First Championships of 2023 WIHS Awarded to Regional Competitors Shaver and Taylor

October 23, 2023 - Upper Marlboro, MD

Savannah Shaver and Bon Temps were class winners and grand champions in the WIHS Regional Hunter Finals.
Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography
Savannah Shaver and Bon Temps in their winning presentation with ringmaster Steve Rector, Brett Shear-Heyman, WIHS Regional and Special Events Manager Lara McPherson, and WIHS President Vicki Lowell.
Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography
The WIHS Regional Pony Hunter Finals Grand Champions were Delaney Taylor and Loafers Lodge Buckaroo, owned by Isabel Lerch.
Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography
Lila Trent and Perfect Peace What A Blessing won the WIHS Regional Pony Hunter Finals.
Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography
Rachel Boggus rode Chevito, owned by 18 Gauge LLC, to the win in the $2,500 WIHS Adult Hunter Welcome.
Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography
As Ever and Khloe McSwain won the $2,500 WIHS Children's Hunter Welcome.
Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography
The Robotyping Challenge Trophy for the high score of classes 22 and 32 was presented to Drumroll, owned by Meridian Farm LLC, and Geoffrey Hesslink.
Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography
Scott Stewart and Daydream, owned by Haylie Rolfe, were presented with the Fairfax Hunt Race Challenge Trophy for the high score of 94 in classes 23 and 33 in the professional hunters.
Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

The 65th anniversary of the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), presented by MARS Equestrian™, kicked off its seven-day run on Monday, October 23, 2023, at The Show Place Arena at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD. WIHS Regional Hunter Finals riders closed out the opening day of exciting competition, where Savannah Shaver, 15, of Leesburg, VA, rode Bon Temps to the championship of the WIHS Regional Hunter Finals and Delaney Taylor, 11, piloted Loafers Lodge Buckaroo to the championship in the WIHS Regional Pony Hunter Finals.

Riders qualified for the WIHS Regional Hunter Finals based on their results at the 2023 WIHS Regional Horse Show & USHJA Zone 3 Championship presented by TTR Sotheby’s International Realty and the Lowham-Ruzzo Family, which took place at the Salem Farm Showgrounds in Upperville, VA, on October 19-22. The top five in each pony hunter section, the top four in each children’s hunter section, and the top four in each adult hunter section received invitations to compete for the championships in The Show Place Arena. The championship titles were then awarded to the horse and pony that accumulated the most points between the WIHS Regional Horse Show and the WIHS Regional Hunter Finals.

Horses were the first to vie for victory across the course designed by Paul Jewell and overseen by judges Daniel Geitner and Richard Fancher. Right in the middle of the order, Shaver and Bon Temps put their best foot forward for a score of 86. That impressive effort propelled them to the class win and overall championship.

“‘Turtle’ is the sweetest boy,” expressed Shaver of her seven-year-old KWPN gelding by Cohinoor. “He went in the ring to school early this morning, and he was perfect as usual. He’s just the best boy, and I’m so grateful to have such a talented partner.”

Shaver has been riding Turtle for about a year and a half and had a strong performance at the WIHS Regional Horse Show, earning a blue ribbon there as well. After a busy week, Shaver’s trainer, Brett Shear-Heyman of Penny Leigh LLC, brought Shaver and Turle to WIHS, serving as the trainer, groom, and braider for the prestigious class.

“I wasn’t exactly expecting to qualify for WIHS, but it was so cool that I did,” said Shaver. “It feels really cool to be a winner at WIHS. It was exactly how I wanted it to go today, and I was happy with it. I was a little bit nervous, and the closer and closer we got, I got more nervous, but it was a really good experience to be at WIHS, and I’m super grateful that I got to come here.”

Reserve champion of the WIHS Regional Hunter Horse Finals was presented to
Jessica Van Brocklin Smith, 36, of Alexandria, VA, riding her own Greatness VDK, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Bentley van de Kapel.

In the WIHS Regional Pony Hunter Finals, large ponies jumped at the 2’6” height, while small and medium ponies jumped at the 2’ height, and they were all judged together.

In her WIHS debut, Delaney Taylor rode Loafers Lodge Buckaroo to a third-place finish in the class with a score of 79, boosting them to the overall championship.

“It felt awesome to show here at WIHS,” shared Taylor, who trains with Marianne Roth at Endeavor Farm in Bishopville, MD. “My favorite part of the show is all of it; it’s so pretty. It means lot to be a Washington champion. I love it here, and it’s super fun. I didn’t really expect to qualify, but I was super excited. I just wanted to try and do my best today.”

After earning ribbons in all of their classes at the WIHS Regional Horse Show and producing a similarly consistent performance in The Show Place Arena, ‘Bucky’ had earned all the pats and snacks from Shaver and her cheering squad made up of her trainer, mom, grandma, and friend.

“Bucky is super sweet, and I love him so much,” enthused Taylor of the seven-year-old Welsh Pony gelding by Rosmel’s Dressed in Scarlet owned by Isabel Lerch. “If he’s sleeping, I’ll go in his stall and give him kisses. I’ve had him about eight months, and he’s fairly easy to ride. I want to keep him forever.”

With the high score of 84, Perfect Peace What a Blessing, a 19-year-old Half Welsh mare by Lands End the Colonel’s Fox owned by Kristin Walsh, claimed the top spot in the class with Lila Trent, 13, in the irons. Julianna Perrone, 13, and News Flash, an 18-year-old Welsh Pony gelding by Telynau Royal Charter owned by Richard Harris, were awarded the overall reserve championship.

The 2023 WIHS continues on Tuesday, October 24, with the professional hunter champions and Grand Hunter Championship, followed by the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship and the $10,000 WIHS Adult Hunter Championship, both presented by MARS Equestrian™.