Louise Serio And Castle Rock Are Victorious In The WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular

February 19, 2011






Wellington, Florida, February 18 – Louise Serio and Castle Rock rolled to victory in the $32,875 WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular. After posting two beautiful rounds under the lights of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s International Arena, no one could catch their scores of 87.12 and 90.50 for 177.62 overall.

“I loved my second round even better than my first," said Serio with a smile. “I thought the course was fantastic, and it rode beautifully.”

Liza Towell Boyd and Brunello, the defending champions, returned with the highest score in the first round (89.50) but couldn’t catch Serio. Boyd settled for third (175.25), while Scott Stewart and Reality held onto second place with a gorgeous second round and scores of 88.50 and 88.37 for 176.87.

For Serio, 56, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, a highlight of her winter is the WCHR week during WEF, and she’s a past winner of the classic in 2005 aboard Costello. She and Castle Rock qualified for the 15th Annual WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular from their stellar performances at the FTI Winter Equestrian Center in the High Performance Working Hunter Division.

“I thought my horse was fantastic. He’s pretty much a veteran at this now, so it’s nice to have a horse that is so made and that has been successful before in these classes,” she said.

Castle Rock, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Bryan Baldwin, placed third in last year’s classic and also won the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Now that he’s an established regular working hunter, Serio notes he only comes out for special classes such as this one.

“I think it was a great night. The whole class for me was great. The length of the course, everything just went really nicely tonight,” she said of Kenny Krome’s course designs.

“The courses rode beautifully, but there were definitely things to be careful of,” added Serio. “In the first round you really had to keep track of the nine [stride line], because it could be really far away or really easy. Especially over the 4-foot height, I thought the one-stride was scopey and quite careful too.”
Although Stewart is a perennial bridesmaid in the class, he smiled good-naturedly during the friendly ribbing he received. But he beamed when talking about Krista Weisman’s first year green hunter Reality, who competed in his first night class under lights.

“I was thrilled with him because I didn’t know what he would do, and he was perfect really,” said Stewart of the 8-year-old Mecklenburg stallion. “I could not have expected him to be as good as he was. I was really happy.”

Brunello, owned by Boyd and Janet Peterson, appeared fresh and fit and soared over the four-foot fences in both rounds. Boyd, 31, Camden, South Carolina, took the blame for their second-round score. “He really made a great effort in the first round. He tried really hard. Then in the second round I just made a little mistake to the first jump. I was a little slow,” she said. “He knows his job, and he was just great."

Boyd also placed fourth aboard Sarah Ward's Onassis (175.12), while Patricia Griffith and Sienna, owned by Lexi Maounis, were fifth (173.56). Tim Goguen, 45, Wellington, Florida, who recently returned to the show ring after more than a year recovering from a severe riding injury, rounded out the top six aboard Boggs Hill’s Whatever.

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 will take centerstage on Sunday afternoon following the Peggy Cone Memorial WCHR Adult Hunter Classic in the International Arena.
To incorporate more riders into the two classics, 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.
John French, 48, San Jose, California, collected the Professional High-Score Award during the week's competition for his score of 92 aboard Iwasaki And Reilly’s Small Affair in the Performance Working Hunter 3’6”-3’9” division.

Jennifer Bliss, 26, Katonah, New York, was awarded the Champion Equine Insurance Trophy for the Emerging Professional High-Score Award for her ride aboard Julie De Vaulx’s Elitere during the week.

Pony Lane Farm’s Early Applause, ridden by Maggie Jayne, earned the Charlie Weaver Memorial Award as the top conformation horse in the classic. The competitors also received special prizes from Tailored Sportsman for their efforts throughout the WCHR competition.

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.

Final Results: The WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular

HORSE/RIDER/OWNER/SCORE
1. CASTLE ROCK/LOUISE SERIO/BRYAN BALDWIN: 87.12 + 90.50 = 177.62
2. REALITY/SCOTT STEWART/KRISTA WEISMAN: 88.50 + 88.37 = 176.87
3. BRUNELLO/ELIZABETH BOYD/ELIZABETH BOYD & JANET PETERSON: 89.50 + 85.75 = 175.25
4. ONASSIS/ELIZABETH BOYD/SARAH WARD: 86.62 + 88.50 = 175.12
5. SIENNA/PATRICIA GRIFFITH/LEXI MAOUNIS: 87.06 + 86.50 = 173.56
6. WHATEVER/TIM GOGUEN/BOGGS HILL: 85.50 + 84.50 = 170.00
7. SPANDAU/LYMAN WHITEHEAD/VISSE WEDELL: 85.25 + 70.75 = 156.00
8. EARLY APPLAUSE/MAGGIE JAYNE/PONY LANE FARM: 85.15 + 67.75 = 152.90
9. EMPIRE/SCOTT STEWART/BECKY GOCHMAN: 84.25
10. CROWN N SCEPTER/KELLEY FARMER/LARRY GLEFKE: 83.31
11. ARGENTUM/PETER PLETCHER/ALTA BASALDUA: 83.00
12. SMALL COLLECTION/JOHN FRENCH/IWASAKI AND REILLY: 82.75

Contact: Whitney Allen at wallen@ushja.org

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