The 60th anniversary Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) concluded on Sunday, October 28, at Capital One Arena in downtown D.C. with the naming of the 2018 Grand Pony Hunter Champion, as well as WIHS Pony Equitation Finals and WIHS Regional Hunter Finals winners.
Taking the weeklong show’s top pony hunter honor was Tessa Downey of Houston, TX, riding her own Anisette.
Downey, 13, and the 12-year-old black Welsh Pony Cross mare topped two of the Medium Pony Hunter over fences classes and finished second in the handy to earn the Medium Pony Hunter Championship, for which they were presented the Shenandoah Sundowner Perpetual Trophy, donated by Evan Coluccio and Ashmont Farms, Lt.
The pair’s consistent rounds proved to be enough to then clinch the Miles River Moonglow Perpetual Trophy, donated by Scott Novick & Rustic Woods, as the Grand Pony Hunter Champions. Downey and Anisette also received the Potomac Trophy for the High Score Junior Hunter Rider on a Pony, and Downey was named the Best Child Rider on a Pony, sponsored by Gotham North. For the Best Child Rider award, Downey received the Captain V.S. Littauer Perpetual Trophy.
“I grew up watching Maddie Schaefer and everyone who is now in the big eq win this trophy, and I’m just super excited,” said Downey, who was competing at WIHS for the third time. “We came here just with our goal being to jog in every class. That was our goal at Harrisburg too; we just wanted to be consistent. Then we go and this happens, and we’re over the moon!”
Downey started riding Anisette this past year, after purchasing the mare from the Hoch family, and she has seen great success with her since, including winning the Medium Pony Hunter Championship at the U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) Pony Finals in August.
“She’s spunky. She wants to be the best. You don’t have to tell her. She wants to be,” said Downey.
Finishing as the reserve champions in the Medium Pony Hunters were Alexa Lignelli of New York, NY, and Fox Creeks Curious George, owned by the Lignelli Family.
In the Small Pony Hunters, the championship honor was presented to Maddie Tosh of Milton, GA, riding Bit of Love for owner Dr. Betsee Parker. Tosh and the 12-year-old Welsh Pony Cross finished first, second, and third over fences for the win. The Small Pony Hunter reserve championship went to Clara Propp of New York, NY, riding Benlea Mizzou, owned by Aquitaine Equine.
The Large Pony Hunter Championship went to Kat Fuqua of Atlanta, GA, and her own Brighton, who finished first and second over fences and fifth under saddle for the tricolor victory. The reserve championship was awarded to Caleche, owned and ridden by Lola Head.