Devon, PA - June 2, 2009 - SBS Farms had another spectacular week at the Devon Horse Show with championship ribbons and honors at a special dinner for the hunter industry. Jennifer Alfano, rider and trainer at SBS Farms based in Buffalo, NY, was named the Rider of the Year at the 2009 National Show Hunter Hall of Fame dinner. Jersey Boy, owned by SBS Farms, was named the Second Year Green Hunter of the Year as well. At the Devon Horse Show, Alfano rode Rock Star to the Regular Working Hunter championship and was named the Leading Lady Hunter Rider for the Working division.
Alfano and Jersey Boy were honored at the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame dinner (right) with ribbons and plaques. While Alfano knew that Jersey Boy was winning, her Rider of the Year honor was not announced until that night. "It was quite a surprise to win Rider of the Year," she said. "I was really shocked. There are so many great riders, so it's really an honor. I was just so excited to win."
Alfano had a full week of competition at Devon. Starting out the week, she and Sting, owned by Helen Lenahan, finished second in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. They were fourth in the first round and second in the second round to take second place overall.
While Alfano may be known for winning derbies on Rock Star and Jersey Boy, Sting has quietly and consistently placed in nearly every derby he has competed in. "He's won a lot of rounds, but never actually won a derby," Alfano agreed. "He gets better every time. At Devon in the first round, he was pretty frisky. It is hard to go in and have that be your first class at Devon, at night with a crowd. He was a little full of himself. In the handy, he was very, very good. I was thrilled with him."
In the professional hunter divisions, Alfano rode six horses to ribbons in one of most prestigious hunter competitions in the country. She and Rock Star (below), owned by Bright Star 158 LLC, were champions in the Regular Working Hunters. They won the handy hunter class and another over fences class and were third in the stake class for the top tricolor. Alfano also rode Jersey Boy to fifth place in the handy class of the same division.
Of Rock Star, Alfano noted, "He was perfect as usual. We had a small mistake in the first class, but he still jumped really well. He was unbelievable on Tuesday and Wednesday." Alfano and Susie Schoellkopf, the head trainer at SBS Farms, have taken a slow road back with Rock Star, who had colic surgery last year. "It was really extraordinary for him to be champion at Devon after the colic surgery," Alfano said. "It was like his big comeback, and it made the win really special."
In the First Year division, Alfano and Kid Rock (left), another Bright Star-owned horse, were second in the handy hunter class, seventh in the stake, and sixth in another over fences class. Alfano and The Specialist, owned by Meredith Lipke Bartolone, were fourth in the handy hunter, fifth over fences, sixth in the stake class, and third under saddle in the Second Year Green Hunters. South Beach, owned by Bright Star 158, was seventh under saddle and eighth in the handy class of the Green Conformation Hunter division.
"The Specialist was very consistent," Alfano noted. "He's just always steady and pretty much the same every time. He jumped really well there. We were very happy with him."
Alfano showed three horses in their first time at Devon - Extraordinary, Kid Rock, and South Beach - and was very pleased with their performance at the show, which can be difficult for younger horses. "Extraordinary is still pretty green for that competition," Alfano acknowledged. "South Beach was nervous with the atmosphere, but he settled in nicely on the last day. It was an eye-opener for him. Kid Rock didn't know that it was different from any other horse show! He was really good and got a bunch of ribbons. I was really happy with him."
With horses winning at the top level of the sport and new stars on the rise, Alfano is poised to stay at the top of the sport for years. "It's a perfect situation," she said. "I have a group of horses that are established that I can always count on, and a group just starting out. I have a lot of fun bringing the younger horses along. I'm lucky that I have owners that keep them for me and let me really have the time with them to advance their careers."
Alfano also trained amateur rider Meredith Lipke Bartolone to good finishes in the Amateur-Owner Over 35 Hunter division. Bartolone rode Once and Again to fourth over fences, eighth in the handy hunter, and eighth in the stake class. On The Specialist, she was seventh over fences and seventh in the handy hunter class.
SBS Farms will compete next at the Saratoga Horse Show. For more information, please visit http://www.thebtrc.org
Photo Credit: Jennifer Alfano and Rock Star were Regular Working Hunter champions at the 2009 Devon Horse Show. Jennifer Alfano was honored as Rider of the Year at the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame by President Jimmy Lee. Jennifer Alfano and Kid Rock won multiple ribbons in the First Year Green Hunters at the Devon Horse Show. Photos © 2009 Lauren Fisher/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/sbs-farm-jennifer-alfano-show-hunter-hall-fame-06-09.html">SBS Farms' Jennifer Alfano Named Rider of the Year for National Show Hunter Hall of Fame</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com