Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Amateur-Owner Hunter, 36 & Over
Estrella, Betty Oare’s amateur-owner, 36 and over, year-end champion of 2002, spent most of 2003 leading the standings again. But after Estrella was injured in August, Oare could only watch to see which horse would overtake her in the points race.
Luckily enough, it was Oare’s second ride, Fiddler’s Bridge, who relegated Estrella to the reserve title. “I thought it would be neat if they ended up as champion and reserve, but I didn’t know that it would happen,” said Oare, of Warrenton, Va.
Fiddler’s Bridge earned ribbons at the Capital Challenge (Md.), the Pennsylvania National, and the Metropolitan National (N.Y.), as well as finishing as champion at the Washington (D.C.) International Horse Show, to conclude his year. After the Metropolitan National the first week of November, Oare stopped showing and waited to see if he’d keep his lead.
“We hoped that his lead would hold. We chose not to go to the National Horse Show in Wellington (Fla.), because Estrella couldn’t go. So we just stayed home and had a great Thanksgiving and went foxhunting.
“It was great that it did turn out the way it did, but I didn’t really know what was going to happen that last month,” Oare said.
Oare bought “Fiddler” in January 2003, but she’s since sold him to Stephanie Riggio, who shows him in the amateur-owner, 18-35 division. “He was a great horse to show because he was extremely dependable. He was very consistent and great about walking into a strange ring,” said Oare.
“Now it’s fun watch him go with someone else. She’s just as cute as she can be, and I go over and give him a treat every once in a while,” she continued.
Oare won’t be able to count on Estrella this year, either, since the mare hasn’t recovered fully from last year’s injury. “Each year, you never know what you’re going to have. Last year, I had the champion and the reserve, and all of a sudden those two horses aren’t in the picture any more. But that’s horse showing, and what makes it kind of interesting,” Oare commented.
She won’t be out of the show ring, however. Oare has three horses to show, including Harmony and two new mounts, Red Dragon and That’s That.
Amateur-Owner Hunter, 18-35
Amanda Starbuck and Rio Bronco ended 2003 not only with their second consecutive championship from the National Horse Show (Fla.), but also with their second consecutive national title. “I didn’t know if weÃŠcould getÃŠchampion againÃŠat the National, and ‘Bronco’ was even better thisÃŠyear than in 2002,” said Starbuck, of Ridgefield, Conn.
“My highlight was definitely scoring a 94 at the National Horse Show [Fla.]. He was stellar in every round with me there and was wonderful to ride in the grand prix field. Every round I did with Rio Bronco was a test for us’could we get an even higher score in this round?
“I’ve had him for so long now and he’s only 9. We know each other so well,” said Starbuck, who’s ridden the Canadian Sport Horse stallion (Rio Grande