Kelli Cruciotti Makes Mark in Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships at Capital Challenge Horse Show

By Carly Weilminster for Jump Media LLC

Upper Marlboro, MD – Capital Challenge Horse Show (CCHS), presented this year by Well Placed Smile, honored Kelli Cruciotti of Elizabeth, CO, as the champion of the incredibly competitive Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships in The Show Place Arena today. With more than 100 entries in the class, the largest Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships held at CCHS in the past 10 years, many highly touted equitation riders from around the country vied for top honors, with Cruciotti and her mount Darius, owned by Serenity Farm, ultimately besting the tremendous class. Catalina Peralta captured the prestigiousTHIS National Medal Finals class while Rachel Boggus and Papillon 136 won the North American Adult Amateur Equitation Championship. Competition at CCHS continues through the week at Prince George’s Equestrian Center and will conclude on Sunday, October 4.

Cruciotti and Darius are forming a new partnership, as the dark bay 2008 Warmblood gelding is a recent addition to the Serenity Farms team arriving in the United States this past July as a second equitation prospect for Cruciotti. In only their third competition together, Cruciotti sealed her first equitation finals win with two solid rounds and a brilliant test portion of the division to take top honors.

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Kelli Cruciotti and Darius ©ShawnMcMillenPhotography.

“To be honest, I’m a little surprised,” said Cruciotti. “This is really only the third show we’ve done together, and we thought it would be a great place to give a younger horse experience in a big atmosphere. We figured that getting any sort of mileage with him would be beneficial, and he did absolutely everything we asked and was just incredible.”

Five judges observed the Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championship and their scores were averaged for each rider’s individual trip. Cruciotti led after the initial round of competition with a score of 90.60, in front of Ashton Alexander, of Ocala, FL, who followed with a 90.40. Katherine Strauss of Southampton, NY, who would take reserve champion honors at the conclusion of the division, rounded out the top three receiving an 89.57.

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Kelli Cruciotti and Darius in their award presentation after winning the 
Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships
©ShawnMcMillenPhotography.

“I thought both courses were beautifully designed and perfect off of both leads. I think the first round was hard enough that you were able to show-off but not too difficult that people were getting eliminated,” explained Cruciotti. “I think the second round was a bit more difficult and the hard seven strides back to the bending three-stride line was a tough and coming off of the bigger oxer to the bounce was especially difficult off the left lead. I think it was a bit of a challenging moment for us and if I could have done anything differently, I would have gotten a bit closer to the oxer.”

In the second round of competition, the leaderboard shifted as Alexander moved in front of Cruciotti after a spectacularly smooth ride aboard Fernway Park, owned by Donald Stewart, leading the top three going into the final test portion of the class. Alexander, Cruciotti, and Strauss were called back for evaluation one last time, but a small canter stride at the trot fence left Alexander out of the champion position. Cruciotti was the first to complete the test portion of the three combinations and made the most of her time before the panel.

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Katherine Strauss and Canterbury ©ShawnMcMillenPhotography.

“I always think going first has its advantages in a class format like this. You can be the first one to go in and do some turns to show off and there was definitely an advantage doing the inside turn to the trot jump,” she explained. “The hand gallop was my favorite part of the whole test though. He was really great and I can’t say anything bad about it. He was perfect.”

Cruciotti finished with a total score of 272.10, followed by Strauss aboard HNM Investments’ Canterbury with a 270.77. Alexander and Fernway Park rounded out the top three with a total score of 263.00.

Peralta Captures First Major Equitation Final at Age 12 in THIS National Children’s Medal Finals

Catalina Peralta of Geneva, FL, and Cornello, owned by Wendy Peralta, rose to the occasion in the 2015 THIS National Children’s Medal Finals at CCHS. Peralta, only 12 years old, scored a first round best of 90.80 to take a firm grasp of the leaderboard before receiving an 88.00 in the second round from the panel to secure the championship title with a total score of 178.80. Elli Yeager of Lake Village, CA, and Copperfield 39, finished in reserve position, earning an 87.00 and 86.40 respectively for a final score of 173.40. Natalie Templeton of Silverado, CA, aboard Prophecy completed the top three, scoring an 88.10 and 83.80 for an average of 171.90.

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Catalina Peralta and Cornello ©ShawnMcMillenPhotography.

“I’m feeling so great about this win. I thought that my rounds were nice and solid. In the second round, I felt like I didn’t need to take any risks by doing the inside turn to the bounce. I just wanted to ride really smart,” explained Peralta. “I really liked the bending line to the triple in the first round. It was a perfect six and it was off of his good lead, the left lead, so it measured very nicely.”

A seventh grader at Lawton Chiles Middle School in Oviedo, FL, Peralta, after her first major equitation win, felt the class was great preparation on her quest towards the rest of the indoor season, which she has never competed at before. Joined by trainers Stacia Madden and her mother Wendy Peralta at CCHS, she said the goal was to ride two very smooth rounds and acquaint herself and Cornello with a major indoor atmosphere.

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Catalina Peralta and Cornello in their presentation ceremony after winning the 
THIS National Children’s Medal Finals ©ShawnMcMillenPhotography.

“I head back to Florida for school tonight, but I think this was great preparation for everything that is coming up,” she said. “Cornello is amazing, and he’s very cute. Another girl in my barn had leased him from Stacia and when she went to college I started working with him more and more and we decided to buy him. He’s been a great fit for me.”

The class hosted 38 riders from around the country, in the highlight children’s finals at CCHS.

Boggus Adds North American Adult Equitation Championship Win to Resume

Rachel Boggus of Indianapolis, IN, rode two tidy rounds aboard Papillon 136 in the North American Adult Equitation Championships to accumulate another top finals finish after capturing the ARIAT Adult Medal Finals at CCHS in 2014. The duo scored an 88.40 and 90.40 in the two over fences rounds to take the division with a total score of 178.80. Rebecca Clawson of Plympton, MA, and Catfish finished with reserve honors, scoring an 87.90 and 86.75 for an average of 174.65. Alex Maida hailing from Danville, CA, and Tolstoy earned third place with scores of 84.85 and 86.10 respectively for a final total of 170.95

Boggus, a tried and true adult amateur, works three jobs to support her riding career. An anesthesiologist based in Indianapolis, Boggus made headlines last year with Papillion 136, formerly campaigned by Jessica Springsteen, as the duo took home the ARIAT Adult Medal Finals. At age 18, “Papi” as he is lovingly known around the barn, has given Boggus an incredible sense of confidence in the ring and their record this year is a testament to their consistency.

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Rachel Boggus and Papillon 136 ©ShawnMcMillenPhotography.

“Abby Blankenship is my trainer and we’ve been talking a lot about my technical riding, which we both feel I have down, but now it’s more of the style that we’re working on,” explained Boggus. “I can get the distances and the strides, but I need to make it look more smooth. I really tried to focus on that today and making those adjustments using the track and the broken lines to make the pace consistent so it wouldn’t look so choppy.”

Quick to thank her senior partner “Papi,” Boggus gushed about the gelding’s talent as an educator and the influence he has had on her riding career, “I will never in my entire life have another horse like him again. He has taught me so much, and he knows what he needs to do before I even ask him to do it. He understands things that I don’t really think a horse should know. It’s an incredible feeling.”

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Rachel Boggus and Papillon 136 after winning the North American Adult Amateur Equitation Championships ©ShawnMcMillenPhotography.

Boggus admitted that even though the duo is on a win streak, they have accomplished every goal she has set for the pair in their career together, and their show schedule will begin to slow down in the best interest of the 1997 Niederlande Warmblood gelding.

“It’s very challenging for me because I can’t do this full-time, and it’s not realistic for me because I support myself with the riding. Abby is incredible and helps me to maximize my time when I am able to ride on the weekends,” she explained. “Papi will probably wind down now, and my goals were always to do well in the Adult Equitation division because that’s something I never really did as a junior and this was our indoor adventure.  He’s the best horse I could ever ask for, and I think we’ll just show him occasionally going forward. He’s older and we try to be respectful of him and not really do too much. We really try to keep him happy and healthy.”

Victoria Colvin collected the EMO Equitation Trip of the Show, presented by EMO and Sue Bopp for receiving the high score of the show yesterday in the 17-Year-Old Equitation division aboard Clearway. The duo received a total score of 89.50.

Grooms were also awarded special prizes for their part in today’s winning performances:

Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships: Darius/Mario Vega
THIS National Children’s Medal Final: Cornello/Antonio Alvarez
North American Adult Amateur Equitation Championships: Papillon 136/Jesus Balleza

Tomorrow’s schedule will begin with the Green Conformation Model and will continue throughout the day with Future Hunter divisions.

For more information on Capital Challenge Horse Show and to view a full show schedule, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org or follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. The entire show will be live streamed via EquestrianCounsel.com CCHS Live Webcast, which can be found at www.capitalchallenge.org.

Final Results: Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships

1.  KELLI CRUCIOTTI DARIUS
94.00 92.00 87.00 90.00 90.00    90.60
92.50 89.50 91.50 90.00 90.00    90.70
92.00 88.00 94.00 90.00 90.00    90.00
272.10

2. KATHERINE STRAUSS CANTERBURY
90.50 87.55 91.00 88.00 90. 50    89.57
92.00 89.00 95.00 93.00 93.00     92.40
88.00 87.00 92.00 88.00 89.00     88.80
270.77

3. ASHTON ALEXANDER FERNWAY PARK
92.00 90.00 92.00 87.00 91.00    90.40
93.00 92.00 93.00 94.00 94.00    93.20
80.00 75.00 80.00 82.00 80.00    79.40
263.00

4. SUMMER HILL EFENDI
88.75 86.30 86.75 87.50 89.00   87.66
95.00 91.00 92.00 89.00 91.00   91.60
179.26

5. MITCHELL ENDICOTT DIAGON DECARE
90.00 88.00 89.00 85.00 85.00   87.40
86.00 84.00 90.00 88.00 89.00   87.40
174.8

6. MADISON SELLMAN ALVAREZ L
91.00 85.00 80.00 86.00 87.00   85.80
90.00 88.00 88.00 84.00 86.00   87.20
173.0

7. VIVIAN YOWAN ERAGON
83.50 84.25 89.50 83.75 84.50   85.10
88.00 87.00 91.00 85.00 88.00   87.10
172.9

8. MEILA GROSS EQUISITE
87.00 87.50 90.00 86.50 88.00   87.80
80.00 80.00 87.50 83.75 84.50   83.15
170.95
Final Results: THIS National Children’s Medal Finals

1. CATALINA PERALTA CORNELLO
88.00 91.00 93.00 92.00 90.00   90.80
89.00 89.00 87.00 87.00 88.00   88.00
178.80

2. ELLI YEAGER COPPERFIELD 39
86.00 87.00 89.00 88.00 85.00   87.00
87.00 87.00 86.00 86.00 86.00   86.40
173.40

3. NATALIE TEMPLETON PROPHECY
89.00 89.00 92.00 87.00 83.50   88.10
85.00 86.00 85.00 84.00 79.00   83.00
171.90

4. ABIGAIL GRACE KELLEY CAPRICHOSO Z
84.00 82.50 86.00 87.85 85.50   85.12
84.00 84.00 84.00 83.00 84.00   83.80
168.92

5. MICHELLE RAUE CARAT
87.00 86.00 88.00 90.00 86.00   87.40
82.00 80.00 78.00 82.50 83.50   81.20
168.60

6. DANA WILLIE FULL COUNT
80.00 80.00 87.00 84.00 83.00   82.80
76.00 82.00 79.00 82.00 83.00   80.40
163.20

7. RACHAEL DAVIS LUXURY
85.00 85.00 82.00 79.00 81.00   82.40
77.00 75.00 82.00 85.00 85.00   80.80
163.20

8. MARY ELIZABETH CORDIA THRIFT SHOP
83.50 84.50 79.50 86.15 84.50   83.63
78.00 78.00 80.00 77.00 76.00   77.80
161.43

Final Results: North American Adult Amateur Equitation Championships

1. RACHEL BOGGUS PAPILLON 136
89.00 87.00 86.00 90.00 90.00   88.40
92.00 92.00 92.00 87.00 89.00   90.40
178.80

2. REBECCA CLAWSON CATFISH
85.00 86.50 91.00 89.00 88.00   87.90
87.50 88.00 87.00 85.50 85.75   86.75
174.65

3. ALEX MAIDA TOLSTOY
83.00 83.00 84.75 87.00 86.50   84.85
86.50 86.00 84.00 88.00 86.00   86.10
170.95

4. NIKKI DIAMANTIS FALCOR
87.00 88.00 87.00 88.00 87.00   87.40
84.00 83.00 78.00 85.00 85.00   83.10
170.50

5. TONYA JOHNSTON SILENTO
84.00 84.00 81.25 84.00 82.00   83.05
87.00 84.00 86.00 84.00 81.00   84.40
167.45

6. KENDALL CASACCIO EASY B
82.00 77.00 83.50 86.00 86.00   82.90
86.00 77.00 83.00 83.00 84.00   82.60
165.50

7. ALLISON JOYCE INCORINO
82.50 78.50 76.35 83.50 82.50   80.67
85.00 82.00 79.00 86.00 85.00   83.40
164.07

8. YVETTE LANG-EINCZIG LANDINO
81.00 86.00 82.00 85.00 80.00   82.80
76.00 75.00 72.00 72.00 73.00   73.60
156.40

About Capital Challenge Horse Show
In its 22nd 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 26-October 4. In addition to several 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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