Upper Marlboro, MD – The 2019 WIHS Regional Horse Show and USHJA Zone 3 Championship, presented by TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, returned to Prince George’s Equestrian Center (PGEC) in Upper Marlboro, MD, from Friday, October 18, through Sunday, October 20. The annual event showcased local and regional riders, giving them a final chance to qualify for the coveted Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN™, which kicks off on Tuesday, October 22, at Capital One Arena in downtown Washington, D.C.
Charleez Simcik, 18, of Taneytown, MD, won the MHSA Gittings Horsemanship Finals, which was the featured event on Friday at the WIHS Regional Horse Show. Simcik was second in the Gittings Horsemanship Finals in 2018 and returned this year hungry for a win.
Simcik, trained by her mother Stacey and Kim Williams, piloted her own Angelique to the top spot, and has had the ride on the 11-year-old German-bred mare for more than two years. Formerly piloted by Taegan Long in the equitation, Angelique officially joined Charleez’s string by accident.
“We ran into her last rider’s mom at a show and she was hoping to focus more on the jumpers, so we took the horse originally to campaign and sell,” said Charleez, who is a senior at Garrison Forest School in Baltimore, MD. “I obviously fell in love with her right away and convinced my mom to buy her.”
Angelique and Charleez took a chance to catch the judges’ eye in the Gittings Horsemanship Final. She utilized the immense size and stride of the mare she calls a “big princess” to eat up a bending line at the end of the course in six strides where others were doing seven and sometimes eight.
“I think that line is what the judges really liked about our round,” said Charleez. “We were very concise with our round because there weren’t a lot of opportunities to do rollbacks, so I had to something to catch the judges’ eye.”
This year marks Charleez’s third year competing in the Gittings Horsemanship Final before passing the torch and the ride on Angelique to her sister Jianna. Of her experience at the WIHS Regional Horse Show, Charleez noted, “Having the Regionals at [Prince George’s Equestrian Center] makes the show feel really special. For me, it feels like a hometown show because I grew up riding around all those same people, and I know everyone. But, what makes it even more special is that the local divisions have the opportunity to then compete at WIHS.”
Behind Charleez, Alexis Seiden took second riding Contasia for owner Wynnwood Farm, LLC, while Clare O’Brien rounded out the top three aboard her own Bronziet. Ryleigh Crisafulli and her Camelot finished in fourth, with Mahalia T. Alascio capping the top five riding Blueberryhill’s Blue Dream, owned by Castlewood Farm, Inc.
Additional equitation champions were also crowned, including Emily Longest, who topped the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) 3’3″ Junior Hunt Seat Medal riding Hoorah for owner Drew Tibbetts. In the pony ranks, Eliza Laviolette won the MHSA Children’s Pony Medal riding her own Romeo.
Highlighting USHJA Zone 3 Championships jumper competition, Hugh Turner and Acadia Park, owned by Samantha Hawrysko, were named champion, and Adison Rice took reserve with Zantura. For adult riders, top honors in the USHJA Zone 3 Adult Amateur Jumper Final were presented to Jessica Leonard aboard Amalee for owner Jessica Matelis. Wendy Libert and Papillion Peanut were reserve champions.
In the USHJA Zone 3 Championships hunter divisions, Grace Walker and her own Zealand collected the championship in the Children’s Hunter Horse 14 & Under Final, while Lauren Satola took reserve on Santinos. For 15-17 riders, Margaret A. Stell and her own Clever topped the list, while Kendall Cashion and Verano earned reserve.
Emily Longest was also named champion in the USHJA Zone 3 3’3″ Junior Hunter Final riding Hoorah for Drew Tibbetts. Jessie Spade took the reserve title with Nightfall.
The USHJA Zone 3 Adult Amateur Hunter 18-35 Final was topped by Brittani Director riding her own Rococo. Layne Woodward took reserve riding Montblanc. The tricolor in the USHJA Zone 3 Adult Amateur Hunter 35 and Over Final went to Betty Oare and EMO Stables’ Sidenote, while Rachel Howell piloted Flirtation Walk to reserve honors.
Leading the charge for the Small and Medium Ponies were Ashley Garrido and Color Me Happy before a tie shared the reserve between Audrey Quinn on Jems Tucker and Mary Reeves Hopkins riding My Little Golden Girl. The Large Pony tricolor went to Abigale Olmsted on Highland’s Right Royal, owned by Alexandra Panetta. Alicia Wang and Irish Rambler were reserve.
Competition at the WIHS Regional Horse Show concluded on Sunday, just two days before the Washington International Horse Show – featuring top horses and riders from across the U.S. and around the world – kicks off on Tuesday, October 22. Qualified riders from the WIHS Regional Horse Show will compete at WIHS in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, October 27.
WIHS will continue a longstanding tradition as one of the world’s most celebrated indoor horse shows in 2019 and again host the $136,300 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington, presented by Events DC for the President’s Cup, with coveted qualifying points on offer for the 2020 Longines FEI Jumping World CupTM Final taking place in Las Vegas, NV, in April. Additionally, WIHS will welcome qualified hunter, jumper, equitation, and pony riders from across the nation and celebrate year-end titles, including the coveted Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals.
Tickets for WIHS are available online on Ticketmaster.com, at the Capital One Arena box office or by calling 1-800-745-3000. For group discounts, contact Capital One Arena Group Sales at 202-661-5061. For more information on tickets and discounts for military, seniors and students, visit WIHS.org/tickets.
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About Washington International Horse Show, wihs.org
Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of North America’s most prestigious and entertaining equestrian events attracting more than 26,000 spectators annually to Washington, D.C., for Olympic-level competition plus community and charity events. More than 500 top horses and riders arrive from all over the globe to jump for more than a half a million dollars in prize money. Highlights include the $136,300 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington, presented by Events DC for the President’s Cup, the $25,000 Land Rover Puissance (high jump), $50,000 Speed Final on Military Night presented by Caterpillar Inc., and Kids’ Day, a free, fun and educational community event. WIHS, an official USEF Heritage Competition, is rated CSI4*-W by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the world governing body for horse sports. The Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization based in Washington, D.C.