Florida rider scores perfect 100 in High Performance Hunter Stake

  • On Thursday, January 21, at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), Scott Stewart partnered Gochman Sport Horses LLC’s Catch Me to score a perfect 100 and the championship ribbon in the High Performance Hunters, sponsored by Antarès Sellier France.

    Achieving a perfect score is an accomplishment only a handful of hunter riders have ever managed and Scott was delighted to join the roll of honor.

    “I’ve always dreamed of being able to do it, and I was a little nervous that I was running out of time on this particular horse, especially because I don’t show him too much anymore since he is primarily Becky Gochman’s amateur horse,” explained Scott.

    “There’s not too many horses like him that can get that score so I feel lucky to be able to ride that type of horse. When he goes like that, he does everything pretty much on his own. It’s a great feeling.”

    Scott and the 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Casiro I have earned many top ribbons, including winning the $100,000 WCHR/USHJA Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular in both 2016 and 2017 at WEF.

    “That horse has really come close to getting a 100 a lot of times,” explained Scott of the gelding, who was named USEF’s National Horse of the Year in 2016.

    “We have gotten a lot of high 90s before. I think today’s course really suited him and suited the possibility to get that score. Getting a 100 was always in the back of my mind with him, certainly after he went really well in the first class. He can go around with a loop in the rein and let you gallop around the course.

    “I’ve had a lot of really nice rounds, and lots of nice rounds on him that I thought maybe could have been close,” said Scott of Wellington, FL. “Certainly when I left the ring I thought maybe it could happen, but I was in shock when it actually happened! I think that horse really deserves it. He tries 100% every time he goes in.”

    On Thursday, Scott also joined 11 other horse-and-rider combinations bidding for the tricolor ribbon in the Green Hunter 3’9”, sponsored by Equine Tack & Nutritionals, riding Richared Prant’s Love Note.

    After two competitive days of showing, the pair earned the championship title having received a first, two seconds, plus third and fourth place ribbons. The pair’s rhythmic pace earned them a score of 85 on the second day to win an over fences class.

    Scott has had the ride on the eight-year-old Westphalian gelding by Kalaska De Semilly for three years and the pair have maintained a 100% strike rate this season, taking home the championship ribbon every time they’ve shown.

    “I showed him as a first year horse pretty regularly, and last year we showed a couple times and he was very good,” explained Scott, who is gearing up for the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Week 6 while Love Note will mainly be focused on showing with his owner Nancy Hooker. “He primarily does the Amateur-Owner Hunters with her.”

    Reserve champion was Penny Lombardo, of Loxahatchee, FL, with Charismo, earning a first, second, third, fourth, and fifth places in the Green Hunter 3’9” division.

    The perfect birthday gift

    Israel’s Sydney Shulman received the perfect 26th birthday gift when winning Thursday’s two-phase on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village. She rode Azilis Du Mesnil to victory as CSI3* competition got underway at the Winter Equestrian Festival.

    “This is definitely one of the better birthdays,” she said. “You can’t do better than this, first class of the day, winning, on your birthday.

    “I absolutely love jumping on the grass and this field. The course was great, especially for my horse. She has a massive stride, especially off the left lead, and the two places to leave out were off the left so I was thrilled with it. She jumped beautifully.”

    The 11-year-old Selle Francais mare is owned by Jill Shulman and put forth a clear effort, stopping the clock in 30.76sec. Adrienne Sternlicht (USA), a team gold medalist from the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018, and Cadans Z, owned by Starlight Farms 1, LLC, took home second place in 30.80sec, while U.S. Olympian Laura Kraut and St. Bride’s Farm’s 12-year-old mare Fleurette rounded out the top three, clear in 31.23sec.

    Sydney earned a third place finish in the $137,000 Wellington Regional Medical Center Grand Prix CSI3* on Saturday night but has been on the sidelines since.

    “I have to say thank you to my team at Back Country Farm because I have an injury, and I haven’t ridden since Saturday night,” she said. “They have been riding my horses every day. It really goes to show that it’s a team effort. They prepared her, they’ve been riding her all week, they brought her to the ring, and I’m really grateful for them.”

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