Storyteller Earns Grand Pony Hunter Championship at the 55th Washington International Horse Show

Storyteller and Ashton Alexander soar to victory at the Washington International Horse Show.
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Storyteller and Ashton Alexander soar to victory at the Washington International Horse Show.

October 29, 2013--The 55th annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) concluded competition at Verizon Center in downtown Washington D.C. on Sunday, October 27, with the presentation of championship awards in the pony hunter divisions.

Storyteller and Ashton Alexander | Photo ? Shawn McMillen Photography

Storyteller and Ashton Alexander | Photo ? Shawn McMillen Photography

Storyteller, owned by Samantha Kasowitz and ridden by Barbara Ann Merryman and Ashton Alexander, earned the Grand Pony Hunter Championship. Daisy Farish was named Best Child Rider on a Pony. The WIHS Pony Equitation Finals were also held in the afternoon with a win for Emma Kurtz. The WIHS Regional Finals concluded the day with wins for Morgan Rosia and Alex Wittig.

Storyteller, a ten-year-old German Sport Pony gelding, earned The Miles River Moonglow Perpetual Trophy donated by Scott Novick and Rustic Woods, for the Grand Pony Hunter Championship after topping the Large Pony Hunter division. The Grand Championship was sponsored this year by Montana Coady.

Ashton Alexander stepped in last minute to ride Storyteller to a first place ribbon over fences on Saturday and Barbara Ann Merryman took over the ride on Sunday to place first and fifth. For the division championship, Storyteller and the girls accepted The Pegasus Stable Perpetual Trophy, donated by Ms. Fenwick Kollock. Woodland's Misty Rain and owner/rider Isabel Ryan were the Large Pony Hunter reserve champions with a win under saddle and a second place ribbon over fences.

This was Storyteller's first time showing at WIHS. His main rider, Merryman, is from Lutherville, MD. Merryman had a scheduling conflict on Saturday and was unable to compete, so Alexander helped out. Between the two riders, Storyteller had great two days of competition.

"He was fabulous," Merryman stated. "I rode him off and on for the last four years. He was a baby when we got him, and now he is so grown and does everything. He is straightforward, and he was really good today."

"For me, I think that he rides like a little horse," Alexander said. "It was awesome getting on him to go. It was like getting on a horse and jumping three-foot. He was straightforward and did everything you asked."

Merryman spoke of Storyteller's personality, saying, "He's happy. He's very cute and very hands on. He likes to push you, nudge you and play with you. On the ground he is like a little toy."

"It is my last show on him, and he is my favorite pony ever," Merryman acknowledged. She is 18 years old now and attending school at John Hopkins University. "I am so proud of him, and he is so good. I could not have asked for any more."

In the Medium Pony Hunters, Mimi Gochman of New York, NY, showed David Gochman's True Love to championship honors to earn The Shenandoah Sundowner Perpetual Trophy donated by Evan Coluccio and Ashmont Farms, Ltd.?The pair won two classes over fences. Gochman also received a special award as owner and rider of True Love for her high score of 88 in the handy round. She was presented with the Potomac Trophy High Score Junior Hunter Rider on a Pony award, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. John R. Ingram. True Love is a 14-year-old Westphalian Riding Pony gelding by Costolany.

Daisy Farish and Redfield Farms' Sassafras Creek were the Medium Pony Hunter reserve champions. They were first and fourth over fences and third under saddle. Sassafras Creek earned the award for best pony hunter stake round with a score of 88. Farish, of Versailles, KY, was named Best Child Rider on a Pony for 2013 and received The Captain V.S. Littauer Perpetual Trophy donated by Hugh J.B. Cassidy III, Mrs. William Dillon and Miss Marion Lee.

"It feels really good to get the leading rider award," Farish stated. "My ponies were really good. I have had both of these pones the entire year, and they have been really awesome. I am really excited that they have been so good through the whole year."

Sassafras Creek was Grand Pony Hunter Champion with Farish in 2012 and had another great show this year. "Sassy is really great to ride because when she trusts you and has faith in you, she listens to you," Farish said. "It is just a great bond, and I have a great connection with her."

Commenting on the progress of her riding since 2012, Farish explained that she started riding horses this year and has learned a lot. "I have been doing a lot of horses," she said. "I think that has taken me to the next level a little bit."

Further Lane Farm's Rolling Stone won the Small Pony Hunter division championship with Madeline Schaefer of Westminster, MD, and was awarded The Stombock Saddlery Challenge Trophy, donated by Stombock Saddlery in memory of E.P. (Bud) Stombock. In the division's classes, sponsored by TTR Sotheby's International Realty, Schaefer and Rolling Stone placed first, third and third over fences. Sophie Gochman rode David Gochman's Hi Lite to reserve honors with first and third place ribbons over fences. Rolling Stone is a 15-year-old Welsh Pony gelding.