Small Affair has a storied history at WIHS, having previously claimed the Grand Junior Hunter Champion title with Tori Colvin riding in 2015, and earning the Large Junior Hunter, 15 and Under, championship with Augusta Iwasaki in 2017.
This year, Iwasaki returned to WIHS with the 16-year-old Selle Francais to collect the Ides of March Perpetual Trophy, donated by Linda Lee and Lee Reynolds, for the Grand Junior Hunter Championship again. “It’s such a dream to be able to showcase him like this because he really is a horse of a lifetime. I can’t imagine having a better partner,” said Iwasaski.
Augusta Iwasaki and Small Affair claimed the Grand Junior Hunter Championship.
Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography
Iwasaki and Lyn Pederson’s Small Affair won an over-fences class, the stake class, and the under-saddle class on their way to the Large Junior Hunter, 15 and Under, title before returning to the ring to claim the Grand Junior Hunter Championship. Iwasaki also picked up the reserve championship in the division with Eliza Kimball’s Sea Side.
Iwasaki was thrilled with the result, as she and her family have decided that this year’s WIHS would be Small Affair’s last indoor show appearance. “In the beginning, I thought it was a little bit of pressure, but I’ve had him for so long that even if it didn’t go the way I wanted, I’d still be so happy with what we’ve done. I’m over the moon,” she said.
Iwasaki, 15, was just five years old when Small Affair joined her parents’ Makato Farm in Calabasas, CA, as a green five-year-old. While Iwasaki honed her skills on ponies, Small Affair collected tricolors with other riders. When Iwasaki was old enough in 2016, she got the ride. “He knew exactly what he was supposed to be doing when I first started riding him,” she said. “It was a learning curve for me, though. When I first got him, I hadn’t been doing the 3’6″ a lot and he’s a sophisticated ride. He has to trust you. Once we got it, we’ve been in sync ever since.”
Iwasaki and her mother, Liz Reilly, and father, Chris Iwasaki, planned Small Affair’s final fall tour carefully, and purposely chose WIHS for his encore. “I chose this one as his last because it’s a show that he enjoys,” Augusta said. “He has some rings he doesn’t love, but he’s comfortable here.”
Small Affair will eventually transition to retirement at Dr. Betsee Parker’s farms in Florida and Virginia. “He means so much to me and my family. There’s a such a special bond between my whole family and this horse. He’s been part of our family for more than 10 years, so he’s everything to us,” Augusta said. “I am confident that I will never feel a jump like it again.”