Inside Indoors

By Whitney Campbell and Jackie McFarland

Capital Challenge, Harrisburg, Washington, and Syracuse
The excitement of the World Equestrian Games surrounding Lexington, Kentucky was nothing short of overpowering during the months of September and October. However many other year round competitors and enthusiasts of the sport instead found themselves at the most recognized and notorious end of the year championship shows. Many of the sport’s elite as well as up and coming hunters, equitation and jumper riders and their mounts traveled to the 17th annual Capital Challenge Horse Show in Upper Marlboro, Maryland held October 2-10 for the beginning of a well-known and traditional fall series of competitive shows, the Indoor Circuit. A few days later, 1,200 top ranked horses and riders from all over the nation traveled to Harrisburg. The dates of October 14-23, 2010 marked the 65th annual Pennsylvania National Horse Show.

The Equitation weekend at Capital Challenge kicked off the season. West Coast highlights included 17-year-old division Equitation Champion, Samantha Harrison of La Canada, CA, who trains with Karen Healey. An interesting twist came out of the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Children’s Medal Finals when riders were not asked to return as the judges had their final decision. Moving up from second in the second round was Molly Peddicord of Malibu, CA to take home the top prize. She rides with Far West Farms.

The Professional Hunter Division saw defending champion John French reclaim the Second Year Green Hunter Division, this year aboard Small Affair, owned by Iwasaki & Reilly. Small Affair dominated by winning three over fences classes. French returned for the Future Hunter 3’3″ North American Championships and walked away with another blue on Small Collection and the second to Small Kiss, both Iwasaki & Reilly horses. On a hot streak, John French aboard Small Affair earned top honors in the $15,000 WCHR Professional Challenge.

The California invasion continued when Meredith Darst and Wild Sky Farm’s Macy Grey earned Reserve Champion in the Medium Pony Hunter Division. Having a great year in the hunters, seventeen-year-old Hannah Goodson-Cutt, from Los Angeles, was both the Small Junior 16-17 Hunter Champion and the overall Grand Junior Hunter Champion aboard her horse Caretano. Goodson-Cutt, who trains with Willow Brook Stables, was awarded the Spontaneous Perpetual Trophy and later named the Best Junior Rider.

Further Capital Challenge champion level competitions at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center included the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals and the World Champion Hunter Rider Finals, for all the press and details visit

West Coast standouts included Hannah Goodson-Cutt, coming off a great showing at Capital Challenge, to claim the Small Junior 16-17 Hunter Championship aboard her horse Caretano. Goodson-Cutt returned in the Large Junior 16-17 Hunter Championships to claim the Reserve Championship honors on Leroy Brown.

With a score of total score of nine faults, the Zone 10 Junior Jumper Team of Jocelyn Neff/Gaja 20, Audrey Coulter/Roderburghs California, Lindsay Douglas/Pernot and Alec Lawler/Live Fire, were second in the $15,000 Prix de States. Jocelyn Neff was awarded the William C. Steinkraus Style Award. The award is presented to the Prix de States Junior Jumper rider who best exemplifies the American style of equitation, and the respectful, dignified, courteous and workmanlike manner of a true sportsman. Aforementioned Hannah Goodson-Cutt was named the Best Junior Rider, Horse Award.

Out of 208 riders, Lucy Davis, who trains with Archie Cox, finished in the top four of the prestigious Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Equitation Medal Finals. Judges Julie Winkel and George H. Morris asked back the top twenty for the second round over fences and then the top seven returned for flat work. After top two riders Hayley Barnhill of Collierville, TN and Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, MD switched horses, Barnhill ended with the top honors.

The final event of the PNHS was highlighted with a win from defending champion Rodrigo Pessoa. Coming straight from a Final Four appearance at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY, Pessoa of Brazil reclaimed his title aboard HH Ashley in the FEI World Cup Qualifier $75,000 Grand Prix de Penn National. For more results, stories and highlights, visit

Members of the North American League (NAL) have the benefit of earning points in six hunter-jumper divisions – Children’s Hunter, Adult Hunter, Children’s Jumper, Adult Jumper, Pony Jumper and Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper – that up through 2010 had qualified horses and riders for the Finals at the PNHS. However in 2011 there will also an annual North American League West Coast Final occurring at the Las Vegas National Horse Show. This event will represent an even bigger and more nationwide opportunity amongst competitors. The 2011 qualifying year began on September 1st and continues through August 21st at qualifying horse show across the Unites States and Canada. Membership and more information at

Next in the Indoor Circuit lineup is the world renowned Washington International Horse Show. Classes started on October 26th and continued through today. Jennifer Woods Media was there and gave us the daily scoop.

California junior riders Olivia Esse, Hannah Goodson-Cutt and Ashley Pryde rocked the Junior Hunter Divisions. Esse was Grand Junior Hunter Champion aboard Illusion. Goodson-Cutt earned the best Junior Hunter Stake round and was Small Junior Hunter 16-17 Champion on Caretano. Plus was Champion in the 16-17 Large Division on Superman, with Ashley Pryde taking home the Reserve Championship on Truly. Laura Wasserman and Overseas also won the Stake in the In the Amateur Owner Hunter 36 & over Division. Interviewed in an earlier issue this year, young hotshot Reed Kessler grabbed 1st and 3rd in the $10,000 Junior Jumper Stake. Pablo Barrios and G&C Farm’s Quick Star 11 topped the Puissance and McLain Ward aboard the priceless Sapphire rode to the blue in the $100,000 President’s Cup, a World Cup Qualifier. More at

The final Indoor extravaganza will be in upstate New York when the prestigious Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament commences on November 2 and continues through the 7th. Champions will be crowned in several divisions, grand prix events as well as in the ASPCA Maclay Medal Finals. Details at