Praise and Sheila Motley Win Big Again as World Championship Hunter Week Concludes at #FTIWEF

RELEASE: February 25, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Praise and Sheila Motley (Anne Gittins Photography)
Praise and Sheila Motley (Anne Gittins Photography)
Wellington, FL
- World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Week came to a close Sunday afternoon with the $5,000 Peggy Cone Memorial World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Adult Hunter Classic. Praise and Sheila Motley bested a field of 56 over two rounds of competition during the fiercest week of competition for hunter divisions during the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF).

Praise, an eleven-year-old Royal Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Garber, and Motley were the pair to beat after a high score of 85 early on in round one and secured their victory with an 87 as the final trip in round two. With an overall score of 172, the pair edged out second place finishers Arriana Boardman and Gatsby by only a quarter of a point.

Motley returned to the show ring during the 2013 FTI WEF after taking time off to have her son, Collins. Motley is happy to be back in competition, especially aboard a horse as spectacular as Praise. The pair has is currently first in the FTI WEF circuit standings for the La Mundial Adult Amateur Hunter 18-35 Section B division after taking home an extraordinary four championship titles.

"I have a great horse in Praise. He's done the derbies with Kelley [Farmer] and Holly [Orlando] for a couple of years, so there's nothing like having one of those horses under you going into the Adults. I couldn't be more thankful to Ken and Selma Garber for letting me show him down here all circuit," Motley stated.

Although Motley and Praise have been unstoppable in the ring every week at the FTI WEF, Sunday's victory was especially significant. "WCHR week is the most prestigious week for hunters. Missing champion [Saturday] was a little bit of a let-down, so I couldn't be happier," Motley commented.

Praise and Motley led the class after round one, but were last in the arena for round two as they chased Boardman and Gatsby's first place standing. "Arriana is a great rider and [Gatsby] is a wonderful horse, so I knew that she was going to be good. I was maybe little more nervous than I would have been ordinarily. When you have other great riders like that with you, it makes you rise to the occasion," Motley acknowledged.

Not only is Motley managing to juggle motherhood with the demands of showing, she also runs her own event management company in Wellington. She credits the team at Lane Change Farm with enabling her to remain competitive at a high level.

"It's all about the people you ride with. You have to be able to show up and trust that the horse has been prepared and if you have the right team with you, there's no need to worry. I hire the right people for my business, and Kelley and Larry [Glefke] do the same," Motley described.

While Motley's professional life will continue in high gear, Praise will be enjoying a well-deserved slow down from showing while he continues being marketed to be bred. "Maybe he found some dates today. He's on the market, he's dating!" Motley joked.

The $5,000 WCHR Amateur Owner 3'3" Classic was the final class held in the International Ring on Sunday afternoon. Tina Allen and French Kiss won the class with an overall score of 168.5. French Kiss, a nine-year-old Westphalian gelding, was in third place after round one of competition with a score of 82 and came back late in the second round with an 86.5 with Allen in the irons.

"French Kiss felt great, it was his second time in the International Arena this week. He felt comfortable on Friday and again today," Allen described. "The courses rode nicely, they felt a little 'handy-ish.' The turns keep his interest. The ring is beautiful and the fences are all inviting."

French Kiss and Allen have been showing at the FTI WEF for most of the 2013 circuit, picking up reserve championship honors in the FarmVet Amateur-Owner Hunter 3'3" 36 and Over division just last week. "He's been really consistent and I'm really happy with him," Allen commented.

Like the rest of her fellow competitors, Allen takes extra pleasure in winning during the hunters' biggest week at the FTI WEF. "It's special for sure to win this week. I'm really happy to have won today. Everyone loves competing during Hunter Week and it draws a big crowd," Allen concluded.

Florida Children's and Pony Classics were the final rounds of WCHR competition during week seven. Francesca Dildabanian and Larkspur earned the top prize for the $2,500 Children's Hunter 14 and Under Classic with a combined score of 176. Larkspur is a twelve-year-old Oldenberg gelding owned by Ashley Whitner. Gabriella Hurtadorode Dragonfly, an eight-year-old Oldenberg gelding, to a blue ribbon finish in the $2,500 Children's Hunter 15-17 Classic with an overall score of 165.

The winner of the Large Children's Pony Hunter was Chatsworth and Emma Kurtz. Chatsworth, a nine-year-old Dutch Riding Pony gelding owned by Victoria Press, jumped to a final score of 168 with Kurtz in the irons. Sophia Marino and her own Posh, a thirteen-year-old Welsh Pony/Connemara cross mare, emerged victorious in the $2,500 Small/Medium Children's Pony Classic with a combined score of 163.

The $2,500 Large Pony Hunter Classic was topped by Daisy Farish and her own Beau Rivage, a seventeen-year-old Holsteiner/Welsh Pony cross gelding. The pair won the class with a total score of 174. Emma Kurtz collected another first place prize aboard Grand All Over in the $2,500 Medium Pony Hunter Classic. Kurtz rode Grand All Over, a fifteen-year-old Welsh Pony gelding owned by David Gochman, to a winning overall score of 176. Farish also championed the $2,500 Small Pony Hunter Classic aboard Further Lane Farm's Rolling Stone with a final score of 170. Rolling Stone is a fifteen-year-old Welsh Pony gelding.

Final Results: $5,000 Peggy Cone Memorial WCHR Adult Classic

1   PRAISE             SHEILA MOTLEY           85.00   85.00     85.00
                                                               88.00   86.00     87.00 172.00

2   GATSBY           ARRIANA BOARDMAN   83.50   86.00     84.75
                                                               87.00   87.00   87.00 171.75

3   AS ALWAYS     ELIZABETH KNIGHT MORGAN 83.00   80.00   81.50
                                                                       86.00 83.50   84.75   166.25

4   NEVADA             CAROLINE CLARK STONE 80.00   79.50 79.75
                                                                     85.00   84.00   84.50 164.25

5   REVELSTOKE     LOUISE OTTEN               84.00   83.00   83.50
                                                                   82.00   78.00   80.00 163.50

6   BULL RUN'S KALEO   JEANINE CASH        81.00     79.00   80.00
                                                                  80.00     83.00   81.50 161.50

7   WHITECAP   MARY KATHERINE SHAUG   77.00     82.00   79.50
                                                                  81.00     82.00   81.50 161.00

8   CALERO             SUSANNAH ROSE           78.00     78.00   78.00
                                                                    83.00     81.00   82.00 160.00

9   QUE SERA           REILLY COOKINGHAM   76.75     77.05 76.90
                                                                   79.00   74.00 76.50   153.40

10 APOLLO H           VICTORIA GRAUER         77.50 74.50   76.00
                                                                   66.00 62.00   64.00 140.00

11 ALAVANTA           JEAN SHEPTOFF           73.00 67.00   70.00
                                                                  71.00 65.00   68.00 138.00

12 GRAYSON           TINA ALLEN               70.50 72.15   71.32
                                                               55.00 55.00   55.00 126.32