Emma Waldfogel of Palo Alto, Calif., made her first trip to the Hampton Classic a memorable and rewarding one by winning the $5,000 Strong’s Marine Low Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic and the Low Amateur-Owner Jumper Championship, on her own Zorro.
“The Hampton Classic has always been a show that I’ve wanted to come to, so I’m really glad that I’m here,” said Waldfogel, 19, who brought Zorro, two hunters and her equitation horse. “I always thought that it looks beautiful, and the competition is really hard. It just seemed like a fun show to come to, and I’ve loved it so far.”
Waldfogel is finishing up a gap year devoted to riding, after graduating from the Castilleja School in Palo Alto. But next Wednesday she’ll be heading to Scotland to attend St. Andrews College. “I love Europe, and I want to travel while I’m there. I hope to get to ride there too, if my parents are OK with it. But so far they’ve been really supportive,” she said sheepishly.
Waldfogel and Zorro bested 29 other horses with an aggressive jump-off round. “I left out a stride between the first two fences, And I’m really lucky that he has quick foot speed—that helped a lot. Plus, we just stayed on a really good rhythm,” she said.
Waldfogel had never shown in the jumper division before this year, and she bought Zorro, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood, to do it. “He’s my first and only jumper, and he’s wonderful,” she said.
“He’s really sweet, but he’s a little firecracker. His personality is really different from how he goes in the ring. He’s sweet and quiet in the barn, and I can take him trail riding. But once he gets in the ring, he lights up,” Waldfogel added. “He’s taught me a lot, and he’s put up with a lot of my mistakes. I’ve been lucky with that.”
Waldfogel trains with Mark Bone and Jamie Taylor.
Francesca Dildabanian of New York City started off the morning in Jumper Ring 2 by winning the $5,000 Junior Jumper Classic on Catika Van De Helle. That victory gave Dildabanian and Catika Van De Helle the Low Junior Jumper Championship. Dildabanian also grabbed the reserve championship with Ollywood Des Horts.