Washington, D.C.—Oct. 29
She’s been third. She’s been second. And this year Hunter Holloway finally led the victory gallop for the Washington International Horse Show Equitation Final.
Holloway led the class from start to finish ,winning all three rounds to win over Madison Goetzmann, with Lucy Deslauriers slipping from second to third after the work-off.
“I’m still in shock,” said Holloway, Topeka, Kan. “It’s a pretty incredible feeling. This is something I’ve worked so hard toward. I have an amazing horse and amazing team of people behind me. It’s an incredible feeling to be sitting here with everyone.”
Holloway tacked up her longtime partner Any Given Sunday for the class, wowing judges George Morris, Rob Bielefeld, Kitty Barker and Danny Robertshaw with a three flawless rounds in a row. Her marks stayed in the high 90s, cresting at a 98 and only dipping as low as 95 from one panel in the hunter phase.
“First of all, her basics are so correct,” said Morris. “You can see her angles are so correct. Then you look for execution and accuracy. What separates the top ones you can’t see, it’s a dying art called invisible aids. That’s what separates the first, second and third.”
In the final phase of the competition, riders trade horses and compete over the jumper course again, and Holloway swapped with Deslauriers to ride her Class Action.
“I was really excited to get on Class Action,” said Holloway, 18. “That horse has been around for a while, and I’ve been able to see him go.”
Two weeks ago at the Pessoa/US Medal Final, Holloway logged an uncharacteristic round that didn’t make the cut. That motivated her to double down in anticipation of her final trip to Washington as a junior.
“We did what we do best: lessoned and went back to basics,” said Holloway, who trains with her mother Brandie Holloway and Don Stewart. “We got tortured without stirrups. [After Medal Finals] I tried to move forward and get it out of my mind. I didn’t want to focus on it.”
Stewart was plenty proud of his student who earned her first major finals win in Washington.
“She’s always knocking at the door, and we’re glad that Maddie didn’t close it on us,” said Stewart. “She’s a really hard worker, she’s on time, and she’s a great student. She doesn’t complain and she’s always gracious. She has a strong desire to excel which she gets from her grandmother, and the temperament is good.”
Goetzmann, who trains with Stacia Madden's Beacon Hill team, was thrilled to finish as the runner up.
“Last year I placed second in this final as well, so to be second again, I can’t complain about that,” she said. “Hunter’s win was very well deserved. This horse has been so great for me. He gives me so much confidence in the ring. When I got on the horse I switched onto [Taylor St. Jacques’ Charisma] I was a little nervous. But as soon as I went in the ring and jumped the first jump I was able to breathe and jump a smooth round.”
Both riders will head to the CP National Horse Show next week for their last equitation final of the season, the ASPCA Maclay Final.
Get full results at ryegate.com.