Wilmington, Ohio—Oct. 1, 2020—Two new World Championship Hunter Rider national champions were named on Wednesday, September 30, at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Wilmington, Ohio. The day’s top honor, the win in the $25,000 WCHR Professional Challenge, sponsored by The Gochman Family, went to Courtney Lenkart and Glorieus, while Julia Rose Rossow earned the win in the $5,000 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge, sponsored by the John R. Ingram Fund.
A score of 87.16 put Lenkart and Glorieus at the top of the leaderboard following the first round, and a second-round score of 89.00 only further cemented their victory, giving them a winning 176.16 total. As the WCHR Pro Challenge winner, Lenkart received the Little Brook Trophy donated by Gary Duffy and Little Brook Farm.
Second place with scores of 86.66 and 87.25 for a 173.91 total went to Samantha Schaefer and In the Know, owned by Madeline Schaefer. Michael Britt-Leon and Private I, owned by Kelly Sims, finished in third with scores of 85.33, 86.33, and a 171.66 total.
“It feels amazing to win the WCHR Pro Challenge,” said Lenkart, who hails from Bartonville, Texas. “This is such a prestigious horse show, and my goal has always been to win this class. It was an amazing experience. I was a little nervous going into the second round just because I was leading; I wanted to win so badly after leading in the first round. I tried to stay very relaxed and just have fun when I went in. Everything came up really smoothly. It’s like a dream come true!”
Lenkart and Glorieus, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by La Primera Hacienda, L P, had to qualify for the WCHR Professional Challenge, and they did so with ribbons in the High Performance Hunter division at Capital Challenge earlier in the week. It’s a division that suits the stallion well, as the four-foot fences are of no difficulty for the jumper-turned-hunter.
“He was jumping huge at 1.40m as a 7-year-old stallion,” said Lenkart of the horse originally purchased by Angela and Mike Barber as a jumper for Lenkart’s husband, Scott Lenkart. “I stole him! I’m so fortunate to have them as such supportive owners. I’m just so confident on him because he can jump 3’6” and 4’ like it’s 3’. He has a huge stride and absolutely no spook, so it makes my job really easy.”
Lenkart secured her spot in Friday night’s $10,000 WCHR Professional Finals, along with Michael Britt-Leon, Geoffrey Hesslink, Evan Coluccio, Kelley Farmer and Greg Crolick. This year's Finals will feature an altered format consisting of two rounds, a Classic Hunter round and a Handy Hunter round, on a horse of the rider’s choosing. A different horse may be used for either phase of the Pro Finals.
Julia Rose Rossow of Calabasas, California, and Chantilly topped a field of 29 entries to win the $5,000 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge, receiving the Bittersweet Trophy, donated by Rachel Kennedy.
At the end of the first round, Rossow and the 12-year-old warmblood mare, owned by Malibu Valley Farms Inc, sat tied for the lead with Geoffrey Hesslink and Small Occasion, both with scores of 88.16.
Hesslink and Small Occasion, owned by Shadowfax Equestrian LLC, were the first of the two to return, earning a second-round score of 87.25 – for a 175.41 total – and leaving little margin for error for Rossow and Chantilly. The pair rose to the challenge however, earning a score of 88.66 and clinching the victory with an overall 176.82 score. Hesslink and Small Occasion finished in second while Evan Coluccio and High Society, owned by Alexa Elle Lignelli, rounded out the top three.
“Geoffrey certainly put the pressure on!” said Rossow, who has worked as a professional and assistant for California-based trainer Chad Mahaffey for the past four years. “That was definitely a lot of pressure, but good, competitive pressure. I was really nervous going into the first round. Then it just all melted away going into the arena. I was in my own world.
“I knew I could trust Chantilly, and she was going to be there for me,” continued Rossow, 29. “She has a lot of heart. She always gives her all, but she really knows when it’s a special class. As soon as I stepped into the ring, I knew that we were going to be there for each other. Winning the WCHR Developing Pro Challenge has been a goal of mine for a while, and to have it happen this year, riding Chantilly, a horse I know very well and really love and enjoy riding, means the world. To have achieved it is really special, especially with this mare. It was really incredible.”
Jacob Pope’s mount Meridian and groom Mario Garcias were awarded the Shapley’s Best Turned Out Award in the Pro Challenge, while Hillary Johnson’s mount Suede and groom Jesus Guerra received the Award for the Developing Pro Challenge. The American Style of Riding Awards, sponsored by Bill Rube, was presented to Daisy Farish and Ashley Foster.
Beyond the WCHR Challenge class winners, the following National Champions and special WCHR Awards were also presented on Wednesday:
The Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at the World Equestrian Center in Wilmington, Ohio, runs through Sunday, October 4. Watch the competition live on USEF Network.
USHJA extends special thanks to sponsors Charles Owen, Inc., CWD, FITS Riding, Parlanti, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital and Shapley's.
Release by Jump Media for USHJA.
Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.
Place / Horse / Rider
Round 1 / Round 2 / Final
1 / GLORIEUS / COURTNEY LENKART
87.16 89 176.16
2 / IN THE KNOW / SAMANTHA SCHAEFER
86.66 87.25 173.91
3 / PRIVATE I / MICHAEL BRITT-LEON
85.33 86.33 171.66
4 / RAVELLO / DAISY FARISH
84.16 87.33 171.49
5 / SCREENSHOT / MICHAEL MURPHY
84.66 84.25 168.91
6 / CHANNING / KELLEY FARMER
81 86 167
7 / VDL HAMILIA / MARISA METZGER
82.33 84.50 166.83
8 / HANDWRITTEN / GREG CROLICK
83.83 82 165.83
9 / ANTHEM / MICHAEL DENNEHY
80.16 84 164.16
10 / CURO / GEOFFREY HESSLINK
81.83. 82 163.83
11 / MERIDIAN / JACOB POPE
82.66 65.66 148.32
12 / CAPTIVATE / KATE CONOVER
86.83 RT RT
Place / Horse / Rider
Round 1 / Round 2 / Final
1 / CHANTILLY / JULIA ROSE ROSSOW
88.16 88.66 176.82
2 / SMALL OCCASION / GEOFFREY HESSLINK
88.16 87.25 175.41
3 / HIGH SOCIETY / EVAN COLUCCIO
85.83 87.50 173.33
4 / SO FUN / ASHLEY FOSTER
86.58 86.50 173.08
5 / CORONATION / STEVEN GREGORIO
86.66 85.50 172.16
6 / EDGEWOOD’S WONDER / JAMIE SAILOR
86.16 84.75 170.91
7 / ASTERI / ABBYGALE FUNK
85.25 84.83 170.08
8 / CASTON / MOLLY MCADOW
84.16 82.50 166.66
9 / KT LANSINI / NICOLE BOURGEOIS
82.83 81.66 164.49
10 / GAVALIA / MEGHAN KAUPP
83.16 80.16 163.32
11 / HEAVEN’S DREAM / KYLEE ARBUCKLE
85.33 65.33 150.66
12 / SUEDE / HILLARY JOHNSON
82.66 55 137.66