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The Syracuse Sporthorse Invitational and National Horse Show Host Meetings to Gain Feedback

Wellington, FL - January 29, 2009 - The Syracuse Sporthorse Invitational featuring The National Horse Show held an informal meeting last night at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Club. The meeting, let by a panel made up of Leo Conroy, John Madden and Mason Phelps, was held as a forum to help the organizing committee 'gain information and feedback from the professionals concerning all aspects of the Syracuse/National Horse Show.'

The group, made up of mostly hunter riders and trainers, had an overall feeling that last year's horse show was great, but discussed areas where improvements could be made. Some issues raised were whether everyone liked have the National Horse Show in Syracuse, how to make the show more appealing to the hunters, the inclusion of a hunter derby class, adding more jumping classes in the hunter divisions, limiting riders to one horse per class, and finding a balance between the hunters and jumpers. The main question was 'what can the horse show do better?'

John Madden, head of the organizing committee for the Syracuse Sporthorse Invitational, feels very strongly about making his horse show appeal to the hunter riders and trainers. "The international jumpers and equitation people feel like it is their show, like they are a big part of the event," Madden stated. "I think that has been the key to our success and we want the hunters to feel the same way. We have gotten fantastic support from the hunter community and we are open to a lot of things."

Trainer Stacia Madden voiced her opinion, stating that the possibility of adding a hunter derby might strengthen the show's appeal to the hunter community, and many in the room agreed.

Kathy Newman supported Madden's suggestion, saying, "I think that is the most fun you can have in the hunters. It is exciting with the crowd, it is special and you can make it an event that really appeals to people."

Another suggestion was made by trainer Rodney Bross, who suggested giving the hunter divisions four over fences classes and limiting each rider to one horse. "If we have four over fences then you don't have so much emphasis on the under saddle," Brass commented. "I think that people will feel like they have a better chance that way. Also, if you limit everyone to one horse per rider, then people will only bring their best horse, which brings up the quality of the show."

Other points of discussion turned to how to make the show more important to the riders and trainers in the horse community. To this point, John Madden shared his theories. "This is a small community, so if we do something and make it important, then it will be important," he said. "If the hunter community decides it will be important, then it will be. We are offering a pallet, and if we can do a good enough job, then everyone will be proud of it."

The final discussion centered on the question of whether people want the National Horse Show to be a part of the Syracuse show. Larry Glefke along with many other, said yes. "It used to be more important to win one class at the National Horse Show than to be champion at any other show," Glefke stated. "I think that as a community, we need something special."

Mason Phelps Jr., chairman of the National Horse Show agreed, saying, "Going to Syracuse and being a part of John's show is the next best thing to being in New York City."

The panel of Leo Conroy, John Madden and Mason Phelps will be holding two other meetings to include the opinions of as many of the horse show professionals as possible. The next meeting will be February 17 in Palm Springs, CA, at HITS Thermal, and the other will be March 3 in Ocala, FL, at HITS Ocala.

For more information on the Syracuse Sporthorse Invitational and National Horse Show please visit, http://www.syracuseinvitational.com or http://www.nhs.org.

Photo Credit: Leo Conroy, John Madden and Mason Phelps, Jr. Photo by: Lauren Fisher/PMG 2008. Photograph may be used only in relation to this PMG press release.


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