Thermal, Calif. – January 29, 2022 – Though temperatures dropped Saturday at the Desert International Horse Park (DIHP), hunter competitors were still eager for an exciting day of competition during the penultimate day of Desert Circuit II. Amateur-owner athletes and their horses took to the second and final portion of their respective divisions in Hunter 2 to battle it out over the Ken Krome-designed tracks for the champion and reserve champion honors. In Section A of the Casa Luigi Amateur-Owner 3’6’’ Hunter division, Didi Mackenzie piloted MTM Do Right to the championship, while Irene Neuwirth and Guess emerged victorious as the champion duo in Section B.
Riding to a first and third place ribbon during Friday’s portion of the Casa Luigi Amateur-Owner 3’6’’ Hunter division, Mackenzie and MTM Do Right set themselves up for success heading into Saturday’s classes. The duo clinched the Section A championship honors after receiving first and third places over fences. As the Section B champions, Neuwirth and Guess Who started the division off Saturday with a first place over fences and fourth place under saddle. After earning second and sixth place over fences Saturday, the Section B tricolor was theirs for the taking.
The reserve championship in Section A was awarded to Neuwirth aboard her second mount in the class, Juan Carlos. The pair rode to a first, second and sixth place, as well as fourth place undersaddle, to ultimately receive the reserve champion honor. In Section B, Alexis Meadows and Antwerp claimed the reserve championship, earning first place, two second place ribbons and a third place over the two days of competition.
Neuwirth and Guess Who notched yet another win Saturday in the Rusty Brown Amateur-Owner 3’6’’ Hunter Classic, riding to scores of 86 and 85.5 to top the class with an overall score of 171.5. Claiming second place with a total score of 169 was Meadows riding Antwerp, while Didi Mackenze and MTM Do Right rounded out the top three of the Rusty Brown Amateur-Owner 3’6’’ Hunter Classic with a total score of 168.5.
Earlier in the day, amateur-owner competitors took to Hunter 2 with fences set at the 3’3’’ height in the hopes of topping the Platinum Performance Amateur-Owner 3’3’’ Hunter Classic. In the end, it was Christina Smith and Soon To Be who rode away with first place honors after earning a total of 175 points.
Hunter competition at DIHP Circuit II will conclude Sunday, January 30, as junior competitors vie for their respective championships. Desert Circuit III will kick off Wednesday, February 2.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Irene Neuwirth – Casa Luigi Amateur-Owner 3’6’’ Hunter Section B Champion
On her plan for the handy round:
“I hate the handy rounds. John makes me go inside everywhere. I went inside to the first jump and inside to the second jump and the rest was straightforward; there were only two options to go inside so I did them.”
On her two mounts in the class:
“I have two in this division. Guess Who, who I was champion on, is the coolest. He is 7 years old and I’ve had him for six months. He’s very green; it’s like riding a noodle but he has the best jump in the whole world.”
On her goals throughout the Desert Circuit:
“To survive! Survival is my goal.”