Washington, D.C.—Oct. 23
Kelley Farmer made headlines this August when she became the first rider to earn $1 million in hunter earnings. Today she added a little more glitz to her haul, earning a Rolex timepiece courtesy of Tiny Jewel Box as the leading hunter rider at the Washington International.
Farmer earned that title by riding all three of the mounts she brought to D.C. to tricolors, including earning the grand hunter championship on Ken and Selma Garber and Larry Glefke’s green conformation champion, Quotable. That horse also picked up reserve honors in the regular conformation division.
Quotable won all five green conformation classes, plus an over fences class in the regular division as well. He was ranked second a few times over the course of the two days, moving up to first after the model portion of the judging.
“It’s funny because Larry always joked that if he goes in and stands in the model and he gets called second, all of a sudden you see a different light in his eyes," Farmer said. "If they call him second, 99 percent of the time they move him up because he goes and puts on a show. He knows he’s supposed to be there; he knows he’s beautiful.”
Farmer also rode Mythical to the high performance title for Glefke and the Garbers over Betsee Parker’s Everly and Scott Stewart. Mythical, who’s technically still a first year mount, earned the Protocol Trophy as the entry with the best overall results at Devon (Pa.), Pennsylvania National and Washington.
“I love Quotable, and I love all my horses, by Mythical—he is mythical,” said Farmer, Wellington, Fla. “He’s my horse.”
Farmer also earned two reserve titles with Skorekeeper, owned by Glefke and Quail Run Partnership, in the green conformation and first year green divisions.
“We decided to bring three that were all brave horses; they’re not spooky,” said Farmer. “The horses have to ride well in this ring. This ring is so narrow and long that if they’re a little bit funny about their rideability, this ring doesn’t suit them.”
An Unexpected Prize
No one looked more surprised than Stewart when he heard his name called to accept the first year green hunter championship with Loyalty. That horse, owned by Fashion Farms, had finished second and third the day before, and he’d mistakenly thought that one of Farmer’s mounts had won both classes.
But with four different horses winning classes, and the points spread wide, Loyalty eked out the division title.
Stewart originally imported Loyalty expecting to send him into the equitation ring, but his stylish jump found him a home as a hunter. He didn’t compete in a first year division until May, and Stewart had intended to try the division once then reinstate him. But the 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood proved a quick study and stayed there.
Stewart also improved on last year’s result with Showman in the regular conformation division over Oscany Inc.’s Small Celebration and John French. Last year Showman lost the division title by the smallest of margins after he was moved down in the conformation portion of the final class.
This year Showman started off a bit slow, winning the model but coming off his lead for a step or two in a turn in the handy class, and rubbing one rail hard in another class. By today he pulled it together to win the stake and the tricolor.
“He’s always so easy going,” said Stewart, Flemington, N.J. “When he makes a mistake you can’t get too mad at him.”
Around The Showgrounds
• Peter Pletcher recovered from a tumble off Romance at Capital Challenge (Md.). (He came off at a trot jump in the handy class.) to ride that same horse, Romance, to the second year green and grand green hunter titles for David Gochman. ("He was a good boy—it wasn’t him!” insisted Pletcher, Magnolia, Texas.)
“He goes in a rubber snaffle, no earplugs, he’s very straightforward,” said Pletcher. “He just gets on a little lick and cruises around.”
• Becky Gochman didn’t leave all the winning to her trainer. She rode Sambalino to her third straight amateur-owner hunter, 36 and over, stake class win on her way to the division title and grand amateur owner championship.
Becky credits Sambalino’s consistency with his light schedule and careful care by Steve Weiss, who co-trains her along with Pletcher, and the staff of her Baxter Hill.
“He was laid up for seven months because he had the tiniest injury. He was never off, but we just made sure,” said Becky, New York City.
“I know I won’t get another special horse like him again,” she continued. “You have to take advantage of it and appreciate it. We’re just going to take him out once in a while. He’s very mature so he can just come out and do this.”
• Daryl Portela and Winner kept their winning streak alive. For the second year in a row they topped all four low amateur-owner, 36 and over, classes to win the division title and the grand amateur-owner hunter championship.
“I wanted to go in and win the first round and the handy, and we did," said Portela, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "For the stake round, [trainer Jimmy Torano] said ‘Go in there and canter right on down to the first one—don’t be slow. It’s a stake round! That’s what it’s supposed to be about.’ ”
• Kelly Tropin had quite the lunch break today. She zipped out of her day job at the Chertoff Group Consulting Firm, where she’s a first-year analyst, to arrive at the Verizon Center just in time to ride Darwin to a pair of red ribbons to clinch the amateur-owner hunter, 18-35, championship.
She’s just moved to Washington, D.C., a few months ago, and admitted she was sneaking peaks at the live feed to double-check her timing before she came to the show to hop aboard her occasionally looky gelding.
“I really like riding hunters that are a little spooky,” she said. “When I have to think about the horse that always makes my riding better.”
• Stephanie Danhakl and the appropriately named Lifetime earned the low amateur-owner, 18-35, award. She’s had that horse for 13 years, since he was 7.
He stayed with her when she stopped showing seriously to focus on school. Now she’s moved from Pacific Palisades, Calif., to Philadelphia, Pa., to study for her masters degree in art history, but still finds time to go ride Lifetime at Rivers Edge in Flemington, N.J.
• Divisions at Washington International were quite light this year. On Day 2 of competition, 13 horses competed in the first year green division, 9 in the second year division, 7 in the green conformation, 9 in the regular conformation and 6 in the high performance hunter division.
Click here for lots more from the Chronicle on the Washington International Horse Show. For a full report from the Washington International Horse Show, check out the Nov. 11 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse. Full results are available at the official Washington International Horse Show site.