Hunter/Jumper

Here’s What a Perfect Hunter Round Looks Like at the Capital Challenge

There’s only been two scores of 100 awarded in more than 20 years. Could 2016 see a third?

shachine-belle-odie

For most of us, especially in the hunter ring, perfection is something that we absolutely aspire to. At the end of the day, though, if we’ve stayed on, jumped all the jumps in order and the lines in the right numbers, and mayyyybe nailed all our lead changes on the first try, we’d be pretty ecstatic with, say, an 82. That’s a B, after all, and even Mom can’t be mad at a B.

Few judges or pros would argue with the fact that in the hunters, scoring a perfect 100 is as unlikely as stumbling upon a Tailored Sportsman flash sale. But they do happen (perfect scores—not TS flash sales). For more than two decades, the Capital Challenge Horse Show (October 1-9, 2016) at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland has showcased some of the best hunter horse and rider combinations from around the country. And, in 22 years, only two riders have ever been awarded a perfect 100 score from the judges in the Working Hunter Divisions: Rick Fancher and Osczar in 1997, and Shachine Belle and In Disguise in 2003.

During the 1990s, Fancher took his time bringing along Osczar for his client, Dawn Fogel. As a youngster, Fancher initially thought the 17-hand Oscar was too big, but he was soon swayed by the chestnut Oldenburg’s natural balance, automatic lead change, and big, lofty jump. In 1995, the two won the Green Conformation Championship at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg and Regular Working championships at the Washington International and the Capital Challenge horse shows, where Osczar and Fogel also took home the show’s overall high score award in the under-35 Amateur-Owner division. Yet it wasn’t until the 1997 Capital Challenge that Fancher and Osczar completed a round that would go down in the history books forever:

Shachine Belle, as well, had early doubts about In Disguise or “Odie” when she first got the ride in Wellington, Florida in the winter of 2002. His bay coat had bleached out to buckskin from the sun, and his first few ribbons in the model and over fences with Belle were mediocre at best. Yet by the end of their first week together, the pair were earning blues in everything thanks to Odie’s innate, natural talent over fences. Back-to-back championships in the Green Conformation hunters at Devon in 2002 and 2003 followed, and later that year, Belle and In Disguise would add yet another feather to their cap, becoming the second pair ever to score a perfect 100 at the Capital Challenge in the Second Year Green Working Hunter Division:

The Capital Challenge kicks off this week (October 1-9, 2016) in Upper Marlboro! You can watch the webcast here. 

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