Laurie Barna and Laguna Top $10,000 Adult Amateur Hunter Championship at WIHS

Laurie Barna rode her veteran mount Laguna to victory with scores of 78 and 81 for the winning total of 159.
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Laurie Barna rode her veteran mount Laguna to victory with scores of 78 and 81 for the winning total of 159.

October 22, 2014--The $10,000 WIHS Adult Amateur Hunter Championship, sponsored by The Linden Group at Morgan Stanley, concluded day one at the 2014 WIHS with 27 entries showing over the first round course and the top 12 returning. Laurie Barna of Dallas, PA, finally got her victory after several top finishes in the competition in previous years. She rode her veteran mount Laguna, a 21-year-old Holsteiner gelding, to victory with scores of 78 and 81 for the winning total of 159.

Laurie Barna and Laguna | Photo copyright Shawn McMIllen Photography

Laurie Barna and Laguna | Photo copyright Shawn McMIllen Photography

Jacquelyn Maggiore and Contina finished second with a 155-point total on scores of 76 and 79. Dana C. Nifosi and Knob Creek placed third with scores of 72.5 and 82 for a total of 154.5.

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Laurie Barna and Laguna (Shawn McMIllen Photography)

Barna started training with Liz Perry-Merbler at High Brass Farm in New Jersey in 2000 and has ridden Laguna for almost five years. The horse was previously her niece’s equitation horse and has given Barna great confidence in her riding.

“We have been coming here year after year, and I just can’t believe we actually finally won,” Barna beamed. “I have been doing Washington with either hunters or jumpers for at least 10 or 12 years now and this is my first time (winning). We are always a bridesmaid, but not this year. This is very exciting, especially on that horse. He is like our family heirloom. He has been in our family for a long time now. He was my niece’s equitation horse and when she went to college, we couldn’t bear to sell him. It is very sweet to have won it on him. We are probably semi retiring him this year and I thought, ‘Well, this is my last go of it.’ I can’t believe we actually got it.”

“Liz and I have been at this together for 15 years. I have a full-time job, and I only get out there once a week. Liz takes care of everything else,” Barna explained. “They have a rehab facility there, and he does the AquaPacer three times a week because it is a low impact workout. That is wonderful for him. Liz hacks him, and I have a lesson every Friday. I am very fortunate that he has so much experience, and he just loves it. He is wonderful.”

Although Barna still plans to show Laguna lightly next year, this win capped off an excellent partnership at one of her favorite shows.

“I was walking around the schooling area talking to him, saying, ‘All these years together buddy, do you think we can pull this off?’ It has never worked out. I landed off that last jump, and I thought, ‘Could it be?’ This will not be his last show. We might just have some fun with it next year, but it will be very limited. It will be hard to give him up. I have to wean myself off. Who knows, but how can you top that?”

Though she has many years of experience showing at WIHS, competing in the city never loses its luster for Barna. “I absolutely love it. It is just the atmosphere here,” she smiled. “Everything is so electric and unusual. It is just a neat show to be at. It is so friendly. I love being in the city and the horses walking down the street. It is a beautiful arena. It is challenging, but luckily I have a horse who doesn’t require much. There is just something about horses in the city that makes it really special.”

Also showing on Tuesday, the professional hunter divisions completed their first day of competition at Verizon Center with a very successful morning for Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL. The Robotyping Challenge Trophy was presented to Stewart and Dr. Betsee Parker’s A Million Reasons for the best Green Working Hunter round of the day with a high score of 92 in the Second Year Green Working Hunters. Stewart also accepted The Fairfax Hunt Race Association Challenge Trophy for the best Green Working Hunter handy round with a score of 86 aboard Stephanie Danhakl’s Quest in the First Year Green Working Hunters.

Final Results: Final Results: $10,000 WIHS Adult Hunter Championship, sponsored by The Linden Group at Morgan Stanley
Place, Number, Rider, Owner, Round 1 Score, Round 2 Score, Total Score
1 408 LAGUNA Laurie Barna Laurie Barna 78.000 81.000 159.000
2 235 CONTINA Jacquelyn Maggiore Jacquelyn Maggiore 76.000 79.000 155.000
3 536 KNOB CREEK Dana C. Nifosi Dana C. Nifosi 72.500 82.000 154.500
4 525 BENVOLIO Mary Grossman Mary Grossman 71.000 83.000 154.000
5 163 RENO RUNAWAY Emily Slotwinski Sandra Mertes 70.000 80.000 150.000
6 101 FERRAGAMO’S FEATURE Jenna Weiner Jenna Weiner, LLC 73.000 74.500 147.500
7 110 POETIC JUSTIS Brooke Cole Brooke Cole 71.500 74.000 145.500
8 278 SGT. PEPPER Connie McRill Connie McRill 67.000 78.000 145.000
9 526 ROC’S IRISH ROSE Heather Bobek Heather Bobek 72.000 71.000 143.000
10 913 ALL 4 PLAY Carly Ziegler Carly Ziegler 70.500 72.000 142.500
11 633 EMERALD CITY Sarah Gorrell Ashley Holsinger 68.000 68.000 136.000
12 266 WISH LIST Diane Wade Diane Wade 69.000 65.000 134.000