Stephanie Danhakl Earns Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter With Bright Side at Upperville Colt & Horse Show

Upperville, Va. – June 11, 2021 – The Amateur-Owner Hunter Divisions concluded Friday in the Parker Main Hunter Ring at the Upperville Colt & Horse Show, crowning division champions in each respective division. Stephanie Danhakl and her own Bright Side bested a strong field of amateur competitors to earn the Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship after being named champion of the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunter division, sponsored by Ms. Kim Stewart and Glenwillow Inc.. Danhakl was also awarded the title of Leading Amateur-Owner and High Point rider.

Stephanie Danhakl with Bright Side and Baker Street during awards

Danhakl and Bright Side, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, earned the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter honors after receiving a first and two seconds over fences, and winning the under saddle class in the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunter division. The pair received the San Siro Perpetual Trophy, donated by Tracy Weinberg & Weinberg Brokerage Group.

Stephanie Danhakl and Bright Side

The Leading Amatuer-Owner Rider Award also presented to Danhakl, who accumulated the most points over the 3’6” and 3’3” Amateur-Owner divisions. In addition to Bright Side, she competed Tufton Avenue, Baker Street, Enough Said and Golden Rule, to take home the James J. Piehler Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by Piehler’s friends.

Stephanie Danhakl during Leading Amateur Owner Rider award presentation

Closing out Friday’s competition in the Parker Main Hunter Ring was the Makel Insurance Company Amateur-Owner $5,000 Hunter Classic. Jaime Auletto and the 10-year-old Warmblood gelding Geronimo topped the class, while Arriana Boardman and Adelina finished second and Lexi Selldorff rounded out the top three. Chris Norden from the Markel Insurance Company was on hand to present the awards.

Markel Insurance Amateur Owner Classic award presentation

Hunter competition will return to the Parker Main Hunter Ring Saturday at 7:30 a.m. with the WIHS Equitation Hunter Phase and the Junior Hunter divisions. Saturday will also include the leadline classes, family class, and the side-saddle competition. Pony hunters will vie for tri-color honors in Hunter Ring II on Saturday.

FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

Stephanie Danhakl & Bright Side – Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter & Leading Amateur-Owner Rider

On Bright Side:

“His barn name is Rio. I’ve had him for about two and a half years. He was circuit champion at [the Winter Equestrian Festival]. He’s really consistent and I am very confident in him.”

On his performance this week:

“He did really well. He was first and fourth yesterday. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold, windy, rainy or snowy – he always comes and tries his best and he’s really just a fun horse to ride.”

On showing at Upperville:

“I love it here. I really love the ring. I love that it’s on a bit of a hill, so it really feels like you’re out in the countryside. The environment of Middleburg is so beautiful with the rolling hills and all the trees and the green grass. I am really fond of riding out of the ring. At home I do fox hunting. I like to stay out of the ring as much as possible, so I felt very much at home here in this sort of setting.”

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