Upper Marlboro, MD – October 10, 2012 – The team at Uphill Farm took the Capital Challenge Horse Show by storm last week. Not only did Missy Luczak-Smith capture the Adult Amateur 36-50 Hunter Championship, but also Meredith Darst and Lightning Z took home the reserve championship in the Large 15 and Under Junior Hunter division. Under the careful eye of trainer Tom Wright, the show was a sure success, and only the first stop for Uphill Farm as everyone prepares for the upcoming Indoors.
Missy Luczak-Smith wore nothing but smiles during the Capital Challenge Horse Show, and it was not wonder why for onlookers as she garnered the Adult Amateur 36-50 Hunter Championship. Aboard Surf’s Up, Luczak-Smith was awarded top ribbons included the first and second place finishes over fences. She continued further into the competition as she entered the ring for the Adult World Champion Hunter Rider event. The duo was awarded the fourth place finish in the flat phase.
“I am stunned,” Luczak-Smith laughed. “This really was the most exciting way to end a really great season. For Surf’s Up and me, Capital Challenge is our finale for the year. I never expected to earn a pair of 89s in the over fences, and he really gave me 150 percent.”
This was the first time that Luczak-Smith and Surf’s Up had been awarded the high score of 89. “People may think I am a little crazy, but I ask Chester for him to do his best, and he listens. When we were announced as the winners of the under saddle, I was in shock. He went into that ring with his ears up and really shined, he hacked like he was the winner.”
During the Amateur-Owner 3’3” 36 and Over Hunter division, Luczak-Smith and Encore took center stage. The earned consistently high ribbons including the third place finish over fences and the fourth place win in the under saddle. Her other mount, Lapis, was ridden by Holly Orlando to the First Year Green Working Hunters Reserve Championship. Orlando guided the gelding to the first, second and third place ribbons over fences, as well as the third place award in the under saddle.
“We just recently purchased Lapis in Kentucky, only one week before Capital Challenge,” Luczak-Smith explained. “Holly showed him while in Kentucky, and she was simply spectacular on him. I was honored to have her show him once again during Capital Challenge, he really loves her, and they look like they are having so much fun out there. I am planning to show him in the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunters, and hopefully move him up into the 3’6” Hunters.”
Hayley Barnhill also showed in the First Year Green Working Hunters aboard two different mounts – Tilou and Lightning Z. Aboard Tilou, Barnhill took good ribbons in both the over fences and the under saddle. It was her trips aboard Lightning Z, however, that truly made them step into the limelight and catch the judges’ eyes. Barnhill navigated Lightning Z to the second and third place ribbons over fences coming in close on the heels of the champions, but falling just shy of the tricolor awards.
Barnhill’s preparation helped to assist the young and talented Meredith Darst in securing the High Point Large Junior Owner and Rider Award. The pair posted fantastic rounds over fences, and their efforts in the under saddle did not go unnoticed. They were awarded the blue ribbon prize in the Stake class. Darst and Lightning Z were presented with the Large Junior 15 and Under Reserve Championship award. Martha Ingram was close behind with Cayero, taking the first place ribbon for their beautiful handy, as well as great ribbons throughout the division.
Darst continued her success, riding her own Copyright to the fourth and sixth place finishes in the 13 and 14-Year-Old Equitation division, and was awarded the tenth place finish in the Capital Challenge Equitation Championships. Reid Patton also competed in the Capital Challenge Equitation Championships, earning the eighth place award, and also nabbing the top finish in the 16-Year-Old Equitation Flat Phase. Patton also showed in the Small 16-17 Junior Hunter division. She piloted Lennon to the top of the leader board with the blue ribbon prize in the under saddle, as well as scoring consistently good ribbons across the board.
Although originally from California, Wright has trained show hunters, jumpers and equitation on the East Coast since 1980. Wright and his team of trainers and riders at Uphill Farm, have become an unstoppable force in the equestrian sport, earning top honors at the best nation’s most prestigious horse shows. Using a training technique that stresses methodical preparation, encourages strong horsemanship, and uses forward thinking; Wright has worked his way to the top. Wright is the only trainer to have won the AHJF Hunter Spectacular of Palm Beach an astounding five times. He has trained numerous Maclay and Medal winners, including 2010 USEF Hunter Seat Medal Finals and 2010 ASPCA Maclay Finals winner, Hayley Barnhill.