Syracuse, NY - October 30, 2008 - At the second day of the Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament featuring The 125th National Horse Show, the day slowly got brighter and warmer outside as the competition heated up. The horse show is being held at the Oncenter Complex and will run though November 2. The top horses and riders have traveled from all over the world to compete at one of the most prestigious horse shows in the country.
The hunters were first in the ring this morning, and the riders showed up to win. Jennifer Alfano, who rides for SBS Farms and Susie Schoellkopf, took home the top tricolor in the Regular Conformation Hunters on mount Sting. Reserve champion in the division was Molly Ashe-Crowley and De-Lovely, owned by Caroline Lasersohn.
"It is huge to win at The National Horse Show," said Alfano. "The last time I showed at this show was when it was still at Madison Square Gardens, and GG Valentine was champion. It was really special to do it again."
The pair had a stellar week with three firsts, a fourth, and fifth place ribbons. Sting is owned by Helen Lenahan, who came out to cheer her horse on.
"This is only our second time doing 4'. He was great, and I was really proud of him," said Alfano. "Helen was here to watch him, and I don't think she has ever seen him go before. I think it worked out perfect."
Champion in the Regular Conformation Hunters was only one of Alfano's many wins today. In the Green Conformation Hunters, Alfano and Sting were reserve champion. Adding to her success, she also picked up a reserve championship award with Jersey Boy in the Green Working Hunters and Regular Working Hunters.
Champion of the Amateur Owner 35 and Over Hunter division was Ellen Toon and her horse Invincible. Toon rode her horse to two firsts, a second and fifth place ribbons.
"He was so good. You have to be the best to win here," said Toon. "They really put on a beautiful horse show here, and they only take a select few. To be here to compete at all is just an honor in itself. To be champion at any of the indoor shows is an honor. That is where everyone tries to get to."
Toon has found that her horse is much better on the new program they chose for him this year.
"The biggest problem we have ever had with him is that he gets tired doing two divisions," said Toon. "This year we are doing only one division. For most horses it is good to have a professional continue to ride them, but this is easy for him. He just has not had to do another division. That has been really nice because I have a fresh horse every day."
Toon rides with JT Farm, which is led by Jimmy Toon. JT Farm has two locations in South Salem, NY and Wellington, FL. Right behind Toon in the reserve champion position was Meredith Lipke Bartolone and her horse Once and Again.
Coming away with the Amateur Owner 18-35 Hunter Championship was Tracy Scheriff and her horse Lavari. Scheriff piloted her horse to two firsts and two third place ribbons. Stephanie Riggio and her horse Indian Summer took home the reserve championship award. Scheriff has been extremely successful on the indoor circuit this year.
"This is my third championship win in a row. I have won at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, Washington International Horse Show, and now here. It's amazing," said Scheriff. "You always dream about doing that, but I never thought I would. He's amazing, and I am really lucky to have a horse like him. He is a lot of fun."
In the Green Conformation Hunters, Ken Berkley was honored with the championship ribbon aboard Gina Day's horse, Sambalino. Berkley and Sambalino rode to three firsts, a second, and third place ribbons. Berkley was also named Grand Hunter Champion with Sambalino.
"He is as uncomplicated as they come. He barely needs any preparation, and he is such a great horse," said Berkley. "He couldn't be any easier or nicer. He has got a great mind, and he is amazing; his stride is huge. He doesn't ever have to go fast down the lines. He is a dream to ride."
Champion of the Green Working Hunter division was Sachine Belle and mount Bering C, owned by Lindsey Irvin. Belle rode the horse to two firsts and two third place ribbons.
"It was a very emotional last class because it was my last on him. It was funny because after I showed, the groom and I started crying. It was pitiful," said Belle. "I have become really attached to this horse. He is just so sweet and tries so hard. I am sad to see him go. We ended on a good note so that is good. I wanted to do the best I could and be champion, and we did that. It was great."
Belle continued, "I love The National Horse Show. It's funny because the first real horse show I ever went to was The National Horse Show. My mom took me when it was still at Madison Square Gardens. To me, it is still The National Horse Show no matter where you have it. To beat all the other big professionals is a big deal. Jen Alfano is always such a great competitor that you always have to be good. You know she is not going in there to lose."
In the Regular Working Hunters, Keri Kampsen and Exupery came away with the championship. Owned by Stephen Borders, Kampsen and mount earned two firsts, a second, and third place ribbons.
"We actually bought him at a dressage auction," said Borders. "We are so excited to win at a big show like this. Keri has done a great job with him, and we are so thrilled."
Tomorrow will continue with the conclusion of the junior hunters and their championship presentations. The jumpers will follow with a National Open Jumper, and Low, Medium, and High Junior/Amateur Owner classes. Scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. will be the Corporate Team Challenge and the Gambler's Choice.
For more information and to view full results, please visit http://www.syracuseinvitational.com
Photo Credit: Jennifer Alfano and Sting, who were champions of the Regular Conformation Hunter and reserve champions of the Green Conformation Hunters. Photo (C) 2008 Jenny Underwood/PMG. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/jennifer-alfano-sbs-syracuse-sporthorse-10-08.html">Jennifer Alfano of SBS Farms Takes Home Championships at Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com