Washington, D.C. – The six-day Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN™, kicked off on Tuesday, October 22, at Capital One Arena in the heart of Washington, D.C. Tuesday’s opening day of competition featured the start of the professional and amateur hunter divisions, as well as year-end championships for child and adult hunter riders.
Earning wins in the $10,000 WIHS Adult Hunter Championship and the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship were Priscilla Denegre riding String of Pearls and Abby Cole on Q-Bella, respectively.
Winning the $10,000 Adult Hunter Championship during Hunt Night, presented by BUCKEYE™ Nutrition, had very special meaning for Denegre, who collected the Diane Wade Memorial Award for the win. Not only does Denegre have a long history with WIHS, but she’s also just coming back from a serious injury.
“I’m so lucky and blessed to be able to come back and do this. I know that. To have this horse, and to win this, is big for me,” she said. Denegre’s 2017 fall resulted in multiple broken bones and extensive time out of the saddle. When she was ready to start jumping again early this year, String of Pearls was her pick to ride. “She’s been terrific. Talk about helping my confidence coming back; it just couldn’t be better,” Denegre, of Middleburg, VA, said.
From the field of 31 starting round one over the Alan Lohman-designed course, Denegre and “Pearl” scored an 83, which put them into third. A score of 85 in round two sent them on top of the standings and earned them the blue. “She’s one of those horses that wants to please,” Denegre said of Pearl.