After narrowly missing out on the championship title at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in October, 17-year-old Emma Walters of Lancaster, New York, and the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center (BTRC)’s Crisp redeemed themselves and concluded hunter competition at the 2018 National Horse Show on Saturday by earning the overall Junior 3’3” Hunter Grand Champion title.
Emma Walters with Crisp. Photo by Phelps Media Group
The pair claimed the Junior 16–17 3’3” Hunter division championship on Saturday as well upon winning Friday’s initial over fences round, Saturday’s stake class and placing second under saddle and third in the handy round with the 12-year-old Warmblood gelding. Reserve champion went to Chloe Stix and her own Fabian.
“It feels great,” shared an ecstatic Walters. “He was reserve champion at Harrisburg and now he’s champion here. He’s been really great the whole year. I started with him in the Children’s Hunters two years ago and then I started doing the juniors last summer. It’s really redeeming after Harrisburg. He is just really special and I’m glad that we all got to be here for it. I never would have thought I would be here doing this.”
Walters has been a working student for SBS Farms, Inc. since spring 2017 and worked in the Buffalo Equestrian Center’s lesson program prior to that. All of her hard work certainly paid off on Saturday as she ended her indoors season, and first time competing at the National Horse Show, with a victory.
Emma Walters with Crisp. Photo by Shawn McMillen
“It’s kind of surreal,” she said of winning at the National Horse Show. “I’ve watched it on the live stream before but it looks so different [in person]. To actually ride in this ring is so cool.”
Walters’ trainer, Susie Schoellkopf, spoke highly of the newly crowned champion. “She has worked her heart out. She’s been president of the IEA club at the Buffalo Equestrian Center and she’s always helping the other kids. She has an amazing attitude and there are never any doubts about the horses that I put her on. She is such a specialized rider in the hunters. She does it so well. I think that when we go to Florida, she’ll end up doing hunters and maybe a little jumpers. Emma and I both want to thank Archie Cox. He’s a great friend of mine who stepped in to co-train [Emma and Crisp] at Harrisburg and here.”
The first championship of the day was awarded to Stella Propp of New York, New York, and Maraschino, owned by Aquitaine Equine, in the Junior 15 and Under 3’3” Hunter division. They secured the tricolor by winning the under saddle and handy round and placed second in the stake class on Saturday. Finishing with reserve honors in the division was Hensley Humphries and Ixion Van Het Netehof, who won the stake class.