Tracy Scheriff came to the Washington International Horse Show with no expectations of repeating her spectacular performance from the Pennsylvania National, where she surprised herself by picking up the amateur-owner hunter, 18-35, championship with Lavari. So when she and her long-time partner put in an even better performance today, Oct. 22, to claim not only that title, but grand amateur-owner honors as well, she felt ecstatic.
“This is unreal,” said Scheriff after picking up her prizes. “I just can’t believe it.”
To top it off, Scheriff also picked up the leading amateur-owner rider title, and took home the award for the best round in any amateur-owner over fences class.
Lavari and Scheriff have been together for three years, although the gelding took last year off when Scheriff broke her leg falling off a different horse. “I didn’t ride for almost a year and then got back on in August,” said Scheriff. “It took me a little while to get back into it, but he was very patient and put up with me.”
She said that even though Lavari can be opinionated in the barn, he’s very easy to ride and always gives her one hundred percent. “He’s always ready for you,” said Scheriff, 25. “He’s knows his job and goes in ready to win.” The Ramsey, N.J., rider credits trainer Havens Schatt and Lavari’s groom Daniel—who has been with him since she bought him—for getting them to with winner’s circle.
Penelope Ayers took home the amateur-owner hunter, 36 and over, championship aboard her 17.1 hand gelding, Player. Ayers’ long-time trainer Sandy Lobel, describes Player as extremely personable in the barn and very sweet to ride. “We nicknamed him Fig because he looks like a big fig and is such a mush,” she joked.
Ayers purchased Fig in April and started showing in the amateur-owners almost immediately. Even though this is his first season competing at the fall indoor shows, he’s taking it all in stride. “He’s still a bit green, but he’s gotten more relaxed with each show,” said Ayers.
Lobel named Ayers’ boundless energy and dedication to the sport as the keys to her success in the show ring. “She puts a lot of time into her animals, they’re very important to her,” said Lobel. Ayers splits her time between Bernardsville, N.J., and Ocala, Fla.
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