Washington D.C., USA – October 24, 2019 – The international show jumpers took center stage on Thursday, October 24, at the 61st annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) CSI 4*-W for their first two competitions of the week during Barn Night. Israel’s Sydney Shulman (ISR) topped the $36,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class CSI 4*-W.
Sydney Shulman (ISR), who rides for Israel, just couldn’t stop grinning after picking up the blue ribbon in the $36,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class in her first year of competing in the international open jumper division at WIHS. She topped the class riding Villamoura as the fastest round of the nine riders who picked up 65 points over the jumps, finishing in 41.04 seconds aboard the 10-year-old bay Selle Français mare (Diamant de Semilly x Cassini I).
“I looked at the list of riders and I had dreamed to be in a class with these people, let alone to beat them,” Shulman, 24, said. “So I’m going to really remember this! It’s special to be here.”
The first through ninth place riders all collected 65 points, which meant they cleared all 10 jumps on course, including the final “joker” fence worth 20 points. There was also a special Washington Nationals World Series-themed fence on course, and Irish rider Shane Sweetnam dressed up as Nationals shortstop Trea Turner in honor of the baseball team’s World Series appearance the same week as WIHS.
With nine riders out of the 24 starters on the same score, the class results came down to speed. “I watched some horses go, and after Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) went, I thought, ‘There’s no way I can be faster,’ but I had to try!” Shulman said. “My horse doesn’t have nearly the size of stride that she does. I had to think about being faster in the turns and across the ground. I added [strides] in two places that she left a stride out, but for my horse that’s what works.
Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) ended up in second place riding Fantast (Toulon x Rubens du Ri d’Asse) with 65 points in 42.34 seconds, while fellow American Catherine Tyree piloted Catungee (Contact Me x Liatos) into third place with 65 points in 44.09 seconds.
Villamoura, a 10-year-old Selle Français mare (Diamant de Semilly x Cassini I) owned by Jill Shulman, is one of Sydney’s favorite horses. “I’ve had her since a six-year-old and brought her along,” she said. “I live for this horse. She is my pride and joy. Every time I ask her to do something, whether it’s a bigger grand prix than she’s ever done, or any speed class, she totally steps up her game. She was my main speed horse as an eight- and nine-year-old, but now she’s had to step up a little bit and be my main grand prix horse. She’s done everything I’ve asked her and more. I brought her here specifically aiming for this class and tomorrow night’s speed class, because she’s very brave and competitive.”
Riders dressed themselves and their horses in costume for the class, and Sydney, of Greenwich, Connecticut, USA, crowdsourced from her students for ideas for her costume. “We wanted something fast, because the horse is very fast, so they thought of Pikachu, who is a lightning bolt. So, then I automatically became the Pokéman trainer, Ash,” Sydney said. “When we were walking the course, I threw 30 plush Poké balls out into the crowd. And the kids I threw them to were so excited at the end when I won.”
Sydney Shulman (ISR) & Villamoura during the awards ceremony
For their victory, Shulman was presented with the Crown Royal Trophy, while Villamoura was awarded the Sue Ann Geisler Memorial Trophy, donated by the Washington International Horse Show, as the top horse in the class.
For full results, please click here.
Source: Press release from Jump Media for Washington International Horse Show
Photos: © Shawn McMillen Photography