For Immediate Release: May 5, 2023

Virginia Horse Center Foundation

Media Contact: Lisa Davis Engel



Mahalo and Ashley Foster Worthington Win the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by TTR Sotheby's International Realty

The $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by TTR Sotheby’s International Realty kicked off the hunter competition today in the Wiley arena under sunny skies.

Twenty-six horse and rider teams went on the hunt for the blue over a course designed by Nancy Wallis of Lambertville, New Jersey.

Wallis said she designed both courses with a lot of options. “For the Classic round, the lines didn’t really have a related distance and there was only one measured line in the two stride. The riders really needed to ride off their eye. I think that provided a lot of options for people who knew how to use them. I was happy with the way the riders responded to the course. There were a few that had a hard time, but the top scores were high. I’m always aiming for the riders to get into the 90s,” said Wallis.

Wallis continued this theme in the Handy round. “There are several options where the riders can choose to take the turns to the inside or go around if they have a younger horse or if they’re a little green. They don’t need to force anything. I think the way it is laid out, the cream will rise to the top,” she added.

And the cream did rise to the top when Ashley Foster Worthington rode Rolling Acres' Mahalo to the win with a combined score of 189.

Foster said, “I thought both rounds were beautiful. I love a good, long bending line if I don’t have to count,” she laughed, “so that was super helpful. With Mahalo it’s mostly about getting a good gallop so I thought the course really helped me out with that.”

“For the Handy round, there were so many turns. When I first walked it, I planned on going around everywhere. But then Tiffany [Cambria] and Guy talked me into doing the inside, insides and while I’m not the best at that, Mahalo had it and he was perfect,” said Foster. Mahalo, according to Foster is the most amazing horse. “He has been doing this a long time and knows his job. As long as I’m on top of him, he’s good to go. He’s kind of hard not to love. I would say he loves his job and loves being at the shows. He likes to be home too, but when he gets to the shows, his personality really comes alive,” she said. “It’s been a great week for me here so far,” said Foster. “All of my horses have been awesome. We were champion in the Green Hunters and the 3’ Greens and this win is just a great way to top it off,” she said.

Final results had Sabrina Hellman’s Not to Worry, ridden by Tiffany Cambria in second place for their combined score of 188. Third place was awarded to Price Farms, LLC’s Ufeelme, ridden by Sam Meadows for their combined score of 178.

EMO Stables’ Sidenote, ridden by Maria Shannon, earned a combined score of 177.5 and the fourth place ribbon. Figure of Speech, owned by Amy Squier Perez and ridden by Guy Cambria, placed fifth with their combined score of 174.  

Sixth was awarded to Marilyn Richmond’s Music Man, ridden by Grace Long. The pair earned a combined score of 171.

Watch Hill, LLC’s Fortitude, ridden by Nicole Motes placed seventh and earned a combined score of 166. Jarnac, owned by Joann Cangelosi and ridden by Kylee Buchholz finished in eighth place with their combined score of 163.5 and Cronos Du Leon, owned and ridden by Isabella Salas finished in ninth place with a score of 157.

EMO Stables’ Avila, ridden by Maria Shannon earned a tenth-place finish with their combined score of 145. Brugh’s Mill, owned by Joan Alberti and ridden by Jason Berry finished in eleventh place with a score of 139 and Romero De Solart, owned by Zachary Parks and ridden by Jacob Harris wrapped up the class with a twelfth placing for their combined score of 135.

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Judy Bishop presented the awards on behalf of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

Photo credit: Teresa Ramsay Photography

About TTR Sotheby's International Realty

TTR Sotheby’s International Realty is the sponsor of the Lexington Spring Encore $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.

Since 1988, real estate professionals at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty have ranked among the highest performing in the nation, and are regarded for their integrity, professional service, and community leadership. Through their relationship with the venerable Sotheby’s auction house and with Sotheby's International Realty offices in 79 countries around the world, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty produces extraordinary results for their clients by leveraging global marketing, cutting edge digital strategies, and unrivaled access to the world's most affluent and discerning clientele.

The Virginia Festival of Champions and the Virginia Horse Center Foundation appreciate their support. Visit them on the web for more information.

Leading Amateur Rider

Leading Amateur Rider in the USHJA National Hunter Derby was awarded to McKenzie Bowles.

Photo credit: Teresa Ramsay

The Hollins University Leading Junior Rider Award 

The Hollins University Leading Junior Rider Award in the USHJA National Hunter Derby was presented to fourteen-year-old Isabella Salas.

Salas has been riding Cronos du Leon for about 2 years and in the Derby for about the same time. At this stage in her life, she’s really just having fun with her riding. “I’ve been riding for eight years, and I love it,” she commented. For the online student, the biggest challenge for her is to ‘continue learning and be consistent’. Salas rides with Jenny Graham.

Pictured: Elysse Stolpe presented the Hollings University Leading Junior Rider Award.

Photo credit: Teresa Ramsay

About Hollins University

The Leading Junior Rider Award is sponsored by Hollins University.

Located in Roanoke, Virginia, Hollins University unites excellence in liberal arts education with experiential learning opportunities and career preparation to help students lead lives of consequence. 

With decades of individual and team National titles and amazing horses, coaches, and staff, the university’s riding program has long earned its standing among the nation’s best. 

The riding facilities are only a short walk from the center of campus, making it easy for students to pursue academic and athletic excellence. Riding at Hollins is a life-changing opportunity for undergraduates with any level of experience. To learn more, visit or follow Hollins University Riding on Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok.

Rave Reviews of the Virginia Horse Center

Olympic medalist, horse trainer and Virginia native Joe Fargis was at the Virginia Horse Center today with students competing in the jumper divisions from .75 m and up.

Fargis himself has been showing at the Virginia Horse Center since it opened and has won Grand Prix competitions when they were held in the coliseum. “This facility in every aspect is fantastic. They have three-day Eventing here; all sorts of hunter/jumper shows and dressage and host every single horse sport that we enjoy. They offer events from the lowest levels where everyone needs to start up to the professional ranks. They have all sorts of classes, good course designers, good footing, and its in the middle of horse country. And horses love it here. I find the horse center to be a very friendly place,” commented Fargis.

“The Virginia Horse Center attracts wonderful hunter riders. My guess is that they all probably started here as Juniors and now those same riders are nationally recognized as the best in the sport,” he continued. “I think the horse center is thriving. The footing in the Dee Dee arena is fantastic and is clearly the most important enhancement made here. The refreshed stabling is great. This is a very friendly place and why I love being here. The administration and the management all care about every single person, groom, owner, rider and trainer and are just nice.

A lifelong horseman and fan of the outdoors, Fargis loves teaching and helping people be kind to their horses. “I love horses and animals and if I can teach someone to be a better rider, I teach them to be a better horseman and I enjoy that,” he said.

Best Young Horse: Ragnar owned by Sue Tice Grossman and show by Drew Taylor

Best Young Pony: Counterpoint, owned by Melissa Jo Hollingsworth and shown by Drew Taylor

Congratulations to Grace Vaughan and her own Joki De Boerendans on winning the Low Jr/Amateur Jumper 1.20 m Classic

Mark your calendar for the final installment of the Festival of Champions, the Lexington National August 9-13.

The Festival of Champions benefits the Virginia Horse Center Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Sponsorship opportunities and vendor applications are available

Thank you to our Festival of Champions Sponsors

About the Virginia Horse Center Foundation

The Virginia Horse Center Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, provides a world-class facility hosting regional, national, and international equestrian events. The Virginia Horse Center Foundation envisions a unique, bucolic landmark to honor and celebrate the timeless, special bond between mankind and the horse through safe, fair and spirited equestrian competition.

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