Tracy Scheriff-Muser of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, riding Aristocrat, and Lindsay Maxwell of Beverly Hills, CA, aboard Belgravia, claimed the Grand Amateur Owner Hunter Championship titles on Thursday, October 5, at the 25th anniversary Capital Challenge Horse Show.
Earning the Adult Amateur Hunter Championship at the show, which continues through Sunday, October 7, at the Prince George’s County Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, was Garland Alban of Luthersville, MD, on Remix.
For Maxwell, winning the Grand Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter Championship with Belgravia was déjà vu, as she and the 10-year-old warmblood gelding claimed the same honor in 2017.
“It’s such an honor to win here,” said Maxwell. “I love this horse show; I was excited to be back with [Belgravia] again, and to do this twice in a row is really incredible. I’m really proud of him.
“It was really exciting to win both yesterday, but the competition here is fantastic; we definitely weren’t safe today – anything can happen day two,” said Maxwell. “In the handy, I was able to watch a couple people go, and one of them was Martha Ingram. She’s an incredible rider and is always super handy. I was considering playing it safe in the handy, but I watched her go. She got two 88s, so I was like, ‘Okay Prince, we’re going all out here. Nothing to lose!’ Once you do that first turn, he knows it’s a handy, and it’s really game on. I’m just so proud of him and my team and grateful to all of them.”
With wins in all three over fences classes and the under saddle, Maxwell and Belgravia claimed the Amateur-Owner 18-35 3’3” Hunter division championship; the Grand Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter Championship, sponsored by Missy Luczak-Smith; and the Best Amateur-Owner 3’3” Rider Award, sponsored by Spring Mill Farm LLC.
Finishing as the reserve champions in the Amateur-Owner 18-35 3’3” Hunter division were Martha Ingram of Nashville, TN, and Lyons Creek Bellini, owned by John & Stephanie Ingram, LLC, who also won the $2,500 WCHR Amateur-Owner 3’3” Challenge
In the Amateur-Owner 36 & Over 3’3” Hunters, the championship, sponsored by Woodland Way, Inc., was awarded to Belle, ridden and owned by Jane Gaston. They placed first, second, and second. The reserve championship went to Classic, ridden and owned by Dorli Burke, who won first, second, and fifth place ribbons.
In the Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunters, the grand championship honor, sponsored by Finally Farm, went to Tracy Scheriff-Muser and her own Aristocrat.
The pair won two out of the three Amateur-Owner 18-35 3’6” Hunter over fences classes and the under saddle to win the division championship, sponsored by the Hallman Family & MerryLegs South, LLC, on their way to the overall 3’6” championship.
“This is just amazing,” said Scheriff-Muser of her win. “I think my first round was probably my favorite round. I just went in, and everything happened to come up right out of stride. That was nice to go in and have a good first round and then feel confident.”
Scheriff-Muser has had her winning mount, Aristocrat, for the last five years, and the pair’s partnership has really started to come together recently.
“He’s been a little bit of a project, but he’s been amazing the whole time,” said Scheriff-Muser of the 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding. “He’s just been a little slower coming along than usual, but now he’s amazing. He jumped really high, and he would like to play. He got excited, and he was proud of himself. Now he’s a puppy dog. He’s full of personality, and he’s so much fun to ride. He’s just amazing. I’m very lucky to have him.
“Havens [Schatt] has done a phenomenal job getting him ready for me, and I’m really lucky to have such a great team behind me,” concluded Scheriff-Muser, who has been competing at Capital Challenge for nearly two decades and who now spends much of her time outside of the ring raising her four-year-old son. “I love this show. It’s one of my favorites. Every year, it’s just so much fun here.”
The reserve championship in the Amateur-Owner 18-35 3’6” Hunters went to Golden Rule and Stephanie Danhakl. They placed first, third, and fourth over fences.
The championship in the Amateur-Owner 36 & Over 3’6” Hunter division, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Ernest M. Oare, went to Becky Gochman of Palm Beach, FL, riding Catch Me, owned by Gochman Sport Horse, LLC. They won two over fences class and the under saddle. The reserve championship was awarded to Dorli Burke of Salisbury, MD, riding her own Charming. They placed first and third over fences and were third in the under saddle.
Virginia Fout and Cristiano took the top spot in the $2,500 WCHR Amateur-Owner 3’6” Challenge.