Ovation made a splash at this year’s Washington International Horse Show, claiming the second year green hunter, green conformation hunter and co-grand hunter awards today, Oct. 22, in downtown Washington, D.C. Scott Stewart, who purchased the horse from Molly Ohrstrom last week, piloted the gelding to the wins.
“Last year he was good here, but not as relaxed,” Stewart said of Ovation. “He’s really matured a lot.”
The Flemington, N.J., rider also picked up top honors in the first year green division aboard his World Time. The championships boosted Stewart to his fourth leading hunter rider title at Washington.
“I was a little surprised [to win the leading hunter award],” he said. “We only brought a few horses to this show, certainly not as many as we usually do. They all just went so well.”
Though World Time is only 6 years old, Stewart said he’s very simple to ride. “He’s going to make a perfect junior hunter,” he said. ”He just goes around so easily. [Junior rider] Victoria Colvin has been the only one on him since Capital Challenge [Md.]. She’s been lessoning on him and Ovation at home, so she did some of the work preparing them for here.”
Stephanie Danhakl’s Smitten shared grand hunter honors with Ovation after topping the regular conformation hunter division with 34 points.
“He was mine as a young horse before I sold him to Archie [Cox], who then sold him to Mr. Danhakl,” said Leslie Steele, who rode Smitten to the tricolors. “A few months ago Archie approached me about riding him again and I said I’d love to!”
Though the 15.3-hand gelding is shy on experience, having skipped his pre-green year, he marched around the spooky ring at the Verizon Center like a seasoned veteran.
“The hardest and best thing about him is that he’s an overachiever,” said Steele. “If he were a person he’d be obsessive compulsive. He never wants to lose.”
Steele couldn’t have been happier to get back in the saddle aboard the 8-year-old this fall. Though she’s visited the winner’s circle at Washington before, her victory with Smitten marked her first grand hunter title. “Mr. Danhakl is such a wonderful client for Archie,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to do a good job for somebody like that.”
South Point Farms’ Renaissance took top honors in the regular working hunter division, picking up blue ribbons in the handy class and the under saddle.
David Wright, Murfreesboro, Tenn., described Renaissance as “one of the ones I really look forward to.” He caught the ride on the bay Hanoverian earlier this year, shortly after owner Cortney Patterson started riding the horse in the large junior division. Wright and the bay Hanoverian clicked so well they stayed together all season, winning working divisions throughout the Midwest and picking up their first ASG Software Solutions/USHJA Hunter Derby title at the Gulf Coast Magnolia Classic in Gulfport, Miss.
The horse stays at South Point Farms under the guidance of trainer Daphne Thornton outside Kansas City, Mo., and meets up with Wright at shows. “He’s very simple,” said Wright. “We keep him fit enough to jump big jumps and we don’t jump him very often. He’s a very easy, fun, nice-to-ride horse.”
For full results from all of the classes at the Washington International Horse Show, please click here.