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Serio Sweeps Championships in Bainbridge Florida Classic at Winter Equestrian Festival

Wellington, FL – February 16, 2006 – At the fourth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival, the Bainbridge Florida Classic presented by the Palm Beach Post, there was one professional rider that returned again and again for the trophy presentations. This week marks an important occasion for the hunters, as those who win tricolor ribbons are invited to show in the AHJF Hunter Spectacular of Palm Beach. Points at this show also count for the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) standings.

It was a sweet day for Louise Serio, of Kennent Square, PA, who rode many talented horses to championships today. Serio is one of the founders of the World Championship Hunter Rider Association. Starting off first thing this morning were the Regular Conformation Hunters. She and Hear Say, owned by Bridget Hallman, finished second in the model and were fourth and fifth over fences on Wednesday. Hear Say returned today to pick up second in the under saddle and then had two wins over fences. Reserve champion in the division went to Popeye K and Tommy Serio, who rode for Elizabeth Spencer.

The nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding has been in the Derbydown Stables with Serio for four years, so Serio has developed a good relationship with the beautiful chestnut. “He has been a nice horse to bring along and has a great disposition. He’s responsive and remembers everything you teach him,” Serio explained. “If I had to describe him, I’d just say that he’s easy all of the time. He’s got a lot of scope and stride.”

In his first year jumping over four feet, Hear Say has only improved. “If anything, it’s been good for him. Because of his lazy nature, he just kind of canters over the jumps,” Serio related. “He’s always had good style, but it helps him push differently, and it firms up his style.”

As last year’s winner of the Hunter Spectacular and a finalist in the WCHR, Serio automatically has two horses in Saturday’s night class. “It’s exciting and fun and is a great experience, no matter how you do. It’s great to ride out there and have a crowd. I think people really enjoy watching it and participating in it,” she said.

Although she is not sure which horses she will ride in the class, Serio has many fantastic horses from which to choose. In addition to Hear Say’s championship, Serio picked up the tricolor in the Regular Working Hunter division on another Bridget Hallman owned entry, Gray Slipper. The veteran horse won three classes and a second place to win the championship over Nairobi, ridden by Morgan Thomas and owned by KW Unlimited. If that were not enough, Serio was also champion in the Green Conformation Hunters on Marshall, owned by Meralex Farm. Marshall was first, second, and second over fences and third under saddle. Reserve champion in the division was Lavari, ridden by Havens Schatt and owned by Tracy Scheriff.

Lavari also picked up another reserve championship in the B Section of the First Year Green Working Hunters.

The First Year Green Hunters, which were split into two sections this week, finished their classes in the Internationale Arena today. The champions in both sections were both very new partnerships.

“I rode him for the first time yesterday,” said Pamela Polk with a smile. She piloted Fiyero to the championship in Section A. “We just purchased him Tuesday evening. I don’t know him very well, but he’s very fun and scopey and really nice to ride.” Fiyero finished with first, third, and fourth place ribbons over fences. “I felt really comfortable on him. He’s adjustable and pretty easy that way. I wasn’t expecting too much because I don’t know him that well, but he was fantastic,” Polk said.

Fiyero will also continue his career with his owner, Julie Kruger, in the Children’s Hunters. Polk commented, “He seemed like he would be a perfect match for his owner. He has a lot of ability; he’s overqualified!” Reserve champion in Section A was Cello, owned by Chance Arkelian and ridden by Holly Orlando.

The champion in Section B was Wrap It Up, ridden by Sandy Ferrell and owned by The Infinity Group. Ferrell only started riding the chestnut stallion last week because regular rider Shachine Belle had a fall and was unable to ride him. “I was petrified, because it was a hard act to follow,” Ferrell said about her getting the ride. “I was just the lucky one next in line!”

About Wrap It Up, she said, “He’s a stallion, so you have to ride him very quiet and very patient. His scope is unlimited, and his jumping ability is unlimited. You have to keep things slow, and he jumps a beautiful jump.” Wrap It Up is not a large horse, but he suited the petite Ferrell perfectly. “You can wrap around him and when he jumps that high, you can kind of crouch down and stay right there with him. He’s just lovely to ride.”

Ferrell also enjoyed being able to show in the Internationale Arena. “I like the fact that even with a very scopey horse, you can finally open your stride up a little bit and gallop along. The horses never know where the next jump is, so their ears are always pricked. They’re waiting for you to tell them where to go. As a whole this week, I thought the horses went beautifully out there.”

Ferrell believes that she will ride Wrap It Up in Saturday’s night class. “It’s always nerve-wracking out there,” she admitted, “but it’s for fun, and we made it there, so that’s enough in itself. We’ll give it our best shot!”

The high score of the horse show was given today to one of the top hunters of the nation. Rio Renoir and Holly Orlando had a breathtaking first trip and were rewarded with a 95 in the first over fences class in the Second Year Green Working Hunter division. The successful gelding, owned by Brad Wolf, also won both over fences classes yesterday. With another second place over fences and a third under saddle, Rio Renoir easily won the championship. Reserve champion was Late Entry, ridden by Sandy Ferrell and owned by Sarah Chovnick.

Hunter competition continues on the main stage tomorrow at WEF with championships in the Amateur-Owner and Adult Amateur Hunters. Competition begins as well for the Junior and Children’s Hunters.


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