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Kacey McCann and Fernwalk Win Division

Saugerties, NY – July 28, 2006 – At the 2006 Show Circuit Magazine/USEF Junior Hunter East Coast Championship, 15 year old Kacey McCann of Palmyra, PA, won her second straight division championship at the event. This year, she piloted Don Stewart Jr.’s Fernwalk to the tricolor ribbon in the Small Junior 15 & Under Hunter division. McCann trains with Susie Schoellkopf and Jennifer Alfano of SBS Farms Inc. in Buffalo, NY.

Catch-rider McCann won a division last year on Jonathan and Jeffrey Phillips’ Trebuchet, and she was asked to ride two new horses at the event this year. “I wanted Fernwalk to have a top rider,” Stewart affirmed. “They are a good match. The ride he likes is accurate and smooth.”

She and Fernwalk only competed in a few shows before the Junior Hunter Championship, but the two got along immediately. “They’ve done really well together. The horse likes her,” Stewart acknowledged.

Their partnership grew even more in Saugerties, where they won the first over fences class, the Handy Hunter class, and finished second in the under saddle on the first day. Handy hunter classes seem to be McCann’s forte. “I love them,” she remarked. “They bring out the best in me for some reason. I think it’s less time to be nervous. They are so much more thrilling.”

They were brought back to compete in the Top Ten under saddle class, which had competitors from all four divisions, and they finished third against some of the best-moving horses in the nation. “That was really cool,” McCann noted, “because there are a lot of really nice horses here.” After the first day, they were seated second overall.

They returned for the last day of competition and showed they have what it takes to be champions. Fernwalk jumped beautifully and finished with a third place ribbon. Those top ribbons gave them the championship in the division and qualified them to compete in the Top Ten Classic over fences class, where they ended up in fifth place. Overall for the entire show, they finished in third place with a final score of 83.2 over horses from all four divisions. They just missed the Grand Reserve Championship by three tenths of a point.

Alfano, McCann’s usual trainer, was a spectator at the Championships and enjoyed watching McCann ride. “It was really fun to watch, and I’m quite proud of her.”

“Fernwalk definitely rose to the occasion,” McCann said. “He just marched in there. He was alert, but not spooky. He really knows what he’s doing and knows when it’s a big show.” Stewart added, “Kacey follows instructions well and is a pleasure to work with. The horse is a winner and tries to do well every time. It makes for a championship team.”

McCann also rode Chloe Z for owner Caroline Weingart in the Large Junior 15 & Under Hunters. They received a fourth place over fences, a fifth place in the Handy Hunter, and finished fourth overall in the division. “Chloe has only been showing in the hunters for a few months, so we were very proud of how good she was,” McCann explained.

McCann did not limit herself to placing in only the hunter classes though. She and her new equitation mount Comanche were second in the hunter phase of the Washington International Horse Show Equitation Classic, and they were second in the USHJA Hunterdon Cup.

The USHJA Hunterdon Cup combines the style and jumps of a hunter course but is judged on the rider’s equitation and ability to control his or her horse. McCann was one of ten riders called back for the second round, and she was one of four riders that returned for a test. The top four riders swapped horses to show their adaptability to new horses.

McCann had no trouble when she swapped horses with Kitt Ritter. “Kitt’s horse was huge and had a huge stride,” McCann pointed out with a laugh. “He reminded me of my other equitation horse Marcellus, but was the polar opposite of Comanche!” McCann negotiated the test and was awarded with second place in the class to finish off a very successful Junior Hunter Championships. “Kacey has never been in a situation like that,” Alfano mentioned. “She handled it great.”

McCann and SBS Farms Inc. will stay in Saugerties to show at the HITS-on-the-Hudson series through August 6.

The SBS Farms team is also preparing for the 60th Annual Buffalo International Horse Show, which is held at their home base, the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, on September 13-17, 2006. The show is great for equestrians to use as preparation for the fall indoor circuit and zone finals.

For more information on SBS Farms, the Buffalo International Horse Show, and the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, please visit http://www.thebtrc.com.

This special report is a preview provided by PhelpsSports.com. Look for the debut of this new equestrian news website during the World Equestrian Games in August. Visit http://www.PhelpsSports.com for more information.


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