Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2024

Davis Is In Perfect Harmony At Capital Challenge


The California junior travels to the East Coast to add to her impressive winning streak.

There just isn’t much left for Lucy Davis to win in the junior hunters this year.
   
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The California junior travels to the East Coast to add to her impressive winning streak.

There just isn’t much left for Lucy Davis to win in the junior hunters this year.
   
And she added even more to her growing list of accomplishments at the Capital Challenge, Sept. 29-Oct. 7, when she captured the WCHR Junior Challenge, earned the WCHR National Junior title and was honored with the Stewart-Warner Cup for up-and-coming junior riders who exhibit the best hunter style and show potential.

Davis, 14, Los Angeles, Calif., also earned the small junior, 15 and under, cham-pionship aboard Stephanie Danhakl’s Scout. Last year she won the trip of the show with Harmony, and this year she earned the same honors with Scout.

Davis combines these awards with the coveted best child rider and grand junior hunter honors she won earlier in the year at the Devon Horse Show (Pa.) and tricolors throughout California, including the HITS Thermal and Oaks Blenheim circuits. Davis trains with Archie Cox at Brookway Stables.

This year for Capital Challenge, Davis arrived on a mission. After she competed at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md., last year, she decided to make riding in and winning the 2007 WCHR Junior Challenge her year-end goal.

“I came here last year and I really had fun, and I said, ‘Hey, I want to win that next year.’ It’s one of the things I really wanted to win,” said Davis.

Davis and Harmony topped the class with a fluid performance over a challenging Mike Rheinheimer-designed course with an average of 88.68.

Davis purchased Har-mony, 13, a dark brown warmblood, two years ago from amateur rider Betty Oare of Virginia. Harmony is especially fond of Capital Challenge as she’d also earned the 2003 grand amateur-owner title with Oare in the irons. Now a force in junior hunter rings throughout the country, Harmony has provided Davis with not only ribbons but also trust.

“I know my horses better, and I’m older and have matured as a rider a little more,” she noted. “I’ve always been confident in myself, but now I’m confident in my horses.”

Capital Challenge Junior Tidbits

•    Schaefer Raposa, 13, who earned the WCHR National Pony title, placed second in the WCHR Pony Challenge aboard Party Till Dawn with 86.33 points.

•    Children’s hunter rider Kristen Mohr, 10, of Long Valley, N.J., younger sister to Ariat Adult Medal winner Lindsey Mohr, won the Stewart-Warner Trophy after she impressed the judges with her rounds aboard Marvel.

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•    Pony rider Shawn Casady, 12, Kingston, Tenn., placed ninth in the WCHR Pony Challenge and with top ribbons in the large pony division aboard Showboat earned the Stewart-Warner Trophy for pony riders.

•    After taking the SATs on Saturday, Clementine Goutal, 17, New York, N.Y., made it to the Capital Challenge just in time for her classes—in borrowed riding clothes—and won the grand junior hunter championship aboard Due North.

•    Samantha Schaefer, 14, Westminster, Md., in her final year aboard ponies, earned her fourth grand pony hunter title, this time with Love And Laughter. She collected her first title at age 7 aboard Halcyon Hawthorne.

•    Taylor Ann Adams, Eads, Tenn., set her sights on the Show Circuit National Children’s Medal Finals and topped the class with Underado Tibri, a horse she trusts implicitly. “He could pretty much do it without me, I think,” said the modest rider. “I think he was
worrying about me more than I was worrying about him.”

•    Kara Chad, of Calgary, Alta., traveled more than 2,300 miles to Maryland, but she was amply rewarded with three tricolor ribbons in the pony hunters—small pony champion with My Little Dickens, medium pony champion with Heart’s Desire, and large pony reserve champion with Newsworthy.

Davis was also proud of her performances with Scout, a 7-year-old Hanoverian (by Sandro), whom John French piloted to championship honors in a section of the first year green division.

“I’ve been riding him for a month. He’s a really amazing horse,” said Davis. “I feel really privileged to ride him. Since I don’t know him very well I wouldn’t say it’s more rewarding, but it’s rewarding to me as a rider that I could succeed on a horse that I’d only ridden for a month and one I’d ridden for two years.”

Schaub Steals The Show

Maria Schaub, 17, Holmdel, N.J., sat quietly atop the chestnut mare I Toon and made two rounds in the Monarch International North American Junior Equitation Championships look effortless as she posted the highest scores in the history of the class.

The 97.4 that flashed on the scoreboard was an accurate reflection of her ride.

Schaub made each turn soft and sweeping and rode the lines with an invisible lengthening and shortening of stride. Each take-off point was precisely gauged. Every question Rheinheimer posed, Schaub answered deliberately and without hesitation.

She finished with a two-round total of 191.6 to lead the victory gallop during Equitation Weekend.
 
A panel of five judges narrowed the field of 92, and the top 20 returned in reverse order of preference to compete over a second course. The order read like a “Who’s Who” of the nation’s junior riders. The top five all held titles from the previous day’s classes, and they battled it out for the blue.

Jessica Springsteen, who won the Monarch International Flat Championship, returned in fifth. Sara Green, who collected the 15-year-old division championship, returned fourth. Chase Boggio, the 13-14 year old division champion, held third, while Katherine Newman, the 16-year-old section champion, was seated second.

But no one could touch Schaub, who also collected the 17-year-old championship on Saturday.

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Schaub said the course was challenging in terms of striding and yet flexible enough for less experienced riders.

“There was a winning track and there was a track that you could take if it was your first time or to gain experience,” she said. “I always love that about this horse show. They always do a great job of setting a course for everyone.”

Schaub has trained with Frank and Stacia Madden for seven years—the same number of years she’s competed in the equitation division.

It’s Not The End

Schaub’s junior career has been different than most. She’s only once owned her own horse and will often ride a different horse in every final. This year marks her last junior year, and although she naturally hopes to ribbon or even win at one or more of the equitation finals, she also sees the equitation for what it is.

“Ribbons are a plus, but what you take from it is more important because this is all preparation for the real stuff,” she said. “What you take from it and the basics that you learn are really key. The world doesn’t end if you don’t win. I would definitely like to win, but it’s got to be your day.”

Although Schaub has an extensive resume of wins, including this year’s ASPCA Maclay Region 2 Regional, she believes her true accomplishment has been creating partnerships on many horses.

“Just the fact that I’ve ridden so many different horses at finals, regardless of the ribbons, means a lot to me,” she noted.

Schaub hopes to take the “bank” of information she’s acquired over the past seven years and invest it in her future as a professional.

“My long-term goal—I would like to be a Beezie [Madden],” she said.

Teaching young horses is also what drives her to ride, including her winning Capital Challenge mount, I Toon.

“I love the feeling of when a horse learns something…that moment when it ‘clicks.’ It’s the feeling of improvement when horses mature. That’s how it’s been with I Toon. She’s growing up!” added Schaub.

She’s been partnered with the 7-year-old mare, owned by Jimmy Toon, since last winter. Schaub’s taught her to be an equitation horse throughout the year.

“She’s really stepped up to the plate the last couple of months. She’s matured a lot. She’s really great,” she said.

Riding the same horse this year has been a treat for Schaub. “Luckily, I’ve had the privilege of riding [I Toon] for at least more than a day, and it feels good to feel prepared and to have some partnership mileage,” she explained. “All you can do is try your best and hopefully everything else follows.”

Tricia Booker and Michelle Bloch

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