Wilmington, Ohio—Oct. 2
A betting man probably wouldn’t have chosen Cantina and Helen Voss to win the WCHR Adult Amateur Challenge at the Capital Challenge Horse Show. After all, the 23-year-old rider just got back in the tack in May after several years off. But Voss and Cantina out-jumped the field of 18 competitors to take the title back to Versailles, Kentucky.
“Cantina has the best personality,” said Voss of the 7-year-old Trakehner gelding of unrecorded breeding she bought three weeks ago. “He’s such a ham. He’s a big teddy bear. He’s very vocal in the barn, and he loves all the attention. He loves food, and really he’s just the easiest horse I’ve ever been on. For just being 7 years old I couldn’t ask for a better horse or a better personality to be with.
“He’s really my kind of ride,” she continued. “He’s very soft and very flowy and doesn’t require much hand. He needs a lot of leg, so that’s really my dream ride. We just clicked right away and it really wasn’t expected at all. But he’s been amazing.”
When COVID-19 hit Voss lost her job with the NFL, so she went to work for her family’s greeting card company, Wall Street Greetings, and reconnected with Ken and Emily Smith of Ashland Farm where she rode as a junior. She paired up with Cantina shortly thereafter and spent the summer showing in Traverse City, Michigan.
“The WCHR [classes were] something we’d been working on all summer and this is really my first time doing the [Challenge],” said Voss, Versailles, Kentucky. “The horse had never done it either so we were really just hoping for some good consistent rounds. So to come here and win the class and be reserve national champion—it’s just been amazing.”
Voss and Cantina will head to the Tryon International Equestrian Center (North Carolina) to compete in the Washington International Adult Amateur Hunter Championship later this month.
Alexander Gets A Wire-To-Wire Win
Ashton Alexander started out the Ariat National Adult Medal Final decisively as the only rider to break the 90 barrier, and she kept her cool in Round 2 for another great trip, winning both rounds to take the title back to Ocala, Florida.
The 23-year-old rider tacked up Travis Scott, a 10-year-old warmblood of unrecorded breeding, for the occasion. Alexander said that he’s new to the equitation this year but figuring out his job quickly.
“He’s very much a doer,” she said. “He almost makes his life a little bit harder because he tries too hard. This job that he has now is so much easier than what he was doing before, so our main goal has been getting him to settle down and realize that this is so easy for him. He always comes out every day wanting to do his best. He’s never going to let you down, by any means.
“The main thing we’ve been working on is keeping everything smooth,” she continued. “He was a jumper before, so he gets excited and thinking about the next job he has to do. It’s just letting him know this is so easy for him and he can put in less work. We wanted to make sure that he had really good experience in every class he went in here.”
Alexander just came up with the goal of contesting the Final in June, when she started training with Berry Porter of Houston. One of her childhood trainers, Bibby Farmer Hill, was also at Capital Challenge to lend a hand.
Alexander graduated from Auburn University (Alabama) with a degree in entrepreneurship and hopes to get into the sports industry.
“Things kind of stopped when COVID happened, but that is still my plan right now,” she said. “Horses are also here for me, so I’ve been going day by day at this moment. I have two wonderful horses here. It’s been keeping me happy for the time being.”