September 28, 2014–The Capital Challenge Horse Show held three major equitation finals on Sunday of Equitation Weekend, presented by Bigeq.com. Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL, riding Clearway, repeated victory in the Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships. In the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Children’s Medal Finals, Hayley Iannotti riding Quasa Granda was victorious. Eleanor Hellman and Nigel took the win in the North American Adult Amateur Equitation Championships. Hunter competition begins on Monday, September 29, at the Capital Challenge Horse Show and continues through Sunday, October 5.
There were 79 entries in the Private Tutoring Services North American Junior Equitation Championships, and riders contested a course set by Kenneth Krome. There were five judges for the class: Jeff Ayers, Linda Andrisani, Scott Fitton, Mark Jungherr, and Scott Williamson. In the first round, Colvin and Clearway, a nine-year-old Warmblood gelding by Cheenook owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, went straight to the top with a score of 90.20.
Colvin said of the courses, “He has a really big stride, and all of the lines were pretty much (riding) easy today. I think the first course was a little more challenging than the second one, but he handled it great.”
The top 20 returned for a second round, and as the last to go, Colvin put down yet another solid trip and improved her score to 90.80 for a total of 181 and victory. With a greater than two point difference between Colvin and second place, no additional testing was done. “It was much easier doing two rounds, then being done!” Colvin said.
Second place went to Megan MacPherson of Boulder, CO, who rode Great Expectations to a first round score of 86.60. They improved in the second round for an 87.70 and a total of 174.30. With a high score yesterday of 92, MacPherson won the EMO Equitation Trip of the Show sponsored by EMO Insurance Services.
Meredith Darst of Lebanon, OH, and Soldier scored a 90.05 in the first round. They returned in the second round and scored an 84 to finish on 174.05 for third place.
Colvin and Clearway haven’t been paired together long, but both come from a career full of victories. Trainer Andre Dignelli found Clearway three years ago through Brian Walker, who imported him as a jumper. It was love at first sight for Dignelli, but he did think to himself, “’What am I going to do with a 17.2 hand horse that’s a stallion? He’s broken-winded, he makes a loud noise.’ But I have to say, I was in love with the horse from the first day and I could not get him out of my head.”
He described, “I’ve been doing this for 25 years, and he’s the only horse that I know that can leave out two strides and add three strides as easily. He’s very, very special. He has a great temperament and is a quiet horse. He’s a special animal, and we treat him like he’s special.”
Dignelli believes that Colvin’s strength in situations like these is “that she can produce a top round over and over and over again in the most difficult of circumstances.” He continued, “I think the equitation division has been one she has to work at, in terms of making sure the position is top-notch and not losing classes for the wrong reason. I think we’ve been getting to know each other a bit and develop a team, not only her and I, but also with that horse. It’s difficult to catch ride these events, so we’ll see what our strategy is moving forward. I think today was a good sign that we’re on the right track.”
For Colvin, winning the equitation finals at Capital Challenge twice is a unique experience. “Clearway went amazing, and it was great to come back and win. He’s just a phenomenal horse. I wouldn’t dream of winning once, so coming back and winning again is special. I love Capital Challenge. It was great to end this year that way, because I’m not going to do any of my hunters or jumpers.”
Colvin will compete for the first time in the USEF Talent Search Finals East Coast next weekend.
For her big win, Colvin was awarded the George H. Morris Equitation Championship Trophy, donated by Frank and Stacia Madden and Beacon Hill Show Stables. Clearway’s groom, Benji Hernandez, won the North American Equitation Champion Groom’s Award sponsored by Holly Hill Farm. Colvin won the Best Equitation Rider Award sponsored by Karen Healey and Karen Healey Stables. Colvin’s trainers, Andre Dignelli and Laena Romond, won the Leading Equitation Trainer Award, sponsored by Leslie Steele and Acres West.
USEF Network is streaming the Capital Challenge live at www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2014CapitalChallenge/