Concluding the week of competition at the 2014 Washington International Horse Show were the Regional Hunter Championships. The WIHS Regional Pony Hunter Champion was Polka Dot Pal ridden by Madeira middle school program rider, Thea Bitar. Bitar (13), of McLean, VA, trains with Madeira’s Director of Equestrian Programs Ian McCartney and this was her first time qualifying for the final at the Verizon Center.
“Last weekend I was at Regionals, and I never thought we would qualify to show here,” Bitar admitted. “It is my first time and I guess it turned out pretty well. It is amazing to show here. I have always watched the show since I was little and thought how cool it would be to show here when I was so much older, and now I had this opportunity and I am so thankful.”
To earn the championship, Bitar and Polka Dot Pal won the final class of the division on Sunday with the high score of 80 over fences. Speaking about Polka Dot Pal, Bitar explained, “We went to try him on April 23, 2013, and when I first tried him I knew he would be perfect. He came home the next month, and I have been leasing him ever since.”
“He is great. He is the sweetest little thing,” Bitar smiled. “You do need a lot of leg on him, but other than that, he is really easy. He goes in a D-ring bit most of the time. He is just a really happy pony. He never gets mad at the other horses, and he is just so much fun to ride.”
Photo Credit: Photos © Shawn McMillen Photography, www.shawnmcmillen.com.Riding