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Upperville’s Grand Champion Hunter and Green Conformation
Hunter Champion Hunter Empire, owned by Becky Gochman,
with Scott Stewart, Leading Hunter Rider
Photo by Lauren R Giannini
Scott Stewart Just Loves Showing
By Lauren R. Giannini
Scott Stewart is better than good: he’s great. In light of his
ability to win classes, divisions and grand championships
with young greenies as well as veteran show hunters, the
term ‘masterly fnesse’ pretty much describes his expertise
as a rider and trainer. Then there’s the undeniable fact that
he loves his horses and goes about their training according
to their individual needs. The big picture includes boyish
All-American looks that belie the years of hard work that
have made Scott a consistent winner at some of the most
prestigious shows on the A circuit.
“I grew up in Norwalk (CT), I basically did pony club, some
eventing and dressage, just locally until I was about 14 or
15 and then my frst real trainer was Bill Ellis,” recalls Scott.
“I was a working student with him and did the equitation
and Medal Maclays – I made the fnals in 1981 and 1982.
My focus as a junior was equitation.”
He thought he was headed towards the jumpers even
during the years he did equitation, but his frst professional
job took him to the Ox Ridge Hunt Club (Darien, CT),
conveniently about 10 minutes from where he lived.
“I worked there for 12 years – from 1984, I believe – and
I got to work with George Morris, so I had lessons with
him, as well as with Bill Steinkraus,” explains Scott. “I did
a little bit of jumpers, but I got much more into teaching. At
that point in time we had about a dozen Medal kids, who
did equitation and qualifed for indoors. So, early on it was
equitation and as the kids grew up we merged into doing
Scott’s show record stands as a powerful testimony to
his upbringing as a horseman as well as his innate ability
to bring out the best in a horse or rider. In 2010 at Capitol
Challenge (MD), he won his fourth Professional World
Champion Hunter Rider Final. “I’m the frst one to win it
four times, so that was exciting,” he says. He also earned
accolades, including his second time as the Chronicle of
the Horse’s Show Hunter Horseman of the Year. In 2010
and 2011 he won numerous championships and reserves
at WEF.
Scott was totally pleased to be Devon Horse Show’s
Leading Hunter Rider for the 9
year in a row – “I’ve won
it 12 or 13 times overall” – and just as thrilled that Victoria
“Tori” Colvin, 13, earned Best Child Rider with his small
junior hunter, Ovation, as well as with Sanzibar, Ovation,
Touchdown, and VIP Z: “She’s a natural talent, one of the
best, and she has devoted her life to it, and her parents
have too.”
Being taken under the equestrian wings of rider/trainers
such as Scott Stewart and his partner Ken Berkley might be
every pony crazy kid’s dream, but Tori’s in good company
when it comes to hard work and long hours in the saddle.
As Scott says, “We all love the showing.”
That’s a good thing, because from Devon they traveled
to Upperville Colt & Horse Show (VA) where Scott piloted
Empire, owned by Becky Gochman, to top honors in
Green Conformation Hunters and the Grand Hunter
Championship, and yet another Leading Hunter Rider
title. As trainer, he garnered seven championships and six
reserves, which included riding Reality (Alexa and Krista
Weisman) and Dedication (Fashion Farm) to tri-colors in
First Year Green Working Hunters, and his own Touchdown
to the Regular Conformation Working Hunter championship.
“Upperville is defnitely one of our favorite shows, and with the
upgraded footing that’s defnitely an attraction for riders to know
that the footing’s going to be consistent,” says Scott.
Adding to Scott’s cachet as trainer and rider, there’s his eye for
the ideal hunter and the young prospects he develops into frst-
class hunters. He admits to favoring “Warmbloods that lean more
to the Thoroughbred type and look more like your classic type of
hunter, not the heavier Warmblood.”
In fact, his string of show horses has become a recognizable
‘brand,’ so to speak, and some people claim that they can pick out
a Scott Stewart hunter just by the way it looks and moves. Adult
amateur hunter rider Jane Gaston, who is enjoying great success
with her Lumiere, said that when she’s looking to buy a show
hunter, she asks herself if Scott Stewart would like the horse.
Scott and Ken headquarter their hunter-jumper enterprises at
River’s Edge Farm (NJ), where the architecturally superb facility
showcases their combined talents. Ken, in addition to being a
winning grand prix jumper rider, is also a hunter rider of some
“When I got injured a few years back, Ken took over my rides
– he could be one of the top hunter riders in the country, because
he can do the hunters as well as he does the jumpers,” says Scott.
They bounce ideas, technique and strategy off each other and
probably argue now and then about the future of a horse. But
there was no dispute when it came to launching a new career for
one of Ken’s grand prix-winning jumpers after the horse survived
a spinal cord infection. Carlos Boy became Scott’s newest partner
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