All posts by Emily Randolph

Pin Oak Charity Horse Show Announces Date Change, Expanded Schedule for 2023

Katy, TX – By popular demand, the 77th annual Pin Oak Charity Horse show has adjusted the dates to better accommodate our exhibitors. The Hunter Jumper Shows will now be held March 29 through April 16, 2023. The Pin Oak Saddlebred and Hackney classes will take place March 23-26, 2023, in conjunction with a spring preview hunter/jumper competition.   

The weekly show dates are now as follows: 

Pin Oak Saddlebred and Hackney Show – March 23-25

    Spring Preview Hunter/Jumper Show – March 23-26

Pin Oak I – March 29-April 2

Pin Oak II – April 4-8

Pin Oak III – April 12-16 

The new hunter/jumper schedule, with Pin Oak I-III each moved one week further into the calendar than in years prior, will afford exhibitors a greater opportunity to travel to Texas from other show circuits around the country, many of which conclude in March and April.

“We heard from many riders that they wanted to be at Pin Oak for the duration of the horse shows, but they were still at other circuits in Florida or California for the start of Pin Oak,” explained Amy Uniss-Coleman, General Manager of the Great Southwest Equestrian Center. “Our hope is that the date change helps to accommodate them, while also giving us the opportunity to expand the offerings for the Saddlebred, Hackney Ponies and other breed competitors.” 

Additional information regarding show schedules and class offerings will be forthcoming. For the most up-to-date Pin Oak news, follow the horse show on Facebook and Instagram

Mark Kinsella Claims Victory in $100,000 Texas Children’s Hospital Grand Prix at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

Katy, TX – Ireland’s Mark Kinsella made his inaugural trip to the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show a winning one, earning victory in the $100,000 Texas Children’s Hospital Grand Prix aboard Doraindo on Saturday, April 9 in Katy, TX.

Renowned course designer Michel Vaillancourt set a challenging track in the Porter Hedges Main Ring at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center that saw seven of 27 entries jump clear. Of them, Kinsella and Doraindo, were the final pair to join the good list, positioning them as the last combination to return for the jump-off.

When Doraindo, owned by SWS Training & Sales, entered the ring, only one of the previous six returning entries had successfully produced a clear round, Martien van der Hoeven and Morris Horta, owned by Luccirelli International LLC.

“I watched the first couple of competitors in; they all had faults,” said Kinsella. “Then Martien went two horses before me, and he was clean. I didn’t get to see him go, but I heard he was quick. I know my horse is generally pretty fast when I go on the clock, and he has a very, very long lengthy step, so I just use it to my advantage.”

Mark Kinsella and Doraindo. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

With van der Hoeven’s time of 34.857 seconds as his target, Kinsella left out strides where others did not, allowing him to cross the finish in a winning 33.954 seconds. With Kinsella taking the top honor, second place went to van der Hoeven, who also claimed fourth place aboard Navaro van’t Verahof; and third place with four faults in a time of 35.989 seconds went to Shawn Casady riding RMF Chacco Top for owner Ashland Farms. 

It’s excellent!” said Kinsella of the win. “It’s my first time ever coming to the show, and I must say that I’m really impressed with the show, with the people, with the organization. Everybody has been very friendly, very accommodating, very hospitable; we’ll definitely come back next year.”

Kinsella, who is currently based out of Temecula, CA, had originally planned to be competing on the West Coast, but following an equine herpesvirus (EHV) outbreak that shut down competition in California, he changed plans and headed to Texas. 

I got Dorito, as we call him, in December of last year; I played around with him in Thermal at the Desert Horse Park,” said Kinsella of the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. “He was pretty good for me there. I got to get to know him a little bit, and then on the fourth week there we actually won a $25,000 national grand prix which was great, and my plan was to bring this horse FEI in the second half of the circuit. Obviously, circumstances closed the show, so we had to improvise our plan a little bit. This is my first show back since then. So, I really feel that I’ve gelled with him in a quick period of time, and we’ve won two grand prix in succession which is nice.”

Mark Kinsella and Doraindo were joined in their winning presentation by ringmaster Steve Rector, groom Olivia Swanson, and Sophie Kinsella. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Kinsella concluded, “I’d just like to thank SWS Training for giving me the opportunity to ride the horse and of course all my team. Like everything, I’m the one standing here today, but without these guys I don’t get here. Olivia Swanson has been here grooming for me, my wife Sophie is phenomenal. The guys at home keeping the show on the road; we fly back there and go straight to the next show. We have such a good team. I know they’re ready to go when I get there, so I really appreciate that from everyone.” 

In addition to taking the winners’ share of the prize money, Kinsella was presented with a $1,000 bonus and a Skylla saddle from Antarès Sellier as the leading grand prix rider, having earned the most prize money on a single horse throughout the five grand prix classes offered at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show.

Also earning bonus checks on Saturday night were three Pin Oak Jumper Rider Bonus winners. Throughout the first two weeks of the horse show, points were awarded for a rider’s best-placed horse in each class. Earning the most points and the $5,000 Leading Rider Bonus was Nicolas Gamboa. Second place and a $3,000 bonus went to Shawn Casady, and third place and a $2,000 bonus went to Daniel Bedoya.

Shawn Casady, Nicolas Gamboa, and Daniel Bedoya accepting their Leading Rider Bonus checks. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is one of the oldest and most prestigious horse shows in the United States, and today features three weeks of top hunter, jumper, and American Saddlebred competition. Founded by J.S. Abercrombie in 1945, it’s also a unique social and fundraising event, supporting the healing of sick children through financial donations, outreach, and volunteer support for Texas Children’s Hospital. The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show was the first show in the country to be designated as a Heritage Competition by the United States Equestrian Federation.

Learn more about the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show by visiting www.PinOak.org, and find the horse show on Facebook and Instagram for the most recent updates. To purchase competition photos, visit www.AndrewRyback.com. For full results of the $100,000 Texas Children’s Hospital Grand Prix, click here.

Jef Lauwers and Hallpass Surpass the Class to Win $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

Katy, TX – Jef Lauwers and Hallpass earned the final $30,000 United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby victory of the 2022 Pin Oak Charity Horse Show on Friday, April 8, at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, TX.

Finishing in second place in the class, sponsored by Royal Sport Horses, were Augusta Iwasaki and Attendu de Lannois Z, while third place went to Nada Wise and Gucci.

Following the conclusion of the first round in the Porter Hedges Main Ring at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center, Lauwers and Hallpass sat in second place on a combined score from the two judging panels of 176. Holding the lead were Wise and Gucci with a score of 177, while eventual third-place finisher Iwasaki sat in fifth with a score of 162.

“The first round was really tricky because I got to come in first,” said Lauwers, who rides for PJP Farm. “I walked the course a little bit, and I had some questions, especially in the first line; there was either a forward six or a little bit of a steady seven. I was just trying to make everything smooth and a little forward, and it worked out really well. It was nice to go in first and keep a high score and then come back later for the handy course.”

Jef Lauwers and Hallpass. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Knowing only a point separated him from Wise, Lauwers really gave it his all in the handy round.

“Nada Wise and I, we always go neck-and-neck, and I knew she had a good horse in this class,” said Lauwers. “She always is very slick, and she always goes for the win. I knew I had to keep galloping, so from the moment I picked up the gallop, I stayed on it, and I tried to turn really tight and make it harder for me to be beat.”

Lauwers plan paid off. He and Hallpass earned base scores from the two judging panels of 87 and 89, plus all four high-option bonus points and an additional nine handy points from each panel for a second-round score of 198 and an overall total score of 374.

While Wise and Gucci, owned by Blackstone Farms LTD, returned to deliver a seamless handy course with base scores of 82 and 84 plus all high-option bonus points, handy scores of six from each panel for a 361 total score would widen the gap between her and Lauwers and clinch the win for Lauwers.

“It was really fun,” continued Lauwers. “It worked out. We’re good friends, so we always laugh about it. I came out of the ring, and Nada was like, ‘You couldn’t give me this one, could you!’ So, maybe next year, [Nada]!”   

Edging her way in between the two for second place were Iwasaki and Attendu de Lannois Z, owned by Ashland Farms. The pair earned the handy-round high score of 201 after receiving base scores of 88 from both judging panels, plus all four high-option bonus points and handy scores of eight and nine.

Walid Alrashed of Royal Sport Horses (pictured far left) presented Jef Lauwers and Hallpass as the winners of the $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by Royal Sport Horses. 
Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Lauwers is no stranger to hunter derby success at Pin Oak, having claimed victory in the same class in 2021 aboard Calipso and having finished second aboard Hallpass in the $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby held during Week I of this year’s show. 

“Hallpass, owned by Sue Copeland, is a horse she’s had for I would say four years,” said Lauwers, who began showing the 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding in 2017. “He’s amazing. From the beginning, he was always game, always fun, and always easy to ride. Sue wanted to invest in a horse for herself, and it was love at first sight. She was completely in love with him. She wanted to have him, so she bought him, and she kind of stays down local with us here. When we’re here, she wants me to do him in the derbies, so it’s always fun to have one horse in my back pocket that I can pull out for these classes right here in Texas!”

With PJP Farm located roughly 40 minutes away in Magnolia, TX, Pin Oak is a hometown favorite show for the farm. 

“Pin Oak feels like home for us,” said Lauwers. “After the circuit that we do in Florida, we always look forward to getting back with our home people, because we have customers that stay here in the winter too, so we all come back together. It’s a lot of fun because there’s a lot of history with this show and a lot of fun at this show. It’s a really nice show, especially to show for the third week here in the indoor. It’s fun to have the Friday night lights action.”

Sally Thayer and State Hill, winners of the $15,000 USHJA Jr./Amateur National Hunter Derby, sponsored by Heroes for Children. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Lauwers, concluded, “I just want to thank the owner Sue Copeland, and I want to thank Peter [Pletcher], my trainer and the owner of the barn, for giving me the opportunity to ride and show these horses for him. I’m still a beginning professional, and I still need to get my feet on the ground, so it’s really nice that he gives me the chance to do it on his horses. For Sue Copeland to give me a horse to do these kind of classes on is always nice, and it’s really fulfilling to do a good job and give that in return.”

Earlier in the day, two additional derby wins were awarded to Sally Thayer aboard State Hill and Jennifer Alfano on Enzo W. 

Thayer and State Hill, owned by Joan Violin, earned the win in the $15,000 USHJA Jr./Amateur National Hunter Derby, sponsored by Heroes for Children, and Alfano and Enzo W, owned by Vandervail Ltd., took the top call in the $15,000 USHJA Open National Hunter Derby, sponsored by La Primera Hacienda.

For full results of all three hunter derby classes, visit www.HorseShowsOnline.com.

Jennifer Alfano and Enzo W, winners of the $15,000 USHJA Open National Hunter Derby, sponsored by La Primera Hacienda. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is one of the oldest and most prestigious horse shows in the United States, and today features three weeks of top hunter, jumper, and American Saddlebred competition. Founded by J.S. Abercrombie in 1945, it’s also a unique social and fundraising event, supporting the healing of sick children through financial donations, outreach, and volunteer support for Texas Children’s Hospital. The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show was the first show in the country to be designated as a Heritage Competition by the United States Equestrian Federation.

The 76th-annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show continues through April 10, with the culminating $100,000 Texas Children’s Hospital beginning at 7 p.m. (CST) on Saturday, April 9.

General spectator admission is free for all events. Learn more about the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show by visiting www.PinOak.org, and find the horse show on Facebook and Instagram for the most recent updates. To purchase competition photos, visit www.AndrewRyback.com.

Nicolas Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy Continue Hot Streak in $25,000 EPIC Sporthorses Grand Prix

Katy, TX – Nicolas Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy topped a field of 30 horse and rider combinations to win Thursday night’s $25,000 EPIC Sporthorses Grand Prix, marking the pair’s second grand prix victory at the 2022 Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, TX.

Of the 30 entries in the April 7 class, 10 combinations qualified for the jump-off, with nine opting to return to tackle Michel Vaillancourt’s seven fence jump-off course. As the second-to-last combination, Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy, owned by NKH LLC, turned in the winning time of 28.593 seconds. 

Shawn Casady had all three of his mounts qualify for the jump-off, each besting the previous. However, with sharp turns and slices, Gamboa shaved more than two seconds from the leading time of 31.564 seconds previously set by Casady and Ekstra MF. As the last to go in the jump-off, Casady’s third and final mount, Sunny Boy 372, was the fastest of his rides, but the pair’s time of 31.483 seconds was not quite fast enough to catch Gamboa. Casady ultimately took home second aboard Rabbit Root Stables LLC’s Sunny Boy 372, third on Ekstra MF, and fourth with NKH Shiloh.

Nicolas Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy were joined in the winners’ circle by representatives of EPIC Sporthorses. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

“I know the first horse Shawn went with in the jump-off,” said Gamboa, 21. “I thought he rode it quite quick and I knew I had to be on it to win it. I knew Shawn was behind me, and he’s a quick rider. I put the gas down and was quite happy with how my horse performed. I was pretty confident in my horse after walking out of that ring. I know he tried his heart out and I was happy either way.”

Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy, a 9-year-old Holsteiner stallion, are newly partnered and have had great success at the 76th-annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show thus far. The pair claimed Gamboa’s first grand prix victory of his career during Week I’s $30,000 Third Coast Bank Pin Oak Charity Grand Prix as well as third in Week II’s $25,000 EPIC Sporthorses Grand Prix. 

Now, the pair has amassed a second grand prix title under their belt at just their first show together. The combination has been nurtured well under great management and are thriving together.

“He was brought along by Christian Heineking; he’s owned by Neil Knox, and he’s just been a super good guy to me,” says Gamboa, 21, who acquired the ride on the gelding while Heineking is out of the saddle due to an injury. “All the horses have been jumping great these three weeks. It’s just a great venue. I’m just happy to be here.”

Nicolas Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

With his consistent record, Gamboa is in the running for the leading rider title as well as a good chance at taking home Saturday’s $100,000 Pin Oak Grand Prix victory. 

“Overall, these past three weeks, my horses have been jumping great. It’s been going well,” concluded Gamboa, who was also presented as the winner of the U25 Grand Prix held simultaneously with the $25,000 Grand Prix. “I’m looking forward to Saturday night. I’m kind of neck and neck with Shawn Casady for leading rider. I have a good string of horses and a great team behind me with the Heineking family, our grooms, and staff. We want to end the show on a good note and to keep going strong.”

Don’t let Gamboa’s rapid success during Pin Oak fool you, he has not been showing here for long.

“Last year was my first year here at Pin Oak,” said Gamboa. “I was just here the final week. This year we started off Pin Oak strong. We want to keep going for Week III. I think it’s a great place. My mom, [Jennifer Gamboa] has been working in the show office here for a while, so it’s great to be in Texas and to see her.”

The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is one of the oldest and most prestigious horse shows in the United States, and today features three weeks of top hunter, jumper, and American Saddlebred competition. Founded by J.S. Abercrombie in 1945, it’s also a unique social and fundraising event, supporting the healing of sick children through financial donations, outreach, and volunteer support for Texas Children’s Hospital. The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show was the first show in the country to be designated as a Heritage Competition by the United States Equestrian Federation.

This year’s 76th annual event continues through April 10. Week III’s highlights include the $25,000 Pin Oak Grand Prix, Thursday, April 7 at 4 p.m., Friday’s $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and $15,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, as well as the $100,000 Pin Oak Grand Prix on Saturday, April 9. 

General spectator admission is free for all events. Learn more about the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show by visiting www.PinOak.org, and find the horse show on Facebook and Instagram for the most recent updates. To purchase competition photos, visit www.AndrewRyback.com.

Genevieve Munson Races to Victory in $20,000 Welcome Stake to Kick Off Week III at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

Katy, TX – Twenty-three entries vied for the winning title in the $20,000 Bedoya Training Stables 1.45m Welcome Jumper Stake on Wednesday, April 6 to kick off Week III of the 76th-annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. In the end, it was Genevieve Munson and Precious Mettle LLC’s Charlene who took the win with a speedy clear jump-off in 28.862 seconds, just over two seconds faster than the runner-up.

Munson also took home fifth aboard her first mount, Contendro Star. The pair were one of a few combinations to opt for an ambitious four strides between fences five and six in the jump-off. Unfortunately, even with the fastest jump-off time of the night, a rail had cost them the title.

Munson came back to strike again with the 14-year-old Holsteiner mare, Charlene, and this time her efforts were not in vain. The combination took both inside turns paired with a couple of slices, proving successful. 

Shawn Casady took home second aboard NKH LLC’s NKH Shiloh in 30.917 seconds. Rounding out the top three were Erin Davis-Heineking and October Hill Sales Limited’s Leonie. 

After some up and down results in Ocala, FL, Munson and Charlene kicked off their start to Week III in good fashion.

“It was really nice to start this week off with a bang, and for this horse especially. She’s just moving up to 1.45m, so it was very rewarding to have her be successful tonight,” said Munson, 18.

Genevieve Munson and Carlene. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Wednesday’s win proved that the pair’s year and a half-long partnership has blossomed. 

“Charlene is owned by Precious Mettle LLC, who was generous enough to purchase her for me,” said Munson. “It’s kind of an older partnership, but at the same time, I’m really still getting to know her. She’s a very complicated hot mare that I’ve been very fortunate to be able to grow with. She’s very sensitive and careful, but she wants to win. She’s lovely.”

Michel Vaillancourt’s jump-off course asked a few questions of the pair. 

Initially, I wasn’t sure if it would be a real good [jump-off] for her because she’s more geared toward a lot of turning,” said Munson. “The long gallops are still something we’re working on. This course was basically a serpentine: long gallop, turn around, long gallop, turn around, long gallop. I was really pleased with her adjustability and her progress.”

In the end, the pair mustered a quick time of the course. 

“After having gotten to see the course on my first horse, I was rather prepared with the mare knowing where I needed to add and to leave out. I love Michel Vaillancourt’s courses. He’s one of my absolute favorite course designers. So, it was really great to see him and his courses here today,” said Munson, who has a long history with the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show.

“We’ve come to Pin Oak for years. We love the management here. They always do a great job of making Pin Oak a rider-friendly show. It’s nice to be here. It’s a little more special than a normal horse show.”

And through her win, Munson got to partake in some familial thanks.

“My younger sister is also showing this week. So, I get to help her out. She’s amazing. She’s walking the horses before it’s time for them to go to the grand prix, and she takes them after. She was actually very excited. The winner of today got an Antares Eclipse helmet. Which, I happen to already be wearing one, and they’re one of my sponsors. She’s been nagging us for a while actually, wanting an Eclipse. It even added another sweetener to today, that I got to give her something to reward her for all her help because she’s amazing,” says Munson beaming. “I couldn’t do it without her.”

Genevieve Munson and Charlene were presented as the winners of the $20,000 Bedoya Training Stables Welcome Jumper Stake on Wednesday, April 6 at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is one of the oldest and most prestigious horse shows in the United States, and today features three weeks of top hunter, jumper, and American Saddlebred competition. Founded by J.S. Abercrombie in 1945, it’s also a unique social and fundraising event, supporting the healing of sick children through financial donations, outreach, and volunteer support for Texas Children’s Hospital. The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show was the first show in the country to be designated as a Heritage Competition by the United States Equestrian Federation.

This year’s 76th annual event continues through April 10. Week III’s highlights include the $25,000 Pin Oak Grand Prix, Thursday, April 7 at 4 p.m., Friday’s $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and $15,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, as well as the $100,000 Pin Oak Grand Prix on Saturday, April 9. 

General spectator admission is free for all events. Learn more about the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show by visiting www.PinOak.org, and find the horse show on Facebook and Instagram for the most recent updates. To purchase competition photos, visit www.AndrewRyback.com.

Jacqueline Ruyle Races to Victory in $50,000 Hildebrand Fund Grand Prix at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

Katy, TX – Jacqueline Ruyle and Cyramo Z zoomed to victory in the $50,000 Hildebrand Fund Grand Prix on Saturday, April 2, at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, TX.  

With a $10,000 Welcome Stake win already under her belt during Week I, Ruyle returned to the Porter Hedges Main Ring at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center to secure the first Pin Oak grand prix win of her career. 

A field of 28 entries contested the first-round course built by Portugal’s Bernardo Costa Cabral, with five horses qualifying to jump-off in the Saturday night featured class.  

“I knew that 21 had gone clear in the previous grand prix, so I was expecting it to be much tougher [tonight]!” said Ruyle, referencing Thursday’s $25,000 EPIC Sporthorses Grand Prix. “I walked the course, and it was definitely much tougher. The jumps were a little bigger, a little wider, and a lot of the lines were set on a half-stride, so I knew I had to focus and pay attention and get things done. Riding the course, it definitely felt that way. I had to fight for some of the decisions to make it happen. It didn’t always flow easily, but at the end of the day, it was a really nice course. I enjoyed the challenge; I liked the technicality, and I think [Bernardo] did a really good job.”

Jacqueline Ruyle and Cyramo Z led the victory gallop for the $50,000 Hildebrand Fund Grand Prix. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

For the five riders that qualified for the jump-off, it came down to a lightning-fast race against the clock.

Martien van der Hoeven and Navaro van’t Verahof, owned by Maarten Huygens, were the first pair to return, and they set the time to beat at 37.784 seconds, which looked like it would be difficult to catch. Two trips later, however, Ruyle and Cyramo Z kicked it into high gear, flying through the second half of the course to stop the clock in a winning 36.266 seconds.

Second place went to Rachel Lindsey, who returned for the jump-off immediately following Ruyle and crossed the finish in 37.513 seconds. Van der Hoeven’s time would hold up for third place, while fourth place went to Nicolas Gamboa and Champions League, owned by Maddee Morley. Rounding out the top five were Savannah Hemby and Juju VDM.

Jacqueline Ruyle and Cyramo Z. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

“It feels amazing [to get the win],” said Ruyle, 28, who has been competing at Pin Oak for over a decade. “That’s my gray mare’s first grand prix win, so I’m so proud of her, and it’s my first Pin Oak grand prix win, so it’s been really cool. My parents were here tonight; it’s tough for them to come all of the time because they’re busy and a lot of the time the shows are out of town. So, the Katy shows are really the shows that they can be here and watch. It was so awesome to have them in the crowd to watch my first win on her, and I think that’s the first grand prix win that they’ve seen, so it was awesome!”

Ruyle, who trains with Bedoya Training Stables, has been partnered with Cyramo Z, an 11-year-old Zangersheide mare for several years, and the pair has been consistently knocking on the door of a grand prix victory.

She’s fast as fast can be,” said Ruyle. “She’s so fun to ride. In the warm-up ring, she’s tough, because I have to kick and kick and kick, and she’s so slow and doesn’t want to go. Then I come in the ring, and she’s so fast that I can’t slow down. She takes me for a ride, but you just hang on and relax and let her take you. You have the ride of your life!”

Jacqueline Ruyle was presented as the winner of the $50,000 Hildebrand Fund Grand Prix. 
Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is one of the oldest and most prestigious horse shows in the United States, and today features three weeks of top hunter, jumper, and American Saddlebred competition. Founded by J.S. Abercrombie in 1945, it’s also a unique social and fundraising event, supporting the healing of sick children through financial donations, outreach, and volunteer support for Texas Children’s Hospital. The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show was the first show in the country to be designated as a Heritage Competition by the United States Equestrian Federation.

This year’s 76th annual event continues through April 10, with competition resuming on Wednesday, April 6, for the start of Week III.  

General spectator admission is free for all events. Learn more about the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show by visiting www.PinOak.org, and find the horse show on Facebook and Instagram for the most recent updates. To purchase competition photos, visit www.AndrewRyback.com.

Peyton Addington Outdoes the Adults to Win $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

Katy, TX – Peyton Addington, 17, and Semi-Automatic C earned victory in the $30,000 United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby – Hunt & Go on Friday, April 1, during Week II of the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, TX. 

The junior rider from Dallas, TX, topped a field of 27 professionals, juniors, and amateurs alike to earn her first international derby victory. 

I’m so excited! There were a lot of professionals, so it was fun to win as a junior,” said Addington, who only last year was competing in the pony divisions during her first time at Pin Oak.

On their way to the win, Addington and Semi-Automatic C completed an eight-fence Classic Hunter Round set in one ring by course designer Joseph Carnicorn before immediately entering a connecting ring and continuing on to an additional six-fence Handy Hunter Round.

Peyton Addington and Semi-Automatic C were presented as the winners of the $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby – Hunt & Go. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

In the Classic Hunter Round, Addington earned a base score of 87 plus two high options, and in the handy portion of the hunt & go-format class, the pair earned a total score of 89.25 for an overall score of 178.25.

The top score in the Handy Hunter Round, and the second-place overall award, went to Lilly Goldstein and her own Captain Braunbaer who earned scores of 85 and 93 for a 178.00 cumulative total. Also earning a total score of 178.00 were Rory Caskey and Checkpoint Charlie, owned by Nourah Caskey, who took third place with base scores factoring in as the tie breaker. For full results, click here.

Peyton Addington and Semi-Automatic C. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

“The first jump, I definitely had to ride up well to it, and then the rest of it was really smooth,” said Addington, who trains with Matt Cyphert and Audrey Norrell of Woodhill Farm. “You had to sit down a little bit for the curvy wall, which was difficult, and then settle for the go part before a nice big canter down to the last jump. [Semi-Automatic C] gave a really great effort over the last fence, and I thought he jumped it great!”

Addington has been partnered with Semi-Automatic C since August 2021 and meshed quickly with the 13-year-old grey Belgian Warmblood gelding.

Paul Ransdell (pictured second from left), Senior Development Officer for The Foundation of the Horse, presented Emma Rupinski and C’est La Vie as the winners of the $10,000 USHJA Jr./Amateur National Hunter Derby. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

“He’s perfect; he’s really smooth,” said Addington, who attends a high school geared toward athletes, which allows her to spend extra time focused on riding Semi-Automatic C. “He has a really good canter that’s easy to find the jumps off of.

“It’s fun to be in the derbies with him,” continued Addington. “Thank you to everyone that put this show together. It was a great night!”

Earlier in the day, two additional derby wins were awarded to Emma Rupinski on C’est La Vie and Natalee Haggan on MTM Tourino.

For the second week in a row, Rupinski and C’est La Vie, owned by River Run Farm, LLC, earned the win in the $10,000 USHJA Jr./Amateur National Hunter Derby, presented by The Foundation for the Horse. In the $10,000 USHJA Open National Hunter Derby, also presented by The Foundation for the Horse, Haggan and MTM Tourino took the top call. 

Natalee Haggan rode MTM Tourino to victory in the $10,000 USHJA Open National Hunter Derby, presented by The Foundation for the Horse. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is one of the oldest and most prestigious horse shows in the United States, and today features three weeks of top hunter, jumper, and American Saddlebred competition. Founded by J.S. Abercrombie in 1945, it’s also a unique social and fundraising event, supporting the healing of sick children through financial donations, outreach, and volunteer support for Texas Children’s Hospital. The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show was the first show in the country to be designated as a Heritage Competition by the United States Equestrian Federation.

This year’s 76th annual event continues through April 10, with highlight events of Week II including the $50,000 Hildebrand Fund Grand Prix on Saturday, April 2, beginning at 7 p.m.

General spectator admission is free for all events. Learn more about the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show by visiting www.PinOak.org, and find the horse show on Facebook and Instagram for the most recent updates. To purchase competition photos, visit www.AndrewRyback.com.

Savannah Hemby Earns EPIC Win in $25,000 Grand Prix at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

Katy, TX – Savannah Hemby and Juju VDM bested an 18-horse jump-off to win the $25,000 EPIC Sporthorses Grand Prix on Thursday, March 31, at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, TX.

With 21 total entries qualifying to jump-off over the track set by course designer Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR) – and with only three entries electing not to return – the class came down to a heated race against the clock.

When Hemby returned to the Porter Hedges Main Ring at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center, the jump-off time to beat had been set at 33.595 seconds by Shawn Casady and RMF Chacco Top, owned by Ashland Farms. While 15 others had already tried, only two had come within a second of catching Casady’s clear time; Hemby however, made short work of it.

Savannah Hemby was presented as the winner of the $25,000 EPIC Sporthorses Grand Prix. 
Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

The 20-year-old from Flower Mound, TX, and her own Juju VDM flew across the finish in 31.750 seconds to take the win, relegating Casady and RMF Chacco Top to the second-place honor. Third place with a time of 33.743 seconds went to Nicolas Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy, owned by NKH LLC, and fourth place went to Martien van der Hoeven, who stopped the clock in 34.122 seconds riding Morris Horta for owner Luccirelli International LLC.

“I was quite nervous!” said Hemby, who trains with Matt Cyphert of Woodhill Farm. “This was the biggest jump-off that I’d ever been in, so I just knew I had to be quick and smooth as my trainer Matt says, and we did just that. On my way to jump four, I knew if I caught it well, I could leave the stride out and do four instead of five like it was in the first round. I caught it just right and trusted in my horse, and we got the four done. 

“I’ve never won a grand prix before so this is my first one,” continued Hemby, who has been competing at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show for 10 years. “It feels amazing to have won here. I haven’t been partnered with my horse very long, and she’s placed at every grand prix here [at Pin Oak].”

Hemby acquired the 13-year-old warmblood mare, Juju VDM, in August of 2021, and together they stepped right into competing at the grand-prix level.

“She’s great; she’s always going to try her hardest, which gives me a great level of confidence going into the ring,” said Hemby, a senior at Baylor University in Waco, TX. “She just loves her job. She’s always going to give her heart out and jump great. I know I can count on her for that.”

Savannah Hemby and Juju VDM. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

When Hemby is not competing aboard Juju VDM, she is also a member of Baylor’s National Collegiate Equestrian Assocation (NCEA) equestrian team.  

“It’s been a little difficult balancing the equestrian team and my own riding, so I don’t get to ride at home much, and I don’t get to show as often,” explained Hemby. “I have a great team behind me, Matt and Audrey [Norrell] of Woodhill. I can always count on them to have my horse ready, and I know I just have to show up and give my best.

“I just want to say thank you to the facility for putting on such a great show; it’s always such a privilege to be here,” concluded Hemby.

For full results of Thursday’s $25,000 EPIC Sporthorses Grand Prix, click here.

The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is one of the oldest and most prestigious horse shows in the United States, and today features three weeks of top hunter, jumper, and American Saddlebred competition. Founded by J.S. Abercrombie in 1945, it’s also a unique social and fundraising event, supporting the healing of sick children through financial donations, outreach, and volunteer support for Texas Children’s Hospital. The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show was the first show in the country to be designated as a Heritage Competition by the United States Equestrian Federation.

This year’s 76th annual event continues through April 10, with highlight events of Week II including a $30,000 United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby on Friday, April 1, and the $50,000 Hildebrand Fund Grand Prix on Saturday, April 2, beginning at 7 p.m.

General spectator admission is free for all events. Learn more about the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show by visiting www.PinOak.org, and find the horse show on Facebook and Instagram for the most recent updates. To purchase competition photos, visit www.AndrewRyback.com.

Nicolas Gamboa Gets First Grand Prix Victory at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

Katy, TX – Nicolas Gamboa claimed the first grand prix victory of his career aboard NKH Mr. Darcy on Saturday, March 26, at the 76th annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, TX.

The 21-year-old was one of 17 entries to contest the $30,000 Third Coast Bank Pin Oak Charity Grand Prix, and he and NKH Mr. Darcy were one of nine combinations to advance to jump-off in front of the full, ringside gala crowd at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center. 

When Gamboa returned to the ring, the clear-round time to beat had been set at 35.296 seconds by Laurel Walker and her own Gatsby. While others had bested Walker’s time, none had done so without fault, until Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy.

He and the 9-year-old grey Holsteiner stallion left strides out throughout the course to fly across the finish line of the Manuel Esparza-designed short course in 32.949 seconds and with no faults at all.

Nicolas Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

“My plan was to do five [strides down the second line], but he caught the oxer so well and landed forward and straight and was on it, so we pushed for the four, and answered all the questions tonight and galloped to the last,” said Gamboa. “He was a good guy tonight. It’s a great feeling to get the win!”

Second place went to Walker and Gatsby, while Gamboa also finished in third on a time of 37.060 seconds on his second mount, Champions League, owned by Maddee Morley.

 “Last year was my first year here at Pin Oak; I just did a couple of classes the final week, and it was a great experience,” said Gamboa, who began working for Christian Heineking of Heineking Show Stables and October Hill Farm in January of 2021. “It’s great to start this year with a bang! I just want to say a big thank you to Christian Heineking and the whole crew and especially Neil Knox who owns Mr. Darcy. They’ve been great to me.”

Nicolas Gamboa was presented as the winner of the $30,000 Third Coast Bank Pin Oak Charity Grand Prix by Third Coast Bank’s Chief Financial Officer, John McWhorter, and Managing Director of Private Wealth, Jeanette Allan (pictured far left and second from left, respectively). Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is one of the oldest and most prestigious horse shows in the United States, and today features three weeks of top hunter, jumper, and American Saddlebred competition. Founded by J.S. Abercrombie in 1945, it’s also a unique social and fundraising event, supporting the healing of sick children through financial donations, outreach, and volunteer support for Texas Children’s Hospital. The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show was the first show in the country to be designated as a Heritage Competition by the United States Equestrian Federation.

This year’s 76th annual event continues through April 10, with competition resuming on Wednesday, March 30, for the start of Week II.  

General spectator admission is free for all events. Learn more about the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show by visiting www.PinOak.org, and find the horse show on Facebook and Instagram for the most recent updates. To purchase competition photos, visit www.AndrewRyback.com. For full results of all classes, visit www.horseshowsonline.com.

Jennifer Alfano Banks Winning Check in $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

Katy, TX – Jennifer Alfano is no stranger to hunter derby success at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, but it is a brand-new experience for her recently acquired mount, Banker. The gelding made its derby debut a winning one, taking the top call in Friday’s $30,000 United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby.

Second place went to Jef Lauwers and Hallpass, owned by Sue Copeland, and Peyton Addington and her own Semi-Automatic rounded out the top three at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, TX. 

While it came down to the tenths of a point to decide second and third place, with Lauwers finishing on a cumulative total score of 364.5 and Addington earning a 364 total, Alfano and Banker were the far and away winners, leading the class from beginning to end.

Over the classic hunter round course – built by designer Alan Lohman and spanning two rings – Alfano and Banker earned a combined score from the two judging panels of 177.5.

Jennifer Alfano and Banker. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

With 12 riders returning in reverse order of their standings, Alfano was the final entry to contest the handy round, and she and Banker only bettered their performance, earning base scores of 88 and 86 from the two judging panels. Once coupled with all four high option bonus points and handy bonus points of six and eight, respectively, Alfano and Banker earned a handy round score of 196 and a two-round total of 373.5 for the victory. 

“Banker is a new horse to me,” said Alfano, who purchased the 8-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding only weeks ago. “This is actually his first international derby, so he went way beyond expectations. I didn’t know what to expect. He honestly went in there like a seasoned derby horse. He was not fazed by anything. I couldn’t be happier with him.”

For Alfano, the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show has long been a favorite destination, thanks largely to its multiple hunter derbies throughout the three-week event.

Jennifer Alfano and Banker were presented as the winners of the $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on Friday, March 25. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

“I’ve been coming to Pin Oak probably since derbies started,” explained Alfano, who hails from Ocala, FL. “This was one of the first places that actually had a big derby. They had a $50,000 derby early on when derbies were new, so we came from Florida one year for that. We fell in love with the place and the facility and all the people here, and we’ve been coming ever since. It’s been a long time. We love coming here.”

The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is one of the oldest and most prestigious horse shows in the United States, and today features three weeks of top hunter, jumper, and American Saddlebred competition. Founded by J.S. Abercrombie in 1945, it’s also a unique social and fundraising event, supporting the healing of sick children through financial donations, outreach, and volunteer support for Texas Children’s Hospital. The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show was the first show in the country to be designated as a Heritage Competition by the United States Equestrian Federation.

This year’s 76th annual event continues through April 10, with highlight events of Week I including the $30,000 Third Coast Bank Pin Oak Charity Grand Prix on Saturday, March 26 at 7 p.m.

General spectator admission is free for all events. Learn more about the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show by visiting www.PinOak.org, and find the horse show on Facebook and Instagram for the most recent updates. To purchase competition photos, visit www.AndrewRyback.com. For full results of all classes, visit www.horseshowsonline.com.