Capital Challenge Horse Show Recap
RELEASE: September 29, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Susan Benson
The 15th Annual Capital Challenge Horse Show opened on September 27 with junior riders from across the country competing in the Monarch International Equitation Weekend.
Riders compete in Saturday’s age classes to warm up for, and with the hopes of winning, the coveted blue ribbons in Sunday’s premiere classes: the Monarch International North American Junior Equitation Championship and the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Children’s Medal Finals.
Saturday’s classes give riders the opportunity to get in the Show Place Arena and see their competition. It is there that East Coast meets West Coast and the cream rises to the top. From the West Coast it was Tina Dilandri of La Jolla, CA, who dominated the 16-year-old equitation division and earned the championship with 20 points. Dilandri later went on to win the Monarch International Junior Equitation Flat Championship.
Dilandri is no stranger to collecting ribbons at Capital Challenge. The West Coast rider was second in the National Children’s Medal Finals in 2004 and was seventh in the 2006 Junior Equitation Championship.
Although Dilandri has a horse on the East Coast with Chris Kappler and a horse on the West Coast with Karen Healey, she still feels the rivalry been the coasts. She said, “There is a lot of rivalry between East Coast and West Coast, for sure. We have jet lag and homework but it makes us rise to the occasion.
“This show everyone puts their feelers out for how we’re going to stand at Harrisburg (PA), Washington and Syracuse (NY). Starting at those shows is when the rivalry really comes out. That’s when we really need to strut our stuff,” said Dilandri.
But she also pointed out that many of the riders have become good friends. She added, “A bunch of us did the Wellington (FL) circuit this year, so we kind of got to know each other and it’s been good.”
Dilandri came to Capital Challenge with no expectations and wanted to use the experience to warm up for the rest of the indoor season. She said, “I kind of went in open minded. He hasn’t been indoors in a while because West Coast doesn’t have any indoors. It was a good test to go in there and put your feelers out. He just went in and did his thing.”
The young rider has been riding R.S.V.P., an eight-year-old Warmblood gelding for four years. She said, “We’ve grown together. It has taken a long time to get to this point. I bought him as a five year old at Maclay finals. He is such a good boy. I couldn’t ask for a better horse.”
In the 17-year-old equitation division, it was Johanna Hyyppa of Portland, CT, who collected 20 points and the championship. Hyyppa is a working student for Heritage Farm and was up since three in the morning preparing for the show. It was the young rider’s first time showing at Capital Challenge.
She said, “It’s really great to start out the finals this way. And it’s my last junior year so I can’t complain. I’m really, really excited.”
Other championships handed out went to: Jessica Springsteen of Colts Neck, NJ, in the 15-year-old division; Cayla Richards of Calabasas, CA, in the 13- and 14-year-old division; and Kristen Mohr of Long Valley, NJ, in the 12-and-under division, Bethany Hanscom of Bishop, GA, champion of the Taylor Harris Insurance Services Children’s Medal Warm-Up Division.
On Sunday, September 28, the title for the Monarch International’s North American Junior Equitation Championship was up for grabs as 90 riders attempted to prove to the judges that they deserved the win. But after two rounds and a difficult test between the top two riders, it was Matt Metell of Falmouth, MA, who took home the blue.
In the first round Metell scored a 91.4, which put him into third going into the second round. It was a good place to be, close enough to Cayla Richards, who held the lead with a 93.4 and just behind Mallory Olson who