Brixton & Golden Repeat Grand Performance, Cherrybrook Blue Jersey & Tarumianz Capture WIHS Pony Equitation Finals on Last Day of 2023 WIHS

Brixton and Vivian Golden repeated their grand performance in the pony hunters in 2023. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Edited Press Release

Ponies closed out competition on Sunday, October 29, for the 2023 Washington International Horse Show, presented by MARS Equestrian™. Betsee Parker’s Brixton and Vivian Golden won the Grand Pony Hunter Championship, presented by the Castellanos Family, for the second year in a row. Victory in the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals, presented by Huntland went to Ella Tarumianz riding Cherrybrook Blue Jersey.

Capping off a spectacular two-year partnership, 14-year-old Vivian Golden of Wyomissing, PA, won the Grand Pony Hunter Championship for the second year in a row. This was their final competition together as Golden continues on in her equestrian career.

Joining Vivian Golden and Brixton in their Grand Pony Hunter Championship were Bradley Bowns of WIHS, ringmaster Steve Rector, owner Betsee Parker, and groom Memo Cholac. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

“I’ve had him for a long time, and he’s done more than enough for me,” reflected Golden. “We have a good bond, but I think he’s ready. I’m definitely going to miss him though.”

Coming into Sunday’s final two classes, Golden was unsure if she would be able to pull off the Large Pony Hunter championship, much less the Grand, as they only had a second-place ribbon on Saturday. They had a solid ride in the handy hunter for another second place, but it was their score of 92 in the stake that propelled them to the win, the division championship, and the Grand Championship.

“It was a little nerve-wracking coming into today,” admitted Golden. “I work best under pressure though; I kind of create my own pressure. I have really high expectations for myself. I know what I have to do, and I have a good plan. If I follow the plan, I know it will work out.

“In the stake, the pressure was on because I really needed to win to be grand,” she continued. “He was so good. I know what I have to do to give him a good ride. He’s going to help me where I need it, and I’m just going to try my best. I knew if somebody else won, I wouldn’t have been grand. Everything worked out.”

JJ Torano was named the Best Child Rider on a Pony, presented by ringmaster Steve Rector and Betsee Parker. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Golden has been competing at WIHS for years and counts her reserve championship in the Small Pony Hunters on Dressed To Go in 2019 as her best memory at WIHS.

Brixton will go on to a new rider in 2024, but Golden will remember Brixton’s sweet and funny personality. “He’s a really big licker,” she laughed. “He’ll never bite you or anything. His ears are always up in the barn. He loves to win, and he loves to be in the ring. He knows when he needs to be good.”

While Golden isn’t completely done showing ponies – she will work with and compete green ponies next year – she is looking forward to the next step. She noted, “All of the ponies have helped my eye throughout the years and taught me a lot.”

The Potomac Trophy went to Luca Endzweig and Super Sport. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

For their Grand Champion win, Golden and Brixton were presented with Miles River Moonglow Perpetual Trophy donated by Scott Novick & Rustic Woods.

Championships in the pony hunters went to:
Small Pony Hunter champion: Smitten, Grace Stenbeck-Werner, Joe Currais
Reserve champion: Down To A T, Adele Dewar, Katherine Dewar

Medium Pony Hunter champion: Paris Charm, Currie Cooper, JJ Torano
Reserve champion: Super Sport, Luca Endzweig, Twin Island, LLC

Large Pony Hunter champion: Brixton, Vivian Golden, Betsee Parker
Reserve champion: Sports Illustrated, JJ Torano, Redfield Farm

The Potomac Trophy, awarded for the high score junior owner/rider on a pony, went to Super Sport and Luca Endzweig.

JJ Torano was named the Best Child Rider on a Pony and was presented with the Captain V.S. Littauer Perpetual Trophy donated by Hugh J.B. Cassidy III, Mrs. William Dillon, and Miss Marion Lee.

Colin Shippam received the Gochman Style of Riding Award.

In the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals, Ella Tarumianz, 14, of Charlotte, NC, took home the victory. She rode Cherrybrook Blue Jersey, a nine-year-old Welsh Pony Cross gelding by Cherrybrook Blue and Gold owned by Deer Creek Farm LLC. They scored a 90 in the jumping phase and stayed strong during the flat phase to ride to the win. Tarumianz was presented with the Jane Marshall Dillon Memorial Perpetual Trophy.

“The course was pretty fun,” said Tarumianz. “It was a little bit more of a basic hunter course, but I think I was able to use that to my advantage and really take me and my pony’s strong spots and use that in this course. When I was walking the course, I was really thinking about which turns I was going to do and how that was going to help my round, and also the possibilities of those turns not working out. I was thinking of the pros and cons of my track and thinking how I’m going to get the best result. It’s definitely important to be able to think of all possibilities so your round doesn’t fall [apart] just because of one mistake.”

The 2023 WIHS marks one full year of the relationship between Tarumianz and “Jersey,” as the 2022 WIHS was their first show together. The pair improved upon their ninth-place finish in the 2022 WIHS Pony Equitation Finals.

Colin Shippam received the Gochman Style of Riding Award. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

“It’s been really special to go full circle with him,” said Tarumianz. “He’s such a great pony, and he always has my back. He’s really sweet but definitely had a big personality, and I’m really happy with the way he performed in there today. Jersey is super scopey and is able to do anything I ask him to, so that’s why I wanted to do him in this class.”

Second place in the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals went to Lily Epstein on Fox Creeks Curious George who scored an 87 over fences, while Reilly Robertson and Clovermeade Heartthrob placed third with 86.5.

The winner of the WIHS Halloween Hunt Teams was Team Pink Ladies in the Larges, Team Tangled in the Mediums, and Team Swifties in the Small Ponies.

The 2023 WIHS has closed competition in another incredibly successful year. Save the date for the 2024 Washington International Horse Show on October 22-28.