October 29, 2013--Young riders competed in the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals at the Washington International Horse Show Sunday afternoon with a win going to 13-year-old Emma Kurtz of Hudson, OH, riding True Love. Trained by Amanda Lyerly and Mike Rheinheimer, Kurtz scored an 86 over fences and moved from second to first with her ride in the work-off under saddle to take the lead. She was presented The Jane Marshall Dillon Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by the friends and students of Mrs. Jane Marshall Dillon. Coco Fath finished second, Charlise Casas was third, and Isabel Ryan placed fourth.
"It's my second time here and it's just really exciting," Kurtz said of her win at Verizon Center. "It feels really good to win today."
Kurtz was second in the U.S. Pony Medal Finals this year and has aspirations of moving up to do the big equitation classes. She has been very successful as a young hunter rider and the experience of catch riding and showing many different horses has helped her develop her riding skills. Today's win gives her confidence to continue into the bigger classes.
Kurtz first rode True Love last winter and took him to some shows this summer. Commenting on her round over fences today, she stated, "It was probably the best round I've had with him."
As far as her equitation, Kurtz explained that Lyerly often reminds her to keep her reins short since it is a different ride from doing the hunters. Her other winning quality - "I just try to show off as much as I can."
Concluding the week of competition at the 2013 Washington International Horse Show were the Regional Hunter Championships. The WIHS Regional Pony Hunter Champion was 12-year-old Morgan Rosia of Germantown, MD, riding Miss Bermuda. Miss Bermuda is a seven-year-old Welsh Pony Cross by Gypsy Time Traveler, owned by trainer Cindy Newberry. For the championship, Rosia was presented with The Jane Marshall Dillon Memorial Perpetual Trophy. The reserve champion was Like a Fox, owned by Amy Walls and ridden by Claire Walls.
In addition to success at the regional competition at Prince George's Equestrian Center last weekend, Rosia and Miss Bermuda won the final class of the division today with a score of 85 over fences. Carly Williams and Sunset's Sleepin In placed second with a score of 83. Samantha Wolpin was third in the final with an 81 riding Michelle Brauning's Blue Valentine.
Wittig won the final class in the division today with a high score of 86 riding True Story. Brennan and Shadwell were second with an 84. Garland Alban and Save the Date placed third with a score of 80.
This was the first time qualifying for WIHS for both Brennan and Wittig. They were excited to do well and praised their horses for their success.
"It's kind of shocking. I didn't even realize I could win," Brennan stated. "I was focused on just getting around the course! My horse was surprisingly good. I was pleasantly surprised, and I was glad he felt good. It gave me confidence."
Brennan watched the show last year and was thrilled to qualify to compete. "I never expected to show here, so it was a good feeling," she said. "It felt like I was really achieving something and making progress. I hope to eventually move up to juniors and keep showing."
Wittig is 17 years old from Middletown, DE, and showed Rachel Grande's True Story, a 19-year-old Rhinelander gelding by Concorde. "I've had him for a year-and-a-half, and he is my favorite because he's the bomb," Wittig laughed. "He's awesome. He's so fun. He knows his job, and he has a game face. He's perfect, pretty much."
ig's round over fences was smooth and consistent, and she had a great experience in her first outing at Verizon Center. "It's really fun. It makes all the hard work and not sleeping worth it," she said of winning. "This is like no other show. It's in the middle of the city. It's different. It's very cool how they set everything up. The whole process is really cool."
Final Results: WIHS Pony Equitation Finals
1 474 Emma Kurtz
2 509 Coco Fath
3 778 Charlise Casas
4 354 Isabel Ryan
5 625 Carter Anderson
6 309 Sarah Boston
7 140 Tess Lenihan
8 719 Emma Lemke
9 615 Cole Battershall
10 322 Sarah Clifton Yandell
R 369 Ellie Ferrigno
Final Results: WIHS Regional Hunter Finals - Ponies
1 842 MISS BERMUDA Morgan Rosia Cindy Newberry 85.000
2 845 SUNSET'S SLEEPIN' IN Carly Williams Sunset Farm 83.000
3 844 BLUE VALENTINE Samantha Wolpin Michelle Brauning 81.000
4 861 CRACKER JACK Catherine Black Catherine Black 80.000
5 847 LIMITED EDITION Jordan Toering Rick Toering 79.000
6 849 TINSELTOWN Jianna Simcik Charleez Simcik 78.000
7 846 CLOUD NINE Riley King Jessica Chappell 73.000
8 858 CHINA BLUE Lauren Ginsberg Cindy Johnson 72.000
9 857 LIKE A FOX Claire Walls Amy Walls 60.000
10 860 ROWFANTINA'S GOLDEN TICKE Julia Ziffer Julia Ziffer 55.000
11 851 JUMPIN' JACK FLASH Olivia Carmouche Mary Elizabeth Cordia 40.000
12 852 MARANATHA FLASH Emily Nuthall Sue Chambers 37.000