2012 Aiken Fall Festival – That’s a Wrap!

Daniel Geitner and Kenwood. Shawn McMillen Photography

September 17th, 2012 – Sunday marked the final day of the 2012 Aiken Fall Festival Show Series. The show which took place at Highfields in historic Aiken, SC is a USEF “A” rated event and is managed by J. P. Godard and his team at Equus Events.

Gold sponsors of this year’s event included: Fenwick Equestrian, Equifit, Inc., The Mark Lexton Collection, Dietrich and Company Equine Insurance, One K Helmets, Daniel F. Geitner Stables, The Barn Book, Gamboa Veterinary Services, Integrity Fine Equestrian Linens, The Willcox and Oak Manor Saddlery. Silver sponsors included: Finally Farm, The Aiken Horse, Liz Tarumianz, Equi InStyle, Gagne International, Equestrian Connect, Booth Parker, Allison Mills, Laura Regan, Holly Carter Designs, Solo Show Stables, and Carolina Outdoors. The 2012 Aiken Fall Festival Hospitality sponsors were: Allison Mills, Booth Parker, The Blue Ridge Boxer Rescue, Beaver River Farm, DFG Stables, Cn’C Stables, Christison Stables, Dr. Juan and Jennifer Gamboa, Finally Farm, Hot To Trot Boutique, Gagne International, Liz Tarumianz, Solo Show Stables, The Tack Room, The Stables Restaurant and The Kasper Family.

The week kicked off with the $5,000 Open Welcome Jumper Stake on Thursday afternoon along with Pizza Party in the VIP tent sponsored by Gagne International. Solo Show Stables’ Harold Chopping and Kendra Bullington’s Dutch Warmblood mare Patent Pending were one of four rider/horse combinations to go clear in the first round over the course designed by J.P. Godard. Chopping and Patent Pending also won the 2011 Equus Events Aiken Fall Festival $15,000 Jumper Classic last year. Chopping describes the horse as “naturally fast” as he rides as “smooth as possible” just letting her do her job. She did just that on Thursday evening crossing the finish line in the winning time of 34.260 edging out Aiken, SC based rider Daniel Geitner and Ernie Irvan’s Johnny Dublin who came in second with a time of 36.310. Phyllis Tuggle, who trains with Geitner and her Turbo Van’t Gestelhof, turned in the third fastest time of 39.118. Geitner also placed fourth on Ann Ritter’s Jumbo Jet. Chopping received a lovely One K Helmet donated by One K Helmets. Many thanks to them for donating their beautiful helmets for the Aiken Fall Festival show series.

Friday evening featured the highly anticipated “Bridles and Birdies” Event and Relay Challenge to benefit The First Tee of Aiken. The mission of The First Tee is to impact the lives of area youth by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character development and life enhancing values through the game of golf. Special emphasis is placed on recruiting low to moderate income youth, minorities, girls, at risk youth, students with disabilities, and youth that might not have the opportunity to be exposed to the game of golf and its positive values.

Riders and local area community members combined together in seven relay teams to compete in a unique equestrian and golf challenge. The first part of the relay included 8 jumping obstacles for the horse and rider, the flag was then dropped and the rest of the team took off on the golf cart provided by EZ-GO to complete the rest of the course including several golf challenges. “We were really excited to try something that has never been seen before”, said Megan Godard of Equus Events. “Elizabeth Smith, director of the First Tee, and I have been wanting to come up with an event to combine two of Aiken’s passions, horses and golf, and raise awareness and funds for the First Tee for a while. The opportunity presented itself at this year’s Aiken Fall Festival and we never looked back! I think a lot of people looked at me funny when I said we were combining show jumping and golf, but J. P. (Godard) and I had a vision and it turned out to be fabulous. We couldn’t have asked for a better night; Lewis Pack, our announcer and judge, really made the class with his commentary and music – the crowd was really into it and I was so happy to see so many from the local Aiken community out at the Aiken Fall Festival.” Dinner and live music by Preston and Weston followed the relay under the VIP tent. Sponsors of the event included EZ- GO, Security Federal, Sysco, The Carriage House Inn, The Willcox, The Mark Lexton Collection, Floyd and Green, Equus Events, and Trophies Unlimited. The First Tee of Aiken Coaches Team sponsored by The Carriage House Inn took home top honors with a time of 1:28.13. Bridlewood Farm and USCA equestrian coach John Abbot was the team’s professional rider. Other team members were Bob Karns, Charles Hightower, Rob Lee, Gary Ikens, and Kevin Lucas. The winning team will have their names engraved on the Challenge Trophy while all team members received take home plaques. The winning rider received a spa package from the Willcox Inn. The “last place” team was the Village Idiots Team consisting of Pat Cunning, Dr. Marc Brickman, Joe DeLuca, Rick Doran, Joe Sabino, and rider Jessica Molnar. They all received a bottle of Wild Turkey along with one free “ladies” clinic at First Tee of Aiken. Other teams included; Aiken Public Safety sponsored by Tom and Leslie Wyatt with rider J. F. Gagne, The First Tee of Aiken Team sponsored by Debbie Allman with rider Melissa Warden, The Equus Events Team sponsored by The Mark Lexton Collection with rider Harold Chopping, and The Woodside Jumpers Team sponsored by Woodside Plantation and Country Club with rider Angel Karolyi.

Saturday evening brought another charity event to the Aiken Fall Festival, this time it was a dinner benefitting Danny and Ron’s Rescue of Camden, SC under the VIP tent. Danny and Ron’s is a 501© (3) that helps to rescue and place adoptable dogs all over the Southeast. The dinner was sponsored by Solo Show Stables and Harold and Jennifer Chopping along with Show Day Café. The Aiken Fall Festival $15,000 Jumper Classic was also taking place in the jumper ring for spectators to enjoy. Daniel Geitner and The Kenwood Syndicate’s Kenwood would be the only double clear round in the class capturing the blue ribbon in a jump off time of 43.137. Geitner had the luxury of going last on Kenwood in the jump off knowing his job was to be careful and clean since the previous three horses had pulled a rail. “For me, I changed my strategy,” said Geitner. “My horse jumped so careful in the first round and I wasn’t even close to a jump. I was pretty sure that as long as I was steered on the right track, he was going to be clean. That was my goal to be clean, and then if I had a rail, (I was going) to step up the pace but was mainly going for a clean round.” Geitner and the 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding by the stallion Kannan, who is out of the mare Gertie, also won the EMO $25,000 Grand Prix in Atlanta this summer.

Some of the show series Grand Champion awards were given out on Sunday. Horses and riders accumulated points throughout the two week Aiken Fall Festival Series and received a ribbon and a custom wool cooler donated by Integrity Fine Equestrian Linens. Some of the winners included:

  • The Grand Junior Hunter Champion and Joyce Lineburger Memorial Perpetual Trophy presented by The Tarumianz Family: Zantos and Jordan Ayres (ridden by Lindsey Ayres)
  • The Grand Pony Hunter Champion and Good Golly Miss Molly Perpetual Trophy presented by The Cram Family: Woodlands Pick Pocket and Lindsey Ayres
  • The Daddy’s Girl Memorial Perpetual Trophy presented by The Nance Family: McGraw and Kimberly Quinn
  • Grand Adult Hunter: Robin Hood and Bonnie Kretchik
  • Grand Children’s Hunter: Wat Tyler and Mary Hemingway
  • Grand Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper: Johnny Dublin and Jordan Irvan
  • Grand Children’s Adult Jumper: Chasm Z and Robert Stucky

Earlier in the week, the At A Glance Memorial Perpetual Trophy and Grand Hunter Award went to CDS Stables Balenciaga and rider Daniel Geitner.

For complete horse show results please visit www.equusevents.com. Equus Events will kick off the first annual Harvest Classic October 12-14th at Highfields in Aiken, SC which will include a Pony Hunter Derby and Children’s Adult Hunter Derby.

Contact: Equus Events, Inc.

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