Taegen Long and Katherine Pontone Victorious in WIHS Children’s and Adult Jumper Championships
BY Lauren Fisher and Lindsay Brock for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Washington, D.C. – October 22, 2014 – Jessica Springsteen of Colts Neck, NJ, kicked off the first day of international jumper competition at the 2014 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) with a win riding Davendy S at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The day also saw victories for Taegen Long riding Pocohontas and Katherine Pontone aboard Belladonna in the WIHS Children’s and Adult Jumper Championships. With six days of world-class competition, WIHS continues through Sunday, October 26, featuring hunter, jumper, and equitation highlights.
Wednesday’s feature event was the opening $10,000 International Jumper speed class, sponsored by Amalaya Investments, with a win for Springsteen and Stone Hill Farms Davendy S. The class saw 37 entries with six clear rounds over an Anthony D’Ambrosio designed course. Last to go, Springsteen and Davendy S blazed through the course in 50.80 seconds for the win. She edged out her own horse, Zero, who finished in second with a time of 55.31 seconds ridden by Laura Kraut (USA). Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts and J’Espere Dream placed third in 56.81 seconds.
Winning mount, Davendy S, is an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Pachat II). Although she just got the mare in August, Springsteen and Davendy bonded quickly and had their first victories together in Valkenswaard and Dublin soon after.
“She is an amazing horse. She is so much fun, and she likes to go fast,” Springsteen described. “She doesn’t like when you pull her and try to school her, so she is very competitive and this is her kind of class. I brought her to L.A. and she was really good, and I took her to Central Park and she was second in the speed class there. We haven’t done too much together, but it was sort of an instant click with her, which is nice. The indoor rings suit her because she can cut really hard.”
Springsteen knew she had a fast time to beat from Zero and Kraut, but she was able to trust in her horse and go almost five seconds faster. “She is really careful, so I like to give her a strong ride our first time in,” Springsteen noted. “I went around everywhere, but she is so fast. Laura told me that I could go around and still have the winning time.”
Since riders can only show two horses each with limited space at WIHS, Springsteen thought it would be a good idea for Kraut to show Zero indoors before he heads to Toronto in November, and she was also very happy with his great finish tonight.
“I love when Laura shows my horses because I get back on them after and they are amazing, like completely different horses,” she laughed. “He is funny. He is very quirky. Sometimes he will go in, and he will be really focused and you will really nail it. Other times he is a little bit distracted and kind of all over the place, but he was really good tonight. He tried really hard. He is a careful horse and he loves to jump, you can tell.”
This was Springsteen’s first international win at WIHS, and it is a competition that she has always enjoyed. “It is always a special show. I have come here since I was on ponies, so it is definitely nice to be back,” she stated. “I have a lot of memories here.”
An added incentive for the international riders this year includes new cash bonuses that will be awarded to riders accumulating the most points in the division. A $15,000 bonus will go to the overall leading international rider, sponsored by The Boeing Company, and a $10,000 bonus will be awarded to the overall leading rider 25 years of age or younger, sponsored by Sleepy P Ranch. Springsteen now stands in the lead with her opening day win and looks forward to seeing how the standings play out.
“I think it is really great to have those bonuses, and it is good for classes like this where a lot of people would just go in to school,” she acknowledged. “It makes it more exciting for the crowd because you are trying to win, and you are trying to accumulate the points. It really makes the riders go in and try to win every class, and it is nice when they do stuff for the younger riders too. The (United) States are good about building their young riders up, so that is always really appreciated.”
Taegen Long Wins $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship
Earlier this season, Taegen Long didn’t believe qualifying for the Washington International Horse Show was in the cards, and her October plans didn’t come together until just a few months ago. However, she surprised even herself tonight with the fastest of three double-clear efforts in the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship aboard her own 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Pocohontas.
Five pairs from a 30-horse order qualified for the jump-off, two belonging to Long. Returning first with Pollux Du Shalimar, owned by Maria Long, she was on her way to the lead before a rail bounced from the cups at the second-to-last fence. Her second chance came two trips later when she made good use of her mare’s natural speed. They crossed the timers clear in 35.282 seconds for the win and were awarded the H. Fenwick Kollock Memorial Perpetual Trophy donated by Friends of Fen.
“Pocohontas is really fast around the jumps, so I knew all I had to do was not knock a rail, and she would do the rest,” said Long. “I had already seen the track and knew we had the speed without too many tight turns as long as I got to the right spots.”
Behind Long, Madison Charlton and Ellen Mitchell’s Petit Flipper were second in 36.307, while a clear time of 37.330 seconds put Nicolas Horgan and Kelly Horgan’s Zico T third. Long’s second mount settled for fourth on four faults, and Gabriella Hurtado rounded out the top five on Rainbow Brite for Wonderland Farm, LLC after two rails down.
Partners for a year, Pocohontas introduced Long to the jumper ring at the Winter Equestrian Festival this year. “She just kept getting better and better during WEF, and we realized we were going to make it here,” said Long of her first WIHS appearance.
Video courtesy of Shownet.biz
Long basked in victory tonight, but the win didn’t come without a full serving of hard work and a time-nurtured bond between horse and 15-year old rider. “I do my own work – I feed twice a day, I tack up, I bathe – all without grooms,” admitted Long who trains with Carolyn Desfor and attends high school online, affording her more time in the saddle. “Creating that bond with my horses helps them to respect me. They would do anything for me in the ring.”
Taegan Long and Pocohontas in their winning presentation
When Pocohontas arrived at Long View Farm, owned and operated by Long’s parents in Medford, NJ, the mare became part of the family. Their bond, however, wasn’t an immediate sure thing. “Pocohontas is the first mare I have gotten along with. I didn’t want to ride her at all when she first came because she wasn’t a gelding,” she said. “Now I can’t wait to keep moving up with her.”
After a successful debut at WIHS, Long and the mare she nicknamed “YoYo” after her occasional mood swings, will leave Children’s Jumpers behind and step up to the Low Juniors this winter.
Katherine Pontone Speeds to Victory in $10,000 WIHS Adult Jumper Championship
The $10,000 WIHS Adult Jumper Championship was held next in the evening session with 24 entries and 11 advancing to the jump-off, where five riders jumped double clear. Twenty-year-old Katherine Pontone of Red Bank, NJ, took the top prize with the fastest clear round in 27.241 seconds aboard her horse Belladonna. The pair earned The Dorothy Foote “Goodie” Taylor Memorial Perpetual Trophy donated by Mr. & Mrs. Robert Ashton Hill and Miss Linden Joan Hill.
Phoenix Cooke and Skys Burnin Blue finished second in 28.513 seconds. Aleesha Melwani and Thunder-Ball were third in 29.142 seconds. Alexandra Cherubini and Equifit Cayenne 178 stopped the clock in 29.806 seconds for fourth, and Nicole Lyvere and Arizona VDL finished in 35.717 seconds to place fifth.
Pontone trains with Kali Jerman and has owned Belladonna, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare by Unbelievable, for two years.
“We have come a long way thanks to my trainer,” Pontone acknowledged after her win. “We showed here last year and ended up twelfth. We have been working on getting her fitter, and we have just connected a lot more. We went bitless a few months ago, and we have come a long way. When we started last year we could barely get over a liverpool.”
Speaking about her strategy on course, Pontone explained, “She is a smaller horse, so we planned on doing all of the strides except that tricky bending line across the diagonal. We added in the first line. She falls right, so we added one there to keep her straight and then went direct the second time. She is careful and quick with her legs, so everywhere else just worked out for us. In the jump-off, she was fast in the turns and in the air. To be fast on the ground is one thing, but to get stuck in the air loses time. She is quick across the ground and in the air, and she spins like it’s nothing.”
Pontone hopes to move up to bigger jumps this year and maybe return to WIHS next year in the amateurs. She had a great experience in the ring at Verizon Center and was very happy with her horse’s performance.
“She’s very different no matter where she is. In the schooling ring we can hunt her around and I’m kicking her, and she won’t go anywhere. The second she steps in the show ring, she turns on and just is ready to win,” the rider stated. “The atmosphere in there definitely helps because it keeps their attention, and it is just a fun ring to show in. It is amazing.”
The Washington International Horse Show continues on Thursday with the beginning of Junior Hunter competition in the morning and Low and High Junior/Amateur-Owner competition followed by a $34,0000 International Jumper Welcome Stake in the afternoon. The evening session will welcome local horse lovers, riders, trainers, and their families for Barn Night, presented by Dover Saddlery, beginning at 6 p.m.The $20,000 International Jumper Gambler’s Choice costume class, sponsored by Equestrian Sport Productions, will be the highlight event of the evening.
For those who cannot make it to the show, it will be live streamed in its entirety, sponsored in part by The Nutro Company, at www.wihs.org, and is also available on USEF Network at www.usefnetwork.com.
Final Results: $10,000 International Jumper Time First Round, sponsored by Amalaya Investments
Place, Number, Horse, Rider, Owner, Nation: Faults/Time
1 96 DAVENDY S JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN STONE HILL FARM USA: 0/50.80
2 27 ZERO LAURA KRAUT STONE HILL FARM USA: 0/55.31
3 1209 J’ESPERE DREAM NICOLA PHILIPPAERTS NICOLA PHILIPPAERTS BEL: 0/56.81
4 29 FERRRON CANDICE KING BELLISSIMO LLC USA: 0/59.27
5 1208 CHALLENGE VD BEGIJNAKKER NICOLA PHILIPPAERTS BEL: 0/61.74
6 1210 CARLITO C OLIVIER PHILIPPAERTS FRANZ LENS BEL: 0/61.96
7 1212 HH CARLOS Z McLAIN WARD DOUBLE H FARM USA: 1/63.43
8 1211 ARMSTRONG VAN DE KAPEL OLIVIER PHILIPPAERTS BEL: 1/65.57
9 3 APARDI DANIEL BLUMAN DANIEL BLUMAN LLC COL: 2/69.57
10 56 FINEMAN SHANE SWEETNAM ROSE HILL FARM IRL: 4/50.64
11 1201 ZANDER McLAIN WARD WARD/GRANT ROAD PARTNERS USA: 4/51.07
12 2 AMMERETTO DAVID BEISEL EQUINE HOLDINGS LLC USA: 4/52.18
Final Results: $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship
Placing/Number/Horse/Rider/Rd. 1 Faults/Rd. 2 Faults/Time
1 229 POCOHONTAS TAEGAN LONG 0.00 0.00 35.282
2 656 PETIT FLIPPER MADISON CHARLTON 0.00 0.00 36.307
3 808 ZICO T NICOLAS HORGAN 0.00 0.00 37.330
4 230 POLLUX DE SHALIMAR TAEGAN LONG 0.00 4.00 33.098
5 224 RAINBOW BRITE GABRIELLA HURTADO 0.00 58.00 37.525
WONDERLAND FARM LLC
6 485 PISTOL ISABEL COLEMAN 4.00
SANDY CREEK STABLE
7 824 ORION’S ISIS KENYA GREENBURG 4.00
8 604 SPEEDY CHICOLINA MEGAN WINKHAUS 4.00
ROUUND HILL HOLDINGS LLC
9 753 VALENCIO MARY ELIZABETH CORDI 4.00
MARY ELIZABETH CORDIA
10 251 UTILITY ANNA ELGHANAYAN 4.00
D E SHOW STABLE
11 813 COLANDO EMMA ELLIS 4.00
12 758 DOUBLE DUTCH JILLIAN KAUFMAN 4.00
Final Results: $10,000 WIHS Adult Jumper Championship
Placing/Back Number/Horse/Rider/Rd. 1 Faults/Rd. 2 Faults/Time
1 812 BELLADONNA KATHERINE PONTONE: 0/0/27.241
2 414 SKYS BURNIN BLUE PHOENIX COOKE: 0/0/28.513
3 655 THUNDER-BALL ALEESHA MELWANI: 0/0/29.142
4 252 EQUIFIT CAYENNE 178 ALEXANDRA CHERUBINI: 0/0/29.806
5 205 ARIZONA VDL NICOLE LYVERE: 0/0/35.717
6 254 CAMERA READY SYDNEY CRENSHAW: 0/4/26.86
FIT TO PRINT FARM
7 355 RASPAIL D’ELLE AMY LEE: 0/4/28.440
8 725 WHISPER LEXI MAOUNIS: 0/8/30.104
9 421 TIPPITOO VICKI LOWELL: 0/12/28.528
10 696 WIEDAM RACHEL BOGGUS: 0/12/29.246
11 253 EQUIFIT CARLOS ALEXANDRA CHERUBINI: 0/12/43.694
12 941 STELLA CADENTE CARLY WILLIAMS: 4/51.987
For full results, please visit www.wihs.org.
About the Washington International Horse Show, www.wihs.org
An equestrian tradition since 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is the country’s premier metropolitan indoor horse show. Each October, more than 500 world-class horses and riders, including Olympic medalists, arrive in Washington for six days of exciting show jumping and hunter competition. Highlights include the $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix (a World Cup qualifier), the Puissance (high jump) and WIHS Equitation Finals featuring the country’s top junior riders. Exciting equestrian exhibitions, boutique shopping and community activities, such as Kids’ Day and Breakfast with the Mounted Police, round out this family-friendly event. WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition and is recognized as a Top 25 Horse Show by the North American Riders Group.
Since its debut, WIHS has been a Washington, D.C. institution attended by celebrities, business, military and diplomatic leaders, as well as countless horse enthusiasts of all ages. Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.