Grace Knox and Rapidash. Photo by Kendall Bierer
Washington, D.C. – October 23, 2013 – The atmosphere shifted as the professional and Amateur-Owner hunter divisions came to a close this evening, and the jumper championships took center stage at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. After months of work to qualify for the prestigious finale, top-tier riders gathered at the Washington International Horse Show for their chance at the tricolor. Grace Knox and Rapidash dashed to a clean and clear victory during the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship, tripping the timers with a two-second lead. Kristyn Duarte and Victoria Jolie V that rode to the top of the standings with an impressive double-clear effort in the $10,000 WIHS Adult Amateur Jumper Championship.
Thirteen of the original 29 riders posted clean rounds during the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship, finding their way into the shortened track. Lili Hymowitz and Belle Bleu S were the trailblazers from the first round, and they duplicated their effort during the jump-off. The pair posted a quick time of 31.640 seconds, which held solid until Adeline Rohrbach and Snow White posted a time 3/10ths of a second faster. Rohrbach held the lead with Hymowitz in a close second until the penultimate rider entered the ring.
Wimberly Debono and Tusker had their eye on the prize as they took each turn without trepidation. Several of the other riders had faults at the opening oxer, and later in the course as they raced for the seconds, but Debono stayed calm and confident as she guided Tusker to a time of 30.970 seconds. It seemed as though they had the victory in the palm of their hand. Knox entered the ring with the small chestnut Appendix, Rapidash, and he proved worthy of his name.
“Rapidash is the Pokemon that is a fire horse, and one of the 10-year-old boys at the barn came up with it and it was perfect for him,” Knox laughed. “I really liked this course, it was perfect for him. Since he is an Appendix, he goes fast like a Thoroughbred but turns on a dime like a Quarter Horse. I was really excited for the jump-off. He has a great left turn.”
They took the opening oxer and turning on a dime and leaving change, although they were very careful as they approached the gray wall, making sure to clear the opening obstacles. Rapidash kept his ears forward and picked up the pace as they approached each of the eight efforts in the short course. Turning to the double combination on the outside, they were two second ahead of the competition, sealing their place at the top of the leader board when they broke the beam in 28.930 seconds.
“As soon as he sees the jump he speeds up a lot and needs a lot of hand to the jump to support him,” Knox explained. “This was my first time showing here, I didn’t really know what it was going to be like, but I really like showing in the indoor arena. It is really neat to do that. He was great. When we go into big rings, I always expect him to spook at jumps, but he just puts his ears forward and goes to the jump even more, he locks on to all of the jumps.”
Knox rides with Mary and Lisa Goldman of Red Coat Farm in Hawthorn Woods, IL. Now 14, she has ridden with them since the beginning, and their encouragement was clear as they hung across the barrier rooting her on through each and every turn.
“My whole entire riding career I have been with them,” Knox said. “I have had Rapidash for the last two years, and this is probably my last show on him. It was nice to end on a good note, and now I will be moving into the Low Junior Jumpers.”
The $10,000 WIHS Adult Jumper Championship saw 31 qualified entrants show over the night’s course. Only 10 horse and rider combinations were able to traverse the opening course without incurring penalties, and move into the jump off.
It proved to be a day of firsts for Kristyn Duarte and Victoria Jolie V, as they rode to the leading time of 31.443 seconds, proving unstoppable. The little chestnut mare was matched up with the amateur rider about a year ago, and their one goal was to qualify for the Washington International Horse Show.
“My goal was to qualify, I just wanted to get here and I was very proud just to make that goal,” Duarte explained. “This time, I went in knowing I had already made the jump off. My goal was not to win it, but I'll take it.”
Their quick foot speed was what won them the victory today, but Duarte admitted that she needed to turn off her brain a bit in order to not overthink their plan. “The course rode very smoothly. I was afraid of some of the jumps coming up a little bit quick because it's a narrower ring but she handled it really well,” Duarte smiled. “I always have a problem with over thinking, and I don't go fast enough so I just kind of turned my brain off and kicked.”
Hope Bachelor and Orlando rode to the second place finish with a double-clear effort in 31.823 seconds. Tammy Kelly and Belvedere captured the third place, while Jessica Matelis and Chador took fourth. Cathleen Driscoll and Forever Blue were awarded fifth as the quickest of the four-faulters, and Meg Gehron and Duracell took the sixth place.
Her husband and two children stood for the presentation photo, as they smiled proudly at their mom amidst the flashes and awards. It was a moment that she was thrilled to share with them since her husband is also her trainer, and she admitted that their riding program is very “mom and pop.”
“I ride for fun and focus on the kids. My husband does all the training because I am the amateur. It is just my hobby and I couldn't give it up,” Duarte stated. “I take care of the kids full time along with the horses.”
The third day of the Washington International Horse Show will prove riveting as the jumpers gather once again to compete for the lion’s share of the prize money in the $33,000 International Open Jumper class. The world’s top riders will also have the opportunity to compete in the long anticipated $20,000 Gambler’s Choice tomorrow night, after the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers conclude the afternoon.
$10,000 WIHS CHILDRENS JPR CHAMPIONSHIP
ORD # Horse Name Rider Name
1 196 RAPIDASH GRACE KNOX
2 203 TUSKER WIMBERLY DEBONO
3 267 SNOW WHITE ADELINE ROHRBACH
4 574 BELLE BLEU S LILI HYMOWITZ
5 534 SHINKANSEN DEVON MONROE
6 645 OLYMPIA DANIELLE DURYEA
7 268 CLOUD 9 ADELINE ROHRBACH
8 728 BERLYSCA SOPHIA GALI
9 460 RESPONSE NIKKI PROKOPCHAK
10 722 LET'S GO JACQUELINE OLIVA
11 190 APOLLO MISSION SANDRA ZIMMERLI
12 223 REVELATION MEGHAN FLANAGAN
$10,000 WIHS ADULT AMATEUR JPR CHAMPIONSHIP
ORD # Horse Name Rider Name
1 749 VICTORIA JOLIE V KRISTYN DUARTE
2 115 ORLANDO HOPE BATCHELOR
3 411 BELVEDERE TAMMY KELLY
4 639 CHADOR JESSICA MATELIS
5 483 FOREVER BLUE CATHLEEN DRISCOLL
6 406 DURACELL MEG GEHRON
7 336 TIPPITOO VICKI LOWELL
8 254 CRUSADER AHMED ALALI
9 500 WHISPER LEXI MAOUNIS
10 253 TOMMY TUNE SARA PARRISH
11 226 MIDORI LYNN SEITHEL
12 246 BELLADONNA KATHERINE PONTONE