The 59th Washington International Horse Show wrapped up Sunday with the WIHS Regional Hunter Finals at the Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. James Fazekas of Friendship won the WIHS Regional Pony Hunter Finals while Courtney Morton of Clarksburg took home the WIHS Regional Hunter Finals.
James, who trains with Suzanne Chambers, won aboard the Connemara/Welsh pony Beaudacious and posted the highest score of the day with an 82. Kelsey Lambert (Chevy Chase) rode Tiny Tunes to second and earned the overall WIHS Regional Pony Hunter divisional championship, while Payton Flanders (Lothian) and Jamrock earned third.
“I have been riding Beaudacious for a year and my favorite things about him are that he has a great personality and keeps me safe,” James said of his mount and added about his first time competing at WIHS, “It was definitely intimidating to walk into that ring, but my trainer just told me to ride my corners and to have fun.”
Courtney Morton rode her own Vivid Star, a Holsteiner/Thoroughbred mare, to win the WIHS Regional Hunter Final for Horses on a score of 81. Ana Bertozzi (VA) placed second riding True Colors and Amelia Lucas (Columbia) placed third aboard Valentina.
Courtney, who trains with Alan Lohman, said, “This is a great experience and the win of a lifetime for me. It’s a big deal to compete in this arena and be in the city, but I knew that my horse has me and would take care of me.” Courtney and Vivid Star have been competing together for three years. Courtney also earned the WIHS Regional Hunter divisional reserve championship with Lauren Hale of Owings Mills winning aboard No Excuses.
The Grand Prix competition wrapped up Saturday evening with the much anticipated $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington (aka the “Presidents Cup”). In his first trip to WIHS, Switzerland’s Beat Mandli took home the top prize aboard Dsarie. The pair were one of 11 to move on to the jump-off and put in an amazingly fast round of 32.07 seconds.
The night before, Friday, Aaron Vale and Finou won their second straight $25,000 International Jumper Puissance victory winning the famed high jump at 6’7”. The pair even tied with McLain Ward in 2016 for first. Earlier that evening, Ward announced the retirement of his longtime partner HH Carlos Z after the pair won the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final.
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