Stewart, Sexton, and Zimmerman Win Grand Championships at 2021 WIHS

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Mill Spring, N.C. – October 27, 2021 – The 2021 Washington International Horse Show, presented by MARS Equestrian™ continued on Wednesday, October 27, with chanpionships awarded in a variety of amateur and professional hunter divisions. The schedule also included the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship and $10,000 WIHS Adult Hunter Championship.

Scott Stewart of Wellington, Florida, and Dr. Betsee Parker’s Charlemagne took home not one, but two grand championships receiving the Grand Champion Green Hunter and Grand Champion Hunter titles. For both honors, Stewart was awarded The Claire Lang Miller Challenge Trophy donated by Miss Claire Lang Miller, and The Rave Review Challenge Trophy donated by Stoney Hill, respectively.

Scott Stewart and Charlemagne were the Grand Hunter Champions. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

As one of the nation’s top hunter riders, Stewart is accustomed to sitting at the top of the leaderboard, but Charlemagne waited quietly in the wings as COVID-19 put a wrench in the stallion’s 2020 competition plans.

“He showed a little bit in the Pre-Green Hunter division as a five-year-old, and he was quite successful,” shared Stewart. “Then last year, I think he only showed maybe two or three times before COVID happened and then he didn’t compete the rest of the year.”

Stewart credits Charlemagne’s easy-going nature for being able to step up to the plate this week in Tryon Stadium and the Grand Hunter Ring at WIHS. “He’s really easy every day at home, and he doesn’t really act like a stallion at all,” said Stewart. “He was actually really good in the big ring yesterday. That was exciting.”

The Delta Trip of the Day went to Augusta Iwasaki and Ashland Farms’ Attendu de Lannois Z, who competed in the Green Hunter 3’9” division.

SCHEDULE UPDATE: Both the Tryon Stadium and the Grand Hunter Ring will start at 8 a.m. on Thursday, October 28.

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Scott Stewart and Charlemagne in their winning presentation. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Watch How They Won

Watch Video: The Winning Ride for Scott Stewart and Charlemagne

Sexton and Zimmerman Are Grand in the Amateur-Owner Hunters

After being partnered for nearly six years, Laura Sexton and Set To Music are no strangers to the winners circle, but when they emerged the Grand Champions of the Amateur-Owner Hunters 3’6”, it was a little extra special. In April, Set To Music—known as Calvin in the barn—was found cast in his stall. Thankfully, he made a full recovery at an equine clinic, but it also kept him out of the show ring for six months. “We weren’t sure if he would need to retire or not, so the fact that he’s here and is still loving his job makes the win even more special,” shared Sexton.

Once Calvin recuperated and it was clear he wanted to be in the ring, Sexton still made it a point to take it slow with him. “All summer I focused on getting him in shape and fit enough to be able to jump,” continued Sexton. “We took our time and then went to two little local shows at home before coming to WIHS. His successful recovery has made the win mean a lot more. I know this is WIHS and it’s a big deal, but today has extra meaning. It’s very nice and special.”

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Laura Sexton and Set To Music. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Nearly three years to the date that Stephanie Zimmerman of Cincinnati, Ohio, purchased Lights Out, the pair was named Grand Champion in the Amateur-Owner Hunters 3’3” and was the recipient of The Bucky Reynolds Memorial Award sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Ernest M. Oare at this year’s WIHS. They won the division championship in the Amateur-Owner Hunters 3’3” Over 35. Kelly Sims and Private I won the reserve championship. The champion in the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” 18-35 division was Jennifer Morris riding Staros. The reserve championship went to Christina Fisher on Everything Is Gucci.

Zimmerman, who rides with Hunt Tosh, became acquainted with Lights Out while he was being campaigned by Tosh in the Green Conformation Hunters for the Wheeler family. “I bought him during [The Pennsylvania National Horse Show],” said Zimmerman of the 10-year-old gelding by Lights On. “He came home from Harrisburg, I tried him, and he didn’t get on the trailer to go to WIHS because I bought him! I was very, very fortunate.”

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Stephanie Zimmerman and Lights Out. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography
Stephanie Zimmerman and Lights Out in their winning presentation for the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunters 3’3″ with Betty Oare. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Watch How They Won

Watch Video: Laura Sexton and Set To Music in their winning round

Watch Video: The winning round for Stephanie Zimmerman and Lights Out

Miranda and Vella Top WIHS Championships

For Kaycie Miranda, 15, of Atlanta, Georgia, it was her horse of a lifetime, Notable, that carried her to the win in the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship presented by MARS Equestrian™. Miranda purchased the gelding in April 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic from Elizabeth Cram who had campaigned him with great success in the 3’3” junior hunters.

“When I moved up from a pony, we were kind of just looking for a horse that could get me from the pre-children’s hunters to 3’3″ junior hunters,” explained Miranda. “We chose him because we saw a lot of potential in getting me to the 3’3″ junior hunters, and the WIHS Children’s Hunter Championships is just one of the many steps to getting there.”

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Kaycie Miranda and Notable won the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography
Kaycie Miranda and Notable in their presentation with Zack Berry, MARS Equestrian™ Marketing Manager, ringmaster Steve Rector, and trainer Devan Cottrell. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Sophia Vella of The Plains, VA, and her own Just For Kicks were victorious in the $10,000 WIHS Adult Hunter Championship, presented by MARS Equestrian™ during Wednesday’s competition. The two made the most of their trip to Tryon after having qualified for WIHS by earning co-grand champion in the Adult Amateur Hunter division at the WIHS Regional Horse Show that took place at Morven Park International Equestrian Center in Leesburg, Virginia, October 21-24, 2021.

“Last minute but we made it!” laughed Vella of the short time between her win at the WIHS Regional Horse Show and WIHS at Tryon International Equestrian Center. “I’m just ecstatic because I didn’t believe it when they called our name first. Just For Kicks was phenomenal, and she was right with me every stride. I’m super grateful.”

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Sophia Vella and Just For Kicks won the $10,000 WIHS Adult Hunter Championship. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography
Sophia Vella and Just For Kicks in their presentation with Zack Berry, MARS Equestrian™ Marketing Manager, ringmaster Steve Rector, trainer Grace Long, WIHS President Vicki Lowell, and Celeste Vella. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Watch How They Won

Watch Video: The winning round for Kaycie Miranda and Notable

Watch Video: Sophia Vella and Just For Kicks in their winning round

The WIHS Silent Auction Is Now Open!

WIHS is excited to offer a wide variety of items and unique experiences in our Silent Auction. Train with a top rider, catch a game with friends and family, enjoy a unique getaway – or all of the above! Check out our selection of equestrian items, pro sporting tickets and so much more HERE and start bidding.

Here’s a selection of items sure to please. Take a peek and plan your bidding strategy!

  • Private lessons with Beezie Madden, Todd Minikus and more
  • Weeklong stays in Palm Springs and Martha’s Vineyard
  • Sports Tickets including NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks Courtside Seats; 76ers Suite; Boston Bruins Glass Seats, Preakness VIP Turfside Terrace Package
  • Unique getaways: Delta First Class Tickets, Scotland Golf Excursion, National Harbor Weekend Stay
  • Lugano Diamond Earrings, ALE Custom Coat, and more!
  • The auction closes Saturday, Oct. 30, at 9:00 p.m. ET

Bid Now

Photo of the Day

Kisses for Cantina and Helen Voss. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

In Front Of The Lens

Photos by Alden Corrigan

#WIHS2021

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ABOUT WIHS

WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition, and is recognized by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (CSI4*-W), US Equestrian (6* Jumpers, Premier Hunters), US Hunter Jumper Association, Maryland Horse Show Association, and Virginia Horse Show Association.