Washington, D.C.—Oct. 24
The Verizon Center at the Washington International isn’t an easy place to show. There’s a tiny warm up area, so to get more than a five minute trot and canter in riders take turns schooling throughout the evening.
But those tough conditions don’t bother Tori Colvin or Inclusive, who won the large junior hunter, 16-17, and grand junior hunter titles. If anything they make it a little easier.
“It works in his benefit, because he’s more a smaller [canter] to get around schooling jumps, instead of a big gallop,” said Colvin, 17. “He has an amazing jump. Since his stride isn’t the biggest you just have to go forward a little more than on Ovation [her junior hunter champion from last year.]”
Inclusive, an 11-year-old warmblood of unrecorded breeding, won all three over fences classes for the title over Imagine and Kerry McCahill.
“He’s really fun,” said Colvin, Loxahatchee, Fla. “You know he’s not going to spook. He’ll jump anything and leave from anywhere.
Inclusive’s had a slower season this year after coming back from sciatica a little less than a year ago.
“We’re always mindful of that,” said owner Betsee Parker. “I’ve lost horses’ entire careers to it. We’ve been intentionally extremely cautious.”
Parker also owns Colvin’s other champion, Canadian Blue. That horse, who won out of the small junior hunter, 16-17, division, is naturally a little spookier on the first day than Inclusive. He clinched the title with a blue in today’s stakes class. Meghan MacPherson and Good Humor took reserve.
“I think he got better each round he did,” said Colvin. “He’s so special because he jumps so high. Anything you put him at he’ll jump very very high.”
Colvin’s not done riding yet. She’ll come back tomorrow for the jumper phase of Wasington International Equitation Championship. She sits fourth after the hunter phase.
An Unexpected Win
Abbygale Funk didn’t make her first trip to the nation’s capital thinking she’d ride away with a tricolor—and she really didn’t think she’d end up with the Best Child Rider title to boot. But she rode Neander to the large junior hunter, 15 and under, title over Tiffani and Lilli Hymowitz and the judges honored her with her first Best Child Rider title at a major show.
The 13-year-old from St. George, Kan., last came to Washington years ago aboard her medium pony Always Happy here. Since then she’s done lots of riding at her parents’ Ashmeadow Farm, but usually the horses she schools get sold before indoors. But that’s not the case with Neander.
Family friend Gail Ellis offered to lend Funk the horse for the year, which shocked the young rider.
“He’s so awesome,” said Funk of the 14-year-old gelding (Nimray B—Gloria). “I don’t know how it happened! I’m so grateful because he’s such a nice horse, and he always tries his heart out every time he goes in the ring.
“He’s my rock of Gibraltar,” she continued. “I knew he’d come here and be fabulous.”
Funk trains with her mother Mary Ann Funk at home, and catches up with Carleton Brooks at shows when she can. Brooks was in Washington to cheer her on. They’ve been working to tweak her equitation at shows, especially keeping her eyes up over fences.
“I’ve never won Best Child Rider at a big show,” said Abbygale. “It’s amazing. I just wanted to go around and be good. I didn’t expect to win or be champion or any of it.”
Filling In For A Tricolor
Like Abbygale, Grady Lyman’s championship came from an act of kindness. Her best friend Eugenie Kilb wanted to come east from California for indoors, but school obligations meant she could only attend two shows. So she handed Autumn Lane’s reins over to Lyman for Capital Challenge (Md.) and Washington, and at the Verizon Center they won the small junior hunter, 15 and under title.
They clinched the title over Chromeo and Samantha Wight with a win in today’s stakes.
Lyman and Kilb have been friends since their pony days. Lyman first rode Autumn Lane, a 13-year-old Zangersheide (Baloubet du Rouet—Zeures Z), at Capital Challenge (Md.), where they won a class. Lyman normally trains with Richard Slocum, but Leslie Steele filled in when he couldn’t make it.
“It takes a special horse to come here and show,” said Steele. “It’s his first time here, but he just kind of goes with the flow. He’s a really sweet, great guy. It’s really sweet that they’re such good friends and they did this for each other.“
Lyman was ecstatic to have the chance to come to Washington, where she last showed in 2011.
“It’s always been a big goal of mine to come here and do the juniors,” said Lyman, 13. “Leslie told me that I had to stick with what I know and to ride him like I owned him. It worked out!”
Follow along with the Chronicle as we bring you all the news from Washington here. Full results from the competition are available here and you can watch a livestream of the entire competition for free here.
For a full report from the Washington International Horse Show, check out the Nov. 10 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse magazine.