Wellington, Fla. – March, 24, 2022 – The Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) resumed hunter competition Thursday, March 24, during Week XI where the Green 3’9’’ Hunter division saw talented horse-and-rider combinations competing for the champion prize in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. At the conclusion of the two days of competition, Scott Stewart and For Always, owned by Betsee Parker, were awarded champion honors. Jimmy Torano and Isalou Inc.’s Laskano finished the class as the reserve champion pair.
Starting the division strong Wednesday, Stewart and For Always earned second place under saddle, as well as first place over fences with a score of 88 and a second placing finish in the handy round with a score of 87. The pair came back Thursday to take both first place ribbons throughout the two over fences classes, ultimately clinching the championship title in the Green 3’9” Hunter division.
Stewart has piloted For Always, a 8-year-old Oldenburg Springferd gelding, since he was 4 years old, and describes him as an incredible jumper. Stewart notes For Always can be on the sensitive side, but Stewart’s patience has paid off as their strong partnership is evident in the ring. For Always saw success in the first-year green hunter division in 2021, earning top placings and championship honors at some of the nation’s most prestigious indoor championships including Capital Challenge and the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS). Stewart spoke highly of the gelding and the bright future he has ahead of him.
Torano piloted Laskano, a 10-year-old Westphalian gelding, during Wednesday’s portion of the division to also compete in the Green 3’9” Hunter division, earning themselves fifth place in the over fences class. Returning the same day, the duo took a strong win in the handy round, earning themselves a score of 89. Hot on the heels of Stewart and For Always, Torano was in contention for the championship honors Thursday. He returned to the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring Thursday, scoring right behind Stewart in both over fences classes to claim two second place ribbons, earning himself and Laskano the reserve champion ribbon.
Hunter competition will continue in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring at WEF Friday, beginning at 8 a.m.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Scott Stewart – Green 3’9’’ Hunter Champion
On his partnership with For Always:
“Ken [Berkley] and I bought him when he was 4 years old, he’s 8 years old now so we have had him for four years. We did the pre-green one year and then Betsee [Parker] bought him, and last year he was quite successful. He was champion at Capital Challenge and the Washington International Horse Show. I know him very well. He is an amazing, phenomenal jumper, a perfect jumper, he’s basically quiet, but he is a little sensitive. He’s not one you could ever get on and hurry, you have to take your time. His nature is to be a little careful, but he trusts me and I know him very well. He is definitely a horse you have to have a lot of patience with.”
On earning champion:
“[For Always] felt great. We haven’t shown him since Week VI. I took him in this class today to prepare for next week, which is another WCHR week. He is doing one more class before doing that. He feels great and is in great shape to come out next week.”
On plans after WEF:
“[For Always] will do WEF Week XII and then go to Kentucky Spring. Then he will be going to Devon. After Devon he will probably show at [The Upperville Colt & Horse Show] and he’ll have a little time off before going to Kentucky for the summer. Then we get him ready for indoors again.”