54th Annual Washington International Horse Show Hosts Opening Day with Hunters

The 54th Annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) hosted its opening day on Tuesday, October 23, with a full day of hunter competition at Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C.

The professional and amateur-owner riders showed throughout the day in the first classes of their divisions and conclude their competition for championship honors on Wednesday. The children’s and adult hunter riders competed for their championships in the evening. The WIHS continues its six-day competition through Sunday, October 28.

The $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship was the opening class of the evening session with 29 entries competing. J.P. Godard, of Aiken, SC, set the course and the top 12 entries from round one returned for a second round over fences.

Sirius Black and Madison Goetzmann (Shawn McMillen photo)
Weekend Affair and Catherine Rodda (Shawn McMillen photo)

Coming out on top, Madison Goetzmann, of Skaneateles, NY, earned scores of 76 and 82 for a combined total of 158 aboard Sirius Black, owned by Christina Gellos. For the win, the pair was awarded the H. Fenwick Kollock Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by Friends of Fen.

Catherine Rodda guided her horse Weekend Affair to second place honors with scores of 82 and 73 for a 155 total. Third place was awarded to Emma Fass and Son of a Sailor with a 154 point score (83 and 71.5).

Twelve-year-old Madison Goetzmann trains at Heritage Farm in Katonah, NY, and is excited to move up to the Junior Hunter divisions this winter after a very successful child and pony career. Goetzmann showed her last pony in Harrisburg last week and this will be her final show in the Children’s division riding Sirius Black. The pair has had a great year together, also winning the NAL Children’s Hunter Final in Harrisburg last weekend, and Goetzmann was determined to make this last show count.

“I have had lots of success with Black,” the rider stated after her win. “He is pretty easy. He was my first horse that I have gotten, so he was a great starter horse.”

“He needs a forward ride; he is really lazy, but he lit up in this ring a little bit,” she stated. “Actually both of my horses did, so I didn’t need as much leg as I usually do.”

In addition to her ride aboard Sirius Black, Goetzmann held the leading score of 84 aboard her horse Balisto going into the second round, but the pair had trouble at one jump, and a score of 50 in round two dropped them to eleventh place overall. On Sirius Black, however, Goetzmann improved on her score from round one and moved up for the win.

“My first round on Black was good; I had one jump that messed me up to get a lower score, but the second round I really liked,” she stated. “He was really good in the second round; it was consistent.”

“On Balisto, my first round was really good and I felt really good on him, and my second round we just had that one long jump,” Goetzmann admitted. “He is new to this kind of show indoors, but I have more shows to come on him, so I have more tries.”

Although this was her final show on Sirius Black, Goetzmann is excited to move up with Balisto and she has been practicing as much as possible. She lives four hours away from her trainers at Heritage Farm, but noted that it is worth going the distance to ride at such a great barn. When she cannot make it to Heritage, Goetzmann also has her aunt’s Up the Creek Farm in Rochester, NY, to practice at occasionally.

“I have really good trainers,” she acknowledged. “I have improved so much. I started out on small ponies just cantering around and now I have made my way up to here.”

On showing at WIHS, Goetzmann described, “I like this show because it is different. Obviously you would wish for a bigger schooling area and a bigger ring, but that makes it special I guess. I like being in the middle of the city because during the day my dad and I walked around and went to some museums. It was fun; there is a lot of stuff around here.”

Amy Zettler and Glad Rags Take the Win in the $10,000 WIHS Adult Amateur Hunter Championship

Glad Rags and Amy Zettler (Shawn McMillen photo)
Kathryn Clapp and Donnerkind (Shawn McMillen photo)

The $10,000 WIHS Adult Amateur Hunter Championship concluded day one at the 2012 WIHS with 31 entries showing over the first round course. The top twelve were brought back and Amy Zettler, of Aldie, VA, rode her horse Glad Rags to the championship with scores of 79 and 82 for a 161 point total.

Kathryn Clapp was awarded the second place prize aboard The Barracks’ Donnerkind with scores of 77 and 75 for a two-round total of 152. Laurie Barna and Laguna led the first round with a score of 81 and then earned a 70.5 in round two to finish third with a 151.5 point total.

Amy Zettler has owned Glad Rags for two years and purchased the nine-year-old Thoroughbred gelding from Steve and Sally McVeigh, of Middleburg, VA. Glad Rags is by the stallion Musical River, and he is a third generation horse bred by the McVeighs. Zettler and Glad Rags both showed at the WIHS for the first time last year, and Zettler is proud to have made so much improvement this year.

“I’m just so thrilled,” Zettler beamed after her win. “We had a little bit of a challenge at Harrisburg, so to come back and be this great, I’m so proud of him. He was a little nervous going into Harrisburg. Here he was so relaxed and so confident; it makes me thrilled.”

“We had an incredible year,” she continued. “He was second in the $250,000 HITS Hunter Prix. We got $45,000 for that class. To top it off with being first here is just incredible! I could not ask for a better year; it’s just amazing.”

Zettler described the ride on Glad Rags, stating, “Normally he’s just so relaxed and I get in a little half seat and flop the reins at him and go, but I think because of being indoors, he’s a little more nervous. I have to sit more and ride him up into my hand a little bit, which is a very difficult ride for me to do. Today he wasn’t quite like that; he was a little more like himself. I think he’s a winner. He goes in there wanting to win. He wants to be good. I think that is his personality.”

On showing at the WIHS, Zettler described, “I think if you have never been here before and aren’t a horse person you would think this was crazy, stalls underneath here and everything, but what an opportunity. Who gets to say they get to ride at Verizon Center? You get to watch hockey here, but to go in here and ride? It’s amazing and a great opportunity.”

Zettler’s husband is on a six-month deployment in the military and she looks forward to telling him about the big win when he returns. She also thanked her trainers Peter Foley and Dale Crittenberger of Woodhall Farm in Virginia, who she has been riding with for three years. “They’re just incredible; I couldn’t ask for better trainers,” she smiled.

Earlier on Tuesday, the professional hunter divisions completed their first day of competition at Verizon Center. The Robotyping Challenge Trophy was presented to Tom Brennan and Gramercy Park, owned by Lynn Ellen Rice, for the best Green Working Hunter round of the day. Brennan and Gramercy Park scored an 86 to win the trophy as the overall winner of classes 22 and 32 as a First Year Green Working Hunter.

The Fairfax Hunt Race Association Challenge Trophy was awarded to Scott Stewart and Enjoy, owned by Rose Hill Farm, for the best Green Working Hunter handy round. The pair had a high score of 87 as the overall winner of classes 23 and 33, also a First Year horse.

The WIHS is excited to announce that the $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, CSI 3*-W will be aired on NBC Sports Network on Sunday, October 28, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. EST.

The show will also be live streamed in its entirety at and also available on USEF Network on Saturday evening at

For full results, more information, or to watch the free live feed of the show, please visit

Final Results: $10,000 Children’s Hunter Championship


1 SIRIUS BLACK, Madison Goetzmann, Christina Gellos

2 WEEKEND AFFAIR, Catherine Rodda, Catherine Rodda

3 SON OF A SAILOR, Emma Fass, Emma Fass

4 OLIVIA, Mary Claire Medeiros, Mary Claire Medeiros

5 FARGO, Kathryn Maginnis, Kimberly Maginnis

6 NOBLE BLUE, Kristen Bowman, Kristen Bowman

7 SEYMOUR, Lauren Fraser, Jan Golash

8 BILLY ELLIOT, Aoife Magner, Aoife Magner

9 PARK PLACE, Meg Phippin, Meg Phippin

10 CACHET, Alexa Schwartz, Alexa Schwartz

11 BALISTO, Madison Goetzmann, Madison Goetzmann

12 SMALL TALK, Caroline Cline, Elizabeth Skae 

Final Results: $10,000 Adult Hunter Championship


1 GLAD RAGS, Amy Zettler, Amy Zettler

2 DONNERKIND, Kathryn Clapp, The Barracks

3 LAGUNA, Laurie Barna, Laurie Barna

4 WHAT’D I SAY, Katie Caruthers, Ann Garnett

5 KIPLING M., Stuart Landin, The Barracks

6 BAY OF GOLD, Phoebe Weseley, Phoebe Weseley

7 CATANIA Shannon, Stepp, Randolph College

8 THE PATRIOT, Kara Evans, Kara Evans

9 ALIAS Ken, Wexler, Use The Ring Llc

10 MARKELO, Brooke Cole, Brooke Cole

11 THREE WISHES, Rebecca Johnson, Rebecca Johnson

12 SKYLAR, Kristin Montemarano, Kristin Montemarano