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Bartolone Sweeps Amateur-Owner Hunter Prizes at Buffalo International Horse Show

Harker and Stephanie Karvouniaris Win Grand Adult Hunter Championship

Buffalo, NY – September 15, 2006 – The 60th Annual Buffalo International Horse Show continued competition today for amateur and younger riders. The show is held 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.

Starting out the day right was Meredith Lipke Bartolone of Buffalo, NY. Bartolone piloted her two talented horses to the champion and reserve champion ribbons in the Amateur-Owner Hunter division. The first tricolor went to Once and Again, a nine year old Warmblood mare, and the reserve tricolor was pinned on the bridle of Churchill, a six year old Hannoverian gelding. Churchill came away with four second place ribbons over fences and won the under saddle class. By winning all four over fences classes, Once and Again was awarded the Grand Amateur-Owner Championship for 2006.

Lipke Bartolone trains with Susie Schoellkopf and Jennifer Alfano of SBS Farms Inc. She has had Once and Again, nicknamed “Sara,” for almost four years. “She’s been great from the start as far as being completely agreeable,” Lipke Bartolone noted. “We bought her as a starter Amateur horse for me, and Jen has turned her into this wonderful Working horse. That’s been really fun. It’s been a thrill and so exciting.”

Alfano has ridden Sara to numerous Regular Working Hunter championships across the country this year, and has also started riding Churchill (who is called Winston in the barn) in the Second Year Green Hunters. Lipke Bartolone said, “I’ve only had Churchill for a year, so I’m learning to ride him. Jen is also showing him in the Second Year Green, which is really helpful. She’s really bringing him along for me. He’s terrific in the A/O ring. He’s so willing to do anything I ask. He’s a wonderful horse, and he’s a nice horse to be around. He’s a fun horse to have because he has a lot of personality.”

About showing in her home arena, she pointed out, “It’s a different ring when we’re showing in it, especially for the horses, when it’s decorated. Overall, I rode better yesterday, but they were both perfect, and any issues were pilot error! We ended up well, and I can’t complain.

Lipke Bartolone is one of a group of adult riders at SBS Farms Inc. at BTRC, and she has found the camaraderie makes her riding experience even better. “We have such a great group of adult riders here. We have fun, and Jen and Susie find us great horses that take care of us, which is important because we all have a lot of other things going on. Riding isn’t our primary endeavor in our lives.”

Lipke Bartolone loves showing her horses in the Amateur ring, but she is thrilled that her horses have been winning on a national level in the professional ring as well. “Jen has gone so far beyond my expectations with Sara and Winston. I always did the local level. It’s so much fun now to be able to show at this level and win. Being with Susie and Jen has really taken me farther than I ever expected to go,” she said with a smile.

The Adult Amateur 18-35 Hunter championship went to another local rider, Stephanie Karvouniaris, and Harker. The pair won all three classes in the division for the championship over Distant Vision and Kristin Wilson. Karvouniaris seemed a little surprised by her dominance in the division. “I didn’t expect it. It was quite the surprise; I was shocked!” she said with a big grin. She gave credit to her horse, “He deserves it. He was great.”

Karvouniaris and Harker have been together for three years, but this year their relationship has moved to the next level. Karvouniaris has trained at the Buffalo Equestrian Center for five years and trains now with Susie Schoellkopf and Jennifer Alfano of SBS Farms, Inc. “I think I get him more now,” Karvouniaris stated. “I’ve been working a ton with Jen and Susie, and they’re phenomenal. They know horses the best. They’re really good at knowing who is good for who; he’s a great fit for me. I’ve finally clicked with him completely.”

About Harker, she said, “He’s a blast. He’s one of those horses that you come out of the ring, and you’re just grinning because it was fun. It’s a ton of fun with him. He doesn’t make it that tricky for you.”

The win in today’s $500 Adult Hunter Classic went to Elliott and Michelle Hagerty, who were also the reserve champions in the Adult Amateur Over 35 Hunter division. Champion in that division was Sooner, ridden and owned by Beth Lynn.

The cute bay gelding came into the second round with the highest first round score of 85. Elliott and Hagerty cantered easily around the course and improved on their first round, scoring an 86 for a total of 171. It was a score that could not be beaten.

Final Results- $500 Adult Hunter Classic

1. Elliott, Michelle Hegarty: 85/86=171

2. Sooner, Beth Lynn: 80/85=165

3. Adeline, Trish Bookbinder: 78/84=162

4. Sincerely, Cara Walinsky: 74/82=156

5. Tell the Truth, Trish Bookbinder: 76/78=154

6. Harker, Stephanie Karvouniaris: 72/76=148

7. Moonshine, Cara Walinsky: 68/70=138

8. Southern Sky, Chris Steer: 65/68=133

The win in the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Pony Equitation class today went to Charlotte Jacobs of East Aurora, NY. On the adorable bay pony Court Jester, Jacobs picked up the blue ribbon and more points towards qualifying for the finals at WIHS next month. Second went to Lindsey Ward, while Shannon Kaupp was third.

“I thought he was very good. He was right on the pace,” Jacobs quietly said. The young rider had the ride on four ponies today- Mediums Uptown Girl and Home at Last, and Larges Hillcrest Pennywise and Court Jester- in the hunter divisions. Her ride in the equitation, she said, helps her when it comes to the hunter divisions. “It helps me sit down and keep my body soft,” she noted. “It helps the ponies jump better.” Jacobs hopes to continue her equitation education in the future.

One of the highlights of the day was the special ceremony in honor of Stephen Comunale Jr. Comunale’s family was in attendance and received a trophy for the dedication of the Buffalo International Horse Show in honor of Comunale.

Comunale began showing at BTRC when he was ten years old and qualified for Pony Finals and numerous equitation finals as a junior. He went on to become a strong jumper rider and eventually became a teacher at SBS Farms and show manager at BTRC. The BTRC Horse Show Series is now renamed in his honor. In the ceremony it was stated, “There was no one who did not like him. Stephen’s gentle ways, sense of humor and of course that smile, made him a genius at dealing with any type of personality. All of us who are here as riders, trainers, owners, and horse lovers will never allow Stephen’s memory to be forgotten.”

The Buffalo International Horse Show would like to thank their Champion Sponsor, HSBC Bank USA, The Burger and McCauley Families, In Honor of Lauren and Allison Gioia, Valentine Farm, Helen D. Lenahan and Susan L. Kimberly, M&T Bank, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Banta, Ann and Dean Jewett, and Jane and Paul Schoellkopf. Their Reserve Champion Sponsors are: EMO Insurance, Goshen Hill Foundation, and The Hunting Horn.

Blue Ribbon Sponsors include: Capital Fence Company Inc., Jane F. Clark, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Comunale in Memory of their son, Stephen Comunale Jr., Delaware North, Samantha Hallman, IBM, Johnson Horse Transportation Inc., McGard, LLC, Peter Pletcher, Sanderson and Company Investment Consultants, LLC, and Shenandoah Foundation.

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

Photo Credit: Meredith Lipke Bartolone with Once and Again, Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champions at the Buffalo International Horse Show. Photo © 2006 Randi Muster.


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