UPPER MARLBORO, Md., Oct. 29, 2022 – Capping a spectacular day of equestrian sport at the 2022 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), presented by MARS EquestrianTM, Ireland’s Conor Swail and Count Me In led the field in the $406,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington CSI5*-W for the President’s Cup presented by Experience Prince George’s. Junior phenom Augusta Iwasaki topped the WIHS Equitation Finals and won the Medium Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, while Ellie Ferrigno notched her second win of the week in the High Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic.
Riding in front of a full house of spectators in the Show Place Arena at Prince George’s Equestrian Center, 30 entries traversed the grand prix course set by Bernardo Cabral of Portugal. Nine of those found the key to a clear round to return for the jump-off.
“I had to make sure that I had the course be the same quality as the caliber of riders,” said Cabral, “and actually, I wasn’t that good because I had a little too many clean! It was great to design the five-star here at WIHS. It’s been an honor to be here.”
First to return was Daniel Coyle (IRL) and Legacy, who felled one jump to finish in eighth place in a time of 38.55 seconds. He was followed by Mario Deslauriers (CAN) on Bardolina, who recorded the first double clear of the night in 40.17 seconds, which left them in sixth place. Beat Mändli (SUI) and Chartraine Pre Noir were also clear in a slightly faster time of 39.24 seconds for fifth place.
Next in was Swail on Count Me In, and they made the most of the shortened course, slicing across jumps and shaving precious time off the clock with precision turns. They stopped the timers with no faults in 35.76 seconds, which would hold up for the win.
They were followed by Devin Ryan (USA) and Eddie Blue, who recorded a time of 36.87 seconds for fourth place. Brian Moggre (USA) and his longtime partner MTM Vivre le Reve were slick across the course, finishing in 36.74 seconds to slot into third place.
Moggre noted afterward, “The past few shows haven’t really been our best results, so I didn’t have many expectations other than knowing he was going to try his hardest. I maybe didn’t take as much risk as I normally would, but he jumped amazing and I’m super happy with the result.”
“It’s always great to have a nice result with the horse that you’ve had for so long,” said Moggre of his 13-year-old Westphalian gelding by Ustinov x Chello II owned by Major Wager LLC, “so to have Vivre le Reve back here still jumping top sport after seven years of partnership, every time I get to go in the ring with him is a blessing.”
Moggre was immediately followed in the jump-off order by Daniel Bluman (ISR) riding Gemma W. The pair gave Swail a run for his money but would not be fast enough with a final time of 36 seconds flat to finish in second place.
“It doesn’t sound like much but at the end of the day, it is,” said Bluman of being just off the pace from Swail. “It’s a split second that is really separating all of us. I didn’t get to see his jump-off, but I knew if I performed the way that I wanted and rode my plan that I had a pretty good chance to beat it. Unfortunately, I made a mistake in one of the bending lines from the oxer to the liverpool, and I think if you want to beat Conor Swail right now, you can’t make any mistakes.”
A top competitor for Bluman, Gemma W is “a really special mare,” he said. “She always wants to play the game. She enjoys it, and I’m very pleased with the way she performed this week.”
The final two pairs in the jump-off – Kent Farrington (USA) on Landon and Laura Kraut (USA) with Confu – had faults on course and finished in seventh and ninth places, respectively.
Swail has added yet another accomplishment to his incredible year with Count Me In, aka “Crosby.” His list of career firsts that he credits to Crosby included competing in Aachen, Germany, and helping Ireland win the Aga Khan Trophy as the winning Nations Cup team in Dublin. He won the World Cup qualifier in Sacramento, California, earlier this month with Vital Chance de la Roque. With the lead in the qualifying standings, the plan for April may include the FEI Jumping World Cup Finals in Omaha, Nebraska.
“He’s really changed my career, and he’s brought me to a lot of places I’ve never been and has been very successful doing it,” said the number five-ranked rider in the world. “I feel like now I know he’s capable, and [World Cup Finals] is something that I’m looking forward to doing with him.
“It’s obviously been a fantastic start for me, winning two out of two [qualifiers] with two different horses, but tonight really it’s about Crosby,” continued Swail of the 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Count Grannus x Sherlock Holmes owned by Mannon Farm and Sandy Lupton. “He’s been just incredible for me since I got him. This is his first five-star grand prix win with me. I’m just so thrilled for him.”
This was the first time that Swail has competed at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center and he, along with many of the top riders competing this week, were complimentary of the event’s move to its new venue.
“It’s a very nice arena,” said Swail. “I must say I’ve been impressed enough with it. The stadium is good; the footing was very good. Bernardo did a great job, and there were good jumps. The horses are very comfortable here. There’s a lot of space, which is very nice for them, so they’re relaxed going into the ring in a good frame of mind. The crowds were super.”
WIHS President Victoria Lowell stated, “This was a big, big year for us. It was very important to us to put our best foot forward and wow people. We wanted the footing to be top notch, we wanted the prize money to be exceptional, and getting to that five-star level has always been a goal for us. Being at this new venue we were able to do so much with the support of Prince George’s County and the State of Maryland. We are so grateful for what we were able to achieve to put on this great show.”
Final Results: $406,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington CSI5*-W for the President’s Cup presented by Experience Prince George’s
1 COUNT ME IN: 2007 Hanoverian gelding by Count Grannus x Sherlock Holmes
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Mannon Farm, Sandy Lupton: 0/0/35.76
2 GEMMA W: 2011 KWPN mare by Luidam x Unaniem
DANIEL BLUMAN (ISR), Blue Star Investments: 0/0/36.00
3 MTM VIVRE LE REVE: 2009 Westphalian gelding by Ustinov x Chello II
BRIAN MOGGRE (USA), Major Wager LLC: 0/0/36.74
4 EDDIE BLUE: 2009 KWPN gelding by VDL Zirocco Blue x Marlon
DEVIN RYAN (USA), Ll Show Jumpers, LLC: 0/0/36.87
5 CHARTRAINE PRE NOIR: 2012 Selle Francis gelding by Kannan x Corrado II
BEAT MÄNDLI (SUI), Grant Road Partners LLC: 0/0/39.24
6 BARDOLINA 2: 2009 Holsteiner mare by Clarimo x Landos
MARIO DESLAURIERS (CAN), Mario Deslauriers, Wishing Well Farm LLC: 0/0/40.17
7 LANDON: 2013 Zangersheide gelding by Comilfo Plus Z x Quadrillo
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Haity Mc Nerney: 0/4/36.99
8 LEGACY: 2010 Zangersheide mare by Chippendale Z x Bon Ami
DANIEL COYLE (IRL), Ariel Grange, Daniel Coyle: 0/4/38.55
9 CONFU: 2007 Holsteiner gelding by Contact Me x Cambridge 8
LAURA KRAUT (USA), St. Bride’s Farm: 0/RT
10 IGOR: 2008 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Emerald X Nabab De Reve
JOS VERLOOY (BEL), Hampton Green Farm LLC: 4/61.70
11 PEPITA CON SPITA: 2011 Westphalian mare by DSP Con Spirit x Come On
HUNTER HOLLOWAY (USA), Hays Investment Corp.: 4/64.21
12 CONTAGIOUS: 2009 Zweibrucker gelding by Contagion x For Keeps
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Beechwood Stables LLC: 4/64.28
Iwasaki Caps Off Spectacular Week at 2022 WIHS with Equitation Final Victory
Off the heels of her championship win at the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals and an already spectacular indoor season, Augusta Iwasaki continued her hot streak in her last hurrah as a junior rider, coming away with the WIHS Equitation Finals victory with Attendu de Lannois Z.
A field of 40 horse-and-rider combinations competed in the coveted year-end final, for which riders qualify by competing in WIHS classes throughout the year. On Friday, riders rode in the hunter phase, and the jumper phase followed on Saturday afternoon. The top 10 riders then returned for the work-off, where they switched onto a competitor’s mount. Riders were awarded an average mark from the scores of two panels of judges including Linda Andrisani with Peter Lombardo and Heather Caristo-Williams with Hardin Towell.
“The course was fantastic today,” remarked Towell, who won this class in 2006 and has gone on to compete at the CSI5* level. “I thought [course designer] Bernardo [Cabral] did a great job. He made our job a lot easier because he really called the riders out, and they really rose to the top. The course really did the trick today. The hunter phase is difficult because everybody can be so close, but today, this is riding. That’s a step towards jumping in the President’s Cup and moving on.”
Three past winners of the WIHS Equitation Finals – McLain Ward, Kent Farrington, and Hunter Holloway – were on the start list for the evening’s featured grand prix, giving further meaning to Towell’s comments for this year’s top three finishers.
Iwasaki, who was third in this class last year with the same mount, topped the hunter phase to get out to an early lead.
“The hunter phase is honestly probably our best equitation class,” noted Iwasaki of her partner, the nine-year-old Zangersheide gelding by Arko III owned by Ashland Farms. “I just wanted to be as smooth as possible and make everything look as seamless as possible. He’s been amazing. I’m just so happy with him.”
In the jumper phase, Skylar Wireman, of Bonsall, California, and Famous, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Zacharov owned by MKT Investments LLC, came out on top with a 90 to move into the overall pole position.
“My horse used to be a jumper, so the jumper phase is our strong suit. Let’s just say that,” she smiled. “The hunter phase we were just looking for a nice round, and he was really good. I was not on top coming into the jumper phase, but I knew that’s where we can show off and shine a little bit. We really went out there and laid it down.”
Jordan Gibbs, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, rode her brother Dominic’s former mount Cent 15, who was victorious last year, and then switched onto Ellie Aronson’s mount Conthacco for the work-off. With “Cent,” she scored 84.5 in the hunter phase and 83.75 in the jumper phase, sitting in eighth overall. She then scored an 89 in the work-off, which shot her up the leaderboard to a third-place finish.
“I was very excited to start with Cent,” said Gibbs of the 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Carenzo. “He’s been a great partner and a great teacher for me. I have had a pretty solid season with him, and this is my first year of 3’6” finals, so I’m just thrilled to be able to come to such a prestigious show and finish so well.
“Ellie [Aronson] was very nice and was telling me how she rides Conthacco and to just get up to pace and go from there,” she continued. “They said he’s a little cold, and I was like, ‘That’s what I’m used to.’ It ended up working well, and I’m really happy with how it ended.”
As the two frontrunners, Iwasaki and Wireman switched horses to duke it out for the win in the final work-off. Both ladies are experienced catch riders and relied on that to help them put in a strong round. Gibbs, however, has done less catch riding, so she explained she watched videos of Conthacco before swinging a leg over Wolfstone Stables and Sales Inc.’s 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Conthargos. As Towell listened to the young riders detail their strategies he felt compelled to interject.
“I feel old,” he laughed. “I won this final 16 years ago, and I couldn’t just pull up my phone and watch videos.”
“I judged that final also,” added Andrisani, also laughing.
In the end, it was Iwasaki’s impressive score of 91.5 in the work-off that sealed the deal, marking her second major equitation finals win this season. For her incredible victory, Iwasaki was presented with the WIHS Equitation Classic Perpetual Trophy.
Alexander Alston, of Gahanna, Ohio, won the Hollow Brook Wealth Management Sportsmanship Award and was presented with the trophy by Hollow Brook.
Final Results: WIHS Equitation Finals
1 Augusta Iwasaki/Attendu de Lannois Z
2 Skylar Wireman/ Famous
3 Jordan Gibbs/Cent 15
4 Ellie Aronson/Conthacco
5 Avery Glynn/Waldo
6 Zayna Rizvi/Acer K
7 Alexander Alston/Ferry van den Hoogeweg
8 Baylee McKeever/Salvatore
9 Amira Kettaneh/Vantastico
10 Nicole McMillion/Copenhagen
Ferrigno Finishes First in $15,000 High Junior/Amateur Classic
The $15,000 High Junior/Amateur Classic wrapped up junior/amateur jumper competition at the 2022 WIHS, where Ellie Ferrigno once again was on the fast track to a blue ribbon, this time aboard I Dottori vd Richter. For her win in the classic, she was presented with the Ambassador’s Cup. She and I Dottori vd Richter were also champions of the High Junior/Amateur division and were awarded the Greenberg Challenge Trophy.
Second place in the classic went to Skylar Wireman and Coolio 23, owned by Shayne Berridge Wireman, and Augusta Iwasaki with Iwasaki & Reilly’s Fresca rounded out the top three.
While Friday’s $7,500 Low Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic marked Ferrigno’s first win and championship at WIHS, this victory was equally as special. Ferrigno first got the ride on “Doc” five years ago when she was 15 years old at the beginning of the winter Florida season. He wasn’t a perfect match for his current rider, so Ferrigno was told if she could make it work, she could take over the ride.
“I rode him the first time, and he absolutely ran away with me,” laughed Ferrigno. “I rode him for a while, and I looked at [my trainer] Val [Renihan] and I said, ‘I want to keep him.’ Val thought I was absolutely nuts.”
At the time, Ferrigno hadn’t competed above the low junior jumper height, but she and the now 14-year-old Warmblood gelding by Winningmood van de Arenberg formed a quick bond and within five weeks were contesting high junior jumper classics together. At the end of the winter season, their partnership transitioned to being more intermittent as Doc returned primarily to his then owner.
“At the end of the summer before Young Riders, it was over,” stated Ferrigno. “We weren’t together anymore and that was it. It always killed me a little that I didn’t get to do everything on him, because he’s so important to me.”
Last summer Ferrigno heard that Doc was for sale, so she called everyone she knew looking for him. At the end of last summer, her family was able to make a deal to keep him forever. They came to this year’s WIHS with expectations just to have fun, since it was Ferrigno’s first time competing at this height indoors. Things quickly starting going their way, culminating with the classic win and division championship.
“It means the world to me to win on him,” expressed Ferrigno. “He’s definitely a quirky guy. He doesn’t do lead changes, and depending on the day, he might run away or he might not, but what better horse to jump that big on. He’s a fighter, and he’ll do anything.
“I’ve always watched the jumper classes where they get to ride around with the cooler on, and that was always my dream that that would be me one day,” she continued. “I always hoped and hoped, and it has evaded me until this year when I have my two incredible horses who gave it to me.”
Augusta Iwasaki and Freedom Fly Fault-Free for $7,500 Medium Junior/Amateur Classic Victory
In the $7,500 Medium Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, Augusta Iwasaki and Ali Nilforushan’s Freedom produced the only double-clear effort for the victory in a speedy time of 25.820 seconds.
“I’m so excited about how everything has turned out,” expressed Iwasaki, who will head back to college at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, at the end of the indoors season. “It’s a little bittersweet. It’s my last junior year, but I’m so glad about how this year has gone, and I’m ready to keep going.”
This most recent blue ribbon came courtesy of Freedom, who was the first jumper Iwasaki could call her own. Though his primary career is in the jumper ring, Iwasaki’s strong partnership with the 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Astrello x Inferno, made him her first choice for the recent USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals, which they went on to win. This week, they transitioned back to the jumpers to continue Iwasaki’s Indoors hot streak.
“He’s really adjustable, which is really good for a smaller ring like this, so I think that really helps,” said Iwasaki, who also was Grand Junior Hunter Champion earlier in the week. “He’s one of my favorite horses I’ve ever had. He just has so much heart and tries so hard.”
Iwasaki tied for reserve champion of the division with Katherine Pugliese, of Malvern, Pennsylvania, and her own Easy Jumper. Skylar Wireman, of Bonsall, California, finished second in the classic and was champion with Karen, owned by MKT Investments LLC.
“I’ve built a relationship with her and have gotten to know her, so now we’re right in sync,” commented Wireman of the 10-year-old Hanoverian mare by Levistano. “She’s so awesome, and you really can trust her with anything. She’ll do anything for you. She’s pretty much perfect.”
At the end of Junior/Amateur jumper competition, Wireman was awarded the Leading Junior Jumper title as well as the Junior Jumper Style of Riding Award, for which she was presented with the Shalanno Trophy. Ferrigno was awarded the Leading Amateur Jumper title.
The WIHS concludes Sunday, October 30, with the pony hunter championships, the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals, presented by Huntland, and the WIHS Halloween hunt teams.