Gramercy Park has earned the Peter Wetherill Cup as the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association’s 2012 World Championship Hunter Rider Program Hunter of the Year.
“Charlie,” a 9-year-old bay gelding owned by Lynn Rice, earned nearly 20 champion and reserve titles in the green working sections under Thomas Brennan last year.
Brennan, of Charles Town, W.Va., recalled how he and trainer Tony Workman first noticed Gramercy in the pre-greens at a show in Culpeper, Va.
“Lynn was on vacation. We asked her to come back early to try this attractive 5-year-old gelding.” Brennan said.
“It was a five-hour drive from Rehoboth, Del., with my family and my brother’s family. Tony’s exact words were that ‘Tom was going to hold his breath until he turned blue if I didn’t come home.’ My very first thought was what any married woman would think, ‘My husband’s gonna love this.’ My second thought was that Tony and Tom don’t get excited like that so I better get in the car,” Rice said.
"She rode [Charlie] for 10 minutes and said, ‘Buy him Tony,’ ” added Brennan.
In the two years since, Charlie hasn’t put a hoof wrong. “The only mistakes he has made have been when the job at hand has gotten too easy for him. I have felt excited and honored to show him so far, but I am most looking forward to watching him in the future with Lynn. Their styles are perfectly matched, and when Lynn rides Gramercy Park it is the epitome of suitability,” said Brennan.
By the end of the 2012 season, Charlie’s résumé was quite the impressive read including blue ribbons at Capital Challenge (Md.), the Pennsylvania National Horse Show and the Washington International (D.C.) as well as the Zone 3 Green Working Horse of the Year and USEF First Year Green Working Hunter reserve champion titles.
“What makes Charlie a spectacular horse is not just that he is beautiful and incredibly talented, it’s that he believes he’s the winner,” said Rice. “He’s confident and focused for me as well as for Tom and has been from the beginning. The fact that Charlie is as solid for me, his amateur, as he is for Tom, is truly what sets him apart and makes him not just a horse of the year but a horse of a lifetime.”
In 2011, the Peter Wetherill Cup debuted as an award to celebrate a current equine athlete who best exemplifies the qualities of a top-class show hunter. This perpetual trophy is presented annually at the Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular in Wellington, Fla.