WIHS Regional Horse Show Crowns New Champions


WASHINGTON, OCT. 26, 2021 – It was a sparkling four days at the 2021 WIHS Regional Horse Show & USHJA Zone 3 Championship presented by TTR Sotheby’s International Realty Oct. 21- 24.

Local and regional owners, riders, trainers, and spectators turned out for great sport, new classes, and attractive jumps in the beautiful setting at Morven Park International Equestrian Center in Leesburg, Va.

MHSA Gittings Horsemanship Finals 

Saturday’s featured event, the Maryland Horse Shows Association (MHSA) Gittings Horsemanship Finals, was won by Emily Giorgio, 18, of Davidsonville, Md., and CKE Horse Enterprise’s In Theory. 

Emily Giorgio and In Theory won the 2021 MHSA Gittings Horsemanship Finals. Shawn McMillen Photography

Though Giorgio had experience in the Gittings with other horses, this was her first time competing “Jasper” in an equitation final, but she knew the gelding would be up for the challenge. 

“I’ve had [Jasper] for a little over a year, but we just began showing [together],” said Giorgio. “He’s perfect and so sweet. He always wants to cuddle and wants treats, and he is awesome to ride.” 

This was Giorgio’s final show as a junior so while there was a little pressure, and she commends the team of people around her for making the experience a great one.

“I have an awesome team; they’re so supportive,” she shared. “My family, my trainers Gabriella Conte and Rachel Agee, and everyone at the barn are amazing. It definitely calmed me down knowing that I had a great support system no matter what happened in the ring. 

“I also knew Jasper was going to be perfect no matter what and take care of me,” she continued, “so I tried to go in there and have fun without worrying about the outcome.” 

Emily Giorgio and In Theory. Shawn McMillen Photography

Giorgio, who has been competing at the WIHS Regional Horse Show since she was on small ponies, mentioned the venue at Morven Park International Equestrian Center also had a calming effect on her. 

“I love it there,” she said. “It’s so beautiful, and I think the horses really love it. There’s so much grass for them to not only graze on, but I also love cantering out in the fields or going on a trail ride with my friends. Knowing that you’re at a pretty relaxed place, with a lot to do and a lot of your friends, takes your mind off of [the pressure of competing].” 

Giorgio also was named champion in the USHJA Zone 3 3’3″ Junior Hunter Final riding Madeline Schaefer’s Stallone.  

Taking second place was Maris Jones riding her own Skyscraper, while Annabella Bozzuto rode Robin Bozzuto’s Finally to third place. Frankie Falise and Jim Hayward’s Freedom G finished fourth, with Addison Huffman and her own Calantus rounding out the top five. 

Tenth Annual Laura Pickett Award Presented 

Madison Smyth of Dayton, Md., trained by Kim Williams, received the tenth annual Laura Pickett Excellence in Horsemanship Award presented by Victoria Lowell and Charles Ancona. 

The honor is given to an up-and-coming adult or child rider and their trainer competing at the WIHS Regional Horse Show who best exhibit the enthusiasm, dedication, style, and commitment to excellent horsemanship that brings out the best in horse and rider. The award celebrates the legacy of lifelong horsewoman and Maryland-based trainer, Laura Pickett, and her unwavering dedication to her students and their horses. 

Kori Pickett, daughter of Laura Pickett, with Madison Smyth, the recipient of the tenth annual Laura Pickett Excellence in Horsemanship Award presented by Victoria Lowell and Charles Ancona. Shawn McMillen Photography

Children’s and Adult Jumpers 

In Children’s Jumper competition, it was Alexandra Lockard riding her own Centalia who was champion, while Olivia Brown and her own Poker van de Plataard took reserve.  

Top honors in Adult Jumpers went to Holleigh Arledge aboard her own McNick, in reserve. Kasey Cadle and her own Glynnwood Mer Calido. 

Alexandra Lockard and Centalia were champion in the Children’s Jumper division. Shawn McMillen Photography
Holleigh Arledge and McNick were champion in the Adult Jumper division. Shawn McMillen Photography


Children’s Hunters 

Brianna Cooper and her own Ambition collected the tricolor in the Children’s Hunter Horse 14 & Under division, while Sarah Entzian and her own Spectacular took reserve. For Children’s Hunter Horse 15-17 riders, Emma Shove and her own Take Heart topped the list, while Michael Laccheo and his own Prescott earned reserve. 

Brianna Cooper and Ambition were presented with grand champion honors in the Children’s Hunter Horse division by Orchard Manor Show Stables, LLC’s Lauren Marra and Jason Yannitello. Shawn McMillen Photography


USHJA Zone 3 Championship for Hunter Breeding 

Best Young Horse honors went to Renaldi, with Drew Taylor handling for owner Susan Tice-Grossman, while Best Young Pony honors went to Counterpoint, with Drew Taylor handling for owner Alicia Z. Kline. 

Best Young Pony, Counterpoint, with Drew Taylor handling for owner Alicia Z. Kline. Shawn McMillen Photography


New Trophy for Adult Amateur Hunters

The new Glyndon Memorial Trophy donated by Patti and Bruce Schindler in memory of Ms. Schindler’s successful Adult Amateur hunter, Glyndon, was presented to the WIHS Regional Grand Adult Amateur Hunter co-champions, Sophia Vella and her own Just For Kicks, and Whitney Blanchard and her own Del Mar.

Whitney Blanchard and Del Mar were co-grand champions in the Adult Amateur Hunter division. Shawn McMillen Photography
Sophia Vella and Just For Kicks were co-grand champions in the Adult Amateur Hunter division. Shawn McMillen Photography


Riders Qualifying for 2021 WIHS at Tryon

For their grand champion wins, Cooper, Blanchard, and Vella have qualified to compete at the 2021 Washington International Horse Show at Tryon International Equestrian Center Oct. 26-31, along with jumper winners Lockard and Arledge. Holly Lohmann Stello aboard Barbara Cohen’s Cloud Nine won the $1,000 MHSA Invitational Thoroughbred Hunter Classic, an event new to the WIHS Regional Horse Show.


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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.