The first Champions were crowned in the hunter divisions at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, held at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA, and Emma Kurtz, Hudson, OH, walked away with two titles.
It was no surprise that Kurtz and A Million Reasons trotted away with the tri-color ribbon for the Small Jr. Hunter 3’6″ 16-17 Championship and the Tindle Perpetual Trophy Sponsored By Norman White. Fernando Bonilla accepted the Groom’s Award for his superb care of the little bay mare.
“I just started riding Millie this winter at the beginning of Wellington,” said Kurtz. “She is an amazing horse with a huge stride and a beautiful jump. There is nothing bad about her at all. This year started off a bit rough for me, my trainer passed away, so this is my first indoors without him, it is so hard without him it but it has gotten better. I felt incredibly luck when I found out that I was going to get to ride this mare. I was kind of in disbelief. It is like a dream come true. She is spoiled, rightfully so, but she is so sweet. I have had a lot of success here at Harrisburg, so for my last year as a junior it is so nice to have another successful show. I have some great horses to ride.”
“Emma had the style and maturity to ride this mare as a junior hunter,” said owner Dr. Betsee Parker. “I didn’t know of any other junior in the whole division that could ride Millie as well as Emma, because I think Emma is the best junior hunter rider in America right now, so it wasn’t hard for me to decide to use Emma. She has been riding for me since she was eight and we have had a fantastic partnership. It could not have ended better.”
The Large Jr. Hunter 3’6″ 16-17 Championship sponsored By Haygain gave Kurtz a clean sweep of the championships in the older age group of the Junior Hunters, as Dedication, also owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, was awarded the cooler and tri-colored ribbon. Alfonso Marin accepted the Groom’s Award.
“I started riding him two summers ago, so I know him a little better than Millie,” said Kurtz. “This is my second indoors on him. I know he will go in and be perfect. I would not have done anything differently. He loves this show. It is a little sad that this is my last indoors for a while. I go to Auburn and I will be focusing on that, so I might pop in at shows here and there, but I won’t get to Harrisburg for a couple of years.”
Small Affair and Augusta Iwasaki, Calabasas, CA, took home the Large Jr. Hunter 3’6″ 15 & Under Championship for the second year in a row. The Groom’s Award went to Sergio Solis who takes care of Small Affair.
“I won this championship on him last year,” said Iwasaki. “I wasn’t planning on showing him here this year because we had such a great year last year, but a lot of people told me that he is getting a little older, he is 15, and I should just go and have fun riding him. And so I did. He is so much fun to ride and I am so lucky that I get to ride him. Even when it doesn’t go so well, he is so much fun. Getting to ride him is enough of an accomplishment but winning the Championship again was really nice.”
Stella Wasserman, Beverly Hills, CA, and Boss were awarded the Small Jr. Hunter 3’6″ 15 & Under; Championship, sponsored By Laura Karet, and the Rev Dr. Betsee Parker Perpetual Trophy for their performance in the four classes that comprised the division. Boss’s caretaker, Armondo Pelayo was given the Grooms Award for his care of the champion.
The EMO Agency Junior Hunter High Five Award, sponsored By EMO Agency, is awarded to the horse and rider who have the highest score in their division. This year there was a tie, with both Emma Kurtz and Dedication and Augusta Iwasaki on Small Affair receiving a score of 90 points.
The Claire Mawdsley Scholarship Award is given to the highest placing rider in the division who attends a “brick and mortar” igh school on a full time basis. The Small Junior Hunter winner of the award sponsored in memory of Claire Mawdsley, was Ainslee Greggand in the Large Junior Hunters it was Jordan Toering.