WCHR Week Begins At The Capital Challenge

October 3, 2011

Upper Marlboro, Maryland, October 3, 2011 – With the 18th annual Capital Challenge Horse Show underway at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center, the countdown is on for the USHJA World Championship Hunter Rider Challenges and Finals taking place October 5-9.

Each year the top 10 nationally ranked riders in each WCHR category, as well as the top six riders from each region, are invited to compete in their respective WCHR Challenge competitions at the Capital Challenge.

Challenge classes are run in either a one- or two-round hunter classic format. The points earned from the Challenge classes (exception: Children’s Finals) are then added to points previously earned at WCHR Member Events and the Capital Challenge Horse Show, to crown a WCHR National Champion in each category.

Since its launch in 1995, the WCHR Professional Finals has grown into a competition that holds more meaning to its participants than just awards and prize money. It’s the ultimate rivalry among the nation’s elite professional hunter riders as they compete head-to-head riding the same mounts. At stake is the most prestigious and coveted title of World Champion Professional Hunter Rider.

Coming into the 2011 series, one rider holds the most victories at the WCHR Professional Finals—Scott Stewart, of Wellington, Florida, who is also the defending champion. Stewart has held the title of Top Pro four times: 1998, 1999, 2003, and 2010 and will be looking to make it a fifth title on Friday night, October 7.

In previous years many great hunter professionals have held the World Champion Pro title including: Havens Schatt, of Georgetown, Kentucky; Jennifer Alfano, of Buffalo, New York; John French, of San Juan Bautista, California; Louise Serio, of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania; Peter Pletcher, of Magnolia, Texas; Sandy Ferrell, of Bernville, Pennsylvania; and Hunt Tosh, of Alpharetta, Georgia.

Beginning on Wednesday October 5, riders from throughout the country will be competing for WCHR awards. First on the timetable are the WCHR Pro and WCHR Emerging Pro Challenges. Amateur-Owners take center stage on Thursday, with the 3’3” and 3’6” Challenges, while the Adult Amateurs ride on Friday afternoon prior to the highly anticipated Friday night WCHR Professional Finals. The WCHR Handy Hunter Challenge is featured on Saturday, while Juniors, Ponies and Children’s riders make their WCHR Challenge and Finals appearances on Sunday.

Numerous WCHR Regional and National awards celebrations and parades are also scheduled throughout the week to honor the WCHR Program winners from around the country.

A special thank you to the 2011 USHJA WCHR Program sponsors, including: Arc de Triomphe, Official Saddlery Sponsor; Blue Ribbon Custom Blankets by Royal Riders, Official Cooler Sponsor; UlcerGard, Merial, Contributing Sponsor.

The WCHR Program was founded in 1995 to recognize and celebrate the hunter rider. Since the inaugural WCHR Professional Finals in 1995, the WCHR program has expanded to include coveted National and Regional year-end awards for Professionals, Emerging Professionals, Amateur-Owners, Amateur Adults, Juniors, Children 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. If you are interested in becoming a supporter please contact Whitney Allen at wallen@ushja.org or (859)225-6707.

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