Megan Fellows dominated the small junior hunters at Stonewall Country I on Jan. 24-25 in Lexington, Va., winning nearly every class in the division. Her two mounts, On Star and Chances Are, finished as champion and reserve.
Jenny Graham of Cedar Creek Farm in Sterling, Va., has trained Fellows, 15, since she was 8. She said she was “very happy” with her student’s impressive collection of victorious trips.
Fellows, of Great Falls, Va., is a freshman at the Flint Hill School in Oakton, Va., who made her debut at 3’6″ only last year.
Graham describes her as “a good kid, quite talented and tough.” She believes that Fellows “will make a great jumper rider,” because of her strong equitation background and natural bravery.
On Star, affectionately known as “Max,” has been the Fellows’ family pet for the three years they’ve owned him. Older sister Jillian showed the bay, warmblood gelding for two years before turning the reins over to Megan. As an 11-year-old veteran campaigner, his pre-show preparation was simply a relaxed hack on the Virginia Horse Center’s cross-country course. Fellows’ firmly established partnership with Max yielded smooth rounds over a spooky course.
In contrast, Fellows guided Kira Paterakis’ Chances Are to the reserve championship on very brief acquaintance. A call from trainer Streett Moore earlier in the week earned her the ride, and she sat on “Emily” for the first time at the show. Fellows’ quick assessment that the bay mare would take “less leg, a more Thoroughbred ride” proved accurate; the pair took a first, two seconds, and two fourths.
She particularly enjoyed her temporary mount’s cheerful disposition, noting that Emily is “very happy to do her job and likes to jump.”
Graham looks forward to Fellows becoming a highly sought-after catch rider as she continues to make a name for herself in the junior ranks.
Fellows’ reign wasn’t restricted to the hunter ring. Her elegant and effective style aboard her equitation horse Guinness won the VHSA Medal and placed third in Pessoa/USEF Medal. Her commanding performances have ensured that Fellows is well on the way to achieving her goal for the new year, qualifying once again to show at Devon (Pa.) and the fall indoor shows in both the small juniors and equitation.
Haley Schaufeld, who had been hot on Fellows’ heels throughout the small junior division aboard her QT, finally prevailed in the large junior division, winning the championship on Sir Lancelot. Schaufeld, 16, is a junior at the Madiera School in McLean, Va. She got the bay, Hanoverian gelding two years ago as a Hanukkah present. Ed Lane of Tartan Farm in Lucketts, Va., trains Schaufeld.
Schaufeld said her success surprised her because she’d suffered a stressful morning. She overslept and arrived late to the show, with very little time left to prepare her horse for his classes. Already so frazzled that she’d forgotten her gloves, she was particularly concerned about the last line in the course, a three-stride to a two-stride in-and-out heading toward the in-gate, because of Sir Lancelot’s “huge stride.”
In spite of her nerves, Schaufeld rode in and trusted him: “I just floated the reins, and he did his thing!”
Her faith in her mount was well founded; they flowed effortlessly around the course, and, as they came to the final in-and-out, she “said whoa, and he was good.”
Schaufeld’s day just kept improving from its inauspicious start, as she also rode her own Freedom to ribbons in the large junior hunter division. With her beloved grandmother supplying the forgotten gloves, Schaufeld proved herself a force to be reckoned with in the very competitive equitation classes, pinning second in USEF Medal and fifth in the WIHS Medal.
Given her steady success in the show ring, the casual observer would certainly never guess that Annie Cosby’s mare Arctic Splash, the large pony hunter champion, has overcome an incredible history of dramatic injury.
Purchased as a 2-year-old, “Gloria” broke her left hind leg on the very day she arrived at the Cosby’s Walnut Knoll Farm in Manakin- Sabot, Va., when she was kicked in the pasture. She recovered well, and began training under Annie’s older sister, Marion.
During one of Gloria’s first schools over fences, a loose dog ran into the ring, spooking her badly. The petrified pony flipped over a jump, breaking her pelvis. Several months later, as she was once again returning to work, the Cosbys were amazed to learn that she had also fractured her shoulder in the crash.
Annie, 13, said that her pony is as sweet as she is tough; appropriately, she even has a heart-shaped marking on her forehead.
Gloria’s lovable personality has earned the remarkably resilient mare a permanent home with the family. Annie’s mother and trainer, Ada Cosby, intends to lease Gloria out or breed her when her daughter outgrows her.
Learned A Lot
Among the adults, Marianna Bishop was all smiles after she and Mirkwood claimed the younger amateur-owner title. “I’m thrilled that he’s going around so well!” she said.
As “Woody” is just 6 and still competing in the first year green division, Bishop’s primary goal with the bay warmblood gelding was “to be consistent.” The pair turned in consistently solid rounds, picking up two firsts, a second, and a third on their way to the tricolor.
Bishop, who trains with her mother, Claiborne Bishop, at The Barracks in Charlottesville, Va., has owned Woody for two years. She has been very pleased with his rapid progress and relentlessly positive attitude. “He’s done a lot of learning,” she said.
Looking ahead, Bishop modestly conceded that “Devon would be nice,” and admitted that “it won’t take too much more” time or training for Woody to be ready to show at that level.