Samantha Takacs & Brighton Take Top Pony Hunter Honors at WIHS

The final winners of the 61st annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) were named on Sunday, October 27, at Capital One Arena in downtown Washington, D.C., marking the conclusion of the six-day horse show.

Among those claiming victories on Sunday was Samantha Takacs, who rode Brighton to the Grand Pony Hunter Championship title, and claimed The Miles River Moonglow Perpetual Trophy, donated by Scott Novick and Rustic Woods. Hallie Moss topped the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals aboard Birtley’s Crowned Jewel to take home The Jane Marshall Dillon Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by the Friends and Students of Mrs. Jane Marsoall Dillon.

Samantha Takacs and Brighton. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Takacs, 14, of Oldwick, NJ, and Brighton, owned by Ellie Sadrian, won the under saddle and earned a first and second over fences in the Large Pony Hunter division to clinch the division championship and the Pegasus Stable Perpetual Trophy, donated by Ms. Fenwick Kollock, on their way to the grand championship title.

“It feels so good!” said Takacs of her major victory. “I can’t even describe how happy I am feeling right now. It’s such an honor at this amazing horse show.”

Takacs topped the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals last year riding Storyteller, and this year, she got the ride on Brighton from her good friend and fellow rider, Sadrian.

“My friend Ellie Sadrian and the Sadrian family own him, and they’re so nice to let me ride him!” said Takacs, who began showing the 10-year-old German Riding Pony in May of this year. “He’s so amazing. He rides like a little horse. His canter is so smooth, and he jumps so nice.

“Yesterday, he was really good,” continued Takacs, who also claimed the Best Child Rider on a Pony title, sponsored by Gotham North. “I had a little bit of a mistake, but I knew that I had to do well today. He pulled through for me, and he was awesome today. I just tried my best and tried to keep it as consistent as possible, and it worked out really well.”

Samantha Takacs and Brighton. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Takacs has trained with David Belford and Christopher Payne at New Hope Farm for the last nine years, and she was not the only Belford and Payne-trained student seeing success on Sunday, as all three of the pony hunter division championships went home to New Hope.

In the Medium Pony Hunters, the championship and the Shenandoah Sundowner Perpetual Trophy, donated by Evan Coluccio and Ashmont Farms, went to Alexa Lignelli of New York, NY, riding EMC Entourage, owned by the Lignelli Family.

It was also Lignelli who claimed the Small Pony Hunter championship and the Stombock Saddlery Challenge Trophy, donated by Stombock Saddlery in Memory of E.P. (Bud) Stombock, this time aboard Rollingwoods Knee Deep, also owned by the Lignelli Family.

The day’s reserve championships were awarded to Vivian Golden of Wyomissing, PA, and her own Dressed to Go in the Small Pony Hunters; Emilia Richard of Middlefield, CT, and Blue Chip, owned by Heritage Farm, Inc., in the Medium Pony Hunters; and Caroline Signorino of Basking Ridge, NJ, and Storyteller in the Large Pony Hunters.