Catch Me and Scott Stewart Sweep WIHS Grand Hunter Championship and Leading Rider Titles

Shaw Johnson Price and Custom Made, Virginia Fout and Carma Win Amateur-Owner Grand Championships

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2016--The 2016 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) continued with its second day of competition featuring the presentation of championship honors in the professional and amateur-owner hunter divisions on Wednesday at Verizon Center in downtown Washington D.C. For the ninth time, Scott Stewart, of Wellington, Fla., earned the WIHS Leading Hunter Rider title after winning both the WIHS Grand Hunter Championship and WIHS Grand Green Working Hunter Championship aboard David Gochman’s Catch Me.

WIHS features six days of competition through Sunday, Oct. 30, showcasing the best of the hunter, jumper, and equitation disciplines. WIHS is live streamed, so don't miss a minute - go to www.wihs.org to watch!

Scott Stewart and Catch Me / © Shawn McMillen Photography

Stewart guided Catch Me to the division championship in the Second Year Green Working Hunters on their way to top honors on Wednesday. The pair won the under saddle and finished first, second, and second over fences. John French and Iwasaki & Reilly’s Small Gesture earned reserve honors with two wins over fences, as well as a third place under saddle.

For the Grand Green Working Hunter Championship, Stewart and Catch Me were awarded the Claire Lang Miller Challenge Trophy. For the overall WIHS Grand Hunter Championship, they accepted the Rave Review Challenge Trophy, donated by Stoney Hill. Catch Me’s owner, David Gochman, was also presented with an award as the Leading Hunter Owner.

Scott Stewart in his presentation for Leading Hunter Rider / © Shawn McMillen Photography
Catch Me is a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding (sired by Casiro) that Stewart began riding in 2015. The pair started off the year strong with a win in the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular in Florida, but Catch Me then spent several months off due to illness, and just started back in competition at the end of the summer. The gelding returned to the show ring with out missing a beat, however, and Stewart explained that he has matured a lot in 2016 and has been winning ever since. The pair recently won the Grand Hunter Championship at the Capital Challenge Horse Show and the Grand Green Hunter Championship at Pennsylvania National Horse Show, as well as taking a major win in the $25,000 WCHR Pro Challenge at Capital Challenge.

Describing the beautiful gray gelding, Stewart detailed, “He used to be really spooky, and this year we have been able to do more. I don’t think he showed that much as a Pre-Green horse and we got him as a First Year. He hasn’t shown a lot, but he shows enough now that we just know how to get him ready and he is in the groove. He has been so consistent this year. He has won every big class I have gone in, and he is just really on right now. I think we both know each other 100% now, so it just clicks.”

Speaking of his rounds with Catch Me this week, Stewart added, “He was awesome in every round. He didn’t touch a jump. He went perfect. He got beat twice, but I’m not sure how. I don’t think he could go any better. He has just been so great.”

Scott Stewart and Catch Me in their presentation for Grand Champion Hunter / © Shawn McMillen Photography
Stewart also earned the division championship in the Green Conformation Hunters, sponsored by The Ingram Family. He rode David Gochman’s Fun to two wins over fences and a third place under saddle to earn the Valiant Hawk Memorial Challenge Trophy, donated by Mrs. Stephen J. Clark. Fifi Schmidt and Elizabeth Phillips’ No Doubt took the reserve championship with three second-place ribbons and one third place.

“Fun was awesome,” Stewart noted. “He got a little green today, but I didn’t expect him to be this good in these environments yet because he is only six years old. I am thrilled with him. I didn’t think he would be this consistent.”

Scott Stewart and Fun / © Shawn McMillen Photography
Stewart continued, “I’m fortunate that all of my horses are pretty quiet, and my staff does an amazing job preparing them. They do everything. I don’t even ride in the ring in the morning. I get here before the class and show. It just works out for me better mentally, but these horses are not very difficult fortunately.”

Stewart also took reserve honors in both the High Performance and Regular Conformation divisions to secure the Leading Rider title. He earned a $5,000 bonus for the Leading Hunter Rider Award, sponsored by Dr. Betsee Parker. It was fittingly renamed this year as The Scott Stewart Leading Hunter Rider Award, for Stewart who has earned the title nine times now in his great career.

John French and Boss / © Shawn McMillen Photography
Also showing on Wednesday, John French and Laura Wasserman’s Boss earned the Mary Farren Perpetual Trophy for the Regular Conformation Hunter championship with first and second place ribbons over fences and a win under saddle. The pair earned an impressive high score of 94 in the stake class. Stewart and Dr. Betsee Parker’s Lucador finished in reserve with a win under saddle, as well as second and third place ribbons over fences.

John Bragg and Ann Thornton’s Early August took home two championship tricolors this week. In the High Performance Working Hunter division, sponsored by Jacqueline B. Mars, the pair placed first, first, and fifth over fences, and second under saddle to earn the “NOT ALWAYS” Challenge Trophy, donated by Miss Peggy Steinman. Stewart earned those reserve honors aboard Dr. Betsee Parker’s Cameo with a win and sixth place ribbon over fences, as well as a win under saddle.

John Bragg and Early August / © Shawn McMillen Photography
Stewart and Cameo were then presented the special Protocol Trophy, sponsored by Platinum Performance. The trophy is awarded to the overall High Point High Performance Working Hunter from the Devon Horse Show, Pennsylvania National Horse Show, and Washington International Horse Show.

Stewart will continue on to the National Horse Show in Kentucky and then give his horses a break in Florida before the start of the winter season. Commenting on his years of success at WIHS, the rider acknowledged, “This is one of my favorite shows. I love D.C. and I love being here. It is a really special show.”

Dr. Betsee Parker's Cameo, ridden by Scott Stewart (shown here with Samantha Darling),was awarded the Protocol Trophy from Bridget Love Meehan, WIHS Executive Director, and Danny Robertshaw. © Shawn McMillen Photography
Concluding the professional divisions, John Bragg and Early August earned their second championship of the day in the First Year Green Working Hunter division to top off a fantastic two days at WIHS. They earned second, second, and fifth place ribbons over fences and won the under saddle. Nick Haness finished in reserve with Lindsay Maxwell’s Technicolor after earning first and second place ribbons over fences. Hillary Johnson and Copper Fox LLC’s Voyager were awarded the Windy Acres Challenge Trophy for the best Green Working Hunter stake round. They earned a high score of 90 in the First Year division.

Shaw Johnson Price and Custom Made, Virginia Fout and Carma Win Amateur-Owner Grand Championships

The Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions concluded their second day of competition at WIHS on Wednesday and awarded championship honors as well.

The Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” championship and the Frank Counselman Memorial Perpetual Trophy were awarded to Shaw Johnson Price, of Chestertown, MD, and her own Custom Made, an 11-year-old Mecklenburg gelding (sired by Chambertin). The pair earned the championship in the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3'6” Over 35 division, sponsored by Cembell Industries, with a win under saddle and second, second, and fourth place ribbons over fences. Virginia Fout and her own Cristiano finished in reserve with first, third, and sixth place ribbons over fences.

Shaw Johnson Price and Custom Made / © Shawn McMillen Photography
Price was then presented the Leading Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider Award for the 3’6” level. The rider was joined at WIHS by her trainer, Havens Schatt, who also showed Custom Made in professional classes this week. Price started showing the gelding at the beginning of 2015 and had great results at the 3’3” level, including a championship win at the 2015 Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg. This year, they moved up to the 3’6” height and have continued to excel. They recently earned champion and grand champion honors at Harrisburg, and decided that the gelding was ready to face the impressive atmosphere at Verizon Center for the first time.

“We were not quite sure he was ready for the atmosphere here last year, but now he really knows his job,” Price stated. “He is sweet, and I think he really likes going in the ring. He seems to know when it’s a big deal. He is always pleasant and happy and looks for the jumps. His ears are forward, and he is very consistent.”

The partnership with Custom Made took a little while to develop, as Price explained, but with the help of Schatt and her team, the horse has come a long way.

“We thought we would get on him and go right into the 3’6”, but he turned out to be a bit more of a project,” Price detailed. “Havens worked with him, and he has just slowly progressed and gotten better and better. I have a wonderful horse and a great trainer. Wayne Robinson is our groom, and he is fantastic. We have a really good team right now, so it has been great.”

Shaw Johnson Price and Custom Made in their Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter 3'6" presentation / © Shawn McMillen Photography

Price earned grand hunter and leading rider titles at WIHS once before, but took some time off from showing and was back for the first time in many years. She has two teenage daughters that keep her busy and also loves to sail with her husband. Price competes next at the National Horse Show in Kentucky. Custom Made will return home to Schatt’s Milestone Farm in Lexington before heading to Florida for the winter.

In the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3'6” 18-35 division, the championship was awarded to Samantha Schaefer aboard her own Classified. The pair earned first, third, and fourth place ribbons over fences and a third place under saddle. Kelly Tropin and Libertas Farm LLC’s Chablis finished in reserve with three second-place ribbons and one fourth-place finish. Schaefer and Classified also earned the award for best 3’6” stake round with their high score of 91. Sponsored by Lynn Ellen Rice, the award presents the Shari Hollis Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by the Late Col. J.B. Hollis and Ms. Jeannie Hollis.

Samantha Schaefer and Classified / © Shawn McMillen Photography

Continuing the day, the Amateur-Owner Working Hunter 3’3” 18-35 division presented both championship and reserve championship honors to Margot Peroni of Califon, NJ. Peroni rode her own Encore B to the championship with a win under saddle and second and fifth place ribbons over fences. She also rode her own Orlon to first, second, and sixth place ribbons over fences.

Margot Peroni and Encore B / © Shawn McMillen Photography
At the conclusion of the afternoon, Virginia Fout, of Los Angeles, CA, rode her 12-year-old Warmblood gelding Carma (sired by Rhodium) to the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” Over 35 division championship. The pair won two classes over fences, as well as the under saddle. Daryl Portela and Isalou, Inc.’s Argentus finished as reserve champions with first and second place finishes over fences. They also earned a special award for the Best Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” Stake Round with a score of 87.

For their consistency, Carma and Fout were named Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” Champions, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Earnest M. Oare, and Fout earned the Leading Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider title for the 3’3” division overall.

Virginia Fout and Carma / © Shawn McMillen Photography
Fout is originally from Middleburg, VA, and moved to California 20 years ago. She grew up in a family of equestrians and lived on the family farm where her father was a racehorse trainer and her mother fox hunted. Fout’s sister became a three-day eventer, and her brother is a jockey. For Fout, it has always been horses. She went to college in California, got married and had a baby, but she continued to ride while also juggling a busy career. She owns her own event production company that does major events such as Elton John’s famous Oscar party.

Traveling across the country to compete while she also has an event going on in California this week was demanding, but for Fout, it paid off.

“Days like this make it all worth it,” she smiled. “It’s funny, the only time I have ever won a blue ribbon at Washington was in 1984 at Hunt Night with my mom and my sister at the old US Air Arena. So this is pretty big and pretty amazing.”

Virginia Fout in her presentation for Leading Amateur-Owner 3'3" Rider / © Shawn McMillen Photography
Speaking of Carma, Fout detailed, “He is magic. I’m so fortunate. He is a horse I got from one of my stable mates, Montana Coady. He came back from a long injury a couple years prior. I was lucky enough to get to buy him last fall and we have formed a great partnership. He’s tricky, but when he’s good, he’s magic. I just love him, and he’s so special, and I’m so lucky. It is sort of a dream come true with him. We call him a movie star because that is what he feels like.

“He likes a very quiet ride,” Fout continued. “If you’re quiet, he’s quiet. If you’re not quiet, hold on. I have learned how to ride him. He is sensitive, but I have learned to stay quiet. In the first class today, he had a rail down at the first jump and then it was a disaster after that. But when he’s good, he is phenomenal.”

Virginia Fout and Carma in their presentation for Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter 3'3" / © Shawn McMillen Photography

Fout had Jenny Ross helping her at WIHS this week. She will go to her family’s farm in The Plains, VA, until the end of the week before flying back to California to spend Halloween with her daughter. She then heads up to Kentucky for her final horse show of the year.

Hunter competition at the 2016 Washington International Horse Show continues on Thursday with the beginning of Junior Hunter competition in the morning. In the jumpers, Low and High Junior/Amateur-Owner competition will be featured in the afternoon, along with a $35,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake. The evening session will welcome local horse lovers, riders, trainers, and their families for Barn Night, presented by Dover Saddlery with the generous support of The Peterson Family Foundation and National Harbor, beginning at 6 p.m. The $35,000 International Jumper Accumulator costume class will be the highlight competition of the evening. For full results, visit www.wihs.org.

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About the Washington International Horse Show
Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the most prestigious and entertaining equestrian events in North America. More than 26,000 spectators attend the six-day show, which includes Olympic-level competition along with community and charity events. More than 500 top horses and riders come to D.C. from all over the globe to jump for more than a half a million dollars in prize money. Highlights include the $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington for the President's Cup, presented by Events DC (Saturday night), the $25,000 Puissance high jump presented by The Boeing Company and $50,000 GE Speed Final on Military Night (Friday) and Kids' Day (Saturday), a free, fun and educational community event. The Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition and is currently ranked #7 in the Top 25 Horse Shows by the North American Riders Group. WIHS is rated CSI4*-W by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the world governing body for horse sports.