Friday, May. 24, 2024

Ward Wins the WCHR Junior Challenge

“Yesterday I didn’t have the best round, so I owed my horse a good round going into today,” said Morgan Ward. Capital Challenge wrapped up today with the WCHR Junior and Children's Challenges.


Upper Marlboro, Md.—Oct. 4

Going into the World Championships Hunter Rider Junior 3’6” Challenge, Morgan Ward knew she had to turn in a good round. She won one of the 3’6” junior hunter division classes earlier in the week, but a less than stellar performance yesterday found Ward wanting to deliver a great ride. 

“Yesterday I didn’t have the best round, so I owed my horse a good round going into today,” explained Ward. “He sure helped me out a lot [yesterday]. I thought this round went really, really well and he jumped awesome.”

The judging was tight for the WCHR Junior 3’6” Challenge, as the top three all finished within less of a point of each other. But it was Ward aboard her own Oldenburg gelding Broadway who topped the leader board with a score of 86.5. Less than a full tenth of a point behind on a score of 86.41 was Emma Kurtz riding Prologue. Rachel McMullen and her partner Clear Sailing rounded out the top three with their score of 86.33.

Ward has owned Broadway since early January of this year, and together they have had a fantastic record, including qualifying for Devon (Pa.) and the rest of indoors this year. While Broadway doesn’t have the best movement, his jump is what convinced Ward he was the right mount for her. At only 15.1, Ward said he reminds her of a pony going around the ring.

“He’s tiny, but he’s so mighty at the jumps,” said Ward. “The last line I was like, ‘Morgan, don’t mess anything up now, please see the correct distance. It’s unbelievable. He’s the greatest horse.”

Ward is now turning her focus to the rest of the indoor season, as this will be her last junior year. She’s planning on attending college online and looks forward to possibly turning professional next year.

A New Partnership


While the juniors were showing indoors, the children’s riders were battling the elements. The rain that’s been pouring down on the Prince George’s Equestrian center for the past week has final subsided, but the footing is damp and the wind brutal.

Several of the horses and ponies in the WCHR Children’s Challenge were feeling a little fresh in the ring, but the riders kept their mounts calm.

In a class where there’s three fence heights: 2’3” for the small/medium ponies, 2’6” for the large ponies and 3’ for the horses, it was Alexandra Smith that rose to the top with Perfektionist on a score of 87.55.

Smith’s partnership with “Fred” is still in it’s infancy. She started leasing the warmblood from Tracey Topping two months ago. Capital Challenge marks their third show together.

“He’s really sweet; I like him a lot,” said Smith. “He’s a little bit lazy, but he’s fun. Gotta get him going, but he’s good after that.”

Though this is Smith’s first time in the Children’s Challenge, she’s no stranger to the competition; she competed in the pony class last year and moved up to the children’s this time last year.

The 12-year-old will skip the remainder of indoors, instead traveling back home to West Palm Beach, Fla. She’ll return to showing when the Winter Equestrian Festival (Fla.) starts back up.

Iwasaki Continues On Her Hot Streak


Augusta Iwasaki has been spending a lot of time on a plane recently. She’s been back and forth from her home in Calabasas, Calif., to the East Coast for the top shows this year.

Luckily for the 11-year-old, she finds it pretty easy to sleep on the plane.

This time it was the WCHR Low Junior Challenge that she topped with Illusion owned by Dogwood Hill LLC.

“It’s really exciting, and I love riding him, so it was really great,” said Iwasaki.

Iwasaki paired up with the 16-year-old gelding in May of this year. While their partnership is still new, he previously showed with a number of junior riders including Olivia Esse and Destry Spielburg.

“I like his personality,” said Iwasaki. “He’s very outgoing, and he’s always asking for treats.”

“Elvis” certainly showed his personality during the awards ceremony, sniffing for possible treats instead of looking forward and pricking his ears for the presentation.

Want more from Capital Challenge? The Chronicle is here in Upper Marlboro, Md. covering all the action from the WCHR Challenges and the equitation. To read in-depth coverage pick up the October 19th issue.

See full results here.



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