Busy Week at Aiken Fall Festival Comes to a Close

Contemporary and Daniel Geitner. Pictures by Shawn McMillen Photography

September 11th, 2012 – Week one of the 2012 Aiken Fall Festival Show series came to a close on Sunday and what a busy week it was. The event in its 5th year took place at Highfields in historic Aiken, SC and is managed by locally based Equus Events, Inc. and show manager J. P. Godard.

The week kicked off on Thursday with plenty of action in both the hunter and jumper rings. The featured class was the $5,000 Open Welcome Stake which took place Thursday afternoon out on the grass field. Hollow Creek Investment’s Boccaccio and rider Angel Karolyi took top honors there with a jump off time of 37.793 just edging out another Aiken based rider Daniel Geitner and Ann Ritter’s Jumbo Jet who finished clean with a time of 37.890. Boccaccio, an 11 year old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Up Chiqui, has had much success with Karolyi winning the $25,000 Equestrian Sport Productions New Year’s Grand Prix in Wellington as well as placing 9th in the $75,000 Nations Cup this winter. Carboni, owned by the Hollow Creek Farm, took home third place with rider Angel Karolyi handling the ride there as well. Following the class, the Aiken Fall Festival Welcome Party took place at The Stables Restaurant at Rose Hill. Exhibitors and sponsors were treated to food and drinks as well as live music by local artist Gavin Reily. Many thanks to The Stables Restaurant for sponsoring the Aiken Fall Festival Welcome Party for the second year in a row. The restaurant features a dining room and bar menu, live music on the patio every Friday, and a full bar all in one of Aiken’s most unique settings. Located just minutes from Highfields accommodations are also available www.rosehillestate.com.

The USHJA National Hunter Derby sponsored by The Willcox took place Friday evening on the derby field with a strong contingent of 34 entries. During the class, spectators were treated to a Low Country Boil under the VIP tent sponsored by Allison Mills, Liz Tarumianz, Booth Parker, and Laura Regan. The Joseph Carnicom designed course featured a straight forward flowing track including 11 jumps and 4 height options that grant bonus points. The top 12 horse rider combinations were invited back for the second “handy round” which included a trot jump, a hand gallop, and several other options giving the riders a chance to show off the handiness of their horses.  Daniel Geitner and Liz Tarumianz’s Contemporary took the top call of the night garnering an 85 plus 4 bonus points in both rounds giving them the two round winning total of 178. Contemporary, a 9 year old Holsteiner, is a relatively new mount for Tarumianz who purchased the gelding mid-July. The plan is for Geitner to campaign the horse in the derbies while owner Tarumianz will show him in the younger Amateur Owner hunters. They picked up the Amateur Owner Hunter championship this week at the Aiken Fall Festival.

Chipper Smith and Captain Morgan

Sunday marked the anticipated final day of the show and featured the South Carolina Hunter Jumper Association’s Governor’s Cup Medal finals along with the $15,000 Aiken Fall Premiere Jumper Classic.  Riders gathered early in the main hunter arena to catch a glimpse of the 2012 finals course which included several bending lines, tight turns, a two stride, and several other options.  Riders have been competing in the Governor’s Cup class all year accumulating points with the top 20 being invited to compete at this year’s finals at the Aiken Fall Festival Horse Show.  15 riders competed over the initial round with the top 12 being invited back for additional flat work.  After the flat phase the top four riders returned to the ring for additional testing by judges Steve Wall and Scott Hofstetter.  In the end, it was 14 year old Charles “Chipper” Smith who took top honors in the prestigious class aboard Meredith Coker’s Captain Morgan.  He follows a long line of successful riders who have won the class including Liza Towell Boyd and will have his name engraved on the Governor’s Cup.  Smith, from Mt. Pleasant, SC, normally trains with Charles Hairfield and his Seabrook Equestrian Center but rode this week with Cathy and Daniel Geitner of DFG Stables since Hairfield was unable to make the trip.

“Chipper was a little bit nervous heading into the ring that morning,” said his mother Cindy Smith.  “He just started riding Larson (Captain Morgan) the Tuesday before the show and only had 5 days to get to know each other.”  She continued on to say,” It had been several months since Larson had been in a show ring and the (warm up) class Saturday did not go too well. His trainer, Charles Hairfield, has given him the opportunity to become a versatile rider and taught him to leave bad riding experiences behind and I know he felt good about his round when he came out of the ring on Sunday. There were a lot of great rider/horse talent in the class and Chipper was elated to take the top honor and feels that it is his greatest accomplishment as a Junior rider thus far.”  A local Aiken rider, Hallie Anderson, finished in the reserve spot aboard her Mariatchy De Cluis.  Anderson is trained by Ann Thal.  Third place honors went to Annie Walters, trained by Bruce and Amy Christison, and fourth place went to Eva Moore who is trained by Cathy Dow.  Congratulations to all Governor’s Cup finalists.

Hardin Towell and Fieona

The $15,000 Aiken Fall Premiere Jumper Classic took place Sunday morning in the Grand Prix field following the conclusion of the Governor’s Cup over in the main hunter ring.  Management had decided due to impending weather conditions the previous evening to move the class to Sunday morning and the decision seemed to be the right one as cool temperatures and sunny skies welcomed riders and horses on Sunday. The Aiken Fall Festival Exhibitors party still took place under the VIP tent Saturday night sponsored by this year’s hospitality sponsors: Allison Mills, Booth Parker, Beaver River Farm, DFG Stables, Christison Stables, Cn’C Stables, Dr. Juan and Jennifer Gamboa, Finally Farm, Hot To Trot Boutique, Laura Regan, Liz Tarumianz, Solo Show Stables, and The Tack Room. Hardin Towell and Kelly Maloney’s Fieona took home the blue in the class for the second year in a row.   The pair was the fastest in the jump off finishing in a time of 39.344 although all four jump off riders ended up having a rail down.  Hardin will be heading to compete Fieona in several large classes this summer and the Aiken Fall Festival Jumper Classic was the perfect class to get her back in the ring according to Towell.  Second place went to Christina Jason and her Tamino, third to Something Gained and owner rider Maggie Sjoberg, and Daniel Geitner picked up fourth, fifth, and sixth respectively on The Kenwood Syndicate’s Kenwood, Ernie Irvan’s Johnny Dublin, and Ann Ritter’s Jumbo Jet.  For complete horse show results please visit www.equusevents.com.

The second week of the Aiken Fall Festival kicks off Thursday, September 13th and includes the “Bridles and Birdies” and Celebrity Ride and Drive Relay Challenge class to benefit the First Tee of Aiken.  Combining two of Aiken’s passions – golf and horses – local Aiken “celebrities” will be teamed up with riders to compete in equestrian and golf challenges all combined into a team relay event.  Sponsor tables are available with tickets at $30 per person.  Dinner and live music by Preston and Weston will take place under the VIP tent.  The tent will open at 5 PM with a cocktail hour sponsored by Equus Events and the team relay will begin at 6.  For more information contact the First Tee of Aiken at 803-226-8053 or Equus Events at 803-643-5698.  The $15,000 Aiken Fall Festival Jumper Classic will take place Saturday evening along with a dinner to benefit Danny and Ron’s Rescue of Camden, SC.

Contact: Equus Events, Inc.

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