Saturday competition in the Rost Arena at the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) saw 15 horse-and-rider teams return for an early morning start in the Small Junior Hunter 3’6” 15 & Under division. Augusta Iwasaki of Calabasas, CA, returned to the ring with three separate mounts but would ultimately take the tricolor ribbon aboard her newest mount, Small Request.
Iwasaki and the seven-year-old Westphalian gelding (Quaid x For Bella) held the lead for the duration of the division as the duo picked up three firsts and a second across the classes. Small Request is a recently imported gelding owned by Elizabeth Reilly and Augusta/Chris Iwasaki.
Augusta Iwasaki and Small Request. Photo © Sportfot
According to Iwasaki, the gelding only made the journey over from Europe at the end of 2018 and had never competed in hunter competition prior to arriving in Wellington.
“The ESP Holiday Circuit Finale and past few weeks of WEF have been his first experiences in the hunter ring. He’s very careful, but slow in the air, and he looks beautiful going around the ring, so I think that makes him stand out,” she commented of the gelding’s instant success.
Iwasaki is looking forward to continuing to compete in the Small Junior Hunters with Small Request and hopes that the pair will qualify to compete in the $100,000 WCHR/USHJA Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular during WCHR Hunter Week 6.
“I always look forward to coming to WEF. It’s a really nice place to spend the winter, and I’m very happy to be able to develop our relationship here,” she commented.
Reserve champion in the Small Junior Hunters 3’6” 15 & Under went to Chase Finizio of Boca Raton, FL, and the Vantage Point Equine Corporation’s nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Speak Up.