Jessica Springsteen and Tiziano are Grand Junior Hunter Champions


Washington, DCOctober 24, 2008 – On the concluding day of junior compeition, Jessica Springsteen, 15, and Tiziano, were named Grand Junior Hunter Champions at the 50th Washington international Horse Show. They also claimed the Large Junior 15 and Under Hunter Championship. Other junior champions were Katie Dinan and Angelo, Small Junior 15 and Under Hunters; Caitie Hope and Lyle, Small Junior 16-17 Hunters; and Nicoletta Von Heidegger and Small Town, Large Junior 16-17 Hunters.

“It is always exciting to win an award like this. I didn’t know if we were going to be in contention or not,” said Springsteen. “Yesterday we were first and fourth, so I knew I needed a good ribbon today if we were going to have a shot.” Springsteen ended up with two firsts, a fourth, and third-place ribbons in the division.

Tiziano, 8, was purchased in Europe as an equitation horse but did so well in the hunter division that Springsteen and her trainer, Stacia Madden, decided to make it his full-time career.

“This is his second year doing the indoor circuit. He is pretty simple to ride; he has a huge stride and never usually looks at anything. He is pretty much the same every time he goes out there. No surprises,” said Springsteen. “He will give me a good ride as long as he is reacting to me and not spooky. He has definitely matured since I have owned him. He was a little spooky last year at Devon and has become a very confident horse.”

This is Springsteen’s fourth time competing at WIHS and is a favorite horse show for her. She started on ponies and has grown into horses. On Saturday Springsteen will compete in the WIHS Hunter Classic Derby, a class open only to division champions. Last year she placed fourth in the class.

Small Junior 15 and Under Hunters
In the Small Junior 15 and Under Hunters, taking home the championship was Katie Dinan, who piloted her nine-year-old Angelo to first, second, third, and fifth-place ribbons in the division.

“He was really good and jumped especially well. I think he knew it was important. I thought the courses were all really nice to ride. All the lines rode nice and forward so you could really open them up,” said Dinan. “The jumps were really pretty so I think all the horses were jumping well.”

Making the move from outdoors to indoors, Dinan has her own riding philosophy: “Personally, I don’t try and do anything different. I just make sure I am conscious of the smaller space and make sure I don’t get backwards because it is a small area. I try not to psych myself out.”

Dinan has had a good year with Angelo. They were champions at the Capital Challenge, the Pennsylvania National Horse Show last week, and the 2007 National last year. Even so, Washington is one of her favorite shows.

“He has been so good throughout the year, so we have been really lucky,” said Dinan. “I love Washington; I have always loved this horse show. I think it is one that is really special.”

Small Junior 16-17 Hunters
Caitie Hope and Lyle were champions of the Small Junior 16-17 Hunters with first, second and third-place ribbons. Owned by Stephanie Keen, Lyle and Hope make a great pair. They have been champions at Capital Challenge, the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, and now Washington this fall. In addition to indoors, they have also been champion at almost every major national horse show they attended this spring and summer.

“Lyle gives me the confidence to try different things. I know he will always give me what I ask from him,” said Hope. “I am not afraid to really go in the ring and gallop, which is exactly the type of ride this course demanded. He is teaching me so much and allowing me to get some consistent rides. I can get off of him and feel ready to do the jumpers too.”

Hope continued, “I am so excited to win this award. The atmosphere is great, and I always like to come to Washington.”

Large Junior 16-17 Hunters
Next to compete was the Large Junior 16-17 Hunters. With a first, second, third and sixth-place ribbons, Nicoletta Von Heidegger and her horse Small Town were champions. In the reserve champion spot was Alise Oken and mount Take Away. They came away with two firsts. Oken was also awarded the Best Stake Round trophy and award. She received the highest score out of the four junior hunter stake classes today.

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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.