Washington D.C.—Oct. 24
Memorable isn’t just the name of Anna Kubiak’s mount, it’s also the word she used to describe her win in the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship. Kubiak, 16, and the 9-year-old Warmblood gelding, owned by Over Fences Farm LLC, topped the two-round class with a score of 162.5.
“I have a hard time being nervous with ‘Mo’ because he’s such a good boy,” Kubiak said. “I was a little anxious going in just because I wanted to do well, so I had to remember to trust my horse and ride my plan.”
Planning and trust paid off. Kubiak and Memorable were first out of 32 after the first round and went last in a field of 12 returning riders.
“Going into the second round on top actually made me a little more calm,” she said. “I knew I had already done well, but I was also more anxious knowing I had to do really well. The pressure forced me to stay focused.”
Kubiak hails from Chicago and has been working with Mo since he was 4. She’s brought him through the levels with the help of trainers Maria Rasmussen and Jeff Wirthman. Although Kubiak has been to WIHS as a spectator, this was her inaugural ride.
“It’s amazing to be at this point with him and succeeding because I’ve had him basically since he was a baby, and we’ve been working really hard,” she said. “[Mo is] kind of like a puppy. He’s really sweet; he has a very old soul. He’s a protector; he’s always watched out for me.”
Lauwers’ Winning Streak Continues At Washington International
As a jumper rider from Belgium, Jef Lauwers is used to attacking a course, but since he’s moved to the United States and tried his hand at the hunters, his trainer Peter Pletcher has been encouraging him to be patient and wait the jumps come to him.
But when he turned the corner aboard Sutherland during the second round of the $10,000 Washington International Horse Show Adult Hunter Championship, he knew he was going to take that move-up distance.
“[Sutherland] was perfect,” said Lauwers. “I’ve never had as smooth a round as that. I came out of the turn, and normally I would be patient and wait, but I just saw it coming up, and I’m like, ‘OK I’m just going to close my leg and go for it.’ And I saw Peter sweating in the background, and I’m like ‘I got this! Just leave this to me!’ ”
Had it, indeed. The judges rewarded him with a two-round score of 173, solidly putting them ahead of Neysa Bryant on Son Of A Sailor (167).
“It’s nerve-wracking because you can see everyone go again and they’re getting 89s and high 80s, and you’re thinking ‘Oh God, now I have to get an 87 or an 89 or just nail it,’ said Lauwers. “It brings a little pressure on you, but I’m starting to get better at it, so it’s good.”
Lauwers might have only started riding the hunters this season, but he’s quickly found his stride. He took home the adult amateur championship at Capital Challenge (Md.) and followed it up with a win in the NAL Adult Hunter Championship at the Pennsylvania National last week.
“Sutherland is an amazing horse,” said Lauwers. “I just got him four months ago, since then we’ve just kept on going and kept on riding and fulfilling our dreams. He’s a great mover, great jumper, great attitude. In the beginning he was a little sensitive sometimes, so it took a few horse shows to figure each other out, but he’s wonderful. He adjusts to me, and I adjust to him, and it’s like a perfect team, a perfect match.”
Since Lauwers has never been to D.C. before, he’s got big plans for the remainder of the week.
“I told Peter we’re going to cruise around, and we’re going to the White House and walk to the Lincoln Memorial and see that,” he said. “Of course we have to be at the horse show for a while, but it’s going to be fun.”