Meet Your Devon Junior Weekend Hunter Champions

 Alexa Lignelli and iParty

Alexa Lignelli and iParty

From The Chronicle of the Horse:

Devon, Pa- May 27, 2017

Through the hustle and bustle of the Devon Horse Show & Country Fair grounds, ponies and horses alike capped their weekends with tricolors. Here are the junior and pony riders that bested the best this year where champions meet.

Photo by Laura Lemon

Alexa Lignelli and iParty- Small Pony Hunter

When you go through a streak of winning, there’s always the fear of it ending. And Lignelli was on a streak as she headed to Devon, Pa.

“We had a great Harrisburg, so we came here, and I was actually pretty nervous because she’s been having a great year. I was like ‘Oh my god,’ ” said Lignelli’s trainer Bill Schaub. “Everyone expects you to do well and when you don’t do well they’re like ‘What happened?’ ”

But those fears were quelled when Lignelli captured the small pony champion and reserve champion honors on iParty and Rollingwoods Knee Deep. To top off her weekend, she earned Grand Pony Hunter champion honors and collected the Best Child Rider on a Pony award.

“[I felt] very confident because I came here last year, and we just wanted to get used to the ring, and then I knew this year,” said the 10-year-old.

Alexa Lignelli Cover Girl


Congratulations to Alexa Lignelli for making the cover of The Paisley Magazine!

Working Together


Congratulations to Bill Schaub and Alexa Lignelli for your feature article in The Plaid Horse magazine!

iParty Celebrates on the Way to the Pennsylvania National's Grand Pony Hunter Championship


From The Chronicle of the Horse
By Molly Sorge

It was hard to miss Alexa Elle Lignelli's smile at the Pennsylvania National. Her grin was ear-to-ear during junior weekend, Oct. 13-15 in Harrisburg.

Lignelli couldn't contain her excitement on Day 1 of the pony divisions, as she and iParty topped the conformation class, then placed second in the handy. And then she followed that up with a win in the under saddle and second in the stake class to claim not only the small pony tricolor, but also the grand pony hunter title.

Lignelli's smile in the grand pony hunter awards ceremony outshone the trophies she won, but she still wasn't done. She picked up the Best Child Rider on a Pony title, too.

"She has nerves of steel! She's always telling me to calm down; she doesn't understand why I get nervous," said Bill Schaub, who trains Lignelli. "She loves the competition. That's unusual for someone so young. And she doesn't get emotional. If she has a bad round, she comes out smiling, we talk about it, and she goes back in. 

"Her mother's instilled that in both of them," Schaub said of Lignelli, 9, and her sister Agatha. "She's taught them that you have to learn how to win and how to lose."

It was a stellar debut for Alexa's first indoor season with iParty (Dragoncroft Pintado—Loafers Lodge Isis). The half-Welsh pony, who is also 9, won the small pony hunter title last year as well with Lila Mark riding. 

"I knew she loves this ring, so I was hoping things would go well here," said Alexa, who took up iParty's reins after the Washington International Horse Show (D.C.) last year.

"She's very huntery. You have to know her pace very well though. If you find her good pace, all the distances just come up. It's not really galloping, but definitely not slow," Alexa said.

Alexa and Agatha, 6, live in New York City and ride with Katie O'Donnell on Long Island and with Schaub, of Sanford, Fla. Their show ponies, including iParty, live with Schaub, and they meet them at shows. But they travel to Long Island whenever they can to ride at O'Donnell's Twin Oaks Farm.

And at Twin Oaks, the Lignelli girls have a much more relaxed atmosphere than at the show ring. "They spend hours out there, playing with the ponies and grooming and bathing them," said their mother, Catherine Lignelli. "They clean stalls. This high-end show circuit is very different, but I think that there needs to be a balance. That's so valuable to my girls. They do this, and then they ride bareback and take the ponies swimming in the pond."

Catherine rides casually, so when her daughters expressed an interest in ponies, she dove in. "It's such a wonderful sport. We're nothing but blessed to be involved in this. I'm so impressed with all the rider and the supportive families I've met," she said.

When they met Schaub this winter, Catherine thought he would be a good fit for the girls. "Bill is a very special man. His character was something that drew us to him. I thought it was a good fit for my girls' character," she said.

Schaub started helping Alexa at the ring just before the U.S. Pony Finals (Ky.) this year. "She won the under saddle at Pony Finals, but then we had some bad luck there. She was reserve last week at Capital Challenge [Md.], so she's been working her way up to this," Schaub said. "When she first came to me, she got along with [Rollingwoods Knee Deep] the best, and she was a bit on and off with iParty. But now they've really come together. IParty is such a lovely pony across the ground. She'll be sassy in the stall, but in the ring she loves to win."

Great Success at the Washington International


October 30, 2016
Jump Media

Washington, D.C. - The 58th annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) came to a close on Sunday, October 30, after an unforgettable week of equestrian sport in the nation's capital. The final day of competition featured pony and regional hunter champions at Verizon Center in downtown Washington D.C. WIHS ran October 25-30, welcoming over 500 horses to compete for more than $500,000 in prize money. With top sport, exciting exhibitions, fabulous shopping, and more, the 2016 WIHS had something for everyone and celebrated another successful equestrian event in the nation’s capital.

Mimi Gochman’s sister, Sophie Gochman, rode Dr. Betsee Parker's Bit of Love to earn the Small Pony Hunter Championship, sponsored by Further Lane Farm, and was awarded The Stombock Saddlery Challenge Trophy, donated by Stombock Saddlery in Memory of E.P. (Bud) Stombock. The pair placed first, fourth, and fourth over fences, and finished third under saddle. Alexa Lignelli and her own Rollingwoods Knee Deep earned the reserve championship with two second-place ribbons over fences.

Hannah Bernstein’s Woodlands Stevie Ray and Emily Aitken took championship honors in the Medium Pony Hunter division and earned The Shenandoah Sundowner Perpetual Trophy, donated by Evan Coluccio and Ashmont Farms, Ltd. The pair won two classes over fences and placed second under saddle. Bill Schaub’s Highlands Heaven Sent and Luke Jensen won one class over fences to earn the reserve championship.

Isabelle Aldridge led the jumping phase of the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals with a score of 87 riding Woodland’s Misty Rain, owned by Aldridge Equestrian, LLC and finished in second place overall after the flat phase. After pocketing a score of 84 over fences, Grace Debney and Denmark, owned by John Skinner, took third, and Saylor Shea claimed fourth with an 82.5 riding Magical Diamond, owned by Strawberry Hill, LLC. Luke Jensen rounded out the top five with a score of 82 aboard Fox Creek’s Curious George, owned by Dianna Orona. 

Final Results: WIHS Pony Equitation Finals


1 655 Storyteller Fair Play Farm Sophie Gochman 86
2 839 Woodland’s Misty Rain Aldridge Equestrian, LLC Isabelle Aldridge 87 3 589 Denmark John Skinner Grace Debney 84
4 462 Magical Diamond Strawberry Hill, LLC Saylor Shea 82.5
5 955 Fox Creek’s Curious George Dianna Orona Luke Jensen 82
6 332 Jessandi Famous Amos Olivia Stoeckel Olivia Stoeckel 83
7 485 Kingston Gabrielle Sokolow Augusta Iwasaki 81.5
8 546 Blueberry Hill Natalie Jayne Claire Campbell 80
9 575 Anisette Hannah Hoch Hannah Hoch 75
10 331 Glynhafan Red Kestral Olivia Markman Olivia Markman 79

Great Things Come in Small Packages at the Pennsylvania National


From Horses Daily
10/16/2016 12:48pm
Photo by Al Cook

Harrisburg, PA - Pony Hunters of all sizes took over the ring at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show presented by the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Trust. The ponies and their pint-sized jockeys contested two over fences classes on Friday, and on Saturday saw the culmination of their efforts, with a class on the flat and one final round over fences to determine championship honors.

Alexa Elle Lignelli, a 9-year-old fourth grader from New York, NY, and her 9-year-old pony IParty, were named Small Pony Hunter Champion, placing first or second in all the classes in the division for a point total of 32. Sophie Gochman and Bit of Love, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker took the Reserve with 26 points.

"I started riding her after Washington last year. She is very huntery. If you don't know her pace you won't find the distances. You don't want to go forward galloping or you will pop or chip. You want to have a normal pace, not like a real hunter, not that slow but like pretty medium," explained the adorable Lignelli.

When asked what she likes about horse shows, Lignelli was very clear. "I like the competition. I just love the sport. It is so fun."

Trainer Bill Schaub added "Two weeks before pony finals I got a phone call and she came to me. They started off with a bang. They were Champion Section A in Kentucky the week before Pony Finals. We had some bad luck at Pony Finals but we have been inching our way up."

"She has nerves of steel," continued Schaub. "She doesn't get nervous. She is always telling me to calm down. She loves the competition and that is unusual, if she has a bad round she comes out smiling and we discuss it and learn from it and it is over. They have really come together."

Rock Star, an entry of Roberts Sales LLC, and rider Sophia Roberts, a 12-year-old from Wilmington, OH, were the Medium Pony Hunter Champions with 24 points. Trillville, owned by Stella Wasserman and Augusta Iwasaki were the Reserve Champions with 16 points.

"I am so happy," said Gochman. "He is such a good boy. I wasn't really thinking about the championship. I was just trying to do my best. He has a great rhythm, a nice smoot jump and is so comfortable, and he tries really hard all the time. I love riding him. Sadly, this is my last year on ponies so this is a good way to go out."

Grand Pony Hunter Champion was awarded to IParty and Alexa Elle Lignelli, making it an even better day for the pair. IParty's caretaker, Amato Ramos took home the Groom Award for his efforts.

The EMO Agency Pony Hunter High Five award was given to Sophie Gochman and The Pony Hunter Sportsmanship Award went to Adam Edgar.

Final awards for the Junior Hunters were also handed out. Evermore and Emma Kurtz were named High Point Small Junior Hunter, winning the Huntland Derby Perpetual Cup. Brett Burlington's Due West and was the High Point Large Junior Hunter. Due West was also named Grand Junior Hunter, Perpetual Trophy, with his groom, Milton Portillo, taking the Groom Award and Michael Delphiandra winning the Trainer Award. Best Junior Rider on a Horse, the Maxine Best Memorial Perpetual Trophy, was presented to Emma Kurtz and the Sportsmanship Award was given to Christopher Coberley.

A Tackroom Award is given out for the best decorated, most functional tackroom for Junior Weekend. This year North Run placed first. The display from Beacon Hill was second, third went to Heritage Farm and fourth was Boggs Hill.

The draw for order of go in the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final took place at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. With 276 riders, parents and trainers present, all anxiously waiting to hear the starting positions in the prestigious class. Show Manager Peter Doubleday did the honors, drawing Caroline Ellis as the first in the ring. For the distinction of being the first, Caroline was awarded a jacket to keep her warm in the wee hour's tomorrow morning as she warms up for her round.

"I want to congratulate all the riders for their hard work and dedication," said Doubleday. "I especially want to thank all the parents for their sacrifices in getting you to this level. And I want to thank all the caretakers of these horses, who put in so much effort to make this possible. I wish you all good luck."

Capital Challenge Champions


Luke Jensen rode Highland's Heaven Sent to the Medium Pony Hunter Championship, winning a hack-off to take the honors. Luke also collected the EMO Trip of the Show award after scoring an 88.

Upper Marlboro, Maryland - The Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by World Equestrian Center, featured the smallest athletes on Saturday morning and afternoon. Capturing the Grand Pony Hunter Championship was Sophie Gochman, riding Dr. Betsee Parker’s Bit of Love. In the evening session, Sandra Zimmerli and Zaza won the $10,000 North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup Final Round, sponsored by Johnson Horse Transportation and the overall Challenge Cup, sponsored by Ariat International. The Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at the Prince George's Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, concludes on Sunday, October 9. Every class of the show is live streamed and available to watch online at or

Thirteen-year-old Sophie Gochman of Palm Beach, FL, stepped into the winner’s circle for top honors for the second year in a row. She rode Bit of Love, a 10-year-old Welsh Pony Cross gelding by English Lad, to the Small Pony Hunter championship, sponsored by Mike and Alexandra Borissoff Wright, with two firsts, two seconds, and a fourth. Alexa Lignelli and IParty were the reserve champions. They won the under saddle and were second, third, and fifth over fences.

Champion in the Medium Pony Hunters, sponsored by Rosemont Farm, was Highlands Heaven Sent, ridden by Luke Jensen for Bill Schaub. They placed first and second over fences. Reserve champion in the division was Blue Chip, ridden by Caroline Passarelli and owned by Heritage Farm, Inc. They jumped to first, third, and fourth over fences.

Luke Jensen traveled to the winner’s circle for two more awards. The EMO Trip of the Show for Ponies also went to Jensen and Highlands Heaven Sent for their score of 88. Jensen was awarded the Stewart Warner Cup for pony riders, given in memory of Laurie Gilbert Stewart & Mary Warner Brown by Donald E. Stewart, Jr. and Louise W. Serio. It is awarded to up-and-coming junior riders, who, in the opinion of the panel of judges, exhibit the best hunter style and show potential as a young hunter rider.


Molly Sewell Dominates Hallway Feeds USHJA Hunter Derby


Lexington, KY- August 6, 2016

Molly Sewell, a professional based in Orlando Florida with Bill Schaub, was neck and neck with her two talented mounts, Acado and EL Raymond, in the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Kentucky Summer Classic Horse Show. Less than two points separated the horses, but the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding Acado came out on top with an overall score of 181.250.

His owner, Sydney Porter, is competing in her last junior year and earlier this week she was reserve champion in the Junior Hunter 3’3” division with Acado at the Kentucky Summer Classic Horse Show. Sewell started riding the horse over a month ago, and is helping to prepare Acado to be Porter’s future amateur horse by giving him experience in the derbies.

“He is a lovely horse,” Sewell said. “He’s a pre-green horse, so it’s even better that he can go into the derby and be that amazing. I would not have changed a thing about the first round with Acado; there was there was nothing that needed to be different."

“Acado is really a lovely ride,” she continued. “He is very comfortable, soft in his mouth, has beautiful lead changes, and he is scopey.”

Sewell and Acado placed third in their first derby together in last week’s Kentucky Summer Horse Show, so she was thrilled that he stepped up to win the large class on Saturday. The pair earned a 93.000 in the first round and an 88.250 in the second round after jumping all three high options in each round.

“I think Acado was more confident this week,” Sewell explained. “He walked into the ring and rose to the occasion. He jumped the high options outstandingly. He just had a bit more mileage and confidence this week.”

Though Acado lead the way after the first round, Sewell’s other mount, El Raymond, had the experience to edge him out in the second round score by only 0.250 points. Owned by Leslie and Stuart Campbell, EL Raymond is an 18-year-old Warmblood gelding who has quite an impressive derby record. Sewell and the chestnut gelding have won the Kentucky Summer Horse Show derby three years in a row, and they took the blue ribbon in last week’s derby.

“He was amazing as always,” she said. “ I feel like my first round on Raymond today was by far one of the best first rounds I’ve ever had on him. Sometimes he can be too casual on the first round and he gears up for the second round and that’s when he shines.”

Though EL Raymond came back to score higher in the second round with an 88.500, it was not enough to win the overall total score. Acado won Saturday’s $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby with a total score of 181.50 while El Raymond placed second with an 179.500.

“I felt a little bit bad because I had to send Raymond back to the barn before the awards presentation…he really is not used to that treatment,” Sewell laughed.

Sewell praised the derby course and she felt the solid high options gave her the opportunity to show off her horses’ jumping talents.

“Raymond has a lot more shows under his belt with a lot more experience and wins,” she explained. “They are very different rides. Acado has a bigger stride, and he has a higher and slower jump compared to Raymond. Raymond is so tidy with his knees, so it depends on what you like.”

Sewell rides with Bill Schaub, and they discussed their strategy of the handy round, which helped solidify her win on Saturday. They emphasized the importance of maintaining a smooth round with quality jumping style.

“People can get carried away in the handy and they forget it is still the hunters,” Schaub explained. “It needs to be smooth and the horse must jump in good style. When you get too carried away you lose that.”

“In the handy a lot of people can get a bit too crazy and it can get messy,” Sewell explained. “I chose to ride more conservative and only do a couple of the inside turns in order to be smooth. It worked out for me today.”

Sewell came to Schaub her first year out of the junior division, and they have been working together for sixteen years.

“I always want Molly to be neat, tight, carry a gallop while having a smooth round,” Schaub continued. “Originally we had some ideas of how to ride the handy but after watching some rides we realized those options made it messy. We did not want to be too risky and lose the style.”

The $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby is part of the $40,0000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series which is returning for the fifth year in a row at the Kentucky Horse Park. The five-part series a $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus presented at the conclusion of the series.


1. Acado/Molly Sewell/93.000/88.250/181.250
2. El Raymond/Molly Sewell/91.000/88.50/179.500
3. Cape Town/Taylor Kain/86.250/88.000/174.250
4. Almost Royal/Sydney Shulman/87.000/87.000/174.000
5. Rockaway/Taylor Ann Adams/88.000/85.750/173.750
6. Airborne/Catherine Stafford/87.500/85.500/173.000
7. Esco/Geoffrey Hesslink/84.500/86.000/170.500
8. Geppeto/Linda Radigan/85.000/85.000/170.000
9. Whiskey Tango/Taylor Ann Adams/86.750/81.000/167.750
10. Good Humor/Ann Misenheimer/84.010/82.000/166.010