Upper Marlboro, Md.—Oct. 5
If it was up to him, Jared DePermentier probably wouldn’t show as much as he does, but after the Wednesday night he had at the Capital Challenge Horse Show, he joked he’s all out of excuses with his friends and supporters.
“I’m a chicken,” he said. “I’ll own it, honestly. I’m totally more comfortable being behind the scenes. I love setting them up and all of that.”
The young professional topped the WCHR Developing Pro Challenge with Brad Wolf’s Sebastian after finishing second last year.
“I’ve got to be honest, that has been eating at me all year,” he said. “I know exactly what I needed to do last year to win last year, and I was not going to make that mistake again. So, we came back with vengeance, and I’m really, really happy it panned out the way it did.
“I’m not very good under these circumstances with pressure,” he admitted. “That’s not my thing, so I don’t know how it panned out the way it did. I kind of just left it up to Sebastian, and truly, honestly, was along for the ride, and that horse is everything. He really stepped up, and I tried not to let him down.”
Wolf bought the 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cancara—Luna XVII) about two years ago to compete in the 3’3” amateur owner hunters. DePermentier, 31, started riding him about a year ago.
“I didn’t actually know him that well when we came into this class last year, but I felt like this year we knew each other so much better—his ins and outs and all of that. Honestly, he’s super straight forward. He’s a character in the barn. We call him the Great White sometimes. He’s a little bit of a shark. But he’s very spoiled, he deserves to be. He’s a unicorn.”
DePermentier rode as an amateur for several years after aging out of the juniors and went professional when he started working for Wolf and the Ingram family in Nashville, Tennessee, two years ago.
“I started riding with Tom [Wright], and there was a huge learning curve, and I just tried to soak in as much as I could,” he said. “They’ve been incredibly patient with me. But I feel like every day at work is like a lesson, and I don’t know how I got that lucky but I do. It’s fun, and it doesn’t even feel like a job.”
He said his win was the biggest honor for him ever.
“This wasn’t really on my radar,” he said. “Tom Wright and [barn manager] Torrey Hardison really pushed me to do this class and give it a go. If it wasn’t for them, I would have never tried something like this. It was totally out of my realm, but it means a lot. It means everything.”
French And Babylon Are Second Year Winners
The Capital Challenge is a homecoming show for Maryland native John French, and he makes a point to come each year because of its special focus on the hunters.
As the defending champion of the WCHR Professional Challenge on Marnell Sport Horses’ Babylon, he came in with quiet confidence, despite having a very different run-up to this year’s show.
In May, he broke his femur and needed a hip replacement, so he took some time off riding to mend. Since then, he and junior rider Ariana Marnell have been sharing the ride on the 7-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Crumbie—Die Cera).
“Last year he loved it here. He came here and was champion [in the 3’6” green hunters] and grand champion,” French said. “Here, I didn’t get to show him at all this week. I just saved him for this class, because he does the juniors on the weekend. I didn’t know what to expect, because he hadn’t been in the ring showing, but he’s come along—such a long way. He was brave and jumped around—jumped amazing.”
French said the gelding was a bit quiet for the WCHR class so he could use a lot of leg, and although they had a good lead heading into the second round, he didn’t want to take too many risks.
“I sort of played it safe,” he said. “I just counted on him jumping the way he did, and I think the judges rewarded him for how smooth and well he jumped.” In Round 2, he received two 95’s and a 94 from the judging panel.
“This horse, I think he’s special because he really wants to do it for you,” he said. “He loves his job, and he seems really happy to go to shows. He’s happy to show. I think as a rider and trainer, that’s your job is to make the horse want to do it for you and to make sure the horse is happy and likes what he’s doing.”
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