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Reed Kessler and Cylana Capture Victory in $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, Equitation and Jumper Finals Awarded at WIHS

Eighteen-year-old U.S. Olympian Reed Kessler added yet another accolade to her impressive year with a win in the $100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix, presented by Events DC, at the 54th annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS).


Cylana and Reed Kessler (Shawn McMillen photo)
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Taloubet and Paulo Santana (Shawn McMillen photo)
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Watch Me VD Mangelaar and Matt Williams (Shawn McMillen photo)

A FEI World Cup Qualifier, Kessler topped an impressive list of international competitors aboard her phenomenal mare Cylana to win in her first time competing in the class. Brazil’s Paulo Santana and Taloubet finished second, while Australia’s Matt Williams and Watch Me VD Mangelaar were third.

Earlier in the day, Elizabeth Benson earned the win in the 2012 WIHS Equitation Finals, while Katherine Strauss triumphed in the $10,000 SJHOF Ambassador’s Cup High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, and Michael Hughes was victorious in the $5,000 Senator’s Cup Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic.

Anthony D’Ambrosio, of Red Hook, NY, set the course for this week’s show jumping competition at Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C. D’Ambrosio set a great course for Saturday night’s grand prix, which featured 28 international horses and riders. Nine entries were able to clear the first-round course without fault to advance to the jump-off, and only four of those were faultless through the short course. 

Margie Engle (USA) and Indigo, owned by Griese, Garber, Hidden Creek and Gladwinds, cleared the jump-off course in 36.42 seconds to eventually finish fourth. Matt Williams (AUS) and Samantha Tuerk’s Watch Me VD Mangelaar improved on that time in 36.15 seconds to secure the third place honors. Brazil’s Paulo Santana and Taloubet were a full two seconds faster than Williams in 34.15 seconds to take the lead, but would have to settle for second. USA’s young show jumping sensation Reed Kessler was last to go in the jump-off and shaved another two seconds off of Santana’s time aboard Cylana to win the class in 32.62 seconds.

For their victory, Kessler and Cylana were presented with the President of the United States Perpetual Cup. As Leading Jumper Rider, an award sponsored by Robin Parsky, Kessler was also presented with the Margaret Chovnick Memorial Trophy and awarded a Rolex luxury timepiece from Tiny Jewel Box. Kessler’s parents, Teri and Murray Kessler, received a special award as the Leading Jumper Owner, sponsored by The Reid Family. Paulo Santana was named the Leading International Rider.

Reed Kessler has had an incredible year, competing as the youngest member in history for the U.S. Show Jumping Team at this summer’s Olympic Games in London. She can now add one of the nation’s most prestigious grand prix honors to her resume. Kessler was elated with the win, and praised Cylana on another great effort. The ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (by Skippy II x Darco) has become a superstar in her own right this year.

Second place finisher Paulo Santana had great results with Taloubet this week and spoke about his round and the pressure of having Kessler, a known speedster, following him in the order. “I would try to beat her. I saw the beginning of the class and I knew she was behind me and she would run in the minutes a couple more,” Santana stated. “It was a good mix in the jump-off; Margie, Matt. I had to play a little with the risk. I was afraid to try and then have a rail really early. I had to chase my points one by one and do a safe course, but that doesn’t mean that I would beat her. To win by two seconds in an indoor competition is a lot.”

Third place finisher, Matt Williams, spoke about his mount Watch Me VD Mangelaar and their success this year. “I got him last year in the middle of the summer as an eight-year-old,” Williams detailed. “He jumped the HITS $1 million grand prix last year and placed sixth in that. I decided to aim him for London, then went to Florida and then went over to Europe for the summer. Since that he did three shows where he was second in every grand prix and he has had seven weeks off now, so he’s a little fresh, but he felt fantastic. I choked going to the double. I got halfway there and changed my mind. Other than that he was really on his job and I’m really happy with him.”

Elizabeth Benson Wins 2012 WIHS Equitation Finals

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Elizabeth Benson on Patrick (Shawn McMillen photo)

The 2012 WIHS Equitation Finals concluded this evening with an exciting win for 18-year-old Elizabeth Benson of Whitehouse Station, NJ. Benson rode San Remo VDL, a twelve-year-old Latvian Warmblood gelding by Sudanas, through the first two phases of competition, finishing with a score of 89.33 in the hunter phase and a 91.17 point total in the jumper phase.

Returning for the final work-off sitting in first place overall, Benson’s ride aboard Catherine Tyree’s mount Patrick scored a 90.33, giving her a three round total of 270.832 for the win. 

The judges for the class were Todd Karn, of Fayetteville, NY, Jimmy Clapperton, of Savannah, GA, Alison Robitaille, of Upperville, VA, Ralph Caristo, of Saugerties, NY, Lauren Hough of Wellington, FL, and Scott Williamson of Wellington, FL.

Benson earned the victory over Hasbrouck Donovan, of Gainesville, FL, who totaled 267.833 with scores of 87.33, 89.50, and 91.00. Donovan rode Don Stewart and Derbypie LLC’s Drake in the hunter/jumper rounds and then piloted Benson’s mount San Remo VDL in the final work-off.

Third place went to Jacob Pope, of Owings Mills, MD, with a three round total of 263.082. Pope rode Madeline Turner’s Uno to scores of 88 and 84.42 in the first two rounds. His ride in the final work-off aboard Sarah Milliren’s mount Alando, owned by Devney Hoft, scored a 90.67.

This was Elizabeth Benson’s second time competing in the WIHS Equitation Finals after placing third in the competition last year. This year she stepped up to the plate to secure the title.

Benson was presented The WIHS Equitation Classic Trophy donated by Mr. and Mrs. G. Ralph Ours, III and a pair of custom chaps provided by Journeymen Saddlers, Ltd. San Remo VDL was awarded The Lugano Memorial Trophy donated by Stoney Hill as the winning horse of the night.  Championship coolers were sponsored by Mrs. Margaret Hamilton Duprey.

Benson and second place finisher Hasbrouck Donovan will both be attending Auburn University this year and received scholarships to ride on the school’s NCAA Equestrian Team. Benson will travel to Kentucky to contest the ASPCA National Maclay Finals next week as well, but for now she will take in the magnitude of this great accomplishment.

She was almost speechless trying to describe the winning feeling. “I can’t even put it into words I think,” Benson said with an emotion-filled laugh. “I was thrilled and excited. I didn’t imagine I would be in this spot.”

Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers Compete in Classics

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Chellando Z and Katherine Strauss (Shawn McMillen photo)
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Red Hot and Michael Hughes (Shawn McMillen photo)

The $10,000 Ambassador’s Cup High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, sponsored by Oasis Petroleum, saw a win for 13-year-old Katherine Strauss, of Southampton, NY, riding Chellando Z. 

Twenty entries showed in the class with seven advancing to the jump-off. Three entries completed the short course without fault, and Katherine Strauss and Chellando Z set the pace at 33.344 seconds to win the Ambassador’s Cup Perpetual Trophy, donated by Ambassador and Mrs. Marion H. Smoak.


Gabrielle Bausano and Ubico H finished in 33.573 seconds to place second. Ashley Foster and RAF LLC’s Indy placed third in 33.586 seconds.


Katherine Strauss has had great success at WIHS at a young age. She won the $10,000 Children’s Jumper Championship in 2010 and finished second in the same class last year. She has since moved up to compete as a junior and was able to beat out many top junior and amateur riders today.


The High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper champion, sponsored by Oasis Petroleum, was Amalaya Investments’ Vesuvius and Meagan Nusz. They were awarded the Greenberg Challenge Trophy donated by Mr. and Mrs. Hermen Greenberg. Strauss and Chellando Z were reserve champions. The Shalanno Style of Riding Award was given to Charlotte Jacobs, of East Aurora, NY.


In the $5,000 Senator’s Cup Low Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, sponsored by North Star, sixteen-year-old Michael Hughes, of Allendale, NJ, had a repeat victory from last year riding Drumnacross Farm Ltd.’s Red Hot.


Twenty-two entries showed in the class, with nine advancing to the jump-off. Hughes and Red Hot had the fastest of five double clear rounds through the short course in 30.658 seconds. For their win, the pair was presented with the Swan Lake Perpetual Trophy donated by Beagle Brook Farm in honor of the 1992 winner Swan Lake, ridden by Jennifer F. Miller.

Venezuelan rider Emanuel Andrade finished second in 31.072 seconds aboard Hollow Creek Farm’s Casanova Junior.  Reed Patton had two horses in the jump-off and finished third aboard Tissem in 32.745 seconds and fourth aboard Von Dutch in 35.204 seconds. Lillie Keenan also had two rides in the jump-off and took a fall from her first mount, but returned to earn the fifth place honors aboard Abigail Wexner’s Zycarla Z with a clear jump-off round in 35.204 seconds.

Red Hot is a year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding by Indoctro. Hughes has had a lot of great success with the gelding and knows his ride well. On winning their second Classic in a row at WIHS, Hughes smiled, “It’s great. Red Hot is such a great horse to come into this environment. He is so active always and he loves coming here.”

The Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Championship, sponsored by North Star, went to Hughes and Red Hot. They won the Foxbrook Perpetual Trophy in honor of Space Citation, donated by Joy Slater. Andrade and Casanova Junior were the reserve champions.

For full results visit http://www.wihs.org

Results: $100,00 President’s Cup Grand Prix presented by Events DC

1 CYLANA REED KESSLER USA: 0/0/32.62 REED KESSLER

2 TALOUBET PAULO SANTANA BRA: 0/0/34.15 PAULO SANTANA

3 WATCH ME VD MANGELAAR MATT WILLIAMS AUS: 0/0/36.15 SAMANTHA TUERK

4 INDIGO MARGIE ENGLE USA: 0/0/36.42 GRIESE/GARBER/HIDDEN CRK

5 WALDMAN Z CHARLIE JAYNE USA: 0/4/34.05 PONY LANE FARM

6 MYSELF DE BREVE MARIE HECART FRA: 0/8/35.03 MARIE HECART

7 WANNICK WH CHRISTINE McCREA USA: 0/8/35.46 WINDSOR SHOW STBL/TRIBBLE

8 ARMEGEDON SEAN CROOKS USA: 0/16/38.41 CROOKS SHOW JUMPING

9 ONIRA BRIANNE GOUTAL USA: 0/ret. REMARKABLE FARMS LP

10 VINDICAT W JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN USA: 4/68.30 STONE HILL FARM

11 AIR FORCE ONE KAMA GODEK USA: 4/70.06 KAMA GODEK

12 TEIRRA LAURA KRAUT USA: 4/71.12 HI HOPES FARM LLC

Results: WIHS Equitation Classic Finals

1 Elizabeth Benson WHITEHOUSE STATION NJ 270.832  Scores : 89.33, 91.17, 90.33

2 Hasbrouck Donovan GAINESVILLE FL 267.833
Scores : 87.33, 89.50, 91.00

3 Jacob Pope OWINGS MILLS MD 263.082
Scores : 88.00, 84.42, 90.67

4 Michael Hughes MORRISTON FL 259.332
Scores : 89.83, 84.83, 84.67

5 Meg O’Mara RUMSON NJ 257.832
Scores : 87.83, 90.33, 79.67

6 Victoria Colvin LOXAHATCHEE FL 257.499
Scores : 86.00, 83.17, 88.33

7 Kristen Lutz PURCHASE NY 252.33
Scores : 86.17, 79.83, 86.33

8 Sarah Milliren SAPULA OK 250.16
Scores : 84.33, 82.17, 83.67

9 Gabrielle Bausano NEW YORK NY 237.49
Scores : 85.00, 82.83, 69.67

10 Catherine Tyree CHICAGO IL 212.99
Scores : 84.67, 88.33, 40.00


Results: $10,000 SJHOF Ambassador’s Cup High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic sponsored by Oasis Petroleum

1 CHELLANDO Z KATHERINE STRAUSS: 0/0/33.344 KATHERINE STRAUSS

2 UBICO H GABRIELLE BAUSANO: 0/0/33.573 GABRIELLE BAUSANO

3 INDY ASHLEY FOSTER: 0/0/33.586 RAF LLC

4 VESUVIUS MEAGAN NUSZ: 0/4/32.062 AMALAYA INVESTMENTS

5 KACHINA CHARLOTTE JACOBS: 0/4/32.193 DEERIDGE FARMS

6 DELILAH HASBROUCK DONOVAN: 0/4/36.548 DERBY PIE LLC

7 TWILIGHT KATIE COX: 0/12/37.866 KIM COX

8 VICKY TAYLOR ALEXANDER: 4/55.914 REDFIELD FARM

9 MONSIEUR DU REVERDY VICTORIA COLVIN: 4/57.108 VICTORIA COLVIN

10 SINATRA IV MEG O’MARA: 4/58.444 WALSTIB STABLES LLC

Results: $5,000 Senator’s Cup Low Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic sponsored by North Star

1 RED HOT MICHAEL HUGHES: 0/0/30.658 DRUMNACROSS FARM LTD

2 CASANOVA JUNIOR EMANUEL ANDRADE: 0/0/31.072 HOLLOW CREEK FARM

3 TISSEM REID PATTON: 0/0/32.745 REID PATTON

4 VON DUTCH REID PATTON: 0/0/33.158 REID PATTON

5 ZYCARLA Z LILLIE KEENAN: 0/0/35.204 ABIGAIL WEXNER

6 CLIVE DIEDERIQUE VAN DER KNAPP: 0/4/29.588 DIEDERIQUE VAN DER KNAAP

7 S & L PYLOS ANNABELLE GUNDLACH: 0/4/32.516 POSTAGE STAMP FARM

8 COUNT ON ME 5 HARRISON SHURE: 0/8/33.230 HARRISON SHURE

9 ZENTINA B LILLIE KEENAN 0/elim. CHANSONETTE FARM LLC

10 STARNATO ALEXANDRA CROWN: 4/54.172 ALEXANDRA CROWN