Courtney Lenkart of Bartonville, TX, rode Glorieus to capture the top prize in the $25,000 World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Professional Challenge, sponsored by The Gochman Family, at the Capital Challenge Horse Show on Wednesday, September 30.
In the $5,000 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge, sponsored by the John R. Ingram Fund, Julia Rose Rossow piloted Chantilly to the win, while Daniel Geitner and Mr. Manhattan topped the $25,000 North American Green Hunter 3' and 3'3" Championship, sponsored by The Wheeler Family. The three classes marked a highlight day of Capital Challenge, which runs through Sunday, October 4, at the World Equestrian Center in Wilmington, OH.
Riders in the $25,000 WCHR Professional Challenge competed over two rounds, after having qualified from the professional hunter divisions at the show.
At the conclusion of the first round, Lenkart and Chantilly took the lead with an 87.16. Her second-round score of 89.00, resulting in a 176.16 total, sealed the deal for the championship.
“This is such a prestigious horse show, and my goal has always been to win this class,” said Lenkart, who had competed in the class once prior. “It was an amazing experience. I was a little nervous going into the second round just because I was leading. I tried to stay very relaxed and just have fun when I went in. Everything came up really smoothly. It’s like a dream come true.”
Lenkart and Glorieus, the Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by La Primera Hacienda, L P, qualified for the Professional Challenge with ribbons in the High Performance division earlier in the week at Capital Challenge.
“I’m so lucky,” Lenkart continued. “I have the best owners; Angela and Mike Barber originally bought [Glorieus] as a jumper for my husband, and I stole him! I’m so fortunate to have them as such supportive owners; my husband, [Scott Lenkart]; Cody Williams; and a team of amazing people that make sure everything is perfect and set up.”
Second place in the $25,000 WCHR Pro Challenge went to Samantha Schaefer and Madeline Schaefer’s In The Know, who scored an 87.25 in the second round, which, when added to a first-round score of 86.66, resulted in a total of 173.91. Michael Britt-Leon and Private I, owned by Kelly Sims, were third with scores of 85.33 and 86.33 for a total of 171.66.
The overall Grand Hunter Championship title, sponsored by RBS Farms, Inc., Rob Bielefeld, and Chrystal Knight, went to Evan Coluccio and Philadelphia Story, owned by Balmoral. For the win, Coluccio received the Janet Read & Margaret Hough Sabbatini Memorial Trophy, donated by the Goguen Family. Coluccio was also awarded the Leading Hunter Rider Award, sponsored by the Gibson Family and Shadyside Farm. Daisy Farish was awarded the Professional American Style of Riding Award, while Ashley Foster won the Developing Professional American Style of Riding Award, both sponsored by Bill Rube.
Julia Rose Rossow and Chantilly Claim $5,000 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge
Julia Rose Rossow of Calabasas, CA, emerged victorious in the $5,000 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge. She and Chantilly, a warmblood mare owned by Malibu Valley Farms Inc., were best out of 30 entries in the class.
Rossow and Chantilly were the last to go in round one, claiming a tie for the lead with a score of 88.16. The added pressure of a tied score proved to help the young professional, as she added a second-round score of 88.66 to record a total winning score of 176.82.
“Winning the WCHR Developing Pro Challenge has been a goal of mine for a while, and to have it happen this year, riding Chantilly, a horse I know very well and really love and enjoy riding, means the world,” said Rossow. “To have achieved it is really special, especially with this mare. It’s been really special to see her development as a horse and a competitor.”
Chantilly was acquired three years ago for a junior client, and Rossow has helped to develop the horse and rider together while still showing the mare, moving up to the Performance Hunter division.
“I knew I could trust her, and she was going to be there for me,” Rossow said of Chantilly. “She has a lot of heart. She always gives her all, but she really knows when it’s a special class. As soon as I stepped into the ring, I knew that we were going to be there for each other.”
Rossow, 29, grew up riding in Santa Barbara, CA, and has been working as an assistant for Chad Mahaffey for four years in Calabasas, CA. Rossow also receives generous support and guidance from Chris Iwasaki and Liz Reilly, whose horse Illusion was her first ride at Capital Challenge in 2017.
Geoffrey Hesslink took second in the class after riding Shadowfax Equestrian LLC’s Small Occasion to scores of 88.16 and 87.25 for a total of 175.41, while Evan Coluccio guided High Society, owned by Alexa Elle Lignelli, to third place with scores of 85.83 and 87.50 for a total of 173.33.
Daniel Geitner and Mr. Manhattan Win $25,000 North American Green Hunter 3' and 3'3" Championship
The win in the $25,000 North American Green Hunter 3’ & 3’3” Championship, sponsored by the Wheeler Family, went to Daniel Geitner and Mr. Manhattan, owned by Martin Schlaeppi.
Geitner, of Aiken, SC, and the six-year-old German Sporthorse gelding (by Maximus) were one of 31 entries that qualified to compete in Wednesday’s championship class based on their results in the five Green Hunter 3’ and 3’3” divisions offered on Monday and Tuesday at the Capital Challenge Horse Show.
Geitner and Mr. Manhattan led Wednesday’s two-round class from beginning to end, earning a score of 89.00 in the first round and returning to earn an 87.75 in the second round for a 176.75 total from the three judging panels.
Second place with scores of 88.000 and 86.00 for a 174.00 total went to Cassandra Kahle riding Cascatero for owner Redfield Farm. The third-place honor was presented to Courtney Lenkart and Captain America, owned by Lori Matthews; the pair earned scores of 88.50 and 85.00 for an overall score of 173.50.
For the victory, Geitner and Mr. Manhattan were awarded the Beverly Brooks Solter Memorial Trophy, donated by Hilary Scheer Gerhardt and Zan Martin Dillon.
“It’s such a special class, and so many top horses that went on to be famous have won it, as well as the riders,” said Geitner. “It’s pretty neat to be in the mix with those guys.
“To have such a special horse, the credit goes to Johnny and Kitty Barker, the trainers, and Martin Schlaeppi, the owner,” continued Geitner. “I’m just the pilot, but I’m tickled to be here and be able to ride him.”
Geitner is also quick to credit Emil Spadone and Redfield Farm, the U.S.-based breeders of Mr. Manhattan.
“He’s actually an American-bred horse, which is pretty neat,” said Geitner. “He’s quite a special horse. First round, he really studied the jumps and jumped high and slow. He was quite good in round two. I could tell that it’s day three of showing, and he was a little tired. He really went in and jumped a foot over the jumps and gutted it out when he needed to.”
In addition to rewarding Geitner and Mr. Manhattan with the North American Green Hunter Championship win, the Capital Challenge Horse Show also named a Grand Champion Hunter 3' and 3'3" champion. The overall tricolor honor, sponsored by David Belford and Christopher Payne of New Hope LLC, went to Ever So Often, ridden by Kate Conover and owned by Ava Peck. For the award, Conover was presented with the “A Rare Diamond” Perpetual Trophy donated by “The Friends of Mickey.”
The EMO Green Hunter 3’ and 3’3” Trip of the Show award went to Courtney Lenkart and Captain America after the pair earned a score of 90 in the Green Hunter 3’3”.
Competition at the 27th annual Capital Challenge Horse Show continues on Thursday morning with the conclusion of the Amateur-Owner Hunter and Adult Amateur Hunter competition.
About the Capital Challenge Horse Show
Now in its 27th year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by the World Equestrian Center, sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter and equitation competition. Held each autumn, the 2020 edition of the Capital Challenge Horse Show continues through October 4 at the World Equestrian Center in Wilmington, OH. The 10 days of competition will include prestigious equitation events, jumper divisions, the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Finals, the $25,000 3’ and 3’3” Green Hunter North American Championships, and more, with many of the country’s best horses and riders competing in junior, amateur, and professional divisions.