Upper Marlboro, Maryland, USA – October 26, 2023 – The 2023 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), presented by MARS Equestrian™ heated up on Thursday, October 26, at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, where daytime junior hunter competition gave way to the first evening session, featuring the opening international jumper classes during MARS Barn Night. It was newcomer Rene Dittmer (GER) who ruled the day, not only racing to the win in the $78,000 Welcome Stake CSI 5*-W as reported earlier but also in the $40,000 International Jumper Accumulator CSI 5*-W.
After the Welcome it was time to speed things up and turn the excitement up a notch, delighting the sold-out crowd in attendance for MARS Barn Night. In the $40,000 International Jumper Accumulator CSI 5*-W, riders earned points for each clear fence they jumped in the course plus an additional 20 points for the final fence. Dittmer once again came out on top, this time aboard Burlington Riverland, with a perfect score of 65 and a lightning-fast time of 44.32 seconds. For this triumph, Dittmer was presented with the Crown Royal Trophy and Burlington Riverland was presented with the Sue Ann Geisler Memorial Trophy, donated by the Washington International Horse Show.
Dittmer is on a hot streak with the 12-year-old Selle Français gelding (Mylord Carthago*HN x Dollar du Murrier) owned by Live Oak Plantation LLC. They scored wins at The Hampton Classic CSI5* and at HITS Championship CSI4*, and now at WIHS.
“He has been doing really great recently,” said Dittmer. “He has been in really good form, and he kept going like that here today. He can also do some big classes, but I have to switch it around sometimes, so today he had to be the speed horse, and he did a really good job.”
Burlington Riverland is known as “Burli” at his barn in Germany, but in the States his friends call him “Brian.” Dittmer’s girlfriend, top U.S. rider Chloe Reid, was riding Burli, but Dittmer took over the reins two years ago when the horse stayed in Germany with him while Reid was riding in the United States.
“I was lucky that I got to keep him so far,” related Dittmer. “He has quite a funny character. He’s super nice to be around, super friendly. Burli is like a good friend, like a buddy. He always wants to do a really good job. He has such a good mind. He really gave his best and made it work tonight.”
For the class, Dittmer was modeling his Oktoberfest finest, a costume selected by Reid.
“She went to the costume store and thought, ‘Well I have a German boyfriend, so he gets the beer costume,’” joked Dittmer. “At first when I walked into the arena for the course walk and I had the beer hat on, it was very hot, but now I put it over the helmet, which was better. I was really completely fine. I could ride like this every day.”
At the end of an incredible evening, Dittmer needed to let it all sink in.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” he said. “I can’t believe it yet. I hope it keeps going like that.”
Second place in the Accumulator, in a time of 45.58 seconds, went to unicorn Aaron Vale (USA) aboard his magnificent pegasus, Elusive, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding (Rorigoo x Capfucino) owned by Thinkslikeahorse. Dracula, sometimes known as Conor Swail (IRL), flew into third in a time of 46.32 seconds with his spooktacular mount Casturano, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Castelan 3 owned by Mannon Farm.
Final Results – $40,000 Accumulator Costume Class CSI 5*-W
1) Rene Dittmer (GER) & Burlington Riverland – 65 – 44.32
2) Aaron Vale (USA) & Elusive – 65 – 45.58
3) Conor Swail (IRL) & Casturano – 65 – 46.32
Source: Press Release from Jump Media for the Washington International Horse Show
Photos: © WIHS / Shawn McMillen Photography