The 2023 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), presented by MARS Equestrian™ continued on Wednesday, October 25, at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, where the day concluded with the $12,500 WIHS Children’s Jumper and $12,500 WIHS Adult Jumper Championships, both sponsored by MARS Equestrian™. Hailey Guidry and Colina SN were victorious in the children’s championship, while Kristan Lassiter on Elsa claimed the win in the adult class.
The children’s championship was the first title up for grabs, and it was Hailey Guidry, 13, of Wellington, FL, who saved the best for last, galloping into the top spot with Colina SN in 29.094 seconds.
Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR) and assistant Nick Granat (USA) were the masterminds behind the course, which saw 15 combinations jump a fault-free first round to advance to the jump-off. Colin Sweetnam, 13, of Wellington, FL, was the first to race around The Show Place Arena and set the time to beat at 31.460 seconds. He left the rest of the field chasing his time with no one able to duplicate the effort. As the first-place point earner from the WIHS qualifying season, Guidry was last to go and the final challenger to Sweetnam’s time. She and Colina SN gave it all they had, and when the clock stopped at 29.094 seconds, cheers erupted from her support team.
Guidry showed Colina SN at Capital Challenge Horse Show but didn’t quite have the result they wanted when ‘Lina’ ticked a rail out of a one-stride in the first round. With that fresh in her mind, Guidry was determined to not make the same mistake.
“I was mainly thinking about the seven-stride bending line to the one-stride on the far side of the arena,” she explained of her plan for the first round. “That line was challenging because Lina can drift right sometimes. I really tried to keep her left.”
After the children’s championship, it was time for the adults to step into the spotlight, and it was Kristan Lassiter of New York, NY, with Elsa who let it go all the way to the win with the stop clock frozen at the final time of 33.880 seconds.
From the 25 starters, just five made it to the short course with Lassiter and Elsa last to go. Once again, it ended up being the final competitor to come away victoriously.
“This whole finals season I have been close to the last to go in the first round, and then this is my second time being last to go in the jump-off,” related Lassiter, who trains with Sarah Redman and Nicki Simpson. “This is like a dream come true. Last would not be my chosen spot, but then again, I don’t want to go first either.”
Despite some nerves, Lassiter had confidence in her partner of one year and was ready to ride into the unknown.
“Honestly, my horse is a completely overqualified grand prix horse, and I knew that she could do it, because I knew that she had my back and that I could count on her,” enthused Lassiter of her 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare by Wizzerd WV. “I actually was thrilled that we had the triple combination and that we had the liverpool because it was challenging but I knew my horse would know exactly how to handle that. For myself, I wanted to be careful not to pressure her out of the triple because she has such a huge stride and she jumped in well, so I knew it was going to get tight for her. She was right with me. I think you can tell she literally does whatever I ask her to do.”
The big grey mare was the star of the evening, living up to her in-barn reputation as the resident ice princess.
A Grand Day for Danhakl as Bright Side and Austen Earn Amateur-Owner Championships
Amateur-Owner hunters took center stage during the morning’s competition in The Show Place Arena. Stephanie Danhakl had a banner day, winning the Grand Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter Championship with Bright Side and the Grand Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter Championship with Austen.
For the overall Grand Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter title, Danhakl was presented with the Frank Counselman Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by friends of Frank Counselman. For the Grand Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter honors she was presented with the Bucky Reynolds Memorial Perpetual Trophy, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Ernest M. Oare. She was also named the Leading Amateur-Owner Rider.
It was a triumphant return to the show ring for Danhakl, who has not competed or seen her horses since the Devon Horse Show in May due to welcoming her second child just seven weeks ago. In the meantime, her horses have been under the guidance of her longtime trainer Scott Stewart and the Rivers Edge team in Flemington, NJ, while Danhakl has been able to spend valuable time with her family at home in Dover, MA.
“I don’t think there are a lot of barns that run as smoothly as Rivers Edge,” commented Danhakl. “I had confidence coming into today that even though I hadn’t seen my horse since Devon, I knew that they were going to be perfectly prepared and that they have been in a program in order to excel at this show.”
While she wasn’t able to ride her show hunters, Danhakl did have a way to get some riding in with her foxhunter horse she keeps at home. With “Happy,” Danhakl gets to enjoy time in the saddle in a different way from the competition environment.
As if the day could not get better, Danhakl later entered The Show Place Arena for her second Grand title. With Austen, Danhakl notched a win on the flat, as well as over fences and in the handy with scores of 92 and 88. The pair was also third in the stake class with a score of 89 to seal the deal for the Amateur-Owner 3’3” 18-35 division championship.
“He’s still a little bit green,” admitted Danhakl of the seven-year-old Westphalian stallion by Arpeggio she purchased as a four-year-old. “This was actually his first time showing indoors, and he did not bat an eye at anything. He’s a really brave horse. He just knows his job and is wise beyond his years. I was thrilled with him. He jumped beautifully, was so easy to ride, and acted like he’d been there for years. He can be a little stallion-y, more so than other stallions I’ve had, but once he gets in the program, he’s very calm, and I think that extra oomph that comes from being a stallion really helps him in the ring.”
“I always love coming to this show,” continued Danhakl, who is a member of the WIHS Board of Directors. “I’ve done well in the past. The first time I was champion at this show was 19 years ago in the Small Junior Hunters, so there’s a lot of personal history for me at this show. To come back again after a long break and be grand champion in both sections really means a lot.”
Daytime competition at the 2023 WIHS picks right back up at 7:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, October 25, with the start of the junior hunter divisions and the continuation of the junior jumper divisions. Thursday also marks the first evening session, starting at 6:30 p.m. ET, and the beginning of the international jumper classes, featuring the $78,000 Welcome Stake and the $40,000 Accumulator Costume Class during the fan-favorite MARS Barn Night, where WIHS will go western.
Keeping It Reel
By Alden Corrigan Media
Photo Of The Day
By Shawn McMillen Photography
WIHS Fan Faves
THURSDAY, OCT. 26
MARS Barn Night
“Washington Goes Western”
$78,00 International Jumper FEI
$40,000 International Jumper
Accumulator Costume Class
FRIDAY, OCT. 27
Military Night, Presented by
WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase
Australian horseman Guy McLean demonstration
Army vs. Navy Barrel Racing
$78,000 International Jumper FEI Speed Final
SATURDAY, OCT 28
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Kid’s Day, presented by Delta
Pony rides, grooming station, horseless horse show, pony kissing booth, and more!
Daytime Admission is free. No ticket is required for daytime sessions on Monday through Sunday, October 23-29, including early evening competition on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Watch the show, explore the grounds, shop the concourse, visit historical displays, and enjoy a variety of food trucks.
Evening Events (Thursday, Friday, Saturday): All designated evening session tickets are reserved seating. Select your seat from four ticket types:
- Ticket & Dinner: Watch and dine in the best seats at WIHS. Collect your hot buffetstyle dinner and beverages, then dine at your seat. Includes unlimited refills of non-alcoholic beverages. Each adult ticket also includes two servings of beer/wine.
- Premium Ticket
- Select Ticket
- Standard Ticket – The most inexpensive ticket per night:
- Barn Night, Thursday, October 26: $20 adult, $15 child. Learn more about Barn Night contests
- Military Night, Friday, October 27: $30 adult, $20 child. 50% off tickets for U.S. Military and first responders.
- World Cup Night, Saturday, October 28: $45 adult, $35 child.
Visit the WIHS ticket page for more details and links to purchase on Ticketmaster. Tickets may also be purchased in person at The Show Place Arena Box Office upon arrival, while available.
The Second Annual Hollow Brook Sportsmanship Award will recognize a junior rider who best personifies the highest standards of integrity, sportsmanship, honor, kindness, and generosity during the 2023 Washington International Horse Show. The top five junior riders nominated will be in contention to receive this award with stewards and horse show officials making the final decision in awarding the winner.
About Washington International Horse Show