After a more than 2,500-mile trip from the Pacific Northwest to the Mid-Atlantic, Alexis Taylor Silvernale of Bellevue, Washington, made her journey worthwhile as she and Citation, a 2006 Wurttemberger gelding (Cornet Obolensky x Little Lou) owned by student Camille LeBlond were crowned champions of the $2,500 WCHR Developing Pro Challenge presented by Stephanie Ingram and Well Placed Smile. Silvernale and Citation received an 84.50 from the panel for their first over fences round and retuned to score an 87.50 in the second over fences class to seal their win with a final score of 172.00.
Entering the division as the leading rider for the WCHR Developing Pro series, Silvernale was ecstatic with the duo’s performance throughout the competitive division and embraced her return to the East Coast with happiness and determination. Riding for a number of talented and prominent names in the industry including Leslie Howard and Timmy Kees during her junior years, Silvernale took a hiatus from the sport for nearly a decade, earning a bachelor’s degree from New York University and continuing on to a successful career on Wall Street before realizing where her true passion was calling her.
“My husband Joe and I met training for an Ironman competition and he really inspired me to get back into the sport which has been the biggest blessing in my life,” continued Silvernale. “I found myself riding again and trained through much of my amateur owner career with Hunt and Mandy Tosh but really felt a pull to move back closer to family and took a professional job in the area and decided to open up our own program in Washington State and something I was a little bit more accustomed to.”
Citation plays dual roles at her own Aleron Farm, serving as a junior hunter mount for owner LeBlond, while testing the bigger tracks with Silvernale. The team will head to Harrisburg next where Silvernale will compete in the High Performance division and LeBlanc will test the prestigious equitation classes on a separate mount. A solid citizen and a true talent, Citation proved his worth with a flawless second round, which ultimately secured the win for the duo, who were in fifth place going into the final round.
“We actually imported him to be an equitation horse but my client decided that she wanted more experience in the hunter ring, so we decided to mold him into a hunter,” she explained. “He’s exceeded all of our expectations and he has an incredible jump. He has an amazing personality in the barn but he’s incredibly athletic and just safe and kind. He will continue to do the Junior Hunters with his owner and I am hoping that I will be lucky enough to keep campaigning him through the High Performance divisions next year and the international derbies.”
Quick to thank her husband, team, and owners, Silvernale also made mention of her longtime groom Luis Jiminez and his wife Maria Jiminez who have been with the Aleron team since its inception.
“I want to thank Luis and Maria for all of their hard work and the dedication they put forth everyday to ensure the best care of our horses. They helped to found our business and are exceptional. They truly are family and they’re known around the barn as Papa Luis and Mama Maria.”
Sara Green and Batman followed with reserve honors in the division, narrowly trailing Silvernale and Citation, receiving an 83.00 in the first round and lifting their average with an impressive 88.33 in the second over fences class for a total score of 171.33 and broke a tie with Alexandra Wedemeyer and Wish List who collected third place with the same score.
Full story from the Capital Challenge Daily Update available here.