Shaw Johnson Price and Custom Made, Virginia Fout and Carma Win Amateur-Owner Grand Championships
Washington, D.C. – The 2016 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) continued with its second day of competition featuring the presentation of championship honors in the professional and amateur-owner hunter divisions on Wednesday at Verizon Center in downtown Washington D.C.
The Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” championship and the Frank Counselman Memorial Perpetual Trophy were awarded to Shaw Johnson Price, of Chestertown, MD, and her own Custom Made, an 11-year-old Mecklenburg gelding (sired by Chambertin). The pair earned the championship in the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” Over 35 division, sponsored by Cembell Industries, with a win under saddle and second, second, and fourth place ribbons over fences. Virginia Fout and her own Cristiano finished in reserve with first, third, and sixth place ribbons over fences.
Price was then presented the Leading Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider Award for the 3’6” level. The rider was joined at WIHS by her trainer, Havens Schatt, who also showed Custom Made in professional classes this week. Price started showing the gelding at the beginning of 2015 and had great results at the 3’3” level, including a championship win at the 2015 Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg. This year, they moved up to the 3’6” height and have continued to excel. They recently earned champion and grand champion honors at Harrisburg, and decided that the gelding was ready to face the impressive atmosphere at Verizon Center for the first time.
“We were not quite sure he was ready for the atmosphere here last year, but now he really knows his job,” Price stated. “He is sweet, and I think he really likes going in the ring. He seems to know when it’s a big deal. He is always pleasant and happy and looks for the jumps. His ears are forward, and he is very consistent.”
The partnership with Custom Made took a little while to develop, as Price explained, but with the help of Schatt and her team, the horse has come a long way.
“We thought we would get on him and go right into the 3’6”, but he turned out to be a bit more of a project,” Price detailed. “Havens worked with him, and he has just slowly progressed and gotten better and better. I have a wonderful horse and a great trainer. Wayne Robinson is our groom, and he is fantastic. We have a really good team right now, so it has been great.”
Price earned grand hunter and leading rider titles at WIHS once before, but took some time off from showing and was back for the first time in many years. She has two teenage daughters that keep her busy and also loves to sail with her husband. Price competes next at the National Horse Show in Kentucky. Custom Made will return home to Schatt’s Milestone Farm in Lexington before heading to Florida for the winter.
In the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” 18-35 division, the championship was awarded to Samantha Schaefer aboard her own Classified. The pair earned first, third, and fourth place ribbons over fences and a third place under saddle. Kelly Tropin and Libertas Farm LLC’s Chablis finished in reserve with three second-place ribbons and one fourth-place finish. Schaefer and Classified also earned the award for best 3’6” stake round with their high score of 91. Sponsored by Lynn Ellen Rice, the award presents the Shari Hollis Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by the Late Col. J.B. Hollis and Ms. Jeannie Hollis.
Continuing the day, the Amateur-Owner Working Hunter 3’3” 18-35 division presented both championship and reserve championship honors to Margot Peroni of Califon, NJ. Peroni rode her own Encore B to the championship with a win under saddle and second and fifth place ribbons over fences. She also rode her own Orlon to first, second, and sixth place ribbons over fences.
Margot Peroni and Encore B. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography
At the conclusion of the afternoon, Virginia Fout, of Los Angeles, CA, rode her 12-year-old Warmblood gelding Carma (sired by Rhodium) to the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” Over 35 division championship. The pair won two classes over fences, as well as the under saddle. Daryl Portela and Isalou, Inc.’s Argentus finished as reserve champions with first and second place finishes over fences. They also earned a special award for the Best Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” Stake Round with a score of 87.
For their consistency, Carma and Fout were named Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” Champions, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Earnest M. Oare, and Fout earned the Leading Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider title for the 3’3” division overall.
Virginia Fout and Carma. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography
Fout is originally from Middleburg, VA, and moved to California 20 years ago. She grew up in a family of equestrians and lived on the family farm where her father was a racehorse trainer and her mother fox hunted. Fout’s sister became a three-day eventer, and her brother is a jockey. For Fout, it has always been horses. She went to college in California, got married and had a baby, but she continued to ride while also juggling a busy career. She owns her own event production company that does major events such as Elton John’s famous Oscar party.
Traveling across the country to compete while she also has an event going on in California this week was demanding, but for Fout, it paid off.
“Days like this make it all worth it,” she smiled. “It’s funny, the only time I have ever won a blue ribbon at Washington was in 1984 at Hunt Night with my mom and my sister at the old US Air Arena. So this is pretty big and pretty amazing.”
Speaking of Carma, Fout detailed, “He is magic. I’m so fortunate. He is a horse I got from one of my stable mates, Montana Coady. He came back from a long injury a couple years prior. I was lucky enough to get to buy him last fall and we have formed a great partnership. He’s tricky, but when he’s good, he’s magic. I just love him, and he’s so special, and I’m so lucky. It is sort of a dream come true with him. We call him a movie star because that is what he feels like.
“He likes a very quiet ride,” Fout continued. “If you’re quiet, he’s quiet. If you’re not quiet, hold on. I have learned how to ride him. He is sensitive, but I have learned to stay quiet. In the first class today, he had a rail down at the first jump and then it was a disaster after that. But when he’s good, he is phenomenal.”
Fout had Jenny Ross helping her at WIHS this week. She will go to her family’s farm in The Plains, VA, until the end of the week before flying back to California to spend Halloween with her daughter. She then heads up to Kentucky for her final horse show of the year.
Hunter competition at the 2016 Washington International Horse Show continues on Thursday with the beginning of Junior Hunter competition in the morning. In the jumpers, Low and High Junior/Amateur-Owner competition will be featured in the afternoon, along with a $35,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake. The evening session will welcome local horse lovers, riders, trainers, and their families for Barn Night, presented by Dover Saddlery with the generous support of The Peterson Family Foundation and National Harbor, beginning at 6 p.m. The $35,000 International Jumper Accumulator costume class will be the highlight competition of the evening. For full results, visit www.wihs.org.