From across North America, the top horses and riders in the hunter discipline flocked to Wellington, FL, this week for World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Week at the Winter Equestrian Festival. The sixth week of competition shines a spotlight on all divisions of the discipline and gives amateurs, juniors, and professionals alike the chance to qualify for Saturday night’s $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular.
Canada’s Brady Mitchell riding Epic Style and Scott Stewart aboard Spirit D’Intro Z shared the Equine Tack & Nutritionals 3’6” Green Hunter title in the International Ring. Thirty-six entries stepped into the ring, but it was the Warmblood gelding by Cloney, owned by Rein Family LLC, as well as Scott Stewart and Spirit D’Intro Z, a Zangersheide gelding by Stakkato, owned by Gochman Sporthorses who were crowned champions of the division.
Mitchell was thrilled after his winning round and said, “My horse was very good yesterday, he was Section A winner of the jumping class yesterday and he won the hack. In one way the pressure was off because I knew I would probably have the tricolor, but of course you want him to keep winning. He’s a horse that really seems to rise to the occasion, so I feel really lucky to be able to ride him.”
This pair has been showing since last January, and Mitchell described Epic Style as, “The best feeling horse that I ride. He has the most beautiful and strong topline and the feeling his bascule gives you in the air is truly second to none.”
Epic Style navigated the course in the International Ring exceptionally well this morning, “it’s great riding in this ring, I love riding in this ring. I love when we get to ride the hunters in here because you’re able to get on a real pace and I feel like it shows off the horse’s really well and some horses are big event horses and really shine in this environment and I think he is one of those horses.”
With consistent top ribbons, Stewart was similarly pleased after taking home the tricolor with Spirit D’Intro Z. “Spirit is actually a new ride for me. He’s a really talented jumper, and before circuit we decided to play with him in the hunters becuase he’s a lovely mover,’ said Stewart. “We are all very pleased. It’s always great riding in the International Arena here at WEF. He was brave and it rode great out there today.”
Complete results here.