Charlotte Powers Changes Gears to Win $10,000 WIHS Adult Jumper Championship

Charlotte Powers and Escot 6 by Shawn McMillen Photography

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 — Jumper riders took their turn in Capital One Arena during the second day of competition at the 61st Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) on Wednesday, October 23. WIHS continues through Sunday, October 27, with coveted hunter, jumper, and equitation competition in the heart of Washington D.C. 

As Charlotte Powers watched the last rider jump off in the $10,000 WIHS Adult Jumper Championship and realized she had won, she jumped up and down and hugged her sister and trainer, Justine Powers Jarvis. Powers claimed the blue aboard her own Escot 6, turning in a clear round in 31.59 seconds to defeat the six other riders who had qualified for the jump-off out of the starting field of 26.

Megan Winkhaus claimed second place riding Speedy Chicolina with a clean jump-off round in 33.78 seconds, while Stephanie King guided Lexus to a four-fault jump-off effort in 30.84 seconds for third place.

Both Powers, of Ashburn, VA, and Escot 6 are new to the jumper ring. Powers showed in the hunters and equitation as a junior but took a step back from showing while she went to college and graduate school for her PhD in organizational psychology and started her career in human resources. She also spent a year and a half working in the United Kingdom. For those years, she kept riding, but did not show. When she moved back to the U.S. in October 2018, she told Jarvis she wanted to get back into the show ring.

“It’s been 10 to 15 years since I’ve seriously competed,” she said. “This is my first year back and first year doing the jumpers. The speed was a big difference! I’d always been told I go too slow, my whole career. This has been a change of pace.” 

Escot 6, a 13-year-old Hanoverian, evented to the four-star level with Colleen Rutledge riding but switched careers. “We leased him from Colleen, and one month in, I was like, ‘I can’t give him back,’” Powers said. “Colleen was very kind to let me buy him, because I could never part with him. He’s the sweetest and wonderful. My sister is probably sick of hearing me swoon over him.”

Powers and Escot 6 developed a partnership quickly and became quite successful in the adult jumpers in the Mid-Atlantic area. “Qualifying for the finals at the end of the year was definitely a goal,” Powers said. “When we did qualify, we thought, ‘Okay, go clean, that’s a good goal.’ So, things have worked out! We were sixth at [the NAL Finals at the Pennsylvania National] last week, where I was conservative. Tonight, he told me he didn’t want to be conservative! He was like, ‘We are going!’”

Charlotte Powers and Escot 6. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Powers noted that Escot 6 is a bit of an unconventional choice to return to the show ring on. “He has eccentricities; he’s very fun to ride, but he’s very different every day,” she said. “Outside of the ring, he’s very spooky. Mini-donkeys, Great Danes, lots of things are very scary to him. But in the ring, he never looks at anything. He’s so brave. He’s only 15.1. He has a lot of stride, but he has a pony canter. It makes it a bit challenging to get used to.”

Powers had attended WIHS as a spectator when she was a junior and was thrilled to return as a competitor. “I was very excited and also very nervous!” she said. “But it was a lot of fun to ride in on the trailer with him and take him for a walk to see all the sights. It’s been a lot of fun.” 

Caroline Nadalin Takes the Inside Track to Victory in the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship

A tough inside turn proved to be the key for Caroline Nadalin and Boujis to win the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship. It was a turn that hadn’t worked out for a couple of the nine jump-off qualifiers from the original starting field of 25.

“My trainers told me I could do it, so I just believed in it,” Nadalin, 14, said of the turn. “I knew my horse could do it, so I had to believe I could do it, and I just went and did it!” The move resulted in a clean round in the winning time of 34.75 second, more than a second faster than second-placed Katalena Prusso on Camera Ready, who stopped the timers in 35.95 seconds. Stella Propp took third riding Baral Preciosa with a time of 40.94 seconds.

Caroline Nadalin and Boujis. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography 

“This win is super exciting,” said Nadalin, from Plain City, Ohio. “We’ve been trying to qualify for these [year-end championships] all year; to win it is really special. It’s a really prestigious show, and it’s so cool to be here in the middle of the city. It’s just a really awesome show for anyone who can be here.” 

Nadalin rides with the team at Ken and Emily Smith’s Ashland Farm as well as her mother, Jennifer Nadalin. She’s been riding Boujis, an 18-year-old Irish Sport Horse, for a year. “I love him so much,” she said. “He’s so trustworthy and he does whatever you ask of him. He’s amazing; I trust him with my whole heart. He’s so experienced, so when he gets in the ring, he knows what to do. He’s got it under control. Every time I’ve gone in the ring, it’s gone better and better.”

Nadalin shows in the hunters, equitation, and jumper divisions. This is her first year doing the fall indoor show circuit. “I was nervous because in the past indoor shows, I’ve had an unlucky rail here and there,” Nadalin said. “To make it to the jump-off, I really wanted to do well for my trainers and my horse, and it all worked out.”

$10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Results

Rank Horse Rider Score
1 BOUJIS Caroline Nadalin 0-0/34.75
2 CAMERA READY Katalena Prusso 0-0/66.77
3 BARAL PRECIOSA Stella Propp 0-0/40.94
4 S-ACORADA DONALDSON Ella Domenicone 0-4/37.99
5 SOFIA CAR Meghan Finlay 0-4/39.77
6 FORREST GUMP 108 Texie Loyd 0-8/42.40
7 KALLE Caia Watridge 0-24/55.08
8T LYLA Claudette Yarbrough 0-E
10 ABILITYDANCE Claire Campbell 1

$10,000 WIHS Adult Jumper Championship

Rank Horse Rider Score
1 ESCOT 6 Charlotte Powers 0-0/31.59
2 SPEEDY CHICOLINA Megan Winkhaus 0-0/33.78
3 LEXUS Stephanie King 0-4/30.84
4 PENN Hannah Showell 0-8/35.54
5 FERRARI T Katarina Muhlhauser 0-12/34.45
6 DILONA BLUE Angela Swanson 0-16/32.40
7 BRISBANE Tori Bilas 0-E
8 CAPITALIST Emily Throop 3/70.42
9 EVER SINFUL Alexis Mierzwa 4/59.31
10 ROLE MODEL Alison Flury 4/62.34

Scott Stewart Makes a Clean Sweep in Professional Hunter Divisions  

Scott Stewart of Flemington, NJ, not only claimed the 2019 WIHS Grand Hunter Championship and his 10thWIHS Leading Hunter Rider title, but he also swept every professional hunter division championship along the way.

“I know I’ve come close [to sweeping the championships] before. There was possibly one other time that I did, but it definitely hasn’t happened a lot!” said Stewart, who claimed two reserve championships in addition to his five division championship titles.

Stewart’s highest honors came aboard his first champion of the day, Cameo, who topped the High Performance Hunter division. The 12-year-old warmblood gelding owned by Betsee Parker won the under saddle and two of the over fences classes and finished third in another on his way to clinching the division tricolor and ultimately the Grand Hunter Championship. 

“He was always easy, but he’s gotten even easier,” said Stewart of Cameo, a horse he has been showing for the past six years. “He’s gotten a little more consistent as he’s gotten a little bit older. I think he knows what to expect.

“The quieter horses obviously do better [at WIHS] because there’s limited space to work them, so you don’t want to bring too difficult of a horse here,” continued Stewart. “Cameo can go right from the stall to the ring, so he’s ideal for that. In the handy last night, I thought he was his best. The spookier the environment, the better for him.”

For the grand championship title, Stewart was presented with the Not Always Challenge Trophy, donated by Miss Peggy Steinman.

Stewart and Cameo’s consistent performances across the Devon Horse Show, the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, and the Washington International Horse Show also earned them the Protocol Trophy, sponsored by Platinum Performance, as the high point High Performance Hunter from all three shows – marking the third time Cameo has claimed the trophy.

The reserve championship behind Cameo in the High Performance Hunter division was awarded to Get Rowdy, ridden by Karli Postel and owned by Teton Farms LLC.

Stewart’s next championship of the day came aboard Private Life, also owned by Parker, following two wins and a second-place finish in the High Performance Conformation Hunters. 

“He was awesome,” said Stewart of the eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding that he rode to a score of 90 in the first class of the division. “I think he was my highest score of the horse show.”   

For the High Performance Conformation Hunter championship, Stewart received the Mary Farren Perpetual Trophy. The division reserve championship went to John French and Boss, owned by Laura Wasserman.

In the Green Conformation Hunters, it was Critics’ Choice, owned by Bikoff Equestrian LLC, that Stewart rode to the championship, while he also claimed the reserve title aboard another Bikoff Equestrian LLC entry, Everwonder. For his third championship of the day, Stewart was awarded the Valiant Hawk Memorial Challenge Trophy, donated by Mrs. Stephen J. Clark.

With a win, a second, and a third place over fences, as well as a second place under saddle, the Green 3’6″ Hunter championship and the Claire Lang Miller Challenge Trophy, donated by Miss Claire Lang Miller, went to Stewart and Love Note, owned by Richard Prant. Stewart also received the reserve championship in the division with Bikoff Equestrian LLC’s Cabrio.

The Green 3’9″ Hunter championship went to Stewart and Sports Page, owned by Alexa Weisman, and the division reserve championship went to High Society, ridden by Victoria Colvin and owned by Lindsay Maxwell.

“Krista [Weisman], his owner, actually just had a baby, so they let him come here for me to show which is great; I appreciate that,” said Stewart of Sports Page. “I was really happy with all of the horses.”

For his exceptional two days at WIHS, Stewart was presented with the $5,000 Scott Stewart Leading Hunter Rider Award, sponsored by Betsee Parker, marking his 10th time receiving the highest professional hunter honor at the show Stewart first began competing at more than 30 years ago.

“It was at the U.S. Air Arena; it was probably 1986 or ’87,” said Stewart of his first time at the show. “I believe I was on working hunters at that point, but I don’t really know if I got any ribbons. I doubt that I did!

“I love the city here – the horse show,” continued Stewart. “It’s a really nice venue to come to. It’s one of the last ones that we get to be in the city.”

While winning may seem like old hat for Stewart, it doesn’t mean he is above pre-show nerves.

“The other night, I didn’t really sleep at all,” said Stewart. “Monday night I was up most of the night worrying about it and thinking about it, but we have great people working for us, so everything stays pretty organized, so that helps a lot. It’s good nerves. It’s good for competitive spirit!” 

Becky Gochman Repeats Victory in Amateur-Owner 3’6″ Hunters

When Becky Gochman collected her blue ribbon in the first class of the Amateur-Owner 3’6″ Hunter, Over 35, she looked up into the stands. Spotting a young fan watching wide-eyed, she walked over and handed her winners’ spoils—a ribbon and silver plate—to the young boy.

“I like to give away my ribbons because I know that there are a lot of kids out there watching,” Gochman said. “It’s fun for them to get a little more into it. It helps make the horse show a little more special for others. I like to see the smiles on the kids’ faces. I have a good time doing that.”

Gochman, of Wellington, FL, had plenty of ribbons to give away by the end of her time at WIHS as she and Catch Me repeated their 2018 results, claiming the Grand Amateur-Owner 3’6″ Hunter Championship, the Amateur-Owner 3’6″ Hunter, Over 35 division tricolor, and the Leading Amateur-Owner 3’6″ Hunter Rider title. Her name and Catch Me’s will be engraved a second consecutive time on the Frank Counselman Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by friends of Frank Counselman, for their grand championship.

Gochman offered Catch Me one of the Georgetown Cupcakes they received as champions, and she finished it off as they walked out of the ring together.

“Catch Me had a really good first day,” Gochman said. She and the striking gray gelding topped the first class with a score of 88, then won the under-saddle class on Tuesday,. On the second day of the division on Wednesday, they topped the stake class with a score of 87. 

“This is one of the first time I’ve shown him at an indoor show without a professional showing him first, so our handy was maybe a little rocky, but we smoothed it out in the stake,” said Gochman. “That was a different thing for us to try. It’s something to look forward to, to be able to grow with him. He’s a special boy, and we like to keep it fun and easy for him.”

Gochman has a special relationship with Catch Me, who was also the Grand Champion Hunter at WIHS in 2016 with Gochman’s trainer, Scott Stewart, riding. “He’s always happy with treats and knowing that he’s a special horse. He truly enjoys his job, and that’s what makes the difference with him,” she said. 

The championship in the Amateur-Owner 3’6″ Hunter, 35 & Under, division went home to New Canaan, CT, with Kelly Tropin and Chablis. They also won the Shari Hollis Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by the late Col. J.B. Hollis, Jr., and Ms. Jeannie Hollis, for the Best Amateur-Owner 3’6″ Hunter Stake Round and Chablis was given the Technicolor Award as the Classic Hunter of the Amateur-Owner 3’6″ divisions.

The reserve championship in the Amateur-Owner 3’6″ Hunter, Over 35, division went to Jean Sheptoff and her own Verdict, while the Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter, 35 & Under, reserve championship was awarded to Incognito, owned and ridden by Kirsten Pollin. 

Dorli Burke Dominates Aboard Classic in Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunters

Dorli Burke has been competing at WIHS for decades, but success there will never lose its significance for the Salisbury, MD, based rider who claimed the 2019 WIHS Grand Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunter Championship.

“It is just a huge honor,” said Burke who earned the grand champion title riding her own Classic. “My horse was so fantastic. I’m beside myself. It means a lot. 

“I’ve shown for a long time, and I used to show my ponies at Washington years ago,” continued Burke. “I also used to show at Madison Square Garden with my junior hunters, and this show is the most like that. It brings me back to another time, and I think it’s the only one that really gives you that same feeling. You come out and you’re in the city; I think this is the only ones left like that. It was exciting then, and it’s exciting now.”

Before claiming the grand championship, for which they were presented with the Bucky Reynolds Memorial Award, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Ernest M. Oare, Burke and Classic earned a win and two second-place finishes over fences in the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunters, Over 35 division. For the division championship, Burke was awarded a Human Touch massage chair.

“[Classic] really was consistent,” Burke said of the 11-year-old Warmblood gelding. “He was really good and any mistake out there was my mistake. Every time out there he was like, ‘Whatever you want mom!’ so I was really happy with every round.”

Finishing as the reserve champions in the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunters, Over 35, division were Kirsten Pollin and her own Incognito. Both Pollin and Burke train with Mary Lisa Leffler and Patty Foster at Rolling Acres Farm. 

In the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunters, 35 & Under, the division championship went to Stephanie Danhakl and her own Enough Said. The reserve championship was awarded to Charlotte Jacobs and Iladin du Rouet, owned by North Star. 

Competition at WIHS continues on Thursday, October 24, beginning at 7 a.m. with the junior hunter divisions. In the afternoon, jumper competition takes center stage with the $2,500 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers, followed by the $5,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Hunters, sponsored by the Gierkink Family Kadley Farm.

The evening session will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will welcome local riders, trainers, families, and fans for Barn Night, supported by A Little Pet Vet, US Equestrian, BarnManager, The Equiery, The Clothes Horse, and United Metro Golf Carts. The evening’s session will feature the final round of the $50,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake, with the first round held earlier in the afternoon, and the $36,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class.