Ten professional hunter champions were named on Tuesday, September 29, at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Wilmington, OH, which continues through Sunday, October 4, at the World Equestrian Center.
Earning the first championship of the day, and his very first Capital Challenge professional championship title, was Evan Coluccio of Marshall, VA, riding Miller’s Cove.
Evan Coluccio on Miller’s Cove. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.
Coluccio and the 11-year-old German Sporthorse gelding, owned by Balmoral, finished first, second, and third over fences and third under saddle to clinch the Green Conformation Hunter division championship, sponsored by Joie Gatlin – Morley Abey Show Jumping Inc.
Immediately after securing his first Capital Challenge professional hunter championship, Coluccio went on to repeat the feat. He secured his second tricolor of the day in the Green Hunter 3’9” aboard Philadelphia Story, also owned by Balmoral.
Evan Coluccio and Philadelphia Story in their presentation ceremony. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.
“It’s huge!” said Coluccio of what it means to be champion at Capital Challenge. “This is my first championship win at Capital Challenge in the professional hunters – and not only one, now [multiple]! For me, it’s awesome. I can’t believe it. My horses have been awesome; the courses have been beautiful. It’s all been great.
“Balmoral sent me the horses about 10 days ago,” continued Coluccio, who picked up the rides for the California-based farm after their team was unable to make the trip to Ohio due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and wildfires on the West Coast. “This is my first show with Philadelphia Story. We went in yesterday, and he won all of the classes. He had a little rub today, or I think he would have won the last one too.”
In total, Coluccio and the eight-year-old grey Hanoverian gelding claimed two wins and a second-place finish over fences and the win in the Green Hunter 3’9” Under Saddle on their way to the championship.
“[Philadelphia Story’s] awesome; he’s so nice to ride,” said Coluccio. “Everything that I’ve asked of him, he’s given 110 percent. After Friday’s rounds, everyone was like, ‘Who is that? Where did he come from?’ People knew him in California, but he hasn’t really been in the limelight that I know of. He kind of came on to the scene and really made a splash. It was very exciting, and I’m super grateful!”
Finishing as the reserve champions in the Green Conformation Hunter and Green Hunter 3’9” divisions were In Writing, ridden by Steven Gregorio and owned by Sterling Malnik, and Private I, ridden by Michael Britt – Leon and owned by Kelly Sims, respectively.
Evan Coluccio and Guggenheim in their presentation ceremony. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.