October 9, 2021 – Upper Marlboro, MD – Out of a field of more than 100 ponies, Lauren Padilla and Highland Farm, LLC’s So Enchanted received the Grand Pony Hunter Champion title on Saturday, October 9, at the Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD.
The Grand Champion title, sponsored by Enchantment Farms, was awarded to the Pony Hunter who accumulated the most points over all three divisions. Padilla, of Palos Verdes Estates, California, and So Enchanted earned the championship in the Small Pony Hunter division, sponsored by Ox Ridge Riding and Racquet Club. The duo won the handy stake, earned a second place in an over-fences class, and took home the blue ribbon in the under saddle.
“My rides on her were great this week,” said Padilla. “She was really happy being here because the rings are so spacious and open. She felt happy and loose here.”
Padilla earned The Harper Taskier Wright Memorial Trophy, given in memory of Harper by her loving parents Michael and Alexandra Borisoff Wright, friends, and family whose lives she touched, for her championship in the Small Pony Hunters. The Best Pony Rider Award, sponsored by Archibald Cox and Brookway Stables was also awarded to Padilla for her Grand Pony Hunter Championship. For this honor Padilla received The Kitty Borissoff Memorial Trophy, donated by her many friends.
This year was Padilla’s first appearance at Capital Challenge, and the rider made it one to remember.
“It means a lot to be champion here,” commented the 12-year-old rider. “I was really excited to just be here and qualify, and it was even more exciting to earn grand champion! My handy round was my favorite. It felt great, and we got a 90.”
Padilla and So Enchanted, or “Lex” as he is known in the barn, began their partnership earlier this year. Although the duo took time to adjust to each other, they are now a pair to watch out for in the show ring.
“Lex is a really nice, fun, and incredible pony,” said Padilla of the 12-year-old Welsh Pony Cross mare. “At home she loves to play in turnout. When I first got her, we didn’t really connect right away but as I got to know her after a few weeks, we started to understand each other.”
Reserve champion in the Small Pony Hunter division went to J.J. Torano aboard H.G. Mud Puddles, owned by JET Show Stables and J.J. Torano.
The Medium Pony Hunter division championship, sponsored by Cheryl Olsten, was presented to Olivia Sweetnam and Sweet Oak Farm’s On Your Mark. Sweetnam was also awarded The Lafitte de Muze Trophy, sponsored by Cheryl Olsten, for her championship. Reserve champion in the Medium Pony Hunter division was received by Ava Barnes aboard Robin Greenwood’s By4Now.
Sweetnam earned her second championship of the day, this time riding Take 3 LLC’s Goldmark, in the Large Pony Hunter division, sponsored by Laurel Crown Farms. Sweetnam was presented with the Tampa H.S. Trophy, donated by Dr. Suzanne Smith. Ava Barnes piloted her own Prestige to reserve champion honors in the Large Pony Hunter division.
Barnes also won the WCHR $2,500 Pony Challenge, sponsored by Sweet Oak Farm, with Rico Suave, owned by Ponies & Palms Show Stables LLC, and was presented with the Stewart-Warner Cup for pony riders, which is given in memory of Laurie Gilbert Stewart and Mary Warner Brown by Donald E. Stewart, Jr. and Louise W. Serio.