Buffalo, NY – September 12, 2012 – The Indoor Arena was filled with hunter excitement as the first day of the Buffalo International Horse Show (BIHS) commenced at the Buffalo Equestrian Center. The premier fundraiser for the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, the BIHS offered an array of hunter classes for all experience levels, seeing some of the top hunter professionals vie for the blue ribbon prizes. Liza Boyd dominated the Green Working Hunters, while Jennifer Alfano swept the High Performance Hunters and took home the consistent ribbons in the Conformation Hunters.
The horse show opened to a cool breeze this morning, welcoming competitors to the ring. The Green Working Hunters were the first to attempt the hunter course designed by Brian Brown. Beautifully set, the course consisted of natural fences, including an in-and-out leading to an oxer, as well as several standalone obstacles that challenged both horse and rider alike within the confines of the Indoor.
“When I was cantering around I was thinking that this ring is definitely going to sharpen me up. Coming in here after doing the derbies in the big fields, I know I have to work on rideability. When you land you don’t have anytime for trouble. It definitely keeps you sharp as a rider,” eventual leader of the Green Working Hunter division Elizabeth Boyd remarked.
Boyd showed two mounts today. She navigated Zandor, owned by Penelope Ayers, to the first and second place wins over fences, as well as the first place finish in the under saddle. She also guided Trendy, owned by Caroline Kellogg, to the first and second place ribbons during the over fences, also taking home the red ribbon for their efforts in the under saddle.
“Trendy is awesome, I showed both horses this summer. That horse jerks his knees and is just so much fun,” Boyd described. “I showed Zandor for the first time this summer, too, for Penelope Ayers. He is scopey and such a great ride. I think they would both be amazing derby horses. I took them into the ring with no warm up and they were solid.”
Next in the order was the Conformation Hunter division. It was a close call between David Boley and Jennifer Alfano as the two went head-to-head for the top prizes. Alfano took the first place win in the morning’s model, with Danny Robertshaw’s Lions Paw, as well as the first and third in the over fences and the first in the under saddle.
“Lions Paw is a good horse, he is very consistent, and he has been all year. He has stayed that way. He is a fun horse to ride,” Alfano stated.
David Boley took control of the Conformation Hunter course with Phil in the Blank, owned by Ellen Bifano of Skaneateles, NY. He earned the first and third place ribbons over fences, the second place in the model, and also snatched up the second place in the under saddle. Jaime George and Top of the Mountain, owned by Becky Bates and Christine Jeppesen of Java, NY, were awarded two second place ribbons in the over fences, the third place ribbon in the model, and the third place ribbon in the under saddle.
As the day continued, the High Performance Hunters took center stage. Alfano swept the first day of the division with Miss Lucy, owned by Helen Lenahan of Buffalo, NY. Megan Holiday was awarded second place ribbons across the board in the irons of Nureev Du Houssoit, owned by Up the Creek Farm of Rochester, NY, with Luke Olsen rounding out the top three with consistent third place honors aboard Pico Bello, owned by Don Stewart, Jr. of Ocala, FL.
“Miss Lucy is amazing, she was so good in Chicago, and then she entered the competition today with the same attitude and talent,” Alfano said “This is so easy for her, the jumps are so easy with her scope, and I have gotten to know her so well now. It is so fun to have her. We have a great relationship.”
Boley made his return to the ring aboard Roma, owned by B & B Ltd of Skaneateles, NY, in the Low Hunter division. He piloted Roma to the first and second in the over fences, as well as the third in the under saddle. The duo was awarded the championship tricolor. Alfano picked up the reserve championship with I M Superlative, owned by Emma Bergqvist of Erie, PA.
“Dr. Bifano and I picked Roma out of a field in Hungary-there must have been 100 horses in that field-he really stood out to us though. We brought him home, gelded him, broke him, and fell in love with him,” Boley explained. He is such an adept learner, is so sweet and is a born winner. To compete against other top horseman such as you find here, it is such a nice thing to hear, as well as a testament to his talent.”
Success did not stop there for Alfano. Aboard one of her most recent mounts, Looking Glass, a young bay mare, she captured the Pre-Green Hunter Championship with two seconds and the first place in the over fences, as well as the second place win in the under saddle. Alfano also nabbed the reserve championship aboard Maggie May, owned by Billie Steffee, with the first and two thirds over fences, as well as the first place in the under saddle.
The first day of the Buffalo International Horse Show concluded with the Performance 3’3″ Hunters. It was Rachel Clawson and Montenegro, owned by B & B Ltd, who stole the show. The pair picked up two first place ribbons and the second place ribbon in the over fences, also earning the first place finish in the under saddle. They claimed the championship award, with Megan Holiday and Clover, owned by Sail Horse Investments of Colts Neck, NJ.
Boley concluded, “I have been coming here for many years, and I think that the entire team at the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, and Susie Schoellkopf, deserve a lot of credit for the effort their hard work. The history and heritage that goes with this place is so worth preserving, it is such a wonderful horse show, they make you feel so welcome. This show is in its 66th year, and what a feather in the hat for this community.”
Tomorrow the hunter action will continue as the second day of the Buffalo International Horse Show gets underway. The professional divisions will come to a close tomorrow, and the Amateur-Owner Hunters will begin. The well liked $1,000 Ravenswood Grooms Class will take place, seeing many of the top grooms approach the center of the ring for their turn at scrutiny as the judges choose the best. In the afternoon, the Level 2 Jumpers will step into the limelight as they take their turn at tripping the timers in the fastest time.
For more information about the Buffalo International Horse Show or the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center please visit www.thebtrc.org.