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60th Annual Buffalo International Horse Show Kicks Off Competition

Rock Star & Jennifer Alfano and Talent Scout & Rob Bielefeld Tie for Grand Hunter Championship

Buffalo, NY – September 14, 2006 – The 60th Annual Buffalo International Horse Show (BIHS) began competition yesterday, but the first championships of 2006 were awarded today. The show offered competition for the professional hunter divisions at the historic Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center (BTRC). The ‘AA’ rated show is Buffalo’s most prestigious horse show and is used by many to prepare for the fall indoor circuit and zone finals horse shows.

The Grand Hunter Champion was a tie this year. The champion in the Regular Working Hunter division was Rock Star, ridden by Jennifer Alfano and owned by Jennifer Burger of Snyder, NY, and the champion in the Green Working Hunters was Talent Scout, ridden by Rob Bielefeld and owned by Robert Fisher and Brett Colter. The two had equal points in their divisions, so they will share the Grand Hunter Championship for this year.

Rock Star was rock solid this week. In addition to his championship in the Regular Working Hunters, he was reserve champion in the Green Working Hunters. Alfano rode GG Valentine for owner Barbara Kearney to the reserve championship in the Regular Working Hunter division.

Rock Star has been with Alfano and Susie Schoellkopf, trainers at SBS Farms Inc., since this past November. With his talent over fences, he has progressed quickly and seems at ease over the four foot high jumps in the Regular division. This week was only the fourth time Rock Star has shown at the larger height. “He seems to love it, and he’s so scopey,” Alfano confirmed. “He has so much jump, and he’s really coming into his own. The First Year division almost isn’t enough jump for him sometimes. I think he likes it.”

Alfano went on to say that although Rock Star is only seven years old and has only shown for a year, he still has a perfect outlook on life. “He doesn’t mind anything anywhere, really. I think he loves what he does,” she explained. “He’s just one of those horses that is always happy. It doesn’t matter where you are. He’s always the same, whether it’s in the grooming stall, or you’re riding him, or he’s in his stall. He never tries to do anything wrong. He always tries to be a sweet, good horse, no matter what you’re doing with him, which is rare.”

Rock Star and Alfano will still compete in the First Year Green Working Hunter division as well this year. The preparation this week will help them when they show at the prestigious Pennsylvania National Horse Show and Washington International Horse Show in October.

Talent Scout, ridden by Rob Bielefeld of Ithaca, NY, and Wellington, FL, was the champion in the Green Working Hunter division. Talent Scout is a six year old Warmblood gelding that Bielefeld and owners Fisher and Colter started in March of this year. “He has come a long way in a very short time,” Bielefeld said.

Talent Scout finished fifth in the Legacy Cup this spring in Kentucky, which was only his third horse show. Bielefeld thinks Talent Scout “really shines and loves being indoors.”

“Buffalo has a nice ring, great jumps, and perfect footing,” he added. “He really liked that ring.”

Bielefeld has shown at BIHS for almost 20 years and commented, “They put the ‘show’ back into horse shows. They have special awards ceremonies and don’t just throw the ribbon at you at the in-gate. It’s a great show, and I really like going there.”

About his young horse, Bielefeld said, “He has so much athletic ability and is so laid back. He has the coolest rhythmical canter, and the jumps come up so easily. He needs no preparation to go to the show ring, so I think he’ll last for a very long time that way. He’ll definitely be a four foot horse.”

Other hunter champions include:

Pre-Green Hunter Champion- Encore, Jennifer Alfano, Jennifer Burger

Reserve Champion- Violets Are Blue, Jennifer Alfano, Helen Lenahan

Low Hunter Champion- Good Company, Jennifer Alfano, SBS Farms Inc.

Reserve Champion- Harker, Jennifer Alfano, Stephanie Karvouniaris

Prizes at BIHS include Beth Lynn Custom Picture Frames, which are sponsored by EMO Insurance, and leather lead shanks that are donated by The Hunting Horn. BIHS would also like to thank sponsors HSBC and Oliver’s Restaurant.

BIHS is one of the largest fundraisers for the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center. BTRC has been the site of a therapeutic riding program for six years. The BTRC currently offers programs for mentally and emotionally impaired, learning disabled and developmentally challenged children ages 6 to 16.

The 60th Annual Buffalo International Horse Show continues tomorrow with classes for Amateur, Adult, Junior, and Pony Hunters. There will also be classes for Children’s/Adult and Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers. One highlight will be the $500 Adult Hunter Classic.

For more information on BIHS and BTRC, please visit http://www.thebtrc.com or email becandbtrc@aol.com.

Photo Credit: Rock Star and Jennifer Alfano, co-Grand Hunter Champions at the Buffalo International Horse Show. Photo © 2006 Randi Muster.


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