Jumper riders took their turn in Capital One Arena during the second day of competition at the 61st Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) on Wednesday, October 23. WIHS continues through Sunday, October 27, with coveted hunter, jumper, and equitation competition in the heart of Washington D.C.

Charlotte Powers and Escot 6. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

As Charlotte Powers watched the last rider jump off in the $10,000 WIHS Adult Jumper Championship and realized she had won, she jumped up and down and hugged her sister and trainer, Justine Powers Jarvis. Powers claimed the blue aboard her own Escot 6, turning in a clear round in 31.59 seconds to defeat the six other riders who had qualified for the jump-off out of the starting field of 26.

Megan Winkhaus claimed second place riding Speedy Chicolina with a clean jump-off round in 33.78 seconds, while Stephanie King guided Lexus to a four-fault jump-off effort in 30.84 seconds for third place.

Both Powers, of Ashburn, VA, and Escot 6 are new to the jumper ring. Powers showed in the hunters and equitation as a junior but took a step back from showing while she went to college and graduate school for her PhD in organizational psychology and started her career in human resources. She also spent a year and a half working in the United Kingdom. For those years, she kept riding, but did not show. When she moved back to the U.S. in October 2018, she told Jarvis she wanted to get back into the show ring.

“It’s been 10 to 15 years since I’ve seriously competed,” she said. “This is my first year back and first year doing the jumpers. The speed was a big difference! I’d always been told I go too slow, my whole career. This has been a change of pace.”

Escot 6, a 13-year-old Hanoverian, evented to the four-star level with Colleen Rutledge riding but switched careers. “We leased him from Colleen, and one month in, I was like, ‘I can’t give him back,’” Powers said. “Colleen was very kind to let me buy him, because I could never part with him. He’s the sweetest and wonderful. My sister is probably sick of hearing me swoon over him.”

Powers and Escot 6 developed a partnership quickly and became quite successful in the adult jumpers in the Mid-Atlantic area. “Qualifying for the finals at the end of the year was definitely a goal,” Powers said. “When we did qualify, we thought, ‘Okay, go clean, that’s a good goal.’ So, things have worked out! We were sixth at [the NAL Finals at the Pennsylvania National] last week, where I was conservative. Tonight, he told me he didn’t want to be conservative! He was like, ‘We are going!’”

Charlotte Powers and Escot 6. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Powers noted that Escot 6 is a bit of an unconventional choice to return to the show ring on. “He has eccentricities; he’s very fun to ride, but he’s very different every day,” she said. “Outside of the ring, he’s very spooky. Mini-donkeys, Great Danes, lots of things are very scary to him. But in the ring, he never looks at anything. He’s so brave. He’s only 15.1. He has a lot of stride, but he has a pony canter. It makes it a bit challenging to get used to.”

Powers had attended WIHS as a spectator when she was a junior and was thrilled to return as a competitor. “I was very excited and also very nervous!” she said. “But it was a lot of fun to ride in on the trailer with him and take him for a walk to see all the sights. It’s been a lot of fun.”