Olivia Esse And Small Affair Top The WCHR Junior/Amateur-Owner Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular

USHJA

February 20, 2011





Wellington, Florida, February 20 – Olivia Esse and Small Affair traveled from California especially for the World Championship Hunter Rider events held during weeks 5 and 6 of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. And their cross-country trip paid huge dividends when the pair jumped to top honors in the WCHR Junior/Amateur-Owner Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular.

Esse, 17, Los Angeles, California, topped the first round with impressive scores of 89 and 94 from the two panels of judges. She then returned aboard the 8-year-old Selle Francais gelding to post scores of 87 and 90 to secure the title with an overall total of 180.

“He felt really good even though he’s been showing all weekend,” said Esse who also secured the show’s large junior, 16-17, championship. “He’s probably a little tired, but he was great. He didn’t slow down or rub a fence.”


Victoria Colvin and Scott Stewart’s Inclusive jumped impressively into second place (176), while Hayley Barnhill and Susan E. Gordon’s Heartfelt placed third with 175.

Today’s Junior/Amateur-Owner courses in the International Arena, designed by Kenny Krome, featured bending lines and various options where riders and horses could show off their talents. Eight of the 26 starters returned to contest a second round, with seven of the eight being juniors.
“He’s really fun in the big field,” said Esse. “He has a big stride, so sometimes he’s harder to ride in a smaller ring, so he can really stretch out and give his all.”

Esse, who began training with John French during last fall’s East Coast fall indoor shows, has been leasing Small Affair (Elf D’Or—Eva De Fontenay) for the past year from owners Iwasaki And Reilly. Small Affair earned the 2010 United States Equestrian Federation Horse of the Year reserve championship title in the Second Year Green section with French and now competes with him in the new Performance Working Hunter 3’6”-3’9” section.

French and Small Affair also contested Friday night’s WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular where they placed 14th, and they’ve earned several Performance Working Hunter 3’6”-3’9” championships this year, including the HITS Desert Circuit in California and WEF.

The number 92 was a popular one this week as French and Scott Stewart tied for the WCHR Professional High-Score honor with this score, while Esse and Colvin did likewise for the WCHR Junior High-Score award. Small Affair carried both French and Esse to their high-score titles.

“She’s just had a great week,” said French of Esse. “She was champion on [Small Affair], won this and was champion on [Illusion].

“It’s nice when you come all the way here for just two weeks and it turns out like this,” he added. “It’s not very long [to be here], but when it goes like this it’s definitely worth coming.”

This year the WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular was split into two sections. Friday night’s 25-horse class featured the professionals, while the junior and amateur-owner riders took centerstage on Sunday afternoon following the Peggy Cone Memorial WCHR Adult Hunter Classic in the International Arena.

Glen Senk, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, dominated the eighth annual Peggy Cone Classic aboard Fashion Farm LLC’s Another Place, an 8-year-old Holsteiner (Carano—Laluna ZP). Senk also placed third on Declaration, a 9-year-old Westphalian gelding by Collin-L, sixth on Blessed, a 7-year-old Holsteiner mare by Limotas, and 11th aboard Highland Park, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Welt Hit II.

To incorporate more riders into the two Hunter Classic Spectacular classes, qualifying was held during WEF 5 and 6. Riders earning championships or reserve championships in the 3’6” and higher rated hunter divisions qualified, with additional riders qualifying based on points if the qualified riders chose not to compete or were pre-qualified. In addition, riders also qualified based on their 2010 standings in the WCHR national and regional awards programs.
The USHJA would like to thank its generous sponsors for the 2011 WCHR Hunter Classic Spectacular, including: Ogilvy-The Official Therapeutic Saddle Pad of the USHJA, who will be supplying therapeutic saddle pads to the top six riders in both the Professional and Junior/Amateur-Owner Hunter Spectaculars; Essex Classics, who will be providing riding shirts to the high-score Professional and Emerging Professional riders and to the high-score Junior and Amateur riders on Sunday; and Arc De Triomphe (ADT), the Official Saddlery of the WCHR, who will be supplying bridles and bridle bags to the winners of each WHCR Classic.?

About the WCHR: In 1995, the inaugural World Championship Hunter Rider Pro Finals were held as the culmination of an awards program of the American Hunter Jumper Foundation to recognize and celebrate the hunter rider. The WCHR program participants qualify at member competitions held throughout the year to compete in these finals. In 1997, the WCHR Spectacular was added to the qualifying menu and quickly became one of the premier events, which exemplifies the high standards set for the WCHR program. In 2010 the American Hunter Jumper Foundation transferred its assets and programs to the USHJA in an effort to further their vision for our sport. The USHJA is excited to showcase the WCHR program to its members as it continues to grow in popularity.

RESULTS OF THE WCHR JUNIOR/AMATEUR-OWNER PALM BEACH HUNTER CLASSIC SPECTACULAR

HORSE/RIDER/OWNER/SCORE

1. SMALL AFFAIR/OLIVIA ESSE/IWASAKI AND REILLY/180.00
2. INCLUSIVE/VICTORIA COLVIN/SCOTT STEWART/176.00
3. HEARTFELT/HAYLEY BARNHILL/SUSAN E. GORDON/175.00
4. C COAST Z/LILLIE KEENAN/CHANSONETTE FARM LLC/170.00
5. TAKE AWAY/ALISE OKEN/ALISE OKEN/169.12
6. SANZIBAR/VICTORIA COLVIN/KAREN LONG DWIGHT/167.50
7. MADISON/LILLIE KEENAN/CHANSONETTE FARM LLC/159.25
8. TAKEN/HANNAH GOODSON-CUTT/NANCY AMLING/156.25

Contact: Whitney Allen at wallen@ushja.org

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