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Saturday - October 5, 2001

The National Hunter/Jumper Council presented six NHJC National Finals titles at the Capital Challenge Horse Show today. The Pony Hunters took to the indoor Showplace Arena, while the Large Junior Hunters finished their sections in the outside ring. Amateur Owner Jumpers also concluded today, and all the NHJC awards were well received.

Nicoletta VonHeideger rode her Silver Steps to the NHJC National Finals Small Pony Hunter title. VonHeideger represented Zone 10 and was thrilled with her victory. When ten year old Laura Forsberg of Furlong, PA found out she and her small pony, First Edition, qualified for the NHJC National Finals at the Capital Challenge as the Zone 2 representative, she was very excited. "It is so cool to represent Zone 2," said Forsberg who rode her pony to the reserve champion NHJC title.

"When they called my name as (NHJC) Champion," said 11 year old Katie Cassetta of Westport, CT "I was really surprised. I am so happy!" Cassetta rode Satin to the top spot in the NHJC Finals for the Medium Pony Hunter division as the qualifier from Zone 1. Satin is owned by Emerson Burr, and Cassetta has trained with the venerable gentleman since she was six years old. Reserve champion was Miss Teak, ridden by Sophie Benjamin of Zone 10.

The NHJC National Finals Large Pony Pony champion was Picasso ridden by Lauren Crooks of Zone 9. Alexander's Epigram and Natalie Johnson of Zone 1 were the reserve champions.

In the Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division, Megan Schoellhamer was thrilled with her NHJC National Finals championship aboard Sunday Edition, a seven year old Thoroughbred cross. Sunday Edition qualified as the Zone 3 representative in both the Junior Hunter and Regular Working Hunter divisions at the Capital Challenge. "He's been good all year," said Schoellhamer "and we were excited when we heard we were representing Zone 3 at the Capital Challenge."

Tommy Brawley of Jefferson, OR, representing Zone 9 in the Pacific Northwest, rode Lasting Impression to the NHJC National Finals title in the Large Junior Hunters 16-17. Brawley grew up in a horse family. "I started showing when I was eight, but I've ridden for as long as I can remember around the ranch." He is helped by his father, Bob, and especially his grandmother, Judith. "His interest in showing seriously really sparked last year," commented Judith. "It is really fun coming East," added Brawley "and getting to see some of the best horses. I have really watched a lot."

Although she hadn't ridden since the Hampton Classic because of her studies, Vanessa Stevenson and Fortunato quickly got reacquainted and captured the NHJC National Finals championship in the Amateur Owner Jumpers. She was also show champion after winning one class and finishing second in the other. "When I saw I was posted as the Zone 2 rider, I was excited," said Stevenson of her victories. "The first day we started out a little shaky, but then he was perfect for me."

The Capital Challenge concludes tomorrow, and the NHJC will be presenting its final National titles. Exhibitors have been very enthusiastic about the inaugural NHJC National Finals awards. Stories, results and photos are available on the NHJC website at

Small Pony Hunter
CH Silver Steps - Monarch International Zone 10
Nicoletta VonHeidegger, rider
RC First Edition - Laura Forsberg, owner/rider Zone 2

Medium Pony Hunter
CH Satin - Emerson Burr, owner Zone 1
Katie Cassetta, rider
RC Miss Teak - Wits End Farm, owner Zone 10
Sophie Benjamin, rider

Large Pony Hunter
CH Picasso - L. Crooks & C. Langston, owner Zone 9
Lauren Crooks, rider
RC Alexander's Epigram - Natalie Johnson, owner Zone 1 Small Junior Hunter 16-17
CH Sunday Edition - Meadowbrook Stable, owner Zone 3
Megan Schoellhamer, rider
RC Head Over Heels - Abbay Brownlow, owner Zone 4

Large Junior Hunter 16-17
CH Good Impression - Brawley Farms, owner Zone 9
Tommy Brawley, rider
RC Silver Tide - Samantha Segedy, owner Zone 5

Amateur Owner Jumper
CH Fortunato - Vanessa Stevenson, owner Zone 2
RC Battleskin William - Alpine Farms, Inc., owner Zone 6
Louise Otten, rider


The National Hunter/Jumper Council is the official hunter/jumper discipline organization of the USA Equestrian. As such, the NHJC seeks to represent the interests of all hunter/jumper competitors, horse shows, and organizations in the United States.
The NHJC is divided into 12 geographic zones, with the chairmen and vice-chairmen from each zone serving on the Council's 30 member Board of Governors. Each chairman of the six USA Equestrian hunter/jumper discipline committees serves also, rounding out the 30 member governing board.
In addition, the NHJC has many other committees dealing with specific issues relevant to the hunter/jumper sport, such as education, grass roots, stewards, judges, show management, show standards, drugs and medications, young rider and junior jumper championships, and planning.
The NHJC is also committed to communicating with its hunter/jumper constituency through a variety of media, including "Equestrian" magazine, the NHJC website (, and its quarterly newsletter, "The Council Connection." For more information, contact Marnye Langer, Director of Communications.

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