LANDOVER -- She grew up in Baltimore admiring one of the best riders in the country. Years later, he was a judge at the Washington International Horse Show, and this time it was his turn to admire her.
Judge Rodney Jenkins gave Elizabeth Solter of Butler a perfect score of 97 points on Tuesday in the working hunter class at the international show at USAir Arena. The weeklong show will end Sunday night.
"Her horse, Rox Dene, is one of the best hunters I've seen in the last 15 to 20 years," Jenkins said.
Earlier in the day, Solter was reserve champion in the regular conformation class with another horse, Magical Moments.
"I'm bursting with pride," said her father, Joseph Solter.
Elizabeth Solter, 27, is one of the leading riders in the country. On Saturday, she won the Prix de Penn National in Harrisburg, Pa., for her first Prix victory, aboard Flirtatious.
Solter will ride Flirtatious again on Sunday evening in the D.C. show's President's Cup.
Solter said concentration matters most on a course.
"The only thoughts I have is what I have to do next, or I watch the pace. Pace is important," said Solter, whose brother, John, played football and lacrosse at St. Paul's and now attends North Carolina on a lacrosse scholarship.
Solter started riding professionally nine years ago. In the past few years, she's won between $25,000 and $250,000 per show.
Winning has a downside. "I have fewer friends now that I won the Grand Prix," Solter said, speaking of envy among the top-level riders.
FACTS AND FIGURES
What: Washington International Horse Show
When: 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. today; 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday; evening performances all three nights begin at 7 p.m.
Where: USAir Arena, Landover
Tickets: Ranging from $6 to $41, they are available at the door or by phone through TicketMaster (410) 481-SEAT.