Rachel Clawson and Montenegro. Photo By: Trey Talbott/CreeksideFoto.com.
Buffalo, NY – September 14, 2013 – Downtown Buffalo was tranquil as a cool breeze washed over the city Saturday morning, and the previously hiding sun emerged from the clouds. The quietness of the surrounding city set the perfect scene for the fourth day of the 67th Buffalo International Horse Show, but while the city was waking up, the Buffalo Equestrian Center was packed with a full hunter/jumper schedule with events in the morning and continuing well into the evening hours.
The highlight of the morning was the $1,000 “Scribbles” Pony Hunter Classic where Lara McHale and Find the Laughter captured the victory. The evening kicked the competition up a notch as competitors entered into a battle of the best in the three highlight events: the $3,000 Johnson Horse Transportation USHJA National Hunter Derby, the $2,500 Stephen A. Comunale Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic, and the $1,000 Stephen A. Comunale Low Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic. Rachel Clawson rode to the top of the derby standings, leading the class from beginning to end aboard Montenegro, eventually leading the night’s victory gallop.
The Junior 3’6″ Hunters opened the morning’s schedule at the 67th Buffalo International Horse Show. Caroline Kellogg and Felicci rode to the first place ribbon over fences, while also snatching the red ribbon in the under saddle. Claudia Freeman was hot on her heels, returning for the second day of competition with Lawando with her eye on the prize. With the guidance of trainer Gary Duffy, Freeman not only claimed the reserve championship, but was also presented with the Best Junior Rider Award.
“It was really exciting to earn the Best Junior Hunter Rider Award,” Freeman explained. “My horse was really good, and we had a lot of fun out there. He is a really cool horse and he is very scopey. He is a really easy ride; you pretty much have to sit there and steer. He is very consistent, and we have a little bit of an advantage since I live around here; we compete indoors all the time.”
Freeman explained, “We were lucky enough to lease Lawando for a month; he is a more recent mount for me, but he is going to go back to his owners soon. I love this show. It is so well organized, and everyone here is so friendly. They really go out of their way to make it special.”
It was Kellogg who ultimately rode to the division’s championship tricolor with her array of top ribbons aboard Felicci. They were also awarded the Junior Grand Hunter Championship, and Kellogg was all smiles as she described her Small Junior Hunter horse.
“Felicci felt great out there; honestly, he was perfect,” Kellogg said. “He is really different from my other mounts. He is like a pony; you kind of have to kick him around. There is a sibling rivalry going on between him and Donovan, and I think he really wanted to beat him today. Both of them did so well, but Felicci really stepped up out there today.”
Kellogg elaborated, “The handy was a lot of fun, and we had a great time over the courses. It was such a nice honor to get Grand Junior Hunter Champion. We are going to continue on to other Indoors; this was the perfect preparation.”
Kate Taylor stole the show today in the Pony Hunter divisions. The young rider took the top honors in the WIHS Pony Equitation class aboard Quicksilver Butterfly, her pony partner of three years. Taylor guided Quicksilver Butterfly to a score of 80 for their efforts in the over fences, and it proved hard to beat. Emma Seving and Grand Jete, owned by David Gochman, took the second place finish, while Lara McHale and Find the Laughter, owned by Scott Stewart, were awarded third.
Taylor continued to shine in the $1,000 “Scribbles” Pony Hunter Classic, sponsored by Ravens Wood Farm and Penelope Ayers, riding to a first round score of 77 points, and then duplicating her efforts in the second round for a cumulative score of 154 points. It seemed as though she had her second win of the day sealed – that is, until McHale returned to the ring with Find the Laughter. She piloted the bay pony to scores of 84 and 79 to rank first with the overall total of 163 points. Seving secured the third place with Grand Jete. Tomorrow will prove to be a tight race to the championship as the three young girls battle their way to the coveted championship titles as top contenders.
“Find the Laughter is a lot of fun. He is pretty straightforward, and the courses today were perfect for him. The jumps are beautifully set, and he really brightened up out there,” McHale said. “I think it is his consistency and smoothness that gave us an edge. I have been riding him for a year and this was our first time coming to the Buffalo International Horse Show. We are heading to Capital Challenge next. We traveled from Ohio, and I definitely plan on returning.”
As the Pony Hunters came to a close, the Indoor Arena filled with Children’s Hunter riders and their talented mounts. It was Tyler Petrie and Dark Side of the Moon, owned by Scott Petrie, who took the first place finish in the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Children’s Medal. It was a nail biter, however, as the top four horse and child riders were asked to return to the ring for a test. It came down to Petrie, Georgia Goodell, Ashley Hoffman and Lucy Loper. Each pair was asked to canter immediately upon entering the ring, and trot the first vertical, land and canter a natural vertical, make a right bend over a natural oxer, halt and then counter canter the two-stride vertical-oxer combination set on the outside. Upon landing, they walked and exited the ring.
Petrie executed a beautiful opening, and her transition from the halt to the trot made her truly stand out above the rest. It was their counter canter to the outside line, however, that set the duo apart from the other three. As they landed from the final efforts, everyone broke out in applause, and it was apparent that Petrie would take home the blue. Goodell was awarded the second place for her efforts aboard Real Magic, while Hoffman took third and Loper was awarded fourth.
Spectators began to crowd the Indoor Arena at six this evening to enjoy the night’s highlight events. The Buffalo International Horse Show Committee and Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center Board of Directors dedicated the 67th Buffalo International Horse Show to Marta Hiczewski. Her passion for the horses began as a young girl, and she has combined her love of horses and commitment to non-profits to benefit the BTRC. In 2011, she became more involved with the BIHS, taking over the Chairwoman responsibilities in 2012. She used her skills to improve and promote the BIHS, which serves as a major fundraiser for the BTRC, its program and special needs students. Her contributions resonated deeply with every person involved in the BTRC and BIHS, and she has helped to better the lives of hundreds of children through her efforts.
Following the presentation of the show’s dedication, the 2013 Peach Taylor Sportsmanship Award was awarded to Meghan Joyce. The award is given in memory of Peach Taylor, by her grandson Mason Phelps, Jr., and the chosen participant must demonstrate all of the qualities of dedication to the welfare of horses as well as kindness toward her peers and teachers. Joyce has been riding at the Buffalo Equestrian Center for over 12 years, and she has matured into a hard-working young lady, as well as a confident horsewoman. She is a true role model for younger riders.
After the presentation of the awards, judges Bill Ellis and Tony Workman settled into their seats and prepared to judge the $3,000 Johnson Horse Transportation USHJA National Classic, presented by DJ Johnson Horse Transportation. The riders showed over a course of 10 fences designed by Brian Brown and Andy Christiansen. The course was reminiscent of a hunt field, using natural looking fences and challenging turns to test the horses and riders. Each rider had the opportunity to earn bonus points by choosing to take the higher options set at 3’6″.
Out of 22 entries to attempt the derby course, only the top 12 earned a returning spot for the handy phase. It was Rachel Clawson and Montenegro who led the victory gallop at the end of the event. The pair entered the handy course with a first-round score of 91 points. They left nothing to chance in the handy, choosing to take all four high options and use a forward pace to tackle the track. Clawson chose to take the inside turn from the second obstacle on the track, and their rollback to the trot jump was immaculate as they executed a beautiful downward transition. The judges awarded a score of 88 for their handiness. Combined with their four bonus points, Clawson and Montenegro earned the high score of 92 points for a cumulative score of 183 points, eventually securing the win by a 12-point margin.
“Montenegro is a very fun ride; he is nice, smooth and has a light feel to the jumps,” Clawson said. “He is very easy to turn, and although we had a great inside turn to one of the fences, I chose to take the outside option later in the course. It just seemed right. In a derby course, you just want something nice and smooth, and this was a great course. We have been working on our trot jumps, and tonight I think it really paid off.”
Clawson continued, “He was perfect out there. He was very rideable tonight, and the course allowed for me to take everything right out of stride. We aren’t going to go to any Indoors, but we will start back up in Florida. We are going to step up to the High Performance Hunters. David and Ellen, his owner, were here to watch, which was so nice that they were able to be here when he won.”
Petrie rode Dark Side of the Moon to the second place honors with a two-round total of 171 points. Rio’s Reflection with Alicia Heberle in the irons followed close behind with a total score of 170 points. Lauren Reilly and Red Sox were awarded the fourth place, while Alyssa Bokor and Carafino took fifth. Rounding out the top six was Jaime George aboard Best Man, who rode to two beautiful rounds for his first-ever derby.
“I love coming to this show,” Clawson concluded. “We love being able to support Susie and the BTRC; it is a great benefit show. It was also so much fun to be able to go out there tonight and ride in front of a sold-out crowd. The show had a record-high number of entries this year, and then having the added bonus of the crowd made it special all on its own. A lot of the times we compete and only our peers from the equestrian world are rooting us on, but tonight we were able to showcase the hunter talent in front of the community at large.”
The night continued with the $2,500 Stephen A. Comunale Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic. The top child and adult riders attempted the course featuring sharp rollbacks, tight turns, standalone oxers, and an in-and-out. Only three riders were able to clear the course without any faults or time penalties, resulting in an exciting jump-off with the prize money, coveted award and division championship within grasp.
First in the race against the clock was pathfinder Alayna Pastuck and Dibelius, owned by Darren Chiacchia. They set a phenomenal pace from the start, opting to slice all turns possible. It was the inside turn from the fifth fence of the jump-off that shaved the seconds from Pastuck’s time. They set the target time of 35.15 seconds, a time that seemed nearly impossible to surpass.
Although Pastuck’s time was daunting, Gina Oddo and Last Call were prepared to give them a run for their money. They put in a valiant effort, ending with a time of 31.15 seconds, beating Pastuck’s time, but four faults from the final fence eventually earned them the third. Pastuck returned to the ring with Quasar, owned by Chiacchia. She knew that she already had the win with her other mount, but tonight was about experience for the pair. She was able to shave off the extra seconds and keep all rails in place in only 34.67 seconds for the win.
“Quasar is actually a 6-year-old event horse, and this was his first indoor event. We are just really proud that he stepped up to the plate. I have been riding him for a year now, and there has been such a change in his demeanor. He began as a bucking bronc, and he has turned into the perfect gentleman,” Pastuck explained. “He is very straightforward. If you show him where to go he does the rest. It comes very naturally to him, and he is a fast learner. Ultimately we would like to go all the way with him. We are going to continue eventing him, as well as showing him in the hunter/jumper shows, too. I think this show really ups the horses game. It is a nice challenge.”
Owner Chiacchia elaborated, “Part of my program was always to focus on the individual disciplines of eventing. I always find the best in each category, and it has permeated through my coaching, training and showing. This is such a different show with the confines of the space and, at the end of the day, it is all about going into that new challenging environment no matter where you are. It could be the Pan American Games or the Olympics; it all comes down to the challenge and new experience. That is why I like my riders to go into events like this. I am so proud of my rider for stepping up. She rode like a little star today.”
Pastuck not only led the victory gallop this evening, but she also was presented with the Children’s/Adult Jumper Championship title. Jazz Johnson Merton and Biloxi were awarded the division’s reserve championship for their first place rides in yesterday’s competition.
The $1,000 Stephen A. Comunale Low Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic concluded this evening’s events. Showing over the same course as the previous classic, the riders were faced with the same difficulties. Only four riders went clear in the first round, resulting in a nail-biting jump-off. Sherri Terhaar and Clousseau went double clear in a time of 37.766 seconds to set the pace. The crowd looked on as Andrea Bennett and Caliente attempted to catch Terhaar’s time. They went clean and fast to finish in 34.715 seconds and take over the lead. Although Carri D’Angelo and Casalli posted a time of 35.046 seconds, taking slightly more conservative options, it came down to the final rider, Paige Kouimanis. She picked up a speedy pace with five-year partner Bon Jovi, and tackled the track with dexterity. They completed the short track in 33.423 seconds to claim the victory. Kouimanis was also awarded the Low Children’s/Adult Jumpers Championship, and the Grand Child/Adult Jumper Championship.
“As long as I sit back and don’t let him get into the bend and keep him together he can turn like a dime,” Kouimanis stated. “When I saw Andrea go with Caliente, I knew I had to be fast. I think it was the inside turns that did it for me. I thought the courses rode well, and I like the options that were provided on the course to make turns. I really enjoyed showing here; I always have. They do a great job, and we always have a good time.”
Tomorrow concludes the 67th Buffalo International Horse Show with the finale of the Adult Amateur Hunters, Children’s Hunters and Pony Hunter classes. Each division will host a Classic to raise the stakes as the riders vie for the top honors and championship titles. The BIHS has been a tremendous success due to its sponsors and generous supporters.
For more information regarding the 67th Annual Buffalo International Horse Show, please visit www.thebtrc.org or call (716) 877-9295. Entries may be faxed to (716) 877-4001.
67th Annual Buffalo International Horse Show Fast Facts:
EVENT: 67th Annual Buffalo International Horse Show, which benefits the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center.
WHAT: Buffalo’s most prestigious horse show. The ‘AA’ rated show is one of the best ways for exhibitors to prepare themselves and their horses for the fall indoor circuit of finals. BIHS offers a large indoor arena for competition that gives horses and riders a chance to compete indoors before showing at the national finals in Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. or Kentucky. The horse show offers generous prize money in every division.
Sanctioned and recognized by: United States Equestrian Federation, Rated ‘AA’ Hunter and 2* Jumper; Syracuse Professional Horsemen’s Association; Ohio PHA; WPPHA.
WHERE: Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, 950 Amherst Street, Buffalo, NY 14216
WHEN: September 11-15, 2013
HIGHLIGHTS: The Buffalo International Horse Show benefits the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, and is one of the largest fundraisers for the program.
$1,000 Ravenswood Groom’s Class
$1,000 “The Full Monty” Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic
$1,000 Up The Creek Junior Hunter Classic
FRIDAY NIGHT (not before 6 p.m.):
$500 “Scribbles” Pony Hunter Classic
SATURDAY NIGHT (not before 6 p.m.):
$3,000 Johnson Horse Transportation USHJA National Hunter Derby
$2,500 Stephen A. Comunale Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic
$1,000 Stephen A. Comunale Low Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic
$500 “Say Hey” Children’s Hunter Classic
$1,000 Johnson Horse Transportation Silver Stirrup
ADMISSION: Free for spectators, except for Friday and Saturday night events, where admission is $5 for adults, and children 10 and under are free.
PARKING: Free on Amherst Street, on the grass on Great Arrow street, or in the school parking lot on Great Arrow.
VIP SEATING: Blue Carpet Club and Box Seating are available. The Blue Carpet Club offers tables overlooking the ring from the balcony. Only six tables are available in the Blue Carpet Club, so please make reservations early. Tables are $200 for a table of six for Friday or Saturday night, and $375 for both Friday and Saturday night combined. Box seats offer the most superior seating choice available; the closest to the action ringside. Box seats are $500 for Wednesday – Sunday afternoon until 4 pm. All Boxes include seating for six. Payment and order forms should be sent to: BIHS Attention: Blue Carpet Club and Box Seating, 950 Amherst Street, Buffalo, NY, 14216.
VENDOR/TRADE: Trophies are sponsored by EMO Insurance. Prizes for reserve champions are donated by The Hunting Horn of Penfield, NY, who is also the vendor for the horse show. Ribbons have been donated by M&T Bank.
DIRECTIONS: From NY thruway/I-90, it is only 10 minutes to the horse show facility. From I-90, take Rt 33 West. Follow to NY-198 East/Scajaquada Expressway West. Follow 198 until the Route 384 North/Delaware Ave exit. At the stop light, turn right and immediately turn left at the next light, which puts you on Delaware Ave. Follow Delaware Ave. until Amherst Street. Turn left on Amherst Street, travel less 200 feet, and the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center is on the right.
THE FACILITY: The Buffalo Saddle and Bridle Club was built in 1921 as an indoor polo arena. Today it is known as The Buffalo Equestrian Center (BEC) and features one of the largest indoor riding arenas in the nation. Located at 950 Amherst Street, in the heart of metropolitan Buffalo, it is now the home of The Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center Inc., The Buffalo Equestrian Center and SBS Farms, Inc. The five-acre site includes the indoor sand 120×90 riding arena, stables, paddocks and an outdoor riding ring. The spectacular barn offers permanent stalls for all horse show participants.
The Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center has been the site of a therapeutic riding program for over 10 years. The BTRC currently offers programs for mentally and emotionally impaired, learning disabled and developmentally challenged children ages 6 to 16.
Programs are designed and taught by Jenna Zografos, an instructor certified with PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) International.
Volunteers are always needed and are an invaluable part of the program. They can assist with horse care and handling or can serve as a friend and side walker. For more information, please call (716) 877-9295.
The Buffalo Equestrian Center is part of The Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center. They continue the tradition of the Saddle and Bridle club, giving lessons to kids starting at age six through adult ages. The BEC holds clinics with Jennifer Alfano, hosts a summer camp, and is now a member of the IEA (Interscholastic Equestrian Association), where members of area middle schools and area high schools compete as a team at IEA shows in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Lessons are given all year Tuesday through Sunday.
SBS Farms is also part of The BTRC, and Susan Schoellkopf is the owner. Susie serves as chairman of the Zone 2 committee, the chairman of the Open Hunter Task Force, she is a member of the Junior Hunter Task Force and the D&M committee. Susie is also an “R” rated hunter judge. Jennifer Alfano is the trainer for SBS. She is a two time World Hunter Rider Champion, she has won the International Hunter Derby Series for the past two years aboard Jersey Boy, and has won several USEF Horse of the Year awards. Jennifer has trained top amateur, junior and pony riders.
Kendall Bierer for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International