Edited Press Release
Along the way to winning the Grand Hunter Champion title for the 12th time at WIHS, Stewart swept the professional division championships, the second time that has occurred. For the Grand Champion Hunter honor, he was presented with the Rave Review Challenge award tray. He also was named the Leading Hunter Rider, presented by Betsee Parker, and was awarded the Scott Stewart Leading Hunter Rider Perpetual Trophy.
“All the horses were really great,” stated Stewart who rode seven horses in this year’s professional divisions. “I really couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m really excited. I’m really fortunate for every horse in my string, and they’re all really top.”
Stewart, of Wellington, Florida, piloted Betsee Parker’s Nottingham to three blue ribbons and a second-place finish in the High Performance Hunters with notable scores of 88 in the handy class and 92 in the stake class for the division championship.
“Nottingham is a great horse,” said Stewart of the 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Verdi. “He has such a good rhythm and is just so smooth between the jumps. He’s one of the best horses to ride.”
In the Green Hunter 3’6” division, Stewart was able to replicate the near sweep with Stephanie Danhakl’s Casanova Royal. He guided the 13-year-old Holsteiner stallion by Cassus to equally impressive scores of a 90 in the handy class and a 92 in the stake class. In addition to the Grand Hunter title, Stewart and Casanova Royal were also Grand Green Hunter Champions and were presented with the Claire Lang Miller Challenge award tray.
“He was an experienced jumper in Europe, so he has quite a bit of mileage in the jumper ring,” explained Stewart of the flashy bay that arrived in the U.S. in April 2022. “I thought he was going to take a little more time to get the hang of the hunters, but he’s really straightforward. Stephanie is a really good rider, so she can also handle him even though he’s not quite used to doing this job. They’re a great combination too.”
Stewart’s extensive history at WIHS and his track record is an accomplishment that is meaningful.
“It really means a lot to be named Leading Rider and Grand Champion at Washington,” expressed Stewart. “I’ve competed here a lot of years, and it’s always been one of my favorite horse shows. It’s all the best horses and riders here, and it was super conditions with great footing, so it was pretty high level competition.”
He continued, “I’ve been so fortunate with great owners through all the years helping me come along with all of these great horses. I think it’s great that we had two horses that went so well that we could tie exactly for Grand Champion! It’s nice that we didn’t have to choose.”
Professional hunter champions included:
Green Hunter 3’6” Champion: Casanova Royal, Scott Stewart, Stephanie Danhakl
Reserve champion: Small Love, Nick Haness, Iwasaki & Reilly
Green Hunter 3’9”
Champion: For Always, Scott Stewart, Betsee Parker
Reserve champion: Nottingham, Scott Stewart, Betsee Parker
Green Conformation Hunter
Champion: Jordan, Scott Stewart, Sophie Gochman
Reserve champion: Augustine, Jennifer Bauersachs, Lee Kellogg Sadrian
High Performance Hunter Champion: Nottingham, Scott Stewart, Betsee Parker
Reserve champion: Diplomat, Christa Endicott, Grace Russo
High Performance Conformation Hunter Champion: For Always, Scott Stewart, Betsee Parker
Reserve champion: Superlative, Chris Wynne, Grace Owens