Scott Stewart of Flemington, NJ, not only claimed the 2019 WIHS Grand Hunter Championship and his 10th WIHS Leading Hunter Rider title, but he also swept every professional hunter division championship along the way.
“I know I’ve come close [to sweeping the championships] before. There was possibly one other time that I did, but it definitely hasn’t happened a lot!” said Stewart, who claimed two reserve championships in addition to his five division championship titles.
Stewart’s highest honors came aboard his first champion of the day, Cameo, who topped the High Performance Hunter division. The 12-year-old warmblood gelding owned by Betsee Parker won the under saddle and two of the over fences classes and finished third in another on his way to clinching the division tricolor and ultimately the Grand Hunter Championship.
Scott Stewart and Cameo. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography
“He was always easy, but he’s gotten even easier,” said Stewart of Cameo, a horse he has been showing for the past six years. “He’s gotten a little more consistent as he’s gotten a little bit older. I think he knows what to expect.
“The quieter horses obviously do better [at WIHS] because there’s limited space to work them, so you don’t want to bring too difficult of a horse here,” continued Stewart. “Cameo can go right from the stall to the ring, so he’s ideal for that. In the handy last night, I thought he was his best. The spookier the environment, the better for him.”
For the grand championship title, Stewart was presented with the Not Always Challenge Trophy, donated by Miss Peggy Steinman.
Stewart and Cameo’s consistent performances across the Devon Horse Show, the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, and the Washington International Horse Show also earned them the Protocol Trophy, sponsored by Platinum Performance, as the high point High Performance Hunter from all three shows – marking the third time Cameo has claimed the trophy.
The reserve championship behind Cameo in the High Performance Hunter division was awarded to Get Rowdy, ridden by Karli Postel and owned by Teton Farms LLC.
Stewart’s next championship of the day came aboard Private Life, also owned by Parker, following two wins and a second-place finish in the High Performance Conformation Hunters.
“He was awesome,” said Stewart of the eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding that he rode to a score of 90 in the first class of the division. “I think he was my highest score of the horse show.”
For the High Performance Conformation Hunter championship, Stewart received the Mary Farren Perpetual Trophy. The division reserve championship went to John French and Boss, owned by Laura Wasserman.
In the Green Conformation Hunters, it was Critics’ Choice, owned by Bikoff Equestrian LLC, that Stewart rode to the championship, while he also claimed the reserve title aboard another Bikoff Equestrian LLC entry, Everwonder. For his third championship of the day, Stewart was awarded the Valiant Hawk Memorial Challenge Trophy, donated by Mrs. Stephen J. Clark.
With a win, a second, and a third place over fences, as well as a second place under saddle, the Green 3’6″ Hunter championship and the Claire Lang Miller Challenge Trophy, donated by Miss Claire Lang Miller, went to Stewart and Love Note, owned by Richard Prant. Stewart also received the reserve championship in the division with Bikoff Equestrian LLC’s Cabrio.
The Green 3’9″ Hunter championship went to Stewart and Sports Page, owned by Alexa Weisman, and the division reserve championship went to High Society, ridden by Victoria Colvin and owned by Lindsay Maxwell.
“Krista [Weisman], his owner, actually just had a baby, so they let him come here for me to show which is great; I appreciate that,” said Stewart of Sports Page. “I was really happy with all of the horses.”
For his exceptional two days at WIHS, Stewart was presented with the $5,000 Scott Stewart Leading Hunter Rider Award, sponsored by Betsee Parker, marking his 10th time receiving the highest professional hunter honor at the show Stewart first began competing at more than 30 years ago.
“It was at the U.S. Air Arena; it was probably 1986 or ’87,” said Stewart of his first time at the show. “I believe I was on working hunters at that point, but I don’t really know if I got any ribbons. I doubt that I did!
“I love the city here – the horse show,” continued Stewart. “It’s a really nice venue to come to. It’s one of the last ones that we get to be in the city.”
While winning may seem like old hat for Stewart, it doesn’t mean he is above pre-show nerves.
“The other night, I didn’t really sleep at all,” said Stewart. “Monday night I was up most of the night worrying about it and thinking about it, but we have great people working for us, so everything stays pretty organized, so that helps a lot. It’s good nerves. It’s good for competitive spirit!”