The 2018 WIHS Regional Horse Show and USHJA Zone 3 Championship, presented by The Bishop Family, returned to Prince George's Equestrian Center (PGEC) in Upper Marlboro, MD, from Friday, October 19, through Sunday, October 21. The annual event showcased local and regional riders, giving them a final chance to qualify for the coveted Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), which kicks off on Tuesday, October 23, at Capital One Arena in downtown Washington, D.C.
The MHSA Gittings Horsemanship Finals highlighted competition at the WIHS Regional Horse Show as the featured event on Friday with a win for Anna Ordonio of Frederick, MD. Training under the direction of Kim Williams, Ordonio piloted SS San Remo to the top for owner Tyler Rafferty.
Seventeen-year-old Ordonio competed in the Gittings Horsemanship Finals in 2017 with a seventh-place-finish before this year’s victory. A senior at Oakdale High School in Linganore, MD, she had only one week to prepare.
“I leased Remo one week before the final, so it was quite a learning experience getting to know him in that amount of time,” said Ordonio, who hopes to be recruited to a collegiate riding team next year. “He is such a great horse with a big personality. Overall, I was just grateful that I had a good horse to ride.
“We get along so well,” continued Ordonio of the 16-year-old Argentine gelding. “I came into the finals thinking we would do okay and just wanted to put down a solid round, so winning was icing on the cake.”
Ordonio has been competing throughout the fall season and the Gittings Horsemanship Finals marked her seventh final of the year.
“I was so happy to end with a win,” she said. “This is only my second year doing equitation straight from the jumper ring, so I am really focused on learning to ride my best.”
Charleez Simcik and her own Angelique finished second behind Ordonio, while Jake Parker Wymard piloted Fiorello FF to third for owner Ginger Parker. Emily Cyrway and her own Orion took fourth, with Spencer Toohill and his own Carlisle Castle rounding out the top five.
Additional equation champions were also crowned, including Simone Brown, who topped the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) 3’3” Junior Hunt Seat Medal riding her own Brego, and Rachel Ashe, who won the VHSA Children’s Medal riding Van Gogh, owned by Brent Taylor. In the pony ranks, Kaylee Garrido won the MHSA Children’s Pony Medal riding her own Moonlight McDreamy.
In jumper competition, Calista Bell was named champion of the USHJA Zone 3 Children’s Jumper Final riding her own C’est Bon Cidane, while Caroline Anderson took reserve aboard her own Victor. For adult riders, top honors in the USHJA Zone 3 Adult Amateur Jumper Final were presented to Wendy Libert riding Papillion Peanut for owner John Bartko. Reserve champion went to Alexis Mierzwa and her own Ever Sinful.
In the hunter divisions, Romulus was named champion in the USHJA Zone 3 Adult Amateur Hunter 18-35 division with owner and rider Jessica Van Brocklin in the irons. Staros, owned and ridden by Jennifer Morris, earned reserve. The tricolor in the USHJA Zone 3 Adult Amateur Hunter 35 and Over Final went to Poetic Justis, owned by Brooke Cole and piloted by Alex Johnson. Kimberly Shovelin piloted her own Sirah to reserve champion.
The USHJA Zone 3 Children’s Hunter Horse 14 and Under division crowned Best Of, ridden by Emily Georgio and owned by Gabrielle Conte, champion. Lapis took reserve with owner/rider Olivia Brown in the irons. For Children’s Hunter riders 15-17, Courtney Salkeld piloted Lucky Penny to champion for owner Abigael Kaufman, while Harper Peterson took reserve riding her own Greatness VDK.
Katie Triantos was named champion in the USHJA Zone 3 3’3” Junior Hunter division riding her own Gossip Girl. The reserve title when to Ace of Spades, ridden by Gabrielle L. Morin and owned by Emily Morin.
Leading the charge for ponies, the Zone 3 Small/Medium Children’s Hunter Pony division presented its championship to Heaven Sent, owned and ridden by Kelly A. Kiser. Jamrock was named reserve with rider Payton Flanders for owner Wilson Sporthorses, LLC. The Zone 3 Large Children’s Hunter Pony champion was Freedom, owned and ridden by Kylie Reynolds. Reserve went to Mr. Chocolat, owned and ridden by Kendall Austin.
Competition at the WIHS Regional Horse Show concluded on Sunday, just two days before the 60th Anniversary Washington International Horse Show—featuring top horses and riders from across the U.S. and around the world —kicks off on Tuesday, October 23. The 2018 Washington International Horse Show runs through October 28 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.wihs.org.