Many of the top horses in the country will travel from near and far to compete next week at the 2012 Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by The Gochman Family, in Upper Marlboro, MD. The show runs September 29 through October 7 at Prince George’s Equestrian Center and will feature many horses that are currently at the top of the national standings for their divisions for the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).
Meet some of this year's competitors!
Puppet, a six-year-old Warmblood gelding by Palladium Ex Poladii, is currently leading the country in money won in the First Year Green Working Hunter division. Puppet is owned by Katherine Dash, of Yarrow Point, WA, and will be shown in the First Year division at Capital Challenge by Shelley Campf, of Canby, OR. Campf also plans to show Puppet in the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Professional Challenge and the WCHR Handy Hunter Challenge. The talented young gelding is also qualified for the WCHR Children’s Finals with his owner Katherine Dash after winning the Northwest Regional Championships.
“Puppet is actually quite remarkable because he didn’t do any of the winter circuit and he didn’t do any pre-greens,” Campf noted. “I just kind of started him in the first years right off the bat here and he has really come into himself.”
Campf will also train Exposure, owned by Alexandra Zell, Greyscale, owned by Maggie Dennis, and Padarco Dolce, owned by Bailey Smith, throughout the week. Greyscale sits fifth in the national standings in the Regular Conformation Hunters and Exposure is sixth in the Performance Working Hunter 3’3” division nationally. Exposure and Zell were reserve champions in the Adult Amateur Hunter 51 and Over at Capital Challenge last year and hope for another great year.
It is a big commitment to fly horses and riders 3,000 miles across the country to compete, but Campf enjoys the experience. “I have been coming to Capital Challenge on and off for many years since the very first one,” she noted. “I love the Capital Challenge Horse Show because we see the top hunters in the country all come together at the same place. For me personally, I run into my East Coast friends that I don’t get to see all year long. It is always a first-rate venue with top-class management, great production, and my clients love it.”
• Ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding
• Owned by Am Free, Inc. of St. Petersburg, FL
• Number one in USEF national standings by money won in the Performance Working Hunter 3’6” -3’9” division
• Will be shown by Holly Orlando and Ava Free
Paul Stuart is leading the nation in money won in the Green Conformation Hunters this year and is ridden by Martien Van Der Hoeven, of The Woodlands, TX. Paul Stuart is a seven-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Augusta Pines in Spring, TX.
Van Der Hoeven will make his debut riding performance at Capital Challenge this year after several years of attending the show with junior and amateur students. Van Der Hoeven also has a top mount in the First Year Green Working Hunter division with Black Label. Black Label is a nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding, also owned by Augusta Pines, and sits third in the country in money won in his division.
"Both horses have had a very successful year leading up to indoors and I am excited to see how they do,” Van Der Hoeven stated. “This will be the first time that I have ridden at Capital Challenge myself. I have been there several years in the past, but always with clients just training. This is the first year that I have had the caliber of horses to show there in a professional position, so I am looking forward to that.”
“It is a fantastic show as far as showcasing the hunters the way that it is run,” Van Der Hoeven acknowledged. “I don’t think you are going to find many more show managers and sponsors that put that much effort into the hunters. It is one of the premier indoor shows.”
• Nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding
• Owned by Jessica Stitt, of Elburn, IL
• Number two in USEF national standings by money won in the High Performance Working Hunter division
• Will be shown by Kelley Farmer and Jessica Stitt
Ostentacious is a ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Louise Graves, of Nashville, TN. Graves, 15, purchased Ostentacious in December last year and he currently leads the country in points in the Large Junior Hunter 15 and Under division. This will be Graves’ fourth year showing at Capital Challenge and she hopes to get some good ribbons and have the best year yet.
“Capital Challenge only comes once a year, so I always look forward to going,” Graves expressed. “I like it because it is such a prestigious horse show. I also look forward to seeing a lot of my horse show friends who live far away because we all show different places during the summer. It is one of my favorite horse shows.”
On Ostantacious, Graves stated, “He is really good. He has a really great personality. When I walk in the barn he always has his head out of the stall. He is really fun to ride because he has such a good jump. He is just really sweet.”