Articles: Press Release
Serio is "Charmed" in
Monarch Pro Wchr Rider Finals:
The Victory Comes Down to the Very Last Ride!
The 2005 Monarch International's Show Circuit Magazine Professional World Championship Hunter Rider took place October 7th at the Prince George's Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD. (c)Diana De Rosa Photo
Diana DeRosa/Shyrlee Greenberg, 631-773-6155, cell: 516-848-4867, email@example.com
October 7, 2004 -- Upper Marlboro, MD - "I was hoping the fourth time would
be the charm for me," said Holly Orlando. But that was not to be the case;
in fact it was Louise Serio who was "charmed" and the ultimate winner in the
2005 Monarch International's Show Circuit Magazine Professional World
Championship Hunter Rider finals. The event took place on October 7TH
during the eight-day Capital Challenge Horse Show at the Prince George's
Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD.
Orlando, Wellington, FL and Serio, Kennett Square, PA, were joined by defending champion Peter Pletcher, Magnolia, TX (who had won the event twice) and Scott Stewart, Flemington, NJ (who is a three-time winner). Orlando was second, third and with this ribbon was fourth twice, but that coveted first place ribbon continues to elude her.
This was Serio's second time qualifying for the competition and her second victory. Serio's smile said it all and her words reinforced her exhilaration.
"I was really excited. I think it was unexpected. Sometimes I have an idea I'm going to do alright but this time I didn't have any expectations. But as the class progressed I was very happy with my rounds. I was really proud of them.
"Going into the last round I knew it was close. I tried not to listen to the scores and stayed focused on what I was going to do. When I went into the ring I said I have to take my best shot. I didn't circle. I went right to the first jump and that horse was just outstanding. I loved riding him."
For Serio winning this class was the culmination of all the time and effort she puts into the sport.
"You work all year and it is acknowledgement of all the hard work you've done and the success that you've had and then you get to come and compete in a class like this with such great riders. It feels to me like a real accomplishment."
JUST HAPPY TO BE ONE OF THE FINAL FOUR
While winning is always the goal, all the riders were pleased to have qualified for the final four. Afterwards Pletcher said to fourth placed Orlando, "Pretty much for the winner it's a great high. But even though you were fourth we are still the best in our sport. And that is a great thing."
Serio was feeling the same way. "I feel honored to ride with those three other people. They are fantastic competitors. It was my night but it could have been anybody's night. There's an understanding between all of us that we all know we could win or not. We are very secure in what we do and plan on continuing it. They are happy for what I do and I am happy for them."
That good sportsmen's attitude was very evident in the press conference where the riders continued to laugh and joke with each other in between responding to the questions from the media.
CAPITAL CHALLENGE IS THE HORSE SHOW FOR HUNTERS
Stewart chimed in with the rest of the riders adding, "You work all year long to do this class." Yet for Stewart and the other riders, it isn't just about the Pro Title. It's also the fact that the Capital Challenge has become the place to showcase the hunters.
"This is the most important horse show and the conditions are as perfect as they could be. All the best hunter riders and hunter horses are here," continued Stewart.
Pletcher agreed commenting, "I think this hunter horse show is the best one we have. When I was making our plans I said to everyone in my barn, let's support this horse show and not do Harrisburg and Washington. This is to me the epitome of the hunters and I thank the AHJF for that. It's special. It's all about the hunters. Everyone is here."
Echoed Orlando, "It's been amazing for hunters and this horse show is more important to me to come here and win than at Harrisburg and Washington. I like that the hunters are spotlighted here. At most shows the jumpers are the biggest thing - the grand prix - but not really here; it's kind of secondary here. I think we have Michele, Geoff and Louise to thank for having a horse show like this in the first place."
Representing Show Circuit magazine, Joe Thorpe, trainer of Nicoletta Heidegger, remarked, "The Prince George's Equestrian Center is an ideal location to showcase the hunters and it is one reason why we come all the way from California to compete at this event. Show managers Billy Glass and Oliver Kennedy know how to 'put on a show.' Coming from both sides of the fence as both an exhibitor and a sponsor we are able to view this show from more than one perspective and appreciate the attention given to even the smallest details. We thank both the AHJF and the management for making this a special show for the hunters."
Added President Geoff Teall, "We also need to thank the Capital Challenge Horse Show Managers Oliver Kennedy and Billy Glass for running such a nice show."
Riders had to qualify to compete in this class by earning points in WCHR recognized shows (of which there are 46 throughout the U.S.). AHJF tallies the points based on each rider's top four WCHR shows. The top six riders from each region and the top 10 riders in the standing are then invited to compete at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in the WCHR Challenge Class. Their top score in WCHR recognized divisions earned at the Capital Challenge is added to that total. Those points are then added to the overall points to determine the final four.
This year the final National Point Standings which qualified the riders to be in this class were Pletcher (2131 pts), who led the National Rider Award Standings; Orlando (2089 pts); Serio (1986 pts.) and Stewart (1863 pts.).
The riders alternated on riding four different horses which they had not ridden before. These included La Caretta, a 17.1 hand, gray Warmblood gelding, owned by Whitney Roper; Nantucket, a 16.2 hand, bay Dutch Warmblood gelding, owned by Kiera Piscia; Perfect, an 8-year-old, 15.3 hand, brown, Dutch Warmblood gelding, owned by Debbie Connors-Lopez; and Ramsey, an 8-year-old, 17.1 hand, bay Warmblood gelding, owned by April Wehle.
The riders were allowed to briefly warm-up on their first horse but for all subsequent rides they had to go directly to the 3'6" course in the ring. And while the fences were the same for all four courses, the order in which they were jumped changed each time.
The rounds were scored by three teams of two judges using the open numerical system. The judges were Shane George, Magnolia, TX and Brian Lenehan, Southern Pines, NC; Mark Jungherr, Amesbury, MA and Phillip DeVita, Apopka, FL; and Tammy Provost, Westfield, IN and Kim Dorfman, Aiken, SC.
The Challenge was sponsored by Carol & Gordon Stillwell, Stillwell Hansen, Inc., The Levick Family and Jaguar Equestrian, presented by the American Hunter Jumper Foundation (AHJF) and included a media sponsorship by Monarch International's Show Circuit Magazine.
IT CAME DOWN TO THE LAST ROUND
The class began with Orlando whose first horse was a bit spooky. She finished on a score of 74.33, but later was given a reride on the alternate horse and ended up tied with Serio with the top score in the first round (88.33). Pletcher followed with 88 and Stewart was trailing just slightly (87.66). After round two Stewart and Orlando were leading (179.66), while Serio was third (178.99) and Pletcher fourth (176.66).
After the third round, Serio was standing third (269.65) but in that final round when Orlando (who came in on a score of 269.66) had a chip at one fence and Stewart (who was leading at the time with 271.32) had a very long distance to one fence, that opened the door just slightly for Pletcher who came in with a 268.16. When Serio entered as the last rider to go, she was facing scores of 347.9 from Orlando, 357.32 for Stewart and 358.49 for Pletcher. Serio knew she had to put in one of the best rounds of the night on her final horse. And when the scores of 92, 95 and 95 went up on the scoreboard after a brilliant round on Ramsey, she clinched the title. Serio won with a total of 363.65.
AMERICAN HUNTER-JUMPER FOUNDATION
It was the AHJF that started the trend towards innovation in hunters beginning back when it was founded in 1992. It is a member-supported non-profit organization. The AHJF was formed to further the development of the sport of show hunter competition by providing a national office to organize, coordinate and support hunter rider and show jumping equestrian competition. Programs of the AHJF include the World Championship Hunter Rider Awards, the AHJF Emergency Relief Fund, AHJF Educational Programs, the AHJF 401k and Profit Sharing Plan, and the AHJF/Dover Saddlery Junior Hunter Challenge.
The AHJF also sponsors other feature events throughout the year, including the AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular of Palm Beach (February 18, 2006), which is done as an Add-Back competition with $12,000 going to the winner and the Legacy Cup in at the Kentucky Springs Horse Show, May 10-21, 2006.
At the Capital Challenge the Professional Championship honors were part of an overall World Championship Hunter Rider Awards Program, which included junior, professional, amateur-owner, adult amateur, children's and pony hunter riders. The program was established by the AHJF to recognize and reward excellence among hunter riders. In order to qualify, a rider's top four WCHR shows plus their performance at the Capital Challenge determined the ultimate champions. A number of special awards were given out as well. Joe Darby was the winner of the Old Springhouse Lifetime Achievement Award. The Jeffery Katz Memorial Award went to Rio Renoir, ridden by Holly Orlando and owned by Thomas/Cynthia Deibert/Why Wait Farm, who won the Rox Dene Award. The China Blue Hunter Challenge went to Ocean Park, ridden by Peter Pletcher and owned by Lynn Walsh. Rachel Geiger, Malvern, PA, won the Winter's Run Sportsmanship Award.
MONEY, TROPHIES, PRIZES AND MORE
This was the eleventh year that the AHJF had hosted the Monarch International's Show Circuit Magazine Professional World Championship Hunter Rider finals. The winner not only received the trophy but also a Jaguar XJS customized saddle. John Moncada, President of Jaguar Equestrian USA, was there to present the saddle to the winner.
Serio also received a sponsorship from Monarch International's Show Circuit Magazine, which designates money to be used specifically to ensure coverage of both the championship and of Serio as its winner. Press Link PR, an equine focused PR firm, handles that sponsorship.
A special thanks also goes to Capital Challenge co-managers Oliver Kennedy, Brookville, MD and Billy Glass, Bokeelia, FL, who invited the AHJF to host its Finals at the Capital Challenge Horse Show, which has been home to these classes ever since.
For more information, the AHJF can be contacted at 335 Lancaster Street, West Boylston, MA 01583-0369, 508-835-8813, fax: 508-835-6125, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For complete results go to www.ahjf.org.
SCORE RND 4
1+2 = 178.99
1+2 = 176.66
1+2 = 179.66
1+2 = 179.66
AHJF OLD SPRINGHOUSE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Joe Darby, Southern Pines, NC (Presented to a person who exemplifies great support and lifetime commitment to the sport of hunter and jumper competition.)
JEFFERY KATZ MEMORIAL AWARD: Rio Renoir, ridden by Holly Orlando (owned by Thomas/Cynthia Deibert/Why Wait Farm)
Total Points: 1969 (Jeffery Katz was a 38-year-old trainer from Chicago who was killed in a car accident in 1999. The award goes to the horse/rider combination that accumulates the most points in the 1st Year Green, 2nd Year Green, or Green Conformation Hunter Divisions at their best four WCHR shows, plus the divisions at the Capital Challenge.)
CHINA BLUE FARM WORKING HUNTER CHALLENGE AWARD: Ocean Park (rider/Peter Pletcher, owner/Lynn Walsh). The owner, rider and trainer each receive a check for $3,500 and the groom receives a check for $500. (1574 points)
(Donated by Priscilla Tamkin and China Blue Farm, this award honors the horse and rider combination that accumulates the most points in either of the 4' hunter divisions at their best four WCHR shows, plus their divisions at the Capital Challenge.)
AHJF/DOVER SADDLERY JUNIOR HUNTER CHALLENGE: Jacquine Meyers, Lansing, Michigan and Laura Behrenbeck, Rochester, Minnesota.
This annual competition was specifically designed to provide a goal for junior riders currently competing at the non-recognized level. Horse shows which hold the Challenge class all follow the same set of class specifications and judging criteria. The winners are invited to the Capital Challenge Horse Show as guests of the AHJF and Dover Saddlery. Their agenda includes sitting with a horse show judge to learn how they mark their card, meeting the show vet and farrier and discussing their rolls at the show, and spending time in the stables with barn managers to experience all that goes in to prepping horses for the show ring.
WINTER'S RUN SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD: Rachel Geiger, Malvern, PA
(Sponsored by Tricia Bosley in memory of her mother Sylvia Hechter. The boot trophy is one of Sylvia's treasured Vogel boots which was bronzed and mounted on a walnut base. The purpose of the award is to encourage better sportsmanship throughout the entire horse show community.)
ALABAMA CLAY CONFORMATION HUNTER AWARD: Truly (ridden by Scott Stewart), owned by Molly Ohrstrom, The Plains, VA
(Presented for the first time in 2004 by the Weisman Family. To be awarded to the horse and owner of the WCHR high score horse who has accumulated the most points at their best four WCHR shows plus their divisions at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in the Green and Regular Conformation Hunter divisions.)
ROX DENE AWARD: Thomas/Cynthia Deibert/Why Wait Farm(owner of Rio Renoir who was ridden by Holly Orlando to 1969 points) (Donated by Elaine and Chanda Boylen, this award is presented to the Owner of the WCHR High Score Horse ridden by a professional, which has accumulated the most points using the four best WCHR sanctioned shows plus the divisions at the Capital Challenge.)
FINAL RESULTS OF THE WCHR NATIONAL PROGRAM
PROFESSIONAL: 2005 PROFESSIONAL WCHR: 1. Louise Serio (88.33, 90.66, 90.66, 94 = 363.65, $2,750), 2. Peter (87.6, 85.4, 89, 91 = 353, $1,000), 3. Jenny Karazissis (85.2, 88.4, 86.2, 88.4 = 348.2, $750), 4. Heidi Fish (83.2, 85.4, 87.9, 86.8 = 343.3, $500)
JUNIOR: 1. Jack Hardin Towell, Jr., Camden, SC, 1789 pts.; 2. Nicoletta Von Heidegger, pts.; 3. Kacy Jenkins, Potomac Falls, VA, 1527 pts.; 4. Lexy Reed, Ocala, FL, 1522 pts.
PONY: 1. Jennifer Waxman, Chagrin Falls, OH, 2018 pts.; 2. Samantha Schaefer, Westminster, MD, 1944 pts; 3. Schaefer Raposa, Wellington, FL, 1855 pts.; 4. Alexandra Arute, Avon, CT, 1594 pts.
AMATEUR-OWNER: 1. Caroline Moran, Wellington, FL, 1862 pts.; 2. Avery Dimmig, Rougemont, NC, 1766 pts.; 3. Mary Ann Weisberg-Perry, Burbank, CA, 1519 pts.; 4. Lee Kellogg, Andover, NJ, 1506 pts.
ADULT AMATEUR: 1. Cathy Hayes, Los Angeles, CA, 1781 pts.; 2. Amy Brubaker, Pasadena, CA, 1402 pts.; 3. Nancy James Shaw, Englewood, CO, 1375 pts.; 4. Holly Caristo, Hauppauge, NY, 1372 pts.
FINAL RESULTS FOR REGIONAL STANDINGS
SOUTHWEST: Professional: John Bragg, Redwood City, CA, 1425 pts.; Amateur-Owner: Mary Ann Weisberg-Perry, Burbank, CA, 1519 pts.; Junior: Stephanie Danhakl, Pacific Palisades, CA, 1369 pts.; Pony: Olivia Esse, Los Angeles, CA, 1330 pts.; Children: Hannah Goodson Cutt, Beverly Hills, CA, 1553. pts.; Adult Amateur: Cathy Hayes, Los Angeles, CA, 1395 pts.
MIDWEST: Professional: Ken Smith, Wellington, FL, 887 pts.; Amateur-Owner: Jamie Planck Martin, Jackson, MS, 747 pts.; Junior: Jennifer Hauser, Carmel, IN, 726 pts.; Pony: Jennifer Waxman, Chagrin Falls, OH, 1366 pts.; Children's: Madison Miller, Franklin, TN, 537 pts.; Adult Amateur: Wendy H. Kraus Lewis, Willoughby Hills, OH, 875 pts.
SOUTH CENTRAL: Professional: Russell Frey, Argyle, TX, 959 pts.; Amateur-Owner: Therese Peck, Flower Mound, TX, 886 pts.; Junior: Erin Nelson, Flower Mound, TX, 941 pts.; Pony: Emma Roberts, Houston, TX, 1034 pts.; Children: Jewel Croswell, Houston, TX, 279 pts.; Adult Amateur: Laura Beckworth, Magnolia, TX, 1053 pts..
NORTH EAST: Professional: Holly Orlando, Wellington, FL, 1377 pts.; Amateur-Owner: Lee Kellogg, Andover, NJ, 1189 pts.; Junior: Carolyn Kelly, New York, NY, 1013 pts.; Pony: Reed Kessler, Bedford Corners, NY, 1332 pts.; Children: Paige Allardice, Sagaponack, NY, 746 pts.; Adult Amateur: Visse Widell, New York, NY, 830 pts..
SOUTH EAST: Professional: Hunt Tosh, Cumming, GA, 1263 pts.; Amateur-Owner: Lee Cesery, Jacksonville, FL, 1075 pts.; Junior: Jack Hardin Towell, Camden, SC, 1029 pts.; Pony: Alise Oken, Charlotte, NC, 732 pts.; Children: Maggie Schottenfeld, Alpharetta, GA, 856 pts.; Adult Amateur: Roberta Previ, Orlando, FL, 432 pts.
CENTRAL MOUNTAIN: Professional: Keiri Kaneps, Elizabeth, CO, 944 pts.; Amateur-Owner: Ashley Dennehy, Greenwood Village, CO, 1071 pts.; Junior: Sarah Tredennick, Littleton, CO, 927 pts.; Children's: Kelley Buringa, Golden, CO, 1018 pts.; Pony: Sara Ketcham, Vail, CO, 1059 pts.; Adult Amateur: Nancy James Shaw, Englewood, CO, 1144 pts.
NORTH WEST: Professional: :Nancy Free, Buckley, WA, 1021 pts.; Amateur-Owner: Tracy Sully, Aldergrove, BC, Canada, 1023 pts.; Junior: Nicole Bourgeois, Sherwood, OR, 1163 pts.; Pony: Amanda Moore, Bothell, WA, 1080 pts.; Children: Kendall Bourgeois, Sherwood, OR, 1167 pts.; Adult Amateur: Jeni Ellison, Kirkland, WA, 1055 pts.
MID ATLANTIC: Professional: Sandy Ferrell, Bernville, PA, 1300 pts.; Amateur-Owner: Parris Cozart Collins, Charlottesville, Va, 749 pts.; Junior: Kacy Jenkins, Potomac Falls, VA, 1173 pts.; Pony: Samantha Schaefer, Westminster, MD,1404 pts.; Children: Haley Schaufeld, Lovettsville, VA, 607 pts.; Adult Amateur: Polly Cooley, Upperville, VA, 1038 pts.