The 55th annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) concluded competition at Verizon Center in downtown Washington D.C. on Sunday, October 27, with the presentation of championship awards in the pony hunter divisions.

Storyteller, owned by Samantha Kasowitz and ridden by Barbara Ann Merryman and Ashton Alexander, earned the Grand Pony Hunter Championship. Daisy Farish was named Best Child Rider on a Pony. The WIHS Pony Equitation Finals were also held in the afternoon with a win for Emma Kurtz. The WIHS Regional Finals concluded the day with wins for Morgan Rosia and Alex Wittig.



Storyteller, a ten-year-old German Sport Pony gelding, earned The Miles River Moonglow Perpetual Trophy donated by Scott Novick and Rustic Woods, for the Grand Pony Hunter Championship after topping the Large Pony Hunter division. The Grand Championship was sponsored this year by Montana Coady.


Storyteller and Ashton Alexander. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Ashton Alexander stepped in last minute to ride Storyteller to a first place ribbon over fences on Saturday and Barbara Ann Merryman took over the ride on Sunday to place first and fifth. For the division championship, Storyteller and the girls accepted The Pegasus Stable Perpetual Trophy, donated by Ms. Fenwick Kollock. Woodland’s Misty Rain and owner/rider Isabel Ryan were the Large Pony Hunter reserve champions with a win under saddle and a second place ribbon over fences.

This was Storyteller’s first time showing at WIHS. His main rider, Merryman, is from Lutherville, MD. Merryman had a scheduling conflict on Saturday and was unable to compete, so Alexander helped out. Between the two riders, Storyteller had great two days of competition.

“He was fabulous,” Merryman stated. “I rode him off and on for the last four years. He was a baby when we got him, and now he is so grown and does everything. He is straightforward, and he was really good today.”

“For me, I think that he rides like a little horse,” Alexander said. “It was awesome getting on him to go. It was like getting on a horse and jumping three-foot. He was straightforward and did everything you asked.”


Trainer Kim Stewart, Storyteller, Barbara Ann Merryman,
Ashton Alexander, and WIHS Executive Director Bridget Love Meehan.
Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Merryman spoke of Storyteller’s personality, saying, “He’s happy. He’s very cute and very hands on. He likes to push you, nudge you and play with you. On the ground he is like a little toy.”

“It is my last show on him, and he is my favorite pony ever,” Merryman acknowledged. She is 18 years old now and attending school at John Hopkins University. “I am so proud of him, and he is so good. I could not have asked for any more.”

In the Medium Pony Hunters, Mimi Gochman of New York, NY, showed David Gochman’s True Love to championship honors to earn The Shenandoah Sundowner Perpetual Trophy donated by Evan Coluccio and Ashmont Farms, Ltd.
The pair won two classes over fences. Gochman also received a special award as owner and rider of True Love for her high score of 88 in the handy round. She was presented with the Potomac Trophy High Score Junior Hunter Rider on a Pony award, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. John R. Ingram. True Love is a 14-year-old Westphalian Riding Pony gelding by Costolany.


True Love and Mimi Gochman.
Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Daisy Farish and Redfield Farms’ Sassafras Creek were the Medium Pony Hunter reserve champions. They were first and fourth over fences and third under saddle. Sassafras Creek earned the award for best pony hunter stake round with a score of 88. Farish, of Versailles, KY, was named Best Child Rider on a Pony for 2013 and received The Captain V.S. Littauer Perpetual Trophy donated by Hugh J.B. Cassidy III, Mrs. William Dillon and Miss Marion Lee.

It feels really good to get the leading rider award,” Farish stated. “My ponies were really good. I have had both of these pones the entire year, and they have been really awesome. I am really excited that they have been so good through the whole year.”


WIHS Executive Director Bridget Love Meehan
and Daisy Farish. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Sassafras Creek was Grand Pony Hunter Champion with Farish in 2012 and had another great show this year. “Sassy is really great to ride because when she trusts you and has faith in you, she listens to you,” Farish said. “It is just a great bond, and I have a great connection with her.”

Commenting on the progress of her riding since 2012, Farish explained that she started riding horses this year and has learned a lot. “I have been doing a lot of horses,” she said. “I think that has taken me to the next level a little bit.”

Further Lane Farm’s Rolling Stone won the Small Pony Hunter division championship with Madeline Schaefer of Westminster, MD, and was awarded The Stombock Saddlery Challenge Trophy, donated by Stombock Saddlery in memory of E.P. (Bud) Stombock. In the division’s classes, sponsored by TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, Schaefer and Rolling Stone placed first, third and third over fences. Sophie Gochman rode David Gochman’s Hi Lite to reserve honors with first and third place ribbons over fences. Rolling Stone is a 15-year-old Welsh Pony gelding.


Rolling Stone and Madeline Schaefer. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Later in the afternoon, the young riders competed in the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals with a win for 13-year-old Emma Kurtz of Hudson, OH, riding True Love. Trained by Amanda Lyerly and Mike Rheinheimer, Kurtz scored an 86 over fences and moved from second to first with her ride in the work-off under saddle to take the lead. She was presented The Jane Marshall Dillon Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by the friends and students of Mrs. Jane Marshall Dillon. Coco Fath finished second, Charlise Casas was third, and Isabel Ryan placed fourth.


Emma Kurtz and True Love. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

It’s my second time here and it’s just really exciting,” Kurtz said of her win at Verizon Center. “It feels really good to win today.”

Kurtz was second in the U.S. Pony Medal Finals this year and has aspirations of moving up to do the big equitation classes. She has been very successful as a young hunter rider and the experience of catch riding and showing many different horses has helped her develop her riding skills. Today’s win gives her confidence to continue into the bigger classes.


Emma Kurtz’s winning presentation. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Kurtz first rode True Love last winter and took him to some shows this summer. Commenting on her round over fences today, she stated, “It was probably the best round I’ve had with him.”

As far as her equitation, Kurtz explained that Lyerly often reminds her to keep her reins short since it is a different ride from doing the hunters. Her other winning quality – “I just try to show off as much as I can.”


Coco Fath and Robin Hill’s Snapshot.
Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Concluding the week of competition at the 2013 Washington International Horse Show were the Regional Hunter Championships. The WIHS Regional Pony Hunter Champion was 12-year-old Morgan Rosia of Germantown, MD, riding Miss Bermuda. Miss Bermuda is a seven-year-old Welsh Pony Cross by Gypsy Time Traveler, owned by trainer Cindy Newberry. For the championship, Rosia was presented with The Jane Marshall Dillon Memorial Perpetual Trophy. The reserve champion was Like a Fox, owned by Amy Walls and ridden by Claire Walls.

In addition to success at the regional competition at Prince George’s Equestrian Center last weekend, Rosia and Miss Bermuda won the final class of the division today with a score of 85 over fences. Carly Williams and Sunset’s Sleepin In placed second with a score of 83. Samantha Wolpin was third in the final with an 81 riding Michelle Brauning’s Blue Valentine.


Miss Bermuda and Morgan Rosia in their winning presentation.
Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

“I wasn’t even expecting it,” Rosia said of her win. “I just went to local weekend to try to qualify, and I never even expected to get a ribbon. I was really nervous at first, but then once I got in there I lost all my nerves. It was perfect.”

Rosia has been riding for six years and started riding Miss Bermuda two-and-a-half years ago. “She brought me all the way from Short Stirrup to winning at Washington International!” the rider smiled. “She’s very easy, but you never really know what to expect. She’s a lot of fun.”

Rosia has a Large Green Pony Hunter that she is going to show next year and might also show Miss Bermuda in the Medium Pony Hunter division. She hopes to make it back to WIHS next year.

The WIHS Regional Hunter Horse Finals followed with a championship win for 16-year-old Haley Brennan of Bristow, VA, riding Shadwell. Brennan and the seven-year-old Warmblood gelding (by Futurist) were awarded The Black, Starr and Frost Perpetual Trophy donated by Black, Starr and Frost. Reserve honors went to Alex Wittig and True Story.


Shadwell and Haley Brennan in their winning presentation.
Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Wittig won the final class in the division today with a high score of 86 riding True Story. Brennan and Shadwell were second with an 84. Garland Alban and Save the Date placed third with a score of 80.

This was the first time qualifying for WIHS for both Brennan and Wittig. They were excited to do well and praised their horses for their success.

“It’s kind of shocking. I didn’t even realize I could win,” Brennan stated. “I was focused on just getting around the course! My horse was surprisingly good. I was pleasantly surprised, and I was glad he felt good. It gave me confidence.”

Brennan watched the show last year and was thrilled to qualify to compete. “I never expected to show here, so it was a good feeling,” she said. “It felt like I was really achieving something and making progress. I hope to eventually move up to juniors and keep showing.”

Wittig is 17 years old from Middletown, DE, and showed Rachel Grande’s True Story, a 19-year-old Rhinelander gelding by Concorde. “I’ve had him for a year-and-a-half, and he is my favorite because he’s the bomb,” Wittig laughed. “He’s awesome. He’s so fun. He knows his job, and he has a game face. He’s perfect, pretty much.”


Winning presentation for True Story and Alex Wittig.
Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Wittig’s round over fences was smooth and consistent, and she had a great experience in her first outing at Verizon Center. “It’s really fun. It makes all the hard work and not sleeping worth it,” she said of winning. “This is like no other show. It’s in the middle of the city. It’s different. It’s very cool how they set everything up. The whole process is really cool.”

Note: A special bonus was awarded to this week’s Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper champion, Bon Vivant, owned by Rose Hill Farm and ridden by Cloe Hymowitz of New York, NY.

Hymowitz and Bon Vivant were presented with the $5,000 SHF Enterprises, Inc. Young Jumper Championship (YJC) Incentive Bonus, which is awarded to WIHS rated jumper division champions who were also graduates of the Young Jumper Championship Series. Bon Vivant (Major de la Cour x Skippy II) is a YJC graduate who finished 11th in the YJC 6-Year-Old Midwestern League Finals in 2007.

For full results and more information, please visit www.wihs.org.

Final Results: WIHS Pony Equitation Finals
1 474 Emma Kurtz

2 509 Coco Fath

3 778 Charlise Casas

4 354 Isabel Ryan

5 625 Carter Anderson

6 309 Sarah Boston

7 140 Tess Lenihan

8 719 Emma Lemke

9 615 Cole Battershall

10 322 Sarah Clifton Yandell

R 369 Ellie Ferrigno

Final Results: WIHS Regional Hunter Finals – Ponies

1 842 MISS BERMUDA Morgan Rosia Cindy Newberry 85.000

2 845 SUNSET’S SLEEPIN’ IN Carly Williams Sunset Farm 83.000

3 844 BLUE VALENTINE Samantha Wolpin Michelle Brauning 81.000

4 861 CRACKER JACK Catherine Black Catherine Black 80.000

5 847 LIMITED EDITION Jordan Toering Rick Toering 79.000

6 849 TINSELTOWN Jianna Simcik Charleez Simcik 78.000

7 846 CLOUD NINE Riley King Jessica Chappell 73.000

8 858 CHINA BLUE Lauren Ginsberg Cindy Johnson 72.000

9 857 LIKE A FOX Claire Walls Amy Walls 60.000

10 860 ROWFANTINA’S GOLDEN TICKE Julia Ziffer Julia Ziffer 55.000

11 851 JUMPIN’ JACK FLASH Olivia Carmouche Mary Elizabeth Cordia 40.000

12 852 MARANATHA FLASH Emily Nuthall Sue Chambers 37.000

Final Results: WIHS Regional Hunter Finals – Horses

1 854 TRUE STORY Alex Wittig Connie Wittig 86.000

2 853 SHADWELL Haley Brennan Haley Brennan 84.000

3 868 SAVE THE DATE Garland Alban Garland Alban 80.000

4 870 NOTTINGHAM Lara McPherson Jennifer Strickland 79.000

5 867 BLACK MAGIC Marissa Simmons Marissa Simmons 72.000

6 863 MAN OF STEEL Mali Selman Mali Selman 68.000

7 864 BAY BREEZE Reese Bobo Reese Bobo 64.000

8 865 FOLSOM Katherine Mccoy Garland Mccoy 63.000

9 862 VALENTE Jenna Zimmerman Eileen Johnson 62.000

10 866 BRAZOS Kathryn Luke Kathryn Luke 55.000

11 869 WELL SUITED Baba Zipkin Baba Zipkin 46.000

12 855 MILLENIUM C Georgia Parolski Georgia Parolski 45.000

Photo Credit: Photos © Shawn McMillen Photography, www.shawnmcmillen.com.