Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam and Solerina Tops in Gambler’s Choice Costume Class


Washington – October 25, 2013 – The 2013 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) continued on Thursday with the first day of classes for the Junior Hunters and several International Open Jumper and Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper classes at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

The International Open Jumpers had two classes with a win for Kent Farrington (USA) and Robin Parksy’s Blue Angel in the $33,000 International Open Jumper Welcome Stake. Top honors in the $20,000 Gambler’s Choice costume class went to Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Sweet Oak Farm’s Solerina. The Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers competed as well with a win for Cloe Hymowitz and Rose Hill Farm’s Bon Vivant in the Low division and Charlotte Jacobs aboard Deeridge Farms’ Kachina in the High division.

WIHS continues through Sunday, October 27, with lots of exciting action throughout the weekend. Highlights include the $25,000 Puissance sponsored by The Boeing Company on Friday, October 25, and the $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, a FEI World Cup qualifier presented by Events DC, on Saturday, October 26. All evening performances will begin at 7 p.m. EST.In addition to the competition, Thursday was the always popular “Barn Night,” presented by Dover Saddlery. Barn Night at WIHS is a favorite with local young riders and horse enthusiasts who attend in groups and have a chance to enter contests, win big prizes, and enjoy a fun, horse-filled evening.

Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela is the course designer for the jumpers this week at WIHS. In the day’s $33,000 Welcome Stake, Palacios saw 30 entries contest his first round course with ten advancing to the jump-off. Eight of those were also clear over the short course, and Kent Farrington and the 11-year-old Anglo European mare Blue Angel (by Luidam) raced to victory in 31.38 seconds to win The Ben O’Meara Memorial Challenge Trophy.

Beezie Madden (USA) and Coral Reef Ranch’s Coral Reef Via Volo finished second with a time of 31.47 seconds. Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) and Ludo Philippaerts’ Cortez placed third in 32.49 seconds, and Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Postage Stamp Farm LLC’s Prof de la Roque were fourth in 32.57 seconds.

Blue Angel has been a top mount for Farrington this year and continues to prove herself as a powerful international competitor. “I think she was always a good horse, we just got to know each other a little bit better and she has become more consistent,” he said of the mare’s development. “She kind of started off good and has only gotten better.”

 kent farrington

Kent Farrington and Blue Angel. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography

Farrington has been competing at WIHS for many years, winning the WIHS Equitation Finals as a junior in 1999, and continuing on into his professional career. He explained that the atmosphere and environment of showing indoors makes this an exciting competition each year.

“I love showing indoors. I think it is a lot of fun,” Farrington stated. “It is all fast tracks, and usually there is a pretty good crowd. In general, the indoor shows get a good attendance. You come here with your best horses, and you just focus on those and there is always good competition, so I enjoy that.”

Blue Angel seemed to enjoy showing indoors as well and Farrington noted that the environment fits her style. “She is very quick,” he said. “She is great in that she can add a stride very quickly, and she has a very soft mouth. I think that is a big advantage inside, so I think it suits the horse.”

For the jump-off, Farrington chose a plan that played to his horse’s strengths and she stepped up to the plate. “With that horse, I just try really not to get too much in her way and have a quick track,” he detailed. “She is not always the best at rolling back to fences, so from fence one to two I went a little bit wide with more pace probably than some of the other riders did just because that suited the horse. Then once she is in gear, I can kind of just let her go.”

Blue Angel is the only horse Farrington will show this week and he plans to now save her for Saturday night’s $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix. He looks forward to seeing what Palacios has planned on course.

Sweetnam and Solerina Top $20,000 Gambler’s Choice Costume Class

The $20,000 International Open Jumper Gambler’s Choice Costume Class is always an exciting event at WIHS, especially with Barn Night and thousands of young fans cheering on the riders. In tonight’s class, Irish rider Shane Sweetnam jumped to victory dressed as a keg of beer riding Sweet Oak Farm’s Solerina. The duo earned 960 points over the course and jumped clean over the Joker fence for an additional 200 points. Their 1160 total was the winning score.

For his victory, Sweetnam was presented with the Crown Royal Trophy, donated by Crown Royal, as the winning rider. Solerina, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare by Cruising, won The Sue Ann Geisler Memorial Trophy, donated by the Washington International Horse Show, as the winning horse.

Beezie Madden (USA) dressed as her signature bumble bee riding Abigail Wexner’s Vanilla and scored 1100 points to place second. Spiderman, a.k.a. Conor Swail (IRL), and Susan Grange’s Ariana finished third with 1090 points. “Dr.” McLain Ward (USA) and Wings had the same 1090 total and a slower time placed them in fourth.

Shane Sweetnam has a good record with Gambler’s Choice classes, finishing third in the class at WIHS two times and winning one in Harrisburg last year as well as placing in several others. He came up with a good plan tonight, and it paid off.

“I’m good at math so I have a good plan I think, even with knocking a fence,” he stated. “Normally I have a decent plan. You have to leave the jumps up for the course.”

 shane sweetnam
Shane Sweetnam and Solerina. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography

Sweetnam’s mount, Solerina, is a successful horse and always puts in a great effort. “She has a lot of character, (and) she’s had great results since I’ve had her,” Sweetnam described. “She likes to stay in a rhythm. She really enjoys her jumping, so once she gets her eye on the jump she’s normally trying for you, so I can just jump-jump-turn. She’s naturally very quick.”

On his costume choice, Sweetnam explained that good friend Charlie Jayne gets him a costume each year and they have a good time with it. “It’s good fun,” he smiled. “We enjoy this class every year. We have a bit of banter about it, so I’m glad I beat him this year again.”

The cheering and great support of the Barn Night crowd also gets the riders into the fun mood. “It’s brilliant,” Sweetnam said of Barn Night. “It’s a very good idea. All evening it’s been buzzing between the pony racing and the High (Jr/AO) Jumper class and this class. There’s a big crowd and great atmosphere and those people understand show jumping as well, which is great. I really enjoy it.”

Hymowitz and Jacobs Triumph in Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers

The Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper jump-off class, sponsored by North Star, was held on Thursday afternoon with 22 entries and five advancing to the jump-off. Three competitors jumped double clear and Cloe Hymowitz of New York, NY, had the fast time of 29.876 seconds aboard Bon Vivant for the win. The pair was presented the Beagle Brook Farm Perpetual Trophy.

Sima Morgello and Zopala placed second in 32.500 seconds. Third place honors went to Lauren Fischer and Norton de la Sapaie in 37.094 seconds.

Hymowitz purchased Bon Vivant, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Sire Major de la Cour, a year and a half ago. The pair has had success showing in North America and abroad this year, including a win in the CSI2* Longines Global Champions Tour competition in Vienna, Austria.
Hymowitz showed in the Children’s Jumpers at WIHS in 2012 and just moved up to the Low Juniors this season. Bon Vivant is an experienced mount that has taught the rider quickly and helped her move up the ranks with the guidance of trainers Scott Stewart and Ken Berkley.

 chloe hymowitz
Cloe Hymowitz and Bon Vivant. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography

“Showing in the Lows is a new experience and a big step up,” Hymowitz noted. “It’s really exciting. It’s definitely difficult to compete at a higher level here because the rings are really hard to ride in. Everything comes up very quick, but it is good for him because he likes to go fast, so it worked out well for me.”

“He’s indescribable,” Hymowitz said of Bon Vivant. “He is really easy. He does it a lot on his own luckily, but he is really quick. You just have to go forward, and he will jump from any distance and any turn. I turned back really tight to the birch jump, and he just swings in the air and jumps clear. He’s the most amazing horse I have ever had.”

The High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper jump-off class, sponsored by Ellen and Daniel Crown, was held during the evening session with a win for Charlotte Jacobs of East Aurora, NY, riding Kachina. The pair was awarded The “Footloose” Perpetual Trophy in remembrance of Ruth Ellen Wilmot, donated by The Curtin Family in honor of 1990 winner “Footloose”, who was ridden by Caroline Curtin.

Twenty-two entries showed over Palacios’ first round course and only three were able to jump clear to advance to the jump-off. Lucas Porter and Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s Patriot were the trailblazers and finished the short course with four faults in 27.598 seconds to place third. Catherine Tyree and Wetter were next to jump off and also incurred four faults and placed second with a faster time of 27.278 seconds. Last to go, Jacobs knew that she could win with a clear round and that is exactly what she did, stopping the clock in 29.080 seconds.

Jacobs went first in round one aboard Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables’ Promised Land and was able to get a good feel for the course. She then jumped a clear round with Kachina, a 15-year-old Selle Francais mare by Voltaire, to make it into the jump-off. “I can always rely on her because she can always jump a clear round, and I know she is always going to try her hardest,” Jacobs said of the mare.

The biggest challenge was Kachina’s large size in the small arena, but she handled it easily.

“The course was nice,” Jacobs noted. “There were a lot of really short turns. The first jump was two strides off the turn and a lot of the jumps were really stuffed in there, and that was hard with the horse I won on because she is so big. She is 18 hands and she has this huge stride, and she is kind of hard to package. It’s hard enough indoors, but she really deals with it well and she is a great horse. Coming off of Harrisburg she definitely was used to it and she felt great. She jumped amazing.”

 charlotte jacobs and kachina
Charlotte Jacobs and Kachina. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography

An added bonus to the evening’s win was getting to show in front of the enthusiastic Barn Night crowd. Although many of the horses in this division are not used to a packed arena, Jacobs’ horses both dealt with it perfectly and she enjoyed the excitement.

“It’s definitely fun because we don’t usually have crowds like this,” Jacobs stated. “It’s nice that they put the Junior Jumpers right before the open class and right before all of the big events. It’s on Barn Night, so there’s a huge crowd and it’s a lot of fun. They make it exciting.”

The Washington International Horse Show continues tomorrow with the championships for the Junior Hunter divisions as well as the hunter phase for the Hermès WIHS Equitation Classic Finals. The Low and High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers will have speed classes in the afternoon session.

The evening session begins with a $50,000 Faults Converted Speed Final followed by an exhibition from the U.S. Army’s Caisson Platoon military horses and an impressive performance by the United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon. The night closes with the $25,000 Puissance, presenting The Armed Forces Cup, sponsored by The Boeing Company.

Congratulations to all of our barn night winners!

Best Group Video

  • Champion: NFF Stables
    Prize: $500 Dover Saddlery Gift Certificate
  • Reserve Champion: Loudoun County 4-H Horse Club
    Prize: $250 Dover Saddlery Gift Certificate
  • Honorable Mentions (3): Rock Creek Park Horse Center, Dream Catcher Farm, Beyond A Bay
    Prize (3): $50 Dover Saddlery Gift Certificates

Best Group Banner

  • Champion: Autumn Grove Stables
    Prize: $500 Dover Saddlery Gift Certificate
  • Reserve Champion: Tamarack Stables
    Prize: $250 Dover Saddlery Gift Certificate
  • Honorable Mentions: Dream Catcher Farm, Cedar Creek Far, Beyond A Bay
    Prize: (3) $50 Dover Saddlery Gift Certificates

Largest Group

  • Largest Group Overall: Meadowbrook Stables

Prize: Golf Cart courtesy of United Metro Golf Carts

  • Largest Group – Maryland: Enticement Stables
    Prize: $750 Dover Saddlery Gift Certificate
  • Largest Group – Virginia: Loudoun County 4-H Horse Club
    Prize: $750 Dover Saddlery Gift Certificate
  • Largest Group – DC/Other: Rock Creek Park Horse Center
    Prize: $750 Dover Saddlery Gift Certificate

 meadowbrook stables
Largest Group Overall winners, Meadowbrook Stables. 
Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography

Best Group Spirit

  • Champion: Olney Farm
    Prize: Clinic with three-day eventing Olympian Will Coleman
  • Reserve Champion: NFF Stables
    Prize: Gift Certificate for team-wear courtesy of C&A Sportswear
  • Honorable Mentions (3): Urbana Riding Club, Autumn Grove Farm, Cedar Creek Farm
    Prize (3): $50 Dover Saddlery Gift Certificate

For those who cannot make it to the show, it will be live streamed in its entirety at, and is also available on USEF Network at

The Washington International Horse Show Silent Auction is now available online with an easy-to-use bidding website. Don’t miss your chance to win special items that range from a private riding lesson with Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden to a Private Decorating Party at Georgetown Cupcake Lab. Other incredible items include two tickets to SaturdayNight Live’s live show, a diamond horseshoe pin from Tiny Jewel Box, full show attire from The Saddlery, and much, much more. Bid from your computer or smart phone at home, at the barn, at work, or anywhere you have Internet – just go to

The Acela Club on the Sky Box level of Verizon Center is the perfect place to socialize with friends and a wonderful vantage point for watching the action in the ring. WIHS is hosting three special social events and we hope you’ll join us! Have fun, watch great sport and support worthy local organizations. Party tickets include dinner and an open bar. $150/per person. Order by phone at 202-525-3679 or visit

The Armed Forces Cup Reception will be featured from 7-10 p.m. on Friday featuring the launch of “Healthy Stables by Design” by John Blackburn to benefit five local therapeutic riding centers assisting military veterans: Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program, Maryland Therapeutic Riding, Therapeutic Riding and Recreation Center, Loudoun Therapeutic Riding and Caisson Platoon Equine Assisted Therapy Program.

The President’s Cup Party, presented by Washington Life, will run from 6:30-10 p.m. on Saturday night. Wear your best equestrian chic and honor Washington’s diplomatic community with presenting partner, Washington Life.

Along with six days of world-class competition, WIHS features a unique boutique shopping experience for exhibitors and spectators alike. The main concourse at Verizon Center brings together a diverse group of vendors for everyone’s shopping enjoyment. Shoppers can find everything from equestrian tack and apparel to fine art and jewelry. This year’s show features over 50 vendor stands and boutiques for all of your shopping needs throughout the week.

Final Results: $33,000 International Open Jumper Welcome Stake

1. BLUE ANGEL: 2002 AES mare by Luidam x Ascendant
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Robin Parsky: 0/0/31.38

2. CORAL REEF VIA VOLO: 1998 BWP mare by Clinton x Heartbreaker
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Coral Reef Ranch: 0/0/31.47

3. CORTEZ: 2002 BWP gelding by Quick Star x Quito de Baussy
NICOLA PHILIPPAERTS (BEL), Ludo Philippaerts: 0/0/32.49

4. PROF DE LA ROQUE: 2003 Selle Francais gelding by Kannan x Luna
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Postage Stamp Farm LLC: 0/0/32.57

5. NOUGAT DU VALLET: 2001 Selle Francais gelding by Scherif D’elle
KATHERINE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners: 0/0/33.73

6.LA CENTA: 2002 Oldenburg mare by Cento x Silvio I
LAUREN TISBO (USA), Tequestrian Farms, LLC: 0/0/34.72

7. ALSVID: 2001 Hanoverian gelding by Escudo I x Azur,
RICHARD MOLONEY (IRL), Equinimity, LLC: 0/0/36.01

8. WANNICK WH: 2003 KWPN stallion by Heartbreaker x Joost
CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables: 0/0/36.60

9. ZANDER: 2004 KWPN gelding Cantos x Saygon
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Grant Road Partners LLC: 0/4/32.23

10. QUALITY GIRL: 2003 Oldenburg mare by Quidam’s Rubin x Dobrock
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Todd Minikus, Ltd: 0/4/33.90

11. CYKLON 1083: 2001 Swedish Warmblood stallion by Cardento x Cortus
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm: 4/56.82

12. BELMONT: 2001 Canadian Warmblood gelding by Ahorn OT x Landfriese II
ALISE OKEN (USA), Beverly Widdowson: 4/7.13

Final Results: $20,000 International Open Jumper Gambler’s Choice

1. SOLERINA: 1999 Irish Sport Horse mare by Cruising x Diamond Lad
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Sweet Oak Farm: 1160/55.45

2.VANILLA: 2002 Danish Warmblood mare by Nabab De Reve x Clinton
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 1100/53.02

3. ARIANA: 2001 KWPN mare by Oklund x Damiro
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Susan Grange: 1090/51.48

4. WINGS: 1998 KWPN gelding by Lexicon x Jersey
MCLAIN WARD (USA), McLain Ward: 1090/53.31

5.URAYA: 2001 KWPN mare by Farmer x Zeno
CHARLIE JAYNE (USA), Pony Lane Farm: 970/55.99

6.VESUVIUS: 2002 KWPN gelding by Numero Uno x Expert
MEAGAN NUSZ (USA), Amalaya Investments: 920/54.16

7. ANTIGONE QUALITY: 2005 KWPN mare by Berlin x Heartbreaker
CANDICE KING (USA), Quality Stud: 790/55.40

8. FERRON: 2005 Holsteiner gelding by For Pleasure x Concerto II
JONATHAN MCCREA (USA), Ilan Ferder: 760/52.12

9. ZARAGOSA: 2004 KWPN gelding by Roquefort x Animo
CATHERINE PASMORE (USA), Pasmore Stables LLC: 710/54.93

10. KAID DU RY: 1998 Selle Francais gelding by Brett Saint Clair x Royal Ardent
ALISE OKEN (USA), Hi Hopes Farm LLC: 580/56.17

Final Results: Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper TFJO, Sponsored by North Star
Placing/Back Number/Horse/Rider/Rd. 1 Faults/Rd. 2 Faults/Time


2 663 ZOPALA SIMA MORGELLO 0/0/2.500


4 556 PERLE HEATHER HOOKER 0/4/32.716





Final Results: High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper TFJO, Sponsored by Ellen & Daniel Crown
Placing/Back Number/Horse/Rider/Rd. 1 Faults/Rd. 2 Faults/Time



3 658 PATRIOT LUCAS PORTER 0/4/27.598



6 654 COSMA 20 ABIGAIL McARDLE 4/60.219


8 120 WINDE KALVIN DOBBS 4/61.736

Photo Credit: Photos © Shawn McMillen Photography, These photos may only be used in relation to this press release and with full photo credit.

About the Washington International Horse Show,
Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show attracts more than 20,000 spectators to the six-day show, which includes Olympic-level competition along with community and charity events. More than 500 top horses and riders come to D.C. from all over the globe to jump for nearly half a million dollars in prize money. Event highlights include the Puissance high jump competition on Military Night (Friday), the $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, a World Cup qualifier (Saturday night) and Kids’ Day (Saturday), a free, fun and educational community event. The Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.

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WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition, and holds the highest rating,  CSI5*-W, awarded by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, as well as a US Equestrian 6* Jumpers and  Premier Hunters. It is recognized by the US Hunter Jumper Association, Maryland Horse Show Association, and Virginia Horse Show Association. WIHS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization.