Jill Wilson didn’t have much time to catch her breath as the young professional drove all they way from Wellington, Fla. to exhibit in the Aiken Horse Show in the Woods. However, the drive to Aiken didn’t seem to make too much of a difference to the show hunter rider, as she and Sally Lamb’s 7-year-old gelding, Uno, won Sunday’s $1,500 Security Federal Bank Foxhunter Stakes.
But the rider/horse combination has enjoyed previous success as Wilson and the Wamblood-Thoroughbred cross have won sidesaddle and show hunter classes. The duo took tri-color ribbon honors in the Ladies Hunter Sidesaddle division at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, Pa, in Oct. 2011, and Wilson and Uno exhibited in the Aiken Horse Show in the Woods sidesaddle class on Saturday.
Uno’s versatility proved to be advantageous in the class, as it’s Lamb’s philosophy to have her horses exposed to a number of disciplines, and Wilson’s and Uno’s performance in the Foxhunter Stakes on Sunday was exceptional. “He’s been with us a little over two years,” said Wilson, who is based in Keswick, Va. “He traveled with us this past summer and won in Kentucky and Ohio.”
The course designed by Matt Collins was technical enough in that it challenged the riders, but the obstacles and elements made it fun for the exhibitors, said Wilson. The show ring’s environment was very relaxing.
“It’s a beautiful setting, and he did a really nice job in setting the jumps,” said Wilson. “It’s always harder to canter down hill toward the ingate. It was great for the handy round to be able to go out into the woods. It’s always nice to have some variety.”
The weather for the 97th Aiken Horse Show in the Woods couldn’t have been more ideal, said Randy Wolcott, the show’s announcer. Saturday’s classes included the children’s divisions which included the leadline class, where all of the participants were winners, and the eagerly anticipated costume class.
“We had great courses and a lot of entries,” said Wolcott. “On Saturday, I couldn’t believe the number of exhibitors we had in each class. It was a fabulous day with the foxhunters, and the junior foxhunter division was filled with great young riders, which is going to be the future of the woods. It’s great support for the foundation.”
Wolcott has been a trustee of the Hitchcock Foundation for 15 years, and recently stepped down as the chairman for the Hitchcock Woods Foundation.
“It’s such an honor to be a part of this show,” said Wolcott, who has been a spectator, exhibitor and the announcer for the past decade.
But it’s the show’s history and tradition that has a far-reaching influence on spectators, exhibitors and organizers, said Gail King, Aiken Horse Show in the Woods show director.