Washington, D.C.—Oct. 22
When Alden Moylan showed up to the Washington International Horse Show wearing her sweater decked out in pearls, her mother Priscilla Denegre took that as a good omen, as her mount for the $10,000 WIHS Adult Amateur Hunter Championship is named String Of Pearls.
It proved fortuituous when the pair topped the standings, taking the win over Zippo and Devon Degen.
“It was very very exciting; I’m very excited,” said Denegre. “I’ve had the mare since she was 4. I imported her from Germany, and she’s by Clinton, so she’s very well bred. I love mares, and she’s just turned out to be fantastic. I’m very pleased. Gavin [Moylan, my trainer and son-in-law,] started her in the baby greens, and he’s the one that found her, and honestly we’ve just been going on since then.”
For Denegre, her connection with the 9-year-old Hanoverian (Clinton—Celia) goes much deeper than the show ring. Denegre had a bad fall while foxhunting two years ago that put her in the hospital for two weeks with multiple broken bones followed by an additional three weeks in rehabilitation.
“I just thought this was the mare to get me started jumping again because she’s made, [and showing has] manicured footing, the whole thing,” she said. “I just thought this was the way to get me started again. And she’s just been terrific, talk about helping my confidence coming back.”
Denegre, Middleburg, Virginia, got back into jumping this past winter by starting over cavaletti. By the time the Winter Equestrian Festival (Florida) started, she was back in the ring. Washington wasn’t a goal for her, but fate—or rather her daughter—intervened. Alden entered her mother in a classic at Upperville (Virginia) not realizing her mother didn’t typically compete in them. But when she rode “Pearl” to the win there, it ended up being a goal by accident.
Cole Keeps Her Cool For Washington Win
For much of this show season Abby Cole has been searching for the missing piece. Her record hasn’t been the most consistent as she’s tried out a number of different horses, and while she’s earned some good ribbons, things haven’t quite clicked. Until Q-Bella.
The 11-year-old warmblood mare by Quo Vadis competed in the junior and amateur-owner hunters with owner Kelsey Campbell before Cole took the reins in July, and everything fell into place.
And Cole picked up her biggest win to date when she topped the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship over Madeline Rubin and Nuff Said on a score of 165.
“I wanted to do well at this show,” said Cole, 14, Ashburn, Virginia. “I’ve never really done really well at a big show, and I’ve been riding all different horses all year. I finally got one that I’m really good on.”
“It’s been a lot of years of work, and Abby’s making it work really, really well,” said trainer Jenny Graham. “The horse has been great, but Abby’s sort of been the icing on the cake. It’s been a group effort.”
Cole sat fifth following the first round, and she tried to put her nerves behind her for the second round.
“I was a little nervous, but I just tried to think about legging and non-stop legging, and it helped a lot,” she said. “I just tried not to think about winning. I just thought about getting around again because I already had a really good first trip.”
The Chronicle will be on site at Washington International all week. Keep up with all the Chronicle’s online coverage, and follow the Chronicle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @Chronofhorse. We will have full analysis of the competition in the Nov. 18 issue of the magazine. Subscribe today!