WELLINGTON, Fla. — Amanda Steege of Bedminster, N.J., and Lafitte de Muze finished in the $100,000 World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular.

Following the opening round at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Fla. on Feb. 16, Steege and Lafitte de Muze led with a score of 92.33. over Victoria Colvin and Private Practice. A second round score of 92.66, however, would shoot Colvin and the 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding straight to the top of the leaderboard with a 182.66 total. When Steege and Lafitte de Muze scored an 89.93 as the final entry in the second round for a 182.16 total, victory was clinched for Colvin, while Steege secured the second-place honor.

Steege was very pleased with Lafitte de Muze's performance over the night's courses set by designer Ken Krome.

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"I was certainly hoping that he was going to be a competitor out there, and I think he definitely went beyond those expectations," said Steege of the 8-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Cheryl Olsten. "He got to do this class last year as a First Year horse, and it was only his third show in America. It was amazing to feel how much more mature he is a year later.

"I was really happy with my [second] round," continued Steege. "I thought he jumped amazing. I made the conscious choice to go around the red vertical on the way to jump one. Tori's horse has won Derby Finals and is a bit more experienced than my horse. My horse is working his way up to being able to do those types of things, and I wanted to make the very best decision that I could for him for this to be the most positive experience possible. Other than that, I thought he was quite handy, very adjustable, and very smooth."

Steege also rode Disclosure, owned by Samantha Kramig who won the The Mark Gregory Memorial Award, established by Susie Humes, for the best-conditioned horse in Round 1.

Riders earning champion or reserve champion in the 3'6" and higher rated WCHR hunter sections qualified for the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular, with additional riders qualifying based on points if the qualified riders chose not to compete or were pre-qualified. In addition, riders also qualified based on their 2018 standings in the WCHR national awards programs.

The class, a two round hunter classic, was scored by three panels of two judges with the top scoring 12 horse-and-rider combinations returning for a second round.

The Kavar Kerr Distinguished Service Award, presented by the World Championship Hunter Rider Committee in honor of Kerr's philanthropic background, was awarded to Louise Serio of Kennett Square, Pa. The award is presented to a person who has demonstrated exceptional dedication, leadership and commitment to the WCHR Program through their volunteer service and philanthropic efforts. This person also honors the past and tradition while representing the future and growth of philanthropy in the sport.

Serio's dedication, support and leadership-in conjunction with co-founder and 2018 recipient Geoff Teall-helped to bring the WCHR Program to life and sustain it over the years. Her leadership, vision and determination enabled the WCHR to grow and thrive.

For more photos from the class, visit the USHJA Facebook page at www.facebook.com/USHJA.

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