Victoria Colvin Repeats Equitation Victory at 2014 Capital Challenge Horse Show

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Hayley Iannotti Captures THIS National Children’s Medal Finals,
Eleanor Hellman Wins NA Adult Equitation Championships

Upper Marlboro, MD – September 28, 2014 – The Capital Challenge Horse Show held three major equitation finalson Sunday of Equitation Weekend, presented by Bigeq.com. Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL, riding Clearway, repeated victory in the Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships. In the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Children’s Medal Finals, Hayley Iannotti riding Quasa Granda was victorious. Eleanor Hellman and Nigel took the win in the North American Adult Amateur Equitation Championships. Hunter competition begins on Monday, September 29, at the Capital Challenge Horse Show and continues throughSunday, October 5.

There were 79 entries in the Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships, and riders contested a course set by Kenneth Krome. There were five judges for the class: Jeff Ayers, Linda Andrisani, Scott Fitton, Mark Jungherr, and Scott Williamson. In the first round, Colvin and Clearway, a nine-year-old Warmblood gelding by Cheenook owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, went straight to the top with a score of 90.20.

Colvin said of the courses, “He has a really big stride, and all of the lines were pretty much (riding) easy today. I think the first course was a little more challenging than the second one, but he handled it great.”

The top 20 returned for a second round, and as the last to go, Colvin put down yet another solid trip and improved her score to 90.80 for a total of 181 and victory. With a greater than two point difference between Colvin and second place, no additional testing was done. “It was much easier doing two rounds, then being done!” Colvin said.

Megan MacPherson and Clover. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.
Megan MacPherson and Clover. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Second place went to Megan MacPherson of Boulder, CO, who rode Great Expectations to a first round score of 86.60. They improved in the second round for an 87.70 and a total of 174.30. With a high score yesterday of 92, MacPherson won the EMO Equitation Trip of the Show sponsored by EMO Insurance Services.

EMO Trip of the Show - Equitation winner Megan MacPherson with Jennifer Glass of Capital Challenge Horse Show. Photo © Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
EMO Trip of the Show – Equitation winner Megan MacPherson with Jennifer Glass of Capital Challenge Horse Show. Photo © Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Meredith Darst of Lebanon, OH, and Soldier scored a 90.05 in the first round. They returned in the second round and scored an 84 to finish on 174.05 for third place.

Meredith Darst and Soldier. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.
Meredith Darst and Soldier. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Colvin and Clearway haven’t been paired together long, but both come from a career full of victories. Trainer Andre Dignelli found Clearway three years ago through Brian Walker, who imported him as a jumper. It was love at first sight for Dignelli, but he did think to himself, “’What am I going to do with a 17.2 hand horse that’s a stallion? He’s broken-winded, he makes a loud noise.’ But I have to say, I was in love with the horse from the first day and I could not get him out of my head.”

He described, “I’ve been doing this for 25 years, and he’s the only horse that I know that can leave out two strides and add three strides as easily. He’s very, very special. He has a great temperament and is a quiet horse. He’s a special animal, and we treat him like he’s special.”

Victoria Colvin and Clearway. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.
Victoria Colvin and Clearway. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Dignelli believes that Colvin’s strength in situations like these is “that she can produce a top round over and over and over again in the most difficult of circumstances.” He continued, “I think the equitation division has been one she has to work at, in terms of making sure the position is top-notch and not losing classes for the wrong reason. I think we’ve been getting to know each other a bit and develop a team, not only her and I, but also with that horse. It’s difficult to catch ride these events, so we’ll see what our strategy is moving forward. I think today was a good sign that we’re on the right track.”

For Colvin, winning the equitation finals at Capital Challenge twice is a unique experience. “Clearway went amazing, and it was great to come back and win. He’s just a phenomenal horse. I wouldn’t dream of winning once, so coming back and winning again is special. I love Capital Challenge. It was great to end this year that way, because I’m not going to do any of my hunters or jumpers.”

Colvin will compete for the first time in the USEF Talent Search Finals East Coast next weekend.

Photo © Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Photo © Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

For her big win, Colvin was awarded the George H. Morris Equitation Championship Trophy, donated by Frank and Stacia Madden and Beacon Hill Show Stables. Clearway’s groom, Benji Hernandez, won the North American Equitation Champion Groom’s Award sponsored by Holly Hill Farm. Colvin won the Best Equitation Rider Award sponsored by Karen Healey and Karen Healey Stables. Colvin’s trainers, Andre Dignelli and Laena Romond, won the Leading Equitation Trainer Award, sponsored by Leslie Steele and Acres West.

Iannotti Rises to the Top of THIS National Children’s Medal Finals

Sixteen-year-old Hayley Iannotti of Wellington, FL, got her first big equitation win in the THIS National Children’s Medal Finals aboard Quasa Granda, a seven-year-old KWPN gelding owned by her trainer, Jane Fennessy. Iannotti was cool under pressure, moving up from third place, to second place, to the win over 39 other competitors.

Hayley Iannotti and Quasa Granda. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.
Hayley Iannotti and Quasa Granda. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Iannotti scored an 87.40 in the first round and went for it in the second round, where the top 10 were called back, scoring 88.70. Iannotti was called back for a test with 12-year-old Maria Moore of Powell, OH, on Prosecco 24, who had an 88 in the first round and an 88.30 in the second round. The two riders were only .20 of a point apart, so they had to test.

The test called for a trot jump and a counter canter around a rollback, both of which were well executed by Iannotti and Moore. But it was Iannotti who led the victory gallop after the judges gave her an average score of 91.40 in the test for a total of 267.50. Moore received an 87.60 for a total of 263.90.

Maria Moore and Prosecco 24. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.
Maria Moore and Prosecco 24. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Iannotti recalled, “My first round, I went in and tried to do as little as possible and make it as smooth as possible. I was really happy with my first round. Going back into the second round, I was only behind by .2 points for second place and .5 points for first place, so I wanted to go in there and give it everything I had to try and move up to the top. I was really happy with my round, but when Maria went and I were only .2 points apart and they asked us to test, it was really stressful. But he listened to everything I asked him to do, and he was amazing. I can’t thank him enough.”

Third place went to Olivia Woodson of Wellington, FL, on Victor VD Sent. They scored an 86.70 and an 85.70 for a total of 172.40.

Olivia Woodson and Victor VD Sent. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.
Olivia Woodson and Victor VD Sent. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Iannotti is a working student at Carriage Hill Farm for Fennessy and Vinissa Blann. She has been riding “Q” for two years and has helped bring him along as an equitation horse. They competed in last year’s THIS finals, but did not make the second round.

“I didn’t get to come back for the second round so we thought we’d come back and give it another shot. And it worked!” she said with a smile. “He’s improved a lot since last year. He’s my best friend.”

Photo © Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Photo © Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Of her victory, she remarked, “I can’t even believe this happened. All I’ve dreamed of is winning an equitation final and to get (judges) scores of 92, 93, and 95, is really surreal.”

Photo © Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Photo © Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Quasa Granda’s groom, Mario Alvarez, also won a special groom’s award.

Hellman Victorious in Adult Equitation Championships

In the North American Adult Amateur Equitation Championships, it was Eleanor Hellman of Kentfield, CA, who was victorious riding Nigel in a class of 25 riders. Hellman won in two rounds with scores of 83.40 and 87.35 for a total of 170.75. She led through both rounds, returning last to go in round two, where the top 10 were called back.

Eleanor Hellman and Nigel. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.
Eleanor Hellman and Nigel. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Hellman thought the courses on both days of competition at Equitation Weekend were excellent, and noted that while yesterday’s rounds “gave you a little more room to take a breath,” today’s championships courses “pushed a lot of riders to be on point.”

Close behind, but not within the two point margin for a test, was second place finisher Rachel Boggus of Indianapolis, IN, on Papillon 136. They scored 83.60 and 84.10 for a total of 167.70. Rebecca Clawson of Plympton, MA, rode Kennebec to third place on scores of 76.70 and 85.50 for a total of 162.20.

Rachel Boggus and Papillon 136. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography
Rachel Boggus and Papillon 136. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

This is Hellman’s first time competing at Capital Challenge; the 23-year-old has focused on school until recently and attended the Foxcroft School in Middleburg, VA. She has ridden Nigel, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Coriano, for two years. Originally purchased to be a hunter derby horse, Hellman and trainers Hope and Ned Glynn have found he also excels at equitation. Hellman shares the horse with her mother, who also competes him in the 2’6” divisions.

Rebecca Clawson and Kennebec. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography
Rebecca Clawson and Kennebec. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Hellman was excited to get her first finals win at Capital Challenge. “It isn’t about winning, it is about having fun (for me),” she noted.

Photo © Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Photo © Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

The Adult Amateur Equitation Groom’s Award sponsored by Holly Hill Farm went to Nigel’s groom, Moises Hernandez.

Tomorrow’s schedule will see the start of professional hunter competition at Capital Challenge with the rated divisions along with five sections of the Future Hunters.

Highlights of the Capital Challenge Horse Show will include the World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) Developing Pro Challenge (Oct. 1), Future Hunter North American Championship (Oct. 1), the North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup (two rounds held on Oct. 3-4), the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals (Oct. 3), and the WCHR Professional Finals (Oct. 3).

For full results, more information, or to watch the live webcast, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org. Like the Capital Challenge Horse Show page on Facebook and on Twitter @capchallenge and Instagram @capitalchallengehorseshow. For behind-the-scenes photos, videos, and more!

Final Results: Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships

1 VICTORIA COLVIN CLEARWAY 181.00

2 MEGAN MACPHERSON CLOVER 174.30

3 MEREDITH DARST SOLDIER 174.05

4 HALIE ROBINSON BAROLO W 172.95

5 SYDNEY HUTCHINS GAUDI 171.52

6 ASHTON ALEXANDER ECLYPSO 169.00

7 LILLIAN WAGNER ANDIAMO 168.49

8 DESTRY SPIELBERG NAT KING COLE 168.24

9 KELLI CRUCIOTTI MONTERREY 167.80

10 MACKENZIE MICHAELS FEDELIO 165.75

Final Results: THIS National Children’s Medal Finals

1 HAYLEY IANNOTTI QUASA GRANDA 267.50

2 MARIA MOORE PROSECCO 24 263.90

3 OLIVIA WOODSON VICTOR VD SENT 172.40

4 SOPHIE LENIHAN WAYFARER 170.00

5 CATHERINE STAFFORD AIRBORNE 166.60

6 EMMA FLETCHER MILLTHYME LAMBRINI 166.50

7 SAMANTHA ACKLEY LANDO 253 162.90

8 CARLY HOFT DON LA ROUGE 157.90

9 JORDAN ALLEN SHOW BOAT 157.20

10 ELIZA BIENSTOCK PLAYLIST 154.90

Final Results: North American Adult Amateur Equitation Championships

1 ELEANOR HELLMAN NIGEL 170.75

2 RACHEL BOGGUS PAPILLON 136 167.70

3 REBECCA CLAWSON KENNEBEC 162.20

4 AMY COOPER ACOVIBU 161.00

5 BRITTA LIPPERT ARCHIE 160.30

6 ELIZABETH CRAVEN SILVERADO 159.90

7 RAVEN WEINLEIN PHANTOM 159.50

8 RENEE PORTNOY QUITO 157.60

9 CARLY CORBACHO BLUE HIGHWAY 154.90

10 MEREDITH COMBS FINTAN 115 136.10

In its 21st year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, this year’s show will take place on September 27-October 5.

Top competitions include the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals and the THIS National Children’s Medal Finals, along with the Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend, presented by Bigeq.com. In addition to these prestigious equitation events, the Capital Challenge Horse Show will once again host the World Champion Hunter Rider Finals and will assemble the country’s best horses and riders to compete in junior, amateur, and professional hunter classes.

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