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Whitecap and Mary-Katherine Shaughnessy Triumph in Camping World Adult Amateur Hunter 51+ Division

RELEASE: March 16, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Whitecap and Mary-Katherine Shaughnessy (Photography)
Whitecap and Mary-Katherine Shaughnessy (Photography)
Wellington, FL
- Mary-Katherine Shaughnessy and her sixteen-year-old Trakehner gelding, Whitecap, jumped to tricolor honors in the Camping World Adult Amateur Hunter 51+ Division during week ten of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). With the points widely spread across the division, Whitecap and Shaughnessy emerged as champions after consistent over fences performances. The pair was second and eighth over fences on day one of competition and first and eighth over fences on day two. Reserve champion was Sandra Epstein aboard her own Pembroke. Epstein piloted Pembroke to fourth and third places over fences on day one of competition.

At age 16, Whitecap is a seasoned veteran of the FTI WEF, where he has also competed in Junior and First and Second Year Hunter divisions before being purchased by Shaughnessy two years ago. "I think his age is an advantage. For me, I like the older ones. Before him, I had a hunter that was very spooky and unreliable and it took away from my ability to progress," Shaughnessy commented.

Throughout the course of their partnership, Whitecap has yet to put a foot wrong for Shaughnessy in the ring. "He's never stopped, knock on wood! He will find a way to get over it. We don't have many bad jumps anymore, but the first year I had him there were a few more bumps. He always found a way to get over it. He's just a very honest horse," Shaughnessy explained.

Shaughnessy admits Whitecap can be bored by routine work at his age, but only because he revels being in the spotlight of competition. "He's very sweet, but he has an ego. When we come to the show, there's a 20% increase in his energy level! The show ring is where he wants to be," she smiled.

"He's a very talented horse. He excels being at a show. He perks up in the ring. When you see him at home he's just a big chestnut with floppy ears. But when he's all braided up, he looks very elegant in the show ring. He puffs up a bit," Shaughnessy continued.

Shaughnessy believes Whitecap's love for the show ring combined with a naturally correct way of going is what keeps them in the ribbons at a show as competitive as the FTI WEF. "He has a very nice rhythm and is naturally a beautiful mover. He has a very even and correct jump and he makes it easy for me to just guide him around and let him do his job," Shaughnessy stated.

Shaughnessy also enjoys the camaraderie of Adult Amateur division. "We're all still very competitive, otherwise we'd just be out trail riding somewhere instead of showing," Shaughnessy laughed. "It adds something and a lot of us become good friends. It makes a nice difference. Maybe it's just because we're older and we realize we're lucky to be here."