Stewart Wins 2003 Monarch International's Show Circuit Magazine
Professional WCHR Title At Capital Challenge
6 -- Upper Marlboro, MD -- Scott Stewart's wide grin and dancing
eyes said it all after he won the 2003 Monarch International's
Show Circuit Magazine Professional World Championship Hunter
Rider title on October 3rd during the eight-day Capital Challenge
Horse Show at the Prince George's Equestrian Center in Upper
Marlboro, MD. With this win he had set a record by claiming
his third Professional WCHR title. "I'm very excited. This
is a great and fun class. It highlights the hunter riders and
the industry," he commented, visibly showing how happy
he was to have won it again.
In fact, Stewart won the class in 1998 and 1999 and in 2001 he placed
second to Louise Serio and in 2002 second to Peter Pletcher. The Challenge
was sponsored by Carol & Gordon Stillwell, Stillwell Hansen, Inc.
and Jack Schock and First Savings Mortgage Corporation, presented
by the American Hunter Jumper Foundation (AHJF) and included a media
sponsorship by Monarch International's Show Circuit Magazine. "For
my whole year I have this show as a goal," added Stewart. The
American Hunter Jumper Foundation's support of the professionals has
really helped give him and many of the hunter riders more recognition.
Stewart was one of four riders who had qualified for this final competition,
including second place finisher Havens Schatt, Ocala, FL (who led
the National Professional Standings with 1998 points); Stewart (1949
points), Flemington, NJ; defending champion Peter Pletcher (1811),
Magnolia, TX and first time competitor Samantha Darling (1784) Ocala,
The riders alternated on riding four different horses which they had
not ridden before. These included Straight Talk, a 16.3 hand bay gelding
owned by Jennie Hobs; Mr. Darci, a 9-year-old Warmblood gelding, owned
by Samantha Stimell; Antiqua, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding,
owned by Holland Coffee and Sandra Willekes; and Crescendo, a 9-year-old,
16.2 hand liver chestnut Warmblood gelding, owned by Pine Hollow Stables
and on loan by The Wetherill Family.
Stewart, Havens Schatt, Peter Pletcher, Samantha Darling
riders were allowed to briefly warm-up on their first horse
but for all subsequent rides they had to go directly to the
3"6' course in the ring. And while the fences were the
same for all four courses, the order in which they were jumped
changed each time.The rounds were scored by five judges using
the open numerical system. The four riders who qualified were
being judged by Sue Ashe, Wellington, FL; Scott Hofstetter,
Ocala, FL; Randy Mullins, Collierville, TN; Phillip Devita,
Apopka, FL and Jeff Wirthman, Island Lake, IL.
FIGHT TO THE END
Stewart earned his victory in one of the toughest classes ever.
It wasn't until the very last round that Stewart took over the lead.
"I was pretty relaxed," explained Stewart. "I had
such a great week, that I would have been happy even if I came in
fourth." The class began with Schatt taking the early lead
with a score of 90.8 (Stewart : 89.4, Darling : 84, Pletcher : 81.8).
In the second round Stewart claimed the high score of 94 but when
the scores of all the riders were combined it was still Schatt leading
with 184.20 with Stewart close on her heals totaling 183.40 (Darling
: 177.7 and Pletcher 172.4). In round three Darling took her turn
when she earned the highest score of 92.8, but it was still Schatt
leading the way with her cumulative score of 273.2 (Stewart 272.7,
Darling 270.5, Pletcher 260.4). Then the war was on in the final
round. Schatt went first and put in such a brilliant round with
a score of 95.2 that it appeared her final tally of 368.4 was unbeatable.
Darling had another good round but not quite good enough to take
over the lead as she scored 92.3 with a final total of 362.8. Even
as Stewart entered the arena it seemed all but impossible that he
could take over the lead. But in this class surprises never cease
and when the scores went up on the screen the crowd gasped 98
98 98 99 and 99 for a fourth round total of 98.4 and a cumulative
total of 371.1. Stewart had taken over the lead by less than three
points. The crowd cheered knowing that even with one more rider
to go, Stewart had claimed the title. In fact there was no way that
Pletcher could have taken over the lead. He totaled 92.8 and earned
the lowest overall score of 353.2. But even as the last rider he
was smiling. It had been a fun class and Pletcher knew that Stewart
had earned his victory.
Joe Thorpe, Scott Stewart
Once the riders had qualified and before competing in the class
the riders met with AHJF President Geoff Teall, Vice President Louise
Serio and Show Manager Billy Glass to discuss strategy, the plan
for the event and to express their thoughts about this innovative
class. The spirit of the class is good competition and good fun,
The riders look forward to this class. "I always want to get
in," commented Stewart who was not feeling his best and admitted
that he was "going to go to sleep" before returning for
the evening competition.
The fact that Pletcher was the 2002 winner made him even more determined.
"It would be great to win it again and I'm going to have even
more incentive going into tonight," he commented. When asked
why, Pletcher added, because these are the top four riders of our
business and we work hard to qualify for this class and it's a hard
class to win and I want to win it twice. I think showing in the
hunters is hard but when everyone gets together you really want
to get out there and try." Even after the class Pletcher's
enthusiasm did not diminish. "It is a great class to ride in
with a lot of enthusiasm. It's the end all!" Schatt is another
staunch supporter. Schatt, who won the class in the 90s, commented,
"I think it profiles the hunter riders and it's nice for the
owners of the horses to know that they have nice enough horses to
qualify to be ridden in this class." Schatt went on to talk
about the media sponsorship by Show Circuit Magazine and the fact
that horse shows should honor the winner of this class at other
shows the way they recognize the jumper riders. "This is the
best hunter rider in the country and it would be a nice thing for
the other horse shows to announce this throughout the year when
the winner competes. If they do it for the grand prix riders, why
not do it for the World Champion Hunter Rider."
Commented Darling, "I'm just happy to be here and honored to
be in it. In the beginning of the year I didn't set my goals on
this class but once I got closer to the top in the standings I started
to work towards it."
"The best thing about this class is it is totally different.
There is nothing else like it in the hunters. People really love
to watch it and the audience support is so great. We are asking
the riders to do something they don't normally do. It's one of the
few things in the sport of hunters that happens fast, is easy to
follow, exciting to watch, and different from what the spectators
normally see," added Teall OF Wellington,
"The riders are competing so hard to get into this class,"
commented Serio, Kennett Square, PA. "It's exciting to see
them have such a great opportunity to go in a class like this. It
is one of the few goals that you can have that shows off the riders
and their skills. It's less about the horses and more about the
Geoff Teall, Louise Serio, Betty Oare & Family
It was the AHJF that started the trend towards innovation in hunters
beginning back when it was founded in 1992 by Louise Serio, Geoff
Teall and Kavar Kerr. At that time it had 400 members and four designated
member shows in each of five regions. Today the AHJF has 1,000 members
and 48 designated shows in 8 regions.
The AHJF was created for the purpose of rewarding the hunter riders
who are often overlooked when compared to the jumpers. Beyond the
awards program, the AHJF also has an Emergency Relief Fund, the
Retired Equine Placement Service, and a BSA 401(k) Profit Sharing
Plan. It works towards educating spectators and encourages grass-roots
organizations. The AHJF is a non-profit, member and sponsor-supported
organization. The AHJF also sponsors a few more featured events
throughout the year, including the AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular
of Palm Beach (February 21, 2004), which is done as an Add-Back
competition with $12,000 going to the winner.
At the Capital Challenge the Professional Championship honors were
part of an overall World Championship Hunter Rider Awards Program,
which included junior, rofessional, amateur-owner, adult amateur,
children's and pony hunter riders. The program was established by
the AHJF to recognize and reward excellence among hunter riders.
In order to qualify, a rider's top four WCHR shows plus their performance
at the Capital Challenge determined the ultimate champions. A number
of special awards were given out as well. Betty Oare was the winner
of the Old Springhouse Lifetime Achievement Award. The Jeffery Katz
Memorial Award went to Pavé, ridden by Schatts. Pavés
owner, Caroline Moran, won the Rox Dene Award. The China Blue Hunter
Challenge went to Chopard, ridden by Stewart. Bob Crandell won the
Winter's Run Sportsmanship Award.
RISING TO THE TOP
This was the ninth year that the AHJF had hosted the Monarch International's
Show Circuit Magazine Professional World Championship Hunter Rider
finals. The winner not only received the trophy but also a Tad Coffin
Performance Saddle, a saddle that Olympic Gold Medalist Coffin researched
and designed himself which is based around the comfort of the horse.
"That was my favorite class so far," commented Justin
Kenney who presented the saddle. "I thought everyone rode great
and it was fun to the very last jump."
Stewart also received a sponsorship from Monarch International's
Show Circuit Magazine, which designates money to be used specifically
to ensure coverage of both the championship and of Stewart as its
winner. Press Link of America, an equine focused PR firm, handles
special thanks also goes to Capital Challenge co-managers Oliver
Kennedy, Brookville, MD and Billy Glass, Bokeelia, FL, who truly
showcase the event which is preceded by a light show and followed
by a friends and exhibitors party.
For more information, the AHJF can be contacted at 335 Lancaster
Street, West Boylston, MA 01583-0369, 508-835-8813, fax: 508-835-6125,
firstname.lastname@example.org. For complete results go to www.ryegate.com.
2003 PROFESSIONAL WCHR: 1. Scott Stewart (98.4, 89.3, 94, 89.4 =
371.1), 2. Havens Schatt (95.2, 89, 93.4, 90.8 = 368.4), 3. Samantha
(92.3, 92.8, 93.7, 84 = 362.8), 4. Peter Pletcher (92.8, 88, 90.6,
81.8 = 353.2)
AHJF OLD SPRINGHOUSE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Betty Oare
(Presented to a person who exemplifies great support and lifetime
commitment to the sport of hunter and jumper competition.)
JEFFERY KATZ MEMORIAL AWARD: Pavé, Havens Schatt (owner/Caroline
Total Points: 1998 (Jeffery Katz was a 38-year-old trainer from
Chicago who was killed in a car accident in 1999. The award goes
to the horse/rider combination that accumulates the most points
in the 1st Year Green, 2nd Year Green, or Green Conformation Hunter
Divisions at their best four WCHR shows, plus the divisions at the
CHINA BLUE FARM WORKING HUNTER CHALLENGE AWARD: Chopard (rider/Scott
Stewart, owner/Krista Weisman, trainer/Gary Duffy). The owner, rider
and trainer each receive a check for $3,500 and the groom ( ) receives
a check for $500. (1595 points
by Priscilla Tamkin and China Blue Farm, this award honors the horse
and rider combination that accumulates the most points in either
of the 4 hunter divisions at their best four WCHR shows, plus their
divisions at the Capital Challenge.)
WINTER'S RUN SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD: Bob Crandell
(Sponsored by Tricia Bosley in memory of her mother Sylvia Hechter.
The boot trophy is one of Sylvias treasured Vogel boots which was
bronzed and mounted on a walnut base. The purpose of the award is
to encourage better sportsmanship throughout the entire horse show
ROX DENE AWARD: Caroline Moran (owner of Pavé who was ridden
by Havens Schatt to 1998 points)
(Donated by Elaine and Chanda Boylen, this award is presented to
the Owner of the WCHR High Score Horse ridden by a professional,
which has accumulated the most points using the four best WCHR sanctioned
shows plus the divisions at the Capital Challenge.)
RESULTS OF THE WCHR NATIONAL PROGRAM
PROFESSIONAL: 1. Havens Schatt, Ocala, FL, 1998 pts.; 2. Scott Stewart,
Flemington, NJ, 1949 pts.;3. Peter Pletcher, Magnolia, TX, 1811
pts.; 4. Samantha Darling, Colts Neck, NJ, 1784 pts.
JUNIOR: 1. Elizabeth Coughlin, Lutherville, MD, 1482 pts.; 2. Charlie
Jayne, Elgin, IL, 1412 pts.; 3. Nancy S. Amling, Palm Beach, FL,
1370 pts.; 4. Paige Johnson, The Plains, VA, 1320 pts.
PONY: 1. Samantha Schaefer, Westminster, MD, 1384 pts.; 2. Alexandra
Arute, Avon, CT, 1374 pts.; 3. Sofie Applegate, Atherton, CA, 1363
pts.; 4. Katherine Newman, Upperville, VA, 1285 pts.
AMATEUR-OWNER: 1. Betty Oare, Warrenton, VA, 1645 pts.; 2. Caroline
Moran, Bedford, NY, 1586 pts.; 3. Meghan Moran, Malvern, PA, 1423
pts.; 4. Barbara Swavely, Castle Rock, CO, 1373 pts.
RESULTS FOR REGIONAL STANDINGS
article and the accompanying photos are copyright of Diana De Rosa,
SOUTHWEST: Professional: Patrick Spanton, Palos Verdes Estates,
CA, 1430 pts.; Amateur-Owner: Katie Polk, Malibu, CA, 1085 pts.;
Junior: Karlyn Wilhelm, Moorpark, CA, 891 pts.; Pony: Sofie Applegate,
Atherton, CA, 1363 pts.; Children: Kate Zucker, Pacific Palisades,
CA, 1509 pts.; Adult Amateur: Amy Brubaker, Pasadena, CA, 1638 pts..
MIDWEST: Professional: Heidi Austin-Fish, Hebron, IL, 829 pts.;
Amateur-Owner: Leah Schwendeman, Belleville, IL, 864 pts.; Junior:
Charlie Jayne, Elgin, IL, 1162 pts.; Pony: Stephanie Vijan, New
Albany, OH, 822 pts.; Children: Christy Russo, Miami, FL, 675 pts.;
Adult Amateur: Wendy H. Kraus Lewis, Willoughby Hills, OH, 921 pts.
SOUTH CENTRAL: Professional: Tracy Fenney, Flower Mound, TX, 1130
pts.; Amateur-Owner: Therese Peck, Flower Mound, TX, 1055 pts.;
Junior: Bailey Anderson, Dallas, TX, 1026 pts.; Pony: Lindsey George,
Magnolia, TX, 994 pts.; Children: Caroline Gibson, Magnolia, TX,
469 pts.; Adult Amateur: Becky Gochman, Houston, TX, 750 pts..
NORTH EAST: Professional: Scott Stewart, Flemington, NJ, 1308 pts.;
Amateur-Owner: Mimi Tashjian, Greenwich, CT, 1044 pts.; Junior:
Caitlin Donovan, New York, NY, 1134 pts.; Pony: Alexandra Arute,
Farmington, CT, 1233 pts.; Children: Molly Hay, Ridgefield, CT,
314 pts.; Adult Amateur: Pamela Vance, Amenia, NY, 1111 pts..
SOUTH EAST: Professional: Scott Hofstetter, Ocala, FL, 874 pts.;
Amateur-Owner: Lee Cesery, Jacksonville, FL, 639 pts.; Junior: Jack
Harden Towell, Camden, SC, 1200 pts.; Pony: Julianna Fischer, Lake
Worth, FL, 964 pts.; Children: Jason DiGioacchino, Wellington, FL,
329 pts.; Adult Amateur: Bruce Duchossois, Aiken, SC, 1259 pts.
CENTRAL MOUNTAIN: Professional: Paul Rohrbach, Elizabeth, CA, 1190
pts.; Amateur-Owner: Barbara Swavely, Castlerock, CO, 1195 pts.;
Junior: Kate Hart, Englewood, CO, 898 pts.; Pony: Tommi Clark, Parker,
CO, 723 pts.; Children: A. Grace Van Dyke, Edwards, CO, 67 pts.;
Adult Amateur: Nancy James Shaw, Englewood, CO, 842 pts.
NORTH WEST: Professional: Jack Hammond, Sammamish, WA, 1093 pts.;
Amateur-Owner: Tracy Sully, Aldergrove, BC, Canada, 1057 pts.; Junior:
Betsy Christianson, Bothell, WA, 769 pts.; Pony: Amanda Moore, Bothell,
WA, 1130 pts.; Children: Nicole Jones, Renton, WA, 1133 pts.; Adult
Amateur: Tamara Judy, Normandy Park, WA, 1040 pts.
MID ATLANTIC: Professional: Sandy Ferrell, Churchville, MD, 1149
pts.; Amateur-Owner: Betty Oare, Warrenton, VA, 1145 pts.; Junior:
Elizabeth Coughlin, Lutherville, MD, 1279 pts.; Pony: Nellie Ann
Foosaner, Middleburg, VA, 1097 pts.; Children: Taylor Brown, Palmyra,
VA, 927 pts.; Adult Amateur: Marianna Bishop, Charlottesville, VA,