williams knew she was in good shape
when she entered the arena and Strapless gave a quick spin of her
head. It was something that Williams had seen many times before
and she knew that in the past when Strapless tossed her head shed
gone on to put in some of her best rides. And this night would be
no different. Strapless continued around the course as if she owned
it, with her rider going for the bold distances that Strapless was
taking her to. At the last fence her energy level peaked as she
jumped an aggressive and bold jump with all the confidence in the
world. It was a brilliant course that earned the pair a record setting
score of 95.750.
there was still Ward to go in his first Hunter Classic. However,
things were just the reverse for Ward who spends most of his time
in the jumper arena. A few fences jumped too close to the based
took away his chance to beat Williams and earned him a score of
79.5. That left the check for $12,000, an additional check as the
top professional for $3,480, a Tad Coffin Performance saddle, the
Dark Continent Perpetual Trophy, a custom jacket and a cooler for
Williams and Strapless.
THE AHJF HUNTER CLASSIC IS ALL ABOUT
Williams and Strapless had earned their victory under the lights
on what was considered a difficult hunter course.
course was a long course, longer than normal, explained Wright.
There were a couple of extra questions and one place or another
each horse didnt always answer a question. Many thought they
were done with three more questions still to go.
was referring to the fact that the horses do so many courses that
they have a sense of how many lines and jumps are in each course
before they are done and can leave the arena. So, when it came to
what they figured was that point many horses thought they were done
and were surprised when their riders took them down one more line
of fences. But thats what a Hunter Classic is all about,
is the best event of the year because it really showcases hunters,
explained Wright. I think consistently the courses are challenging
but very fair. Plus the fact that they are under the lights and
draw a great crowd and have a qualification system that is the best.
Everyone rises to the occasion.
mentioned above were joined by a long list of stellar hunter riders
and horses. Among those competing was Peter Pletcher, who is the
2002 Chronicle of the Horse Professional World Champion Hunter Rider;
Louise Serio, who won the 2002 WCHR Professional Challenge Class;
and Charlie Jayne, winner of the 2002 WCHR Junior National Championship.
TO THE AMERICAN HUNTER-JUMPER FOUNDATION
Hunter Classic, which is sponsored by the AHJF, is unique. There
is no entry fee for competitors. All the champions and reserve champions
in the junior, amateur and professional hunter classes who are AHJF
members are eligible. The event takes place at night in a large
grassy International Arena and attracts a huge spectator attendance
both on the grass ledges surrounding the arena and at the tented
dinner, which is the AHJFs major annual fundraiser and is
organized by party guru Mason Phelps.
AHJF was formed in 1992 because of the need to support and reward
hunter riders and horses. It is a member-supported non-profit organization.
The AHJF began the idea of offering big money Hunter
Classics and a National Championships, which culminates each year
at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in early October. It is fundraisers
like the Hunter Classic, which allows the AHJF to provide the hunter
industry with the support and rewards it deserves.
more information, contact the AHJF at 335 Lancaster Street, West
Boylston, MA 01583-0369, 508-835-8813, FAX: 508-835-6125, email:
AHJF@aol.com, or contact Press Link at 631-773.6155.
AHJF HUNTER CLASSIC SPECTACULAR RESULTS
February 15, 2003 Winter Equestrian Festival, Wellington, FL
1 - , 2 -,
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QUALIFIED HORSES & RIDERS AHJF HUNTER CLASSIC SPECTACULAR
OF PALM BEACH
sex, color, ht., Division, ht jpg
mare, bay, 15.1, Danish Warmblood, Reg. Wkg. , 4
Lindner & All Seasons Farm
g., bay, 15.3, Bavarian, Reg. Conformation, 4
10, g., bl., 16.2, Lg. Jrs. 15&U, 39
Dignelli, Kate Stoffel Oliver, Patricdia Griffith, Jenny Dunion
m., brown, 15.3 7/8, 2nd Yr. Green, 39
g., brown, 16.2, Oldenburg, 2nd Yr. Green, 39
Gary B. Peterson
g., bay, 16.1, Reg. Wkg. Htr., 4
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
& Jonathon Phillips
g., chestnut, 16.2 hands, Sire-Gershwin, Rg. Wkg, 4
Don Stewart Jr.
g, dk bay, 17.1, TB, Jr. Htr., 36
Palm Beach, FL
g., dk brown, 15.3, Oldenburg
Pro Challenge Winner
11, g., ch., 15 5/8, Dutch Warmblood, Sm. Jr. 16-17, 36
& Stacia Madden
mare, bay, 16.2, Mecklinberg, 18-35 A-O, 36
first place finisher was guaranteed a purse of $12,000, plus there
was $34,800 in Add-Back Money. Additional money was given to the
top four professionals.
to the Winter Equestrian Festival are available by phone at 793-JUMP
or at the gate. Admission is free on Wednesdays. Children 12 &
under are free all days. Senior admission is $5 every day. Adult
admission is $5 on Thursday and Friday, $10 on Saturday, and $15
on Sunday. Parking is free.
Equestrian Festival Dates:
week runs Wednesday through Sunday beginning at 8:00 AM)
Enterprises, LLC Wellington Masters February 19 23
Tommy Bahama Palm Beach Open February 26 March 2
Cosequin Wellington Finale March 5 9
Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic March 13