Madeline Schaefer of Westminster, MD, claimed both the Grand Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter Championship title with Sutton Place and the Grand Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter Championship win with Checkmate on Thursday, October 1, at the Capital Challenge Horse Show.
The horse show, which continues through Sunday, October 4, at the World Equestrian Center in Wilmington, OH, also recognized the Grand Adult Amateur Hunter Champion on Thursday, with the award going to Barbara Brungess and Levianto.
For Schaefer, the road to the Grand Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter Championship, sponsored by Missy Luczak-Smith, began with the Amateur-Owner 3’3”, 18-35 division championship with Checkmate. Schaefer and the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, owned by Samantha Schaefer, won two of the over fences classes and the under saddle class to take the tricolor.
“I had a really great last two days!” said Schaefer, who aged up into the amateur-owner hunter divisions this year following a highly successful junior career. “It’s a big deal to win a grand championship at Capital Challenge. They always make it feel important. The presentations are always amazing. It’s one of the best shows.
“I had two awesome horses this week,” continued Madeline Schaefer, who is currently in her sophomore year at the University of South Carolina where she rides on the school’s National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) team. “Checkmate was awesome; never having really shown inside much, he was a star. He was supposed to be my sister’s amateur horse, but he took a little bit to develop and get together. I started showing him in Florida this year, and we’re figuring it out together. It paid off today.”
In the Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunters, it was Sutton Place’s turn in the grand champion winners’ circle. Schaefer and her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding finished first, second, and third over fences and first in the under saddle before clinching the championship in the Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter, 18-35 division, and ultimately the grand championship, sponsored by Finally Farm.
For the win, Schaefer was presented with the Dr. Harold M.S. Smith Trophy, donated by Dr. Suzanne Smith & Dr. Peter Craig.
“Sutton Place has been in and out of our barn for a while, and my mom bought him this summer,” said Schaefer. “We’ve had some fun with him. It’s so awesome to have a horse that’s ready to win. He’s perfect.”
In addition to the dual grand championships, Schaefer also rode Checkmate and Sutton Place to wins in the $2,500 WCHR Amateur-Owner 3’3” Challenge and the $5,000 WCHR Amateur-Owner 3’6” Challenge, respectively.
“I already had a great day before I did the Challenges, so it’s a great added bonus!” said Schaefer, who won the WCHR Pony Challenge at the 2013 Capital Challenge. “Checkmate really jumped incredible over just about all of them and made some really nice efforts that were definitely helpful for my win. Sutton jumped incredible in the Challenge class and was really there for me. Both horses were excellent today. It’s awesome to win both challenges this year.”
Continuing her lengthy list of wins on Thursday, Schaefer was also presented with the Best Amateur-Owner 3’6” Rider Award, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Ernest M. Oare, for which she was presented with the So Many Ways Challenge Trophy, donated by Karen Kramer, and the Best Amateur-Owner 3’3” Rider Award, sponsored by Spring Mill Farm.
The reserve championship in the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter, 18-35 division went to Carly Hoft and Coretto, while Kaitlin Porath and Breaux claimed the reserve title in the Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter, 18-35 division.
In the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter, 36 & Over division, the championship, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Ernest M. Oare, went to Jaime Auletto of Tabernacle, NJ, and Idolize. The reserve honor was awarded to Kit McClorey and High Tide. A score of 88 also earned McClorey and High Tide the EMO Amateur-Owner 3’3” Trip of the Show award.
In the Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter, 36 & Over division, it was Dorli Burke of Salisbury, MD, who rode away with the championship aboard Charming. Burke and Charming also earned the EMO Amateur-Owner 3’6” Trip of the Show award with a score of 87. Taking home the reserve championship was Darby Toben riding Killian.
Barbara Brungess and Levianto Take Grand Champion Honors in Adult Hunters
Barbara Brungess and her own Levianto won the Grand Adult Amateur Hunter Championship title, sponsored by Steve Martines, and the Equus Entries Challenge Trophy, donated by Equus Entries and Sue and Ralph Caggiano, after earning 20 points and the division championship in the Adult Amateur Hunters, 36-50.
Brungess took the highest scores in both over fences classes with the 11-year-old warmblood gelding she has had for six years. “He’s a great horse,” Brungess said of Levianto. “He tries so hard and he puts up with me – I’m an amateur, I make a lot of mistakes. But it finally all came together today. He was on his game and I was on mine.”
Capital Challenge has been a regular stop on the show circuit for Brungess since she bought Levianto as a five-year-old, and she made the nine-hour drive this year all the way from Spring City, PA. “Capital Challenge is always a terrific show,” she said. “I’ve struggled at this show in the past so I’m really happy that I finally rode my horse to his potential today.”
Reserve championship honors in the 36-50 division went to About Last Night with owner Nicole Jeffries of Sylvan Lake, MI.
For her success, Brungess was also named the recipient of the Best Adult Amateur Rider Award, sponsored by Phoebe Weseley and River Run Farm, LLC.
The champion of the Adult Amateur Hunters, 18-35 was Melissa Jacobs of Buffalo, NY, with Rocketman, owned by Sorenson Stables. The reserve went to Hannah Eddlemon of Beavercreek, OH, aboard Luscious, owned by Roberts Stables, LLC.
Earning the championship in the Adult Amateur Hunters, 50 and over was Julia Barnes of Gates Mills, OH, riding Simply Cool, and the reserve championship went to Lynn Walsh, of Magnolia, TX, on Hollywood Park.
Competition at the 2020 Capital Challenge Horse Show continues on Friday, beginning at 8 a.m. with the Large Junior Hunter divisions in the Sanctuary and the Pony Hunter divisions in the R&L Ring. Friday evening will feature the $9,000 WCHR Pro Finals beginning at 7 p.m.
About the Capital Challenge Horse Show
Now in its 27th year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by the World Equestrian Center, sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter and equitation competition. Held each autumn, the 2020 edition of the Capital Challenge Horse Show continues through October 4 at the World Equestrian Center in Wilmington, OH. The 10 days of competition will include prestigious equitation events, jumper divisions, the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Finals, the $25,000 3’ and 3’3” Green Hunter North American Championships, and more, with many of the country’s best horses and riders competing in junior, amateur, and professional divisions. Learn more at www.CapitalChallenge.org.