Edited Press Release
Owen Gajoch has been consistent all summer in the Amateur-Owner Hunters with his longtime partner Westeros, owned by Samantha Gajoch. He kicked off the Tournament of Champions by taking championship honors yet again as well as a win in the combined Junior/Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic.
Westeros, a 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Black Tie, has been in the Gajoch family for years. “I finished up my last year of the juniors on him four years ago,” Gajoch said of the horse. “We had a great start this summer. [We were] WCHR champion, then we went a little up and down all summer because he’s getting up there in age. I think this was our last time doing the 3’6” so it was good to end it on a championship and winning the classic.”
A consistent force all season, Gajoch bookended his summer with two big wins, with several along the way as well. In Saturday’s combined classic, he scored a 168 over the two rounds to take the win. “The first course was great,” he said of his performance Saturday. “He gave all his effort and we got an 86. We came back and had two little rubs but it worked out and he jumped nice for an 84.”
Gajoch doesn’t just thrive in the hunter ring, however. In the jumpers, he took the individual gold medal in the USHJA Zone Jumper Championships 1.25m Junior/Amateur division during GLEF V as the sole rider to jump clear over all three days of competition. He has a particular fondness for the hunters, though.
“I’m kind of a perfectionist, so it’s nice to go in and make everything look the same,” he said. “You have to be on. If you’re doing well you have to be riding well.”
Native to Columbus, OH, Gajoch spends his summers in Traverse City and his winters primarily in Florida. “It’s probably the best summer I’ve had up here in a long time,” he commented. “I was [gold medalist] on my jumper that I’ve had forever; he’s moving onto bigger and better things. We had the WCHR championship. We’ve done a lot of good things. I’ll take it.”
Second place honors in the Junior/Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic went to Olivia Sweetnam with Staci Arani’s Checker 69, while Isabelle Ehman and Jagerbomb, owned by Infinity Equestrian LLC, took third.
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