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111th Annual Monmouth County Horse Show Wrap Up

From Freehold, NJ on August 17-20

Freehold, NJ – August 20, 2006 – The 111th Annual Monmouth County Horse Show wrapped up today at East Freehold Park in Freehold, NJ. The overnight rains cleared out by early Sunday morning, and the sun was shining brightly at one o’clock, the start time for $30,000 Stillwell-Hansen Grand Prix, the main event at the 111th Annual Monmouth County Horse Show at East Freehold Park in New Jersey.

It was standing room only as an excellent Sunday afternoon crowd gathered at the Stillwell-Hansen Arena for the grand finale of this year’s show. The class was scored under USEF Table II, Sec 2 a, Time First Jump-Off. Germantown, Tennessee’s Blake Alder designed the challenge for today’s thirty-two starters.

Only eight of the thirty-two managed to negotiate the first round track fault free. The course featured 12 numbered obstacles with 15 jumping efforts, with the triple combination at the conclusion of the course proving to be the toughest part of the challenge. Of the twelve horse and rider combinations that had a single knockdown, seven came down at that final line of oxer, oxer, vertical at 12-A-B-C. Seven duos had two knockdowns, two had twelve, and four had sixteen or more or were eliminated.

The jump-off started with the same first three fences from round one. A long gallop from 1 to 2, and a tight rollback to 3 was followed by a gallop around the bottom of the ring to 6, a big yellow oxer. Then a left hand rollback to 7A and 7B, two tall verticals. The jump-off ended with a long gallop around the top of the ring to fence 8, a big red, white and blue oxer in front of the VIP Pavilion.

Callen Solem, the first to master the course, led the way back for the tiebreaker with Gael Force, owned by Drumacross Farm. Solem picked up two rails as she scooted around the short course, cruising home with eight faults in 39.862 seconds. Linda Sheridan followed and took the lead on Newsprint Farm’s Holography. Pulling just one rail, Sheridan crossed the finish line with four faults in 38.314 seconds.

Defending champion Laura Chapot, although failing to get last year’s winner Sprite into the jump-off, did qualify last year’s runner up Samantha, owned by the Sundance Group. Chapot didn’t disappoint the boisterous crowd as she scored the first clear round of the speed phase, coming home clear in a fast 36.080 seconds.

Cody Auer, with two chances in the jump-off was next. She scored four faults on her first mount, Jolie Dame du Marais. Auer’s time was 40.677 seconds.

Following Auer, Ken Berkley on Carlos Boy, owned by Alexa Weisman, appeared to have a top three finish locked up, but after jumping the final fence, he missed the timers on landing, and was scored with four faults. His eventual time was 47.206 seconds. The error would bump him down to sixth place.

Hugo Huesca, based in nearby Farmingdale, New Jersey, and with a huge throng of fans in the stands, returned next with the veteran grand prix horse Siempre. Huesca flew from 1 to 2, made excellent cuts where he needed them, and won the class with a flat out gallop to the final fence. When the scoreboard flashed up the time of 36.051 seconds, Huesca’s following erupted as one, cheering for the narrowest of wins, a 29/100th of a second margin over Samantha and Laura Chapot.

Helen Goddard with Naritas scored four following Huesca, and Cody Auer with Okida had the time (35.734) but had two knockdowns along the way.

“I’ve been in this country for seventeen years. I have a farm locally in Farmingdale, NJ, and this is my most exciting day ever,” said Huesca following a victory lap that had the crowd on their feet. Then Huesca spoke of his biggest and most gratifying win. “I’ve had many other placings, but this is only my second grand prix win, and certainly my biggest win ever,” he noted. “This is the horse show that is closest to my home. It’s the best feeling. So many people have come here to watch me, and my students were watching and cheering for me. It just feels great.”

Olympian Anne Kursinski helps Huesca, and was thrilled with today’s performance. “He was so smooth. Hugo knows how to go fast. He’s Mexican, and I think it’s that Latin blood that makes him go so fast,” she laughed. “But sometimes he gets too excited and get’s his tongue over the bit, so today I said, ‘just be cool.’ And he was, it was just a beautiful, smooth clear go.”

“He’s a wonderful horseman,” Kursinski added. “His flat work is superb, his basics are great, he works hard, and I’m just thrilled for him. He tries too hard and sometimes he’s too hard on himself, but today he was perfect.”

Beacon Hill Riders Master Low and High Junior-Amateur Owner Jumper Classics

Out of a pool of 15 entries, ten horse and rider combinations jumped fault free over the first round course of the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. The course was held under a Table II, 2 (a), Time First Jump Off, format with a time allowed of 87 seconds.

Only three riders jumped clear rounds over the short course, with Brianne Goutal taking the lead in a time of 26.652 seconds. Goutal of New York, NY, piloted Mon Gamin, who is owed by Cloverleaf Farm. She trains with Frank and Stacia Madden at Beacon Hill Show Stables in Colts Neck, NJ.

“He’s a little funny to ride because he’s stiff in the mouth, but he reacts,” she described of her horse, Mon Gamin. “And you have to keep kicking, keep kicking, keep kicking- like you’re riding a pony. But he’s very careful, so you never have to worry about pushing him too hard because he’s always going to get to the jump and hold himself off the jump. So the only thing you ever have to worry about is keeping a leg on him.”

Charlotte Henderson aboard Spellbound jumped clean in the tie breaker and broke the beam in 27.812, which held for second place. Christy Distefano and her mount Upper Cut finished in the third spot with a clear go and time of 28.195.

The Low Junior/Amateur Owner Classic, also held under a Table II, 2 (a), Time First Jump Off, format had 27 competitors in the line up. Out of the starting order, ten riders qualified for the jump off after completing the course without fault and within the 87 second time allowed.

In the jump off, Jessica Springsteen and La Movida set the pace with a fast, clear time of 27.046 seconds. La Movida is owned by Stone Hill Farm of Colts Neck, NJ. Springsteen also rides at Beacon Hill Show Stables with Frank and Stacia Madden. She held the lead until Maria Schaub and Manhattan gave it their all and surpassed Springsteen’s time, stopping the clock in 26.896 seconds. Eleanor Bright’s Manhattan and Schaub train with Beacon Hill as well.

Schaub commented on Manhattan, “He’s a really cool horse; we get along well. Eleanor’s not able to get to the barn much, so she decided to let me ride him and show him a little to keep his fitness up. I’m very fortunate that I get to show him. He felt fantastic. He was confident and very rideable, comfortable, and willing to do whatever I asked. It’s a nice feeling to be able to ride a horse as cool as him.”

Jumpers Highlights - Wednesday through Sunday

The 111th Annual Monmouth County Horse Show kicked off under gorgeous sunny skies and warm temperatures at East Freehold Park in Freehold, New Jersey on Wednesday. A full day of jumper action in the Stillwell-Hansen Arena was highlighted by the Young Jumper Division.

In the Five Year Old Young Jumpers, scored under the USEF Optimum Time format, Mexico City’s Simon Nizri emerged victorious with Coronado Citizen, crossing the finish line 3.706 off of the optimum time. Kate Gerhart and Utmost ISF, owned by Cathy Gerhart, finished second. Third went to Leister HB and owner/rider Claude Manuel.

In the Six Year Old Jumper Class, the scoring was Table II, Sec 2(b), Time First Jump-Off. Five starters went to the post, and when the dust cleared it was Callan Solem taking home the top prize with Peter Ruig’s Torsinaa. Solem blazed home in 25.480 seconds for the win. Kevin Babington and Mel were just off the pace in second. The Irishman broke the beams in 26.029. Kate Gerhart was third with Timo, owned by Cathy Gerhart. Her time was 26.720 seconds.

“I know that she’s very careful, so I just wanted to try and be neat everywhere, but not crazy fast,” said Solem after the victory gallop. “I wanted her to be solid and get in a good practice for the Hamptons. She’s really mature as far as turning back, so I’m sure that’s where I had a bit of an edge in today’s class.”

In the 7/8 Year Old Young Jumpers the scoring was again Table II, Sec 2(b). The class featured nine starters, and was highlighted by a battle between Argentina and Ireland. Ireland’s Kevin Babington with two horses and Ramiro Quintana of Argentina with five had the bulk of today’s starting field. The Irish contingent was on their feet as Babington raced home a winner in the final class of the afternoon. Riding Paige Henderson’s Correlli, Babington outdistanced Quintana for the blue ribbon, tripping the timers in 24.131 seconds. Quintana, aboard Kathryn Quirk’s Orlana, finished up in 25.879 seconds. Babington finished third on Audience of One, owned by Frank Wood Transportation. The third place time was 26.248 seconds. Quintana was fifth, seventh, eighth, and ninth. Nona Garson slipped in for sixth.

“She’s naturally a very fast horse,” said Babington. “She’s comfortable going fast. So I really didn’t have a plan for the tiebreaker. I just let her go at her natural jump-off rhythm, and when I do that she’ll usually be in the top two or three.”

Was Babington worried about the five chances Quintana had today? “With that mare, if you leave the jumps up, she’s pretty hard to beat. So, I was confident that she could win no matter who was in the class,” he said with a smile.

Perfecta for Leslie Howard in the $25,000 Paul Miller Automotive Group Grand Prix on Thursday

Thirty-one starters went to the post for the first ever Thursday Grand Prix competition at Monmouth. When the smoke cleared, it was Leslie Howard of Westport, Connecticut, taking home the top two prizes and her student, Cody Auer, of nearby Fairfield, Connecticut finishing third.

The new Thursday feature, the $25,000 Paul Miller Automotive Group Grand Prix, was scored under USEF Table II Sec. 2a, Time First Jump-Off. The Blake Alder track featured 12 numbered obstacles, with 15 jumping efforts, including a double and a triple combination.

The starting field of thirty-one was whittled down to a line-up of ten for the timed tiebreaker. In addition to the ten clear, one competitor was clear, but couldn’t get home in time and was assessed a single time fault. Twelve riders had a single knockdown, two had two rails, and seven had more than eight faults.

Leslie Howard, the eventual winner, had three of the ten clear, and Linda Sheridan and Darragh Kerins had two each for the jump-off. Howard got things rolling on Hip Hop, owned by David Goodwin. Howard cruised home clear in 32.919 seconds, a score that would eventually hold up for fifth place.

Howard lost her lead to the next rider in the ring, Darragh Kerins and Double H Farm’s Night Train. He shaved three fractions off of Howard’s time, breaking the beams in 32.598 seconds.

Challenges by Linda Sheridan with Tudor News, and Great Pleasure, ridden by Holly Orlando, fell short of the mark before the next lead change. Riding out of the fifth spot in the speed phase, Howard’s student Cody Auer and her mount Okido grabbed the lead, blazing home in a time of 30.144 seconds, over two seconds faster than Kerins.

Howard would only let Auer enjoy her leader status for a couple of moments as she returned next with her own, Lennox Lewis 2. Howard made a fantastic turn from 8c to 6 in the jump-off, and then left out a stride coming home to the final fence. Howard, with the crowd gasping for air, moved to the top of the charts in an incredible 29.550 seconds. But the best from Howard was yet to come.

Following a rail down for one of the favorite duos, Laura Chapot and Samantha, Howard wrapped up the win with an even more incredible ride on Dr. Wilson’s Midnight Hour. Even tighter turns and an even faster gallop to the final fence netted Howard a winning time of 28.450 seconds, 1.1 seconds faster than her previous ride.

“I was going to go slow on my second one (Lennox Lewis 2), but I got mad at Cody for not leaving out the stride to the last fence,” said Howard. “I just wanted to show her it could be done. Cody’s horse is wonderful, and she should have won this class. But I told her she couldn’t win if she added, and she added. So, I had no intention of going that fast with my young horse, but I just wanted to teach her a lesson,” she laughed.

“I was supposed to leave it out,” smiled Auer, admitting her mistake. “I just chickened out at the end. I saw it, it was there, but I just didn’t do it. I’m learning to go faster riding with Leslie though,” she laughed. “This was my first Grand Prix today, so I’m pretty happy with the result.”

Then Howard talked about her winning ride. “Midnight Hour is an older horse. He knows the ropes. You don’t mind going fast with him because he knows all the moves. I knew I would be the fastest,” she said with confidence. “It was just a matter of keeping the rails up.”

This is Howard’s first trip to Monmouth since 1969. “I rode in the 14 and Under Equitation, and Woodstock was going on when I was here last. So that really dates me, huh? In modern history though, it’s my first time,” she said with a smile. “They do a really great job here. Leo (Conroy) works really hard to make sure this show runs well, and they keep after the footing. The ring has a nice atmosphere, and I’m really glad to be here,” said Howard.

Amber Mitchell and E.S.H. Larry Race to NAL Speed Win

Exhibitors and spectators were greeted by another picture postcard day on Friday as the North American League Open Speed Stake took center stage at the Stillwell-Hansen Arena, with twenty-three starters going to the post in a class scored under USEF Table II, Sec 1, Time First Round.

Seven of the twenty-three horse and rider combinations that started on Friday came home with fault free rounds, with today’s winner emerging early in the class. Riding out of the sixth spot in the order, Amber Mitchell produced the first clear ride of the day on E.S.H. Larry, owned by the Brass Ring Farm. Her time of 45.500 seconds was challenged twice, but held up through the balance of the class.

Callen Solem and Quiet Winter Farm’s Warsaw came the closest to knocking Mitchell off of the top of the leaderboard, but the pair missed by a tenth of a second, crossing the finish line in 45.619 seconds. Just behind Solem, in third place, were Ramiro Quintana and Capriola, owned by Winley Farm. Quintana’s finish time was 45.628, just 9/1000th behind Solem.

“I have the best horse there is,” exclaimed a jubilant Mitchell following her victory. “He’s wonderful.”

A perfectly executed inside cut from fence 1 to fence 2, one of only two attempted in the class, was the key to Mitchell’s win today. “I was contemplating before the class whether that was a wise move or not,” she said. “But, my horse has a real small step, and I figured that the only shot we had to win the class was to get that tight turn from 1 to 2, and we did it.”

Earlier in the day, Blast and Alexandra Arute raced home in 25.609 seconds to post a narrow win over Rastella and Clementine Goutal in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Power and Speed. Goutal was 7/100ths of a second behind in 25.670 seconds. Nicole Lakin and Alaska finished third in 26.630 seconds.

In the Low Section, Joy Slater and Shindig were the Power and Speed winners. Slater bested Maria Schaub and Teddy Bear by 4/10th of a second. Kelline Fonroy and Clementine Goutal were third.

Henderson and Massa Victorious in Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers on Saturday

At the Stillwell-Hansen Arena, the Saturday jumper action focused the Juniors, Amateurs, Children, and Adults.

In the Low Junior-Amateur/Owner Jumpers, scored under USEF Table II sec. 2b, Time First Jump-Off, twenty-two starters went to the post. Of the twenty-two, eleven were clear and jumped off.

In the tiebreaker, it was the last rider in the ring, Ashley Massa and Jamira, taking top honors. Massa cruised home in 37.090 seconds to squeak out a narrow 3/10th of a second win over Shannon McGrath and Ancho de Pomme. McGrath’s time was 37.313 seconds.

In third place, 3/10ths of a second behind McGrath, was Sara Ryan and Orleen. They finished up in 37.680 seconds.

Massa trains with Monmouth County Grand Prix defending champion Laura Chapot. “I just started training with Laura in Florida, and ever since then, my horse has been going amazingly well,” she said. “Laura told me to keep my pace, and don’t lose the impulsion coming around a turn. Just keep coming forward and you’ll see your distance.”

In the High section of Junior-Amateur-Owner Jumpers, also scored as an immediate jump-off class under the Table II sec. 2b format, only five competitors lined up for the event.

Spellbound and Charlotte Henderson, the only combination to post a double clear round, took home the top prize. Joy Slater, with four faults in the jump-off on Pisano, finished second.

“It was a very good course with a smooth flow to it,” said Henderson following her win. “Everything worked out the way we planned it, and she jumped great.”

When asked if she took into account that there were no clear rounds, Henderson said, “I went pretty carefully. There was a turn where you could have really risked it with an inside cut, but I elected to go around and that choice worked out perfectly.”

Hunter Highlights - Wednesday through Sunday

Scott Stewart, the nation’s winningest hunter rider, piloted Dynamic successfully in the Regular Working Hunters. Dynamic captured the overall championship for the division. The chestnut gelding is owned by Fashion Farm of Philadelphia, PA. Reserve champion in the Regular Working Hunters was awarded to Jennifer Alfano aboard Rock Star, owned by Jennifer Burger of Snyder, NY. Alfano rides for SBS Farms, Inc. of Buffalo, NY.

“He was great today,” smiled Stewart. “Actually, he jumped great in all four classes. He’s very careful, and he hasn’t done this that much. This is only his third time doing this division. He’s a very sweet horse- like a puppy dog, and he felt great and jumped wonderfully.”

In the First Year Green Working Hunters, Sterling and Jennifer Bauersachs entered the winner’s circle for the division championship. Sterling is owned by Lee Kellogg of New York, NY. The reserve championship was pinned on the bridle of Heartfelt, the adorable six year old gelding that is owned by Molly Ohrstrom of The Plains, VA.

The Second Year Green Working Hunters concluded with Mombo and Jennifer Bauersachs receiving the division tricolor. Mombo, who is owned by Maria Takacs of Rumson, NJ, also received the Grand Green Hunter Championship for earning the most points out of all First and Second Year Green Hunter classes. Stewart guided Music Street, owned by Alexa Weisman of Sherborn, MA, to the reserve championship.

In the Green Conformation Working Hunters, Stewart’s performance with his horse Banner sealed them the division championship. The reserve championship went to Ashton, ridden by Ken Berkley for owner Karen Long Dwight of New Vernon, NJ.

After winning the division championship for the Younger Large Juniors, Jessica Springsteen and Tiziano came back strong for the $5,000 Monmouth Junior/Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic. In the first round, Springsteen guided her mount beautifully and received impressive first round scores of 85 and 99. When Springsteen revisited for the final round in the class, Tiziano came away with numerical scores of 88 and 90, which tallied up to reveal Springsteen’s exciting victory.

“I felt really good out there,” exclaimed Springsteen. “It was so much fun! My horse was really good. He’s only six years old, so usually he gets a little fresh at night. But he was so good today. He just went normal and was really quiet.”

In the 36 and Older Amateur-Owner Hunters, Ellen Toon of North Salem, NY, led the way with both of her horses, Attache and In Disguise. Attache’s brilliant performance in the division rewarded him and Toon with the division championship. The reserve championship was pinned on the bridle of In Disguise. Attache was also Grand Amateur-Owner Champion for accumulating the most points.

In the 18-35 Amateur-Owner Hunters, Tribute and Krista Weisman took home the tricolor championship. Tribute is owned by Krista and Alexa Weisman of Sherborn, MA. The reserve championship went to Gifted with owner Lee Kellogg in the irons. Kellogg resides in New York, NY.

For the Older Small Juniors, Alexandra Stathis added to her collection of tricolor ribbons once again. The young rider had a double victory with her two mounts, Davis Cup and Cool Blue. Her two horses claimed high ribbons throughout the division and came away with both champion and the reserve champion awards.

The Younger Small Junior division championship went to Alexandra Thornton and her chestnut gelding Tobasco. Tobasco is owned by Dunwalke LLC of Bedminster, NJ. Kaitlin Campbell of Doylestown, PA, excelled in the Small Juniors as well and secured the reserve championship with her own Play Me Coltrane. Thornton also picked up the reserve champion in the Younger Large Juniors with Dunwalke’s High Noon.

Mr. Wendell and Elizabeth Lubrano rode to the championship in the Older Large Juniors. Mr. Wendell is owned by Horizon Hill Farm of Glenmoore, PA. Alexandra Stathis and Sports Fan, owned by Scott Stewart, received the reserve championship tricolor. Stathis hails from Short Hills, NJ. Mr. Wendell earned the most points in the Junior Hunters and was the Grand Junior Hunter Champion.


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