Ocala, FL – February 8, 2012 – The first week of SBS Farms’ six-week stay at HITS Ocala was filled with nothing but success as professional rider and trainer Jennifer Alfano guided Sting to his comeback. The talented team executed the $5,000 Devoucoux 3’3″ Hunter Prix with consistency and precision, riding to the coveted championship spot. Alfano also rode numerous mounts to the top awards in the hunter divisions, while student Grace Weidner exhibited Castell in the Large Junior 16-17 Hunters, leaving the ring with high scores across the board.
It seems as though Sting, after taking some time to recuperate, is finally hitting his stride in the new 2012 year. Alfano and Sting took control of the $5,000 Devoucoux 3’3″ Hunter Prix, taking the course with a smooth ease. “He was really good, the courses were nice and he jumped great,” Alfano described. “It was so nice to have Sting back after having him out for a while. He was really smooth going around, everything matched, he’s such a fun horse and I am so happy to have him back.”
Alfano also showed Danny Robertshaw’s Lions Paw to the Conformation Hunter Reserve Championship title. Early in the division, Lions Paw made his mark winning the blue in the model class. His success continued with Alfano in the irons, guiding him to the top score in the handy, as well as earning the third place ribbon over fences and an additional blue ribbon for their efforts in the under saddle.
In the Low Pre-Green Hunter division, Alfano and Samba Sensation, owned by Christina Major, received the reserve championship. Together, the pair earned the first, second and third place ribbons over fences, falling shortly behind Erin McCabe and Mojito. “This was the first time I have shown both of them and they did really great. I have to get to know them better, but they are both super fun to ride. They are both for sale at the moment, so I am going to continue to ride them throughout the Ocala shows as well,” Alfano explained.
Although Rose Hill, Miss Lucy and Jersey Boy took a break this week, Alfano did not skip a single beat aboard Maggie May, earning the second place over fences and the blue ribbon for the under saddle in the High Pre-Green Hunter division. She also had the opportunity to ride Michigan Avenue, an exciting reunion since the gelding was sold shortly after Capital Challenge in 2011. Together, they proved that they are still a team to be reckoned with. Their consistency throughout the Second Year Green Hunters earned the duo the reserve tricolor.
“I sold Michigan Avenue at Capital Challenge, and the owners asked me to ride him here this week,” Alfano elaborated. “I was so excited to have the opportunity again since he is such a fun horse to ride and compete.”
Recently, both Alfano and student Grace Weidner began showing SBS Farms’ Castell in separate hunter divisions, both catching the judges’ eyes and raising the bar aboard the nine-year-old Danish Warmblood. Alfano rode to the reserve championship in the High Performance Working Hunters, winning the first place ribbon and two third place ribbons over fences along with the second place honors in the under saddle. Weidner earned the second place ribbon and the fourth place ribbon over fences in the Large Junior 16-17 Hunters, also riding Castell to the second place ribbon in the under saddle. In the jumper ring, Luke Olsen rode Mick O’ Angelo to great success, earning the second and fourth place ribbons in the Low Children’s Jumpers.
“We had a great first week at Ocala,” Alfano concluded. “I feel as though everyone is really falling into a rhythm and we have a lot to look forward to.”
Based out of Buffalo, NY, SBS Farms’ Susie Schoellkopf and Jennifer Alfano run one of the foremost show hunter training operations in the country, and travel nationwide to compete in the nation’s most prestigious horse shows. SBS Farms, Inc. continues the proud tradition of the Saddle and Bridle Club as one of the top show stables in the northeast. Schoellkopf is also the Executive Director of the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, which houses both The Buffalo Equestrian Center as well as SBS Farms. Built in 1922, the 160-stall facility is a historical landmark, with its unique English Tudor and gothic style architecture. For more information on SBS Farms and the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, please visit www.thebtrc.org.
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