Stephanie Danhakl Sweeps Weather or Not Equestrian 3’6” Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 Division at WEF 8

Stephanie Danhakl & Brightside, champions of the 3’6” Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 division, sponsored by Weather or Not Equestrian. Photo © Sportfot

Edited Press Release

The two tricolor ribbons awarded for champion and reserve in the 3’6” Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 division, sponsored by Weather or Not Equestrian, during WEF 8 both belonged to Stephanie Danhakl. Under the guidance of esteemed professional hunter rider Scott Stewart, Danhakl has long been a fierce competitor in the amateur hunter divisions and once again put forward multiple high-scoring rounds to rank highest in the division. 

Piloting her long-time successful partner Brightside, Danhakl produced rounds that scored her two firsts, a second, and two thirds across the two-day division to take the champion title tallied from high-point scores that included an 87 and an 88. 

“The longer I’ve had him, the easier he has become for me,” explained Danhakl of her 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. “We’ve had to be mindful with him because he’s prone to bone bruising but as he’s gotten older, he’s much easier to get to the ring. That has definitely worked to his advantage this year.”

Brightside proved to be a star in the hunter ring from the beginning, and Danhakl knew he was the horse for her the moment she sat on him. 

“I actually tried him all by myself when I found him because Scott and Ken were in Europe,” she continued. “We clicked right away and I was immediately comfortable with him even though he was new to me.”

With Casanova Royal, Danhakl found her rhythm and added up two 8th-place ribbons with two second places and topped off the class with a win over fences to secure the reserve champion ribbon. Casanova Royal was found as a jumper in Europe; he was a horse that Danhakl took a bit longer getting to know. 

“He’s a bit older so I think it is nice for him to have this easier job now, and he really has the brain for the hunters,” Danhakl detailed of the 14-year-old Holsteiner stallion. “He has a motor from being a jumper, but if you can just sit quietly, he is the most straightforward, honest horse. If I do my job, he is guaranteed to do his.” 

Stephanie Danhakl with Brightside & Casanova Royal. Photo © Sportfot

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