Upper Marlboro, Md.—Oct. 29
Augusta Iwasaki scored the second major equitation final win of her career when she topped the Washington International Horse Show Equitation Final. After dominating the junior hunter ring earlier this week, she came into the work-off ranked second. She swapped onto Skylar Wireman’s Famous and put in a slick round that earned marks of 92 and 91 from judges Linda Andrisani, Peter Lombardo, Hardin Towell and Heather Caristo-Williams. Coupled with first place in the hunter phase and third in the jumper phase aboard her partner Attendu De Lannois Z, she edged out Wireman by nearly 2.5 points.
Jordan Gibbs tacked up Cent 15, who won this final with Gibbs’ brother Dominic Gibbs last year, galloping up the standings to finish third.
Watch Iwasaki’s work-off round below, courtesy of USEF Network.
Iwasaki was thrilled to follow up her first place finish at the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Final (New Jersey) with another win at Washington.
“It’s been so special, especially because I’ve done two horses that I’ve been riding for multiple years now,” she said. “We’ve made a really special bond. It’s amazing.”
She’s had the ride on Attendu De Lannois Z for a little over two years. That horse, owned by Ashland Farms, came from the hunter ring.
“I watched him show in a 3’3” performance class with Daisy Farish and I was in love with him,” said the 18-year-old rider. “I started showing him in just the junior hunters that year; he wasn’t ready to do the equitation. He really surprised me. He was absolutely amazing during the [Winter Equestrian Festival (Florida)] season the next year. He’s been amazing, I think the Washington is our best class. I’m just so happy with him.”
Wireman did all the work on MKT Investment’s Famous to transform him from a jumper to an equitation horse, taking over the ride in mid-2021. She just finished as the runner up at the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final.
“The jumper phase is our strong suit,” she said. “The hunter phase we were just looking for a nice round, which I think he was great for. I was not on top coming into the jumper phase, but [I came in] knowing that’s where we can show off and shine a little bit. We really went out there and laid it down. Time allowed was a little tight, and that was something to consider, being efficient in the turns. [For] the horse swap I thought Augusta’s horse was really fun to ride.”
Iwasaki and Wireman are both from California (Iwasaki is from Calabasas and Wireman from Bonsall), both are the children of trainers and both train with powerhouse equitation barns on the East Coast. Iwasaki trains with her parents, Liz Reilly and Chris Iwasaki, as well as Ken and Emily Smith, Erica Quinn and Nora Gray. Wireman’s mother Shayne Berridge-Wireman coaches her along with Andre Dignelli, Patricia Griffith and the Heritage Farm team.
Both are also experienced catch riders who found the final phase of the competition, when the top 10 riders all swap horses and repeat the jumper course, old hat. For Jordan, however, it was a newer challenge.
“I’m pretty green to the 3’6” finals, so coming into today the only practice I had with [a] legitimate horse swap was the Gladstone Cup earlier this year,” said Jordan, who rides with Stacia Madden and the Beacon Hill team. “Otherwise I had a few catch-rides this year. Once I realized I was in the test I made sure to watch some videos of [Ellie Aronson’s] Conthacco and kind of see how he rides. Ellie was very nice and kind of telling me how she rides him and get up to pace and go from there.”
Towell had to chime in when he heard Jordan’s strategy.
“I feel old. I won this final 16 years ago and I couldn’t just pull up my phone and watch videos,” he said.
But Andrisani one-upped him.
“I was judging then, too,” she quipped.
Find full results here. Want more Washington International? Check out all the Chronicle’s coverage here. You can see more news and analysis in the Nov. 21 issue of the magazine.