Oct. 28—Washington, D.C.
Shawn Casady only needed to see seven riders go before him to know exactly what he needed to do to win the hunter round of the Washington International Horse Show Equitation Classic. The 17-year-old rider from Midtown, Tenn., posted the highest scores of the day aboard Worlds Fair. His average mark of 87.66 sits just ahead of Elizabeth Benson (87). Last year's ASPCA Maclay Finals and Pessoa/USEF Medal Finals winner, Hayley Barnhill, earned an identical mark as Benson, but the tie-breaking procedures technically have her third.
“I was really proud of him,” Casady said. “He walked right up the lines, he jumped slow and smooth, and I was just really happy with him.”
Watch Casady's round here.
Casady, who rides with Ken and Emily Smith of Ashland Farm, doesn’t feel any pressure going into the jumper phase with a target on his back. He was just happy enough to get the scores that he did.
“He’s always really good in the jumper phase,” Casady said. “The top three were all within a couple points of each other, so we’re all still pretty close.”
The course, designed by J.P. Godard, tested riders from the start with a long canter to a standalone oxer, then a tight left turn to a vertical. Following the vertical was a broken line to an in-and-out, then a long gallop to an oxer.
“I think that will test them, putting it early in the course,” said Godard of the double. “I wanted it to ride like a traditional hunter course but be a bit more challenging.”
A handful of riders had trouble with the combination. Either they held too hard and had to gallop the in-and-out, forcing a check in the middle, or they pushed too hard and made the turn to the in-and-out too difficult.
All of the 35 riders will return for the jumper phase of the Classic on Saturday evening, then the top 10 will switch horses to compete and ride off later that night.
To many, it came as no surprise that Victoria "Tori" Colvin would win the junior hunter grand championship at the Washington International. The young hunter superstar recently earned championships at the Pennsylvania National and Capital Challenge (Md.). This week, she topped the field on Sanzibar, a mount she rides for Karen Long Dwight in the small junior hunter, 15 and under, division.
“He has a really great big stride, and you just have to kind of point him at the fences,” Colvin said. “He just comes right up the fences; it’s great."
Sanzibar placed first and second over fences and won the stakes to get the championship.
Colvin has had a busy week. She also earned the large junior hunter, 15 and under, reserve title behind Lillie Keenan and C Coast Z, aboard Becky Gochman's Touchdown and rode Scott Stewart's Ovation to second in two small junior hunter, 15 and under, classes. She rode Sander in the equitation final and lies eighth after Round 1.