October 22, 2015–Washington International Horse Show hosted its third day of equestrian competition at Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C. on Thursday. The youngest rider in this year’s international show jumping competition at 18 years of age, USA’s Victoria “Tori” Colvin jumped to victory with Cafino in the $35,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake. Top honors in the $20,000 Gambler’s Choice costume class, presented by the Winter Equestrian Festival, went to McLain Ward (USA) and HH Ashley.
Anthony D’Ambrosio, of Red Hook, NY, is the course designer for the jumpers at WIHS this year. In the day’s $35,000 Welcome Stake, D’Ambrosio saw 27 entries with 10 advancing to the jump-off and five double clear rounds. Belgium’s Jos Verlooy set the pace in 33.40 seconds aboard Axel Verlooy and Euro Horse Bvba’s Sunshine to eventually finish fourth. Georgina Bloomberg (USA) was next to clear the short course in 33.65 seconds aboard Gotham Enterprizes LLC’s Caleno 3 to place fifth. Catherine Tyree (USA) jumped the second place time of 32.86 seconds riding Mary and Joseph Tyree’s Enjoy Louis. Audrey Coulter (USA) took third place honors with a time of 32.92 seconds aboard Copernicus Stables LLC’s Domino, and Victoria Colvin completed the final clear round in the winning time of 30.40 seconds with Take the High Road LLC’s Cafino.
This is Colvin’s first year competing in the international division at WIHS and a memorable step in her young career. For the win, she was presented the Ben O’Meara Memorial Challenge Trophy, which has been hoisted by many of the greatest riders in the sport. Colvin was fearless in the jump-off, finishing over two seconds faster than her runner up. She spoke about her round, explaining that she started with a good pace, stayed tight in the turns and finally, galloped right down to the last fence, a careful vertical heading towards the in-gate. Cafino, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Cardento 933 x Roderik 856), was as game as his rider as they raced to the finish.
“I like to go very fast, so I was going, I was not whoa-ing,” Colvin declared of her risk to the last jump. “He is actually really good to just gallop down to big verticals, and I knew that he would jump it well.”
Colvin is one of the busiest riders at WIHS this week since she has also been competing in the hunter divisions each day and will contest the WIHS Equitation Finals, presented by SAP, on Friday and Saturday as well. She has her sights set on competing in the $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, for the first time ever this weekend.
“This is the first time that I have done the international jumper division at WIHS and I love this,” Colvin smiled. “Hunters have been great; I have done that for years, but I think it has been really good to start moving forward and going on to bigger things. We also hope that Cafino will do big things. He just came back from a couple months off, so I am happy that he jumped around the 1.50m course well and now we are going to try the grand prix.”
McLain Ward and HH Ashley Top Gambler’s Choice
The $20,000 International Jumper Gambler’s Choice Costume Class, sponsored by the Winter Equestrian Festival, was held on Thursday evening during the show’s always-popular Barn Night, presented by Dover Saddlery. Local young riders and horse enthusiasts attended in groups and had the chance to enter contests, win big prizes, and enjoy a fun, horse-filled evening that included the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Races, presented by Charles Owen.
McLain Ward and Double H Farm’s HH Ashley topped the competition with the high score of 1140. Aaron Vale (USA) and Troy Glaus’s Quidams Good Luck finished second with a score of 1110, Victoria Colvin (USA) and Peacock Ridge LLC’s Lumiere and Laura Kraut (USA) aboard Stars and Stripes’ Andretti S both scored 1090. Ties were broken by times, so Colvin’s faster time of 53 seconds placed third over Kraut’s time of 60 seconds in fourth.
Ward was presented the Crown Royal Trophy, donated by Crown Royal, as the winning rider, and HH Ashley earned the Sue Ann Geisler Memorial Trophy, donated by the Washington International Horse Show, as the winning horse.
“She’s a good old girl,” Ward said of the 15-year-old Hanoverian mare (Acorado x Chasseur). “I normally don’t bring her to the really big shows. I normally take her to a smaller circuit, but she always tries to jump clean rounds and she tries hard. I was actually feeling a little rusty this week and needed to get back into gear.”
Speaking of the competition, Ward noted, “I had no plan and I was struggling to come up with a course. Normally I’m okay with that. There was not just one way to do it. It was a little difficult to come up with a good course, but the horse performed well. We had fun.”
Barn Night was a huge success as some of the region’s top groups came out Thursday night to participate in special contests and enjoy the unique competition. Meadowbrook Farm was the winner of the Largest Group Overall to win a custom drape set thanks to Dover Saddlery. Summerfield Farm topped the Best Group Banner contest to take home a custom barn jump courtesy of Swan Lake Horse Shows, Clover Grove Farm had the Best Group Video to receive a customized restored golf cart courtesy of United Metro Golf Cart, and NFF Stables earned the Best Group Spirit Award to win a group clinic with top international show jumper Brianne Goutal.