After watching her mother Laura Karet win the Grand Adult Hunter Champion award with Per Se on Thursday, Alexa Karet of Pittsburgh, PA, took home the top prize of her own when she and Catbird, owned by Glade Run Farm LLC, finished as Grand Children’s Hunter Champions, sponsored by Mary Jane King, on the final day of the 2021 Capital Challenge Horse Show.
Alexa Karet, 14, and Catbird won an over fences class and the under saddle to finish as Children’s Hunter 14 & Under champions, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Gary Duffy and Little Brook Farms, Inc. as well as Grand Champions. Karet was presented with the Laura Pickett Memorial Trophy donated by Julie Karpan, and she also won the Best Children’s Hunter Rider Award, sponsored by Wild Sky Farm & The Nelson Family. Payton Flanders rode her own Conlaro to the reserve championship, as well as the win in the WCHR Children’s Hunter Challenge, sponsored by Stephanie Bulger and MeadowView.
Karet only got the ride on Catbird in March 2021, but she fell in love with the striking 11-year-old Warmblood gelding by Hochadel immediately. The pair also started winning right away, taking championships in Aiken, Traverse City, and Middleburg.
“He is one of the most amazing horses to ride. He is so smooth, and his jump is really soft, so it feels like you’re floating,” she described. “What I like most about him is his personality. His barn name is ‘Cookie,’ which is perfect for him because he is so sweet. He is also really smart, and you can tell that he studies and thinks through things.”
Karet last showed at Capital Challenge Horse Show in 2019, when she won the Medium Pony Hunter championship with Astro Boy, but this is her first grand championship.
“To be grand champion here feels almost unreal, like a dream!” she exclaimed. “That’s especially because I get to share the experience with my mom, who was also grand champion in her division. I am beyond grateful to her, and the amazing team that pushes me to be my best and made this all possible: Tom Wright, Mitchell Robinson, David Laks, and our grooms Gus, Pica, and Omar. I also want to say thank you to the Ingram family for connecting me with Cookie. And of course, I am so grateful for Cookie who has taught me so much, and always brightens my day.”
The Children’s Hunter 15-17 champion was Take Heart, ridden and owned by Emma Shove. They also won the Best EMO Children’s Hunter Trip of the Show with an 87. Exceptional, ridden by Caroline Hoover for Kristie Parciak, was the reserve champion. Hoover was presented with the Stewart-Warner Cup for Children’s rider. It is given in memory of Laurie Gilbert Stewart and Mary Warner Brown by Donald E. Stewart, Jr. and Louise W. Serio.
Francesca Roman and Hobby Creek’s Grey Goose, owned by Carolex Stables LLC, won the championship in the Children’s Hunter Pony division, while Isabelle Castellanos and Finders-Keepers, owned by R.H.F. Enterprises, Inc. were reserve champions.
The Leading Hunter Trainer Award, sponsored by South Haven Farm, went to Scott Stewart and Ken Berkley.