Washington D.C.—Oct. 25
Samantha Sommers figured that if she was going to travel a long way to attend Washington International, she shouldn’t waste any time while she’s here.
Sommers traveled from Mailbu, Calif., to the nation’s capital to sweep the large junior hunter, 16-17, division on Iwasaki and Reilly-owned mounts. Small Celebration earned the championship, and Small Affair took reserve. Small Celebration also tied with two other horses for the grand junior hunter title, and the judges named Sommers Best Child Rider on a Horse.
The best part of her weekend was when she earned a score of 95 in today’s large junior hunter, 16-17, stakes.
“Archie Cox was like, ‘You may as well retire. Go be a pro or something,’ ” said Sommers, 18. “Yesterday when I got the 93 on Small Affair I thought, ‘That’s my highest score at indoors.’ And then when I got the 95 today, and that’s my highest score ever.”
Watch that round:
Sommers trains with Liz Reilly and John French and is a freshman at University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.
“[John] got all excited,” she said. “He’s very serious when I’m working with him, but when I got the 95 and got off, he ran and gave me a hug. I think that was the best moment of the day! It means a lot when they’re so proud and happy for you. Winning the Best Child Rider is awesome, and I’m so happy to share the grand title.”
Sommers’ mount Small Celebration shared the grand junior championship honor with Lili Hymowitz aboard Danielle Stacy’s large junior hunter, 15 and under, horse Tiffani, and Megan MacPherson and her Good Humor.
• MacPherson received plenty congratulations immediately after her the small junior hunter, 16-17, championship was announced—including from one unlikely source.
Kenny Wheeler called MacPherson’s mother, Sydney Keith, to pass along his well wishes. The show ring legend used to teach Keith, and Wheeler’s son Douglas sold MacPherson the now-11-year-old warmblood Good Humor two years ago. They won the division title over O'Ryan and Meghan Flanagan.
“He’s so easy—he’s like a children’s hunter,” said MacPherson, 17. “I’ve never ridden an easier horse. I wish I could do him in the equitation.”
This marked MacPherson’s first time showing hunters at Washington, and she credits trainer Stacia Madden of Beacon Hill with getting her ready. MacPherson spent so much time at their base in Colts Neck, N.J., she half-jokingly calls her home in Boulder, Colo., her vacation home.
• Lili Hymowitz was especially proud of Tiffani because the mare just started in the hunter ring this year. Before that she had competed in the high junior jumper ring.
“She had to learn to slow down and wait for me,” said Hymowitz, 14. “She was pretty calm; she just had to get used to [the hunters] a little bit. It didn’t take long. She’s never been spooky or anything, which is good.”
Bergen Sanderford and Happenstance topped two classes to take the large junior hunter, 15 and under, reserve title.
This marked Hymowitz’ first major junior hunter win at a championship. “Even though she’s new to this, I did feel confident going in there,” said Hymowitz, Bridgehampton, N.Y. “She feels comfortable and I trust her a lot.”
• Hymowitz’ barnmate at Rivers Edge, Tori Colvin, didn’t leave empty-handed either. She swept the small junior hunter, 15 and under, division on mounts owned by Betsee Parker. Ovation took the championship, and Canadian Blue earned the reserve.
“Ovation was very consistent,” said Colvin, Loxahatchee, Fla. “He’s been here a couple times. I think he’s used to the scenery and everything.” But Canadian Blue is a greener mount. “We didn’t know how he was going to go,” recalled Colvin. “He was very nervous out in the little schooling ring. We jumped one foot high—that’s it. Then he walked in and was great.”
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.
Don’t miss the amazing photos of the Gambler’s Choice Costume Class and the inaugural Shetland Pony Races.