FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Upper Marlboro, MD - October 2, 2014 - Tara Metzner's two major goals for 2014 were qualifying for and competing in the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship and the WCHR Professional Challenge.
After some bad luck at the Derby Championship, Metzner traveled to the Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by the Gochman Family, looking for some redemption. And, it came in spades.
Metzner, 37, of Rancho Santa Fe, CA, guided Davlyn Farms' Come Monday to top honors over a star-studded field of 26 riders in the $25,000 WCHR Professional Challenge, held on Wednesday evening in The Show Place Arena.
|Tara Metzner wins the $25,000 WCHR Professional Challenge aboard Come Monday, owned by Davlyn Farms. Photo Credit: Tricia Booker/USHJA Archives|
"This year I made it a goal of mine to qualify and make the top 12 here," said Metzner with a grin. "To win it is crazy."
After showing Come Monday throughout the year, from Florida to California, Metzner traveled to Kentucky in August for the Derby Championship where the mare got hurt in a freak accident the morning of the event.
"She's totally fine now, as you can see," she said of the 11-year-old Holsteiner mare. "But it all worked out here!"
Metzner's two-round total of 179.99 points earned her the Little Brook Farm Perpetual Trophy, donated by Gary Duffy. As icing on the cake, she also accumulated enough points for her victory to leap up to sixth place in the WCHR Professional National standings and qualify for the WCHR Professional Finals, where the top-six riders go head-to-head on multiple mounts.
Sandy Ferrell guided Fifty Shades to second place with 178.07 points, and Scott Stewart rode Garfield to third place with 177.66 points.
Metzner stood second after the first round behind Jennifer Alfano with Candid, and she returned for the evening's top-12 finale confident in her horse.
"She's an exceptional horse," said Metzner. "I knew if I put in a good round she's magical. As long as I get her to the right spot, she'll always jump the best she can. She sort of excels in classes like this, shines a little bit, because it's something new and different. I just knew; I trusted her that she would jump to the best of her ability."
When Alfano's mount missed a lead change in the second round, Metzner clinched the title, three years after she'd won the WCHR Developing Professional Challenge.
"Everyone likes to win things, but it's very special," she said. "Mostly because we had a bit of a rough go at the Derby Championship. Any time I go in the ring and don't win on this horse, I feel like I've let her down. She's such a special horse and I just want to make sure people know that. I was really happy for her that she won it."
After the WCHR Professional Challenge concluded, the six riders that qualified for Friday night's WCHR Professional Finals were announced. In ranked order, they include: Scott Stewart, Kelley Farmer, Hunt Tosh, John French, Sandy Ferrell and Tara Metzner.
The Shapley's Best Turned Out Award in the Professional Challenge went to Garfield, ridden by Scott Stewart and groomed by Ubaldo Duron.
Feigus Conquers the WCHR Developing Pro Challenge
It was surprising that Brian Feigus had any fingernails remaining after the WCHR Developing Professional Challenge. After jumping to eighth place in Round 1 aboard Cailin McNamara's Quinn, he simply returned for Round 2 hoping to move up in the standings.
But, after posting scores of 87.50, 90 and 90 and taking the lead, all he could do was take a seat in the stands and see if anyone could top his two-round total of 174.41.
|Brian Feigus wins the $5,000 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge aboard Quinn, owned by Cailin McNamara. Photo Credit: Tricia Booker/USHJA Archives|
"It's crazy. Normally, I'm used to being second," he said. "We always joke around that I'm always a bridesmaid-finally, finally. Especially coming back from eighth to first, it was teeth chattering toward the end. I'm shocked."
Feigus, 24, of Colts Neck, NJ, held on for a well-earned victory in the field of 32 competitors from throughout the country, winning the Bittersweet Trophy donated by Rachel Kennedy. Kristy Herrera finished a close second with Antwerp (173.16), and Jennifer Bliss guided Sugarman to third with 172.28 points.
Although he was riding a 7-year-old Pre-Green mount competing at his first indoor competition, Feigus trusted that Quinn could rise to the occasion.
"His demeanor is awesome. He's mellow, such a sweet horse and very reliable," said Feigus. "He always goes in the ring and wants to do a good job. I couldn't ask for a better horse.
"I thought he went really well in the first round. He had a couple of rubs, which was where the scores were," he added. "In the second round, I just decided I had nothing to lose at that point. What's the lowest you can be, 12th? So, I just went in there and rode like I normally do, and it started to just work itself out. As the course went on, it just got smoother and smoother."
Feigus, who works with his parents Barbara and Brad Feigus at their Nevergreen Farm, brought students to the Capital Challenge for the Equitation Weekend, presented by Bigeq.com. After they returned home, he stayed behind to show Quinn in the Future Hunter, 3'3", section, earning a score of 84 that qualified him for the Challenge.
Thanks to the live feed, his family and long-time trainer, Nancy Urban, cheered him on from New Jersey, and trainer Emil Spadone helped him at Capital Challenge.
"I love this class," he said. "It's such an opportunity for people such as myself. It just allows you to come to a class like this and experience it and have a chance at winning. Nothing against the big-name riders, but it's hard to compete against them."
The outcome of the class also determined the WCHR Developing Pro National Champion final standings, with Jennifer Bliss clinching the title over Alexis Taylor-Silvernale.
Other WCHR Award winners honored included:
2014 Derbydown Trophy: Douglas Wheeler's Gotham and Hunt Tosh who scored a 91.5 in the Futures 3'3" section - Awarded to the highest-scoring hunter round by a professional rider in the professional hunter sections.
2014 Jeffrey Katz Memorial Trophy: Scripted and Kelley Farmer - Honors the horse-and-rider combination that accumulates the most points in the First Year Green, Second Year Green or Green Conformation Hunter sections from their top four WCHR member event shows, plus their section here at the Capital Challenge.
2014 Winter's Run Sportsmanship Award: David Q. Wright (awarded by a WCHR membership vote to the person who best exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship). David passed away earlier this year after a gallant fight with cancer, and Linda Seay accepted the award on his behalf.
2014 Rox Dene Perpetual Trophy: Larry Glefke & Kensel LLC's Scripted - Awarded to the high-score horse ridden by a professional that accumulates the most points in the Performance Working Hunter 3'6", High Performance Working Hunter, First Year Green, Second Year Green, Green Conformation or Regular Conformation sections, from their top four WCHR member event shows plus their section here at the Capital Challenge.
2014 Alabama Clay Conformation Hunter Award: Larry Glefke & Kensel LLC's Scripted - Presented to the WCHR high-score horse that accumulated the most points in the Green Conformation or Regular Conformation sections, from their top four WCHR member event shows plus their section here at the Capital Challenge.
2014 USHJA/WCHR Course Designer Perpetual Trophy: Bobby Murphy (This trophy is not awarded annually, but rather only when an extremely worthy recipient, who has proven innovative and ground-breaking in hunter course designing, is identified. This year is the award's seventh presentation.)
Action continues at the Capital Challenge Horse Show this week with the WCHR Amateur-Owner 3'6" and 3'3" Challenges (Oct. 2), the WCHR Adult Amateur Challenge and the WCHR Professional Finals (Oct. 3), the WCHR Pony Challenge (Oct. 4) and the Children's and Junior 3'6" Challenges (Oct. 6).
Professional, Junior and Amateur Riders are invited to compete at the Capital Challenge Horse Show by qualifying through the WCHR National and Regional programs throughout the year. A rider's top four WCHR Member Events count toward awards in these categories: Professional and Developing Professional, Junior (3'6" and 3'3"), Amateur-Owner (3'6" and 3'3"), Adult Amateur, Handy Hunter, Children's and Pony. Riders are then invited to contest WCHR Challenge Classes, and the WCHR presents its national awards at the Capital Challenge. Regional champions are also recognized in two separate parades.
For full results please visit Capital Challenge online.
A special thank you to the 2014 USHJA WCHR Program sponsors: Blue Ribbon Custom Blankets, Official Cooler Sponsor of WCHR Pro-Finals; Shapley's, Best Turned out and Groom Award Sponsor; Charles Owen, Inc. the Official Helmet of the USHJA; Rood & Riddle, Official Equine Hospital and Veterinary Pharmacy of the USHJA; Standlee Hay Company, Official Forage of the USHJA and Nutrena, Official Horse Feed of the USHJA.
The WCHR Program was founded in 1992 to recognize and celebrate the hunter rider. Since the inaugural WCHR Professional Finals in 1992, the WCHR program has expanded to include coveted National and Regional year-end awards for Professionals, Developing Professionals, Amateur-Owners, Amateur Adults, Juniors, Children's and Pony riders.
The USHJA World Championship Hunter Rider Program while honoring hunter riders also supports the mission of the USHJA Foundation. It is through the generosity of supporters that this program is able to continue to achieve its goals.
Visit USHJA online to learn more about the WCHR Program or to enroll for the 2015 season. Questions may be directed to Kelley Douglas at (859) 225-6717.