Top Finishes For Hidden Hollow on the Fall Circuit
The Hidden Hollow team concluded a successful and educational East Coast fall indoor circuit with lots of great ribbons earned and memories made, from Maryland to Kentucky.
During the Capital Challenge Horse Show, held in October in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Hidden Hollow Trainer Erin Hastings claimed an impressive third in the WCHR Developing Professional Challenge aboard Thea Bitar's LPF Woodford.
"I think it was cool to come back on the same horse I rode last year and improve upon my ninth placed finish and move up to third," said Erin. "It's gratifying to keep developing as a professional, and he's such a good horse. He knows when it’s a special class and rises to the occasion."
Over the two rounds, Erin and "Moonie" earned consistent scores in the mid- to high 80s, with a high of 88. The class attracts the best up-and-coming professional hunter riders from across the country, and Erin was thrilled to have qualified to compete.
"It was pretty close between the top four," she noted. "I think it’s a prestigious honor to even be allowed to show, and being in the top three is a pretty big deal. If I get the opportunity, I would love to move up and eventually do the WCHR Professional class one day and do well in that."
Thea also took her turn aboard Moonie in the 3'6" Large Junior Hunter, 15 and Under, section, taking 10th in the WCHR 3'6" Junior Challenge, along with ribbons in the division classes.
In the competitive Children's Pony sections at Capital Challenge, Spencer Toohill and Masquerade placed third over fences and third in the under saddle, while Fielding Stichman and Shamrock were 10th over fences.
During the Pennsylvania National, Erin continued her ribbon streak, this time aboard Quiet Haven Farm's Flirtation Walk. The pair competed in the 3' Green Hunters, with scores in the 80s and ribbons in every class.
"It was nice for this young mare to perform so well; she's come a long way since I started showing her at Keswick in May," said Erin. "It was also fun to be back at Harrisburg. I hadn’t shown there in 12 years, since my junior years. It was cool to ride well and get top ribbons with the top professionals."
Thea and LPF Woodford and Helen Marie Lohr aboard Costar also competed at Harrisburg, with excellent performances in the junior sections.
Thea also qualified and competed at the Washington International and went on to the National Horse Show in Kentucky in early November, competing in the 3'6" Large Juniors with excellent results, including a second place over fences at the National.
"This was the first year that Thea went to all four indoor shows, which was great for her," said Erin. "I think it’s always nice for juniors to be able to compete against the best and step up their game and learn how to be successful. When you're there, you're able to watch and see what you have to do to be the best. You always want to win, of course, but no matter what happens, you're always learning and improving as a rider."
The fall indoor shows concluded Thea's career with LPF Woodford, who is now offered for sale.
"Thea's next plan is to have two jumpers, so she’ll mostly be competing in the jumper ring," said Erin. "I think she’s sad to be moving on from Moonie. He's been such a good teacher, a phenomenal horse and part of the family. But she wants to do the jumpers and compete at the higher levels, and he's ready to teach a new rider the ropes."
Helen Marie Lohr purchased the flashy chestnut Plesant Dreams this fall, and they officially started their career together at the Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival, November 17-19 in Maryland. There, they earned the reserve championship in the Equitation, 15 and under, section and placed eighth in the Mid-Atlantic Young Rider Championship.
"She rode so well and rocked it," said Erin with a smile. "Her goal to focus on the equitation with him, and so it was a great start."
Earlier in the fall, Helen also placed eighth in the Maryland Horse Shows Association Gittings Finals riding Diplomat.
Erin was also thrilled to see Spencer Toohill and Masquerade take the reserve championship in the Children's Large Pony Hunter section at the USHJA Zone 3 Finals, which concluded their fantastic show season.
Erin and Head Trainer Ginny Edwards will be heading to the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit in December, while new team member Samantha Franklin Hammond will hold down the fort in Virginia.
"Samantha will be giving lessons at home, and Ginny and I will come back and forth from Florida to attend some of the winter horse shows around Virginia," said Erin. "We're looking forward to a great winter season!"