Buffalo, NY - September 15, 2013 - The final day of the 67th Buffalo International Horse Show got underway this morning at the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center. The day featured intense competition as horse and rider combinations vied for the top honors in their respective divisions. The Adult Amateur, Pony, and Children's Hunter divisions concluded their second day of competition, with the final presention of championship honors. The highlight events were the $1,000 Adult Amateur Hunter Classic and the $500 "Say Hey" Children's Hunter Classic.
The BIHS is the largest fundraiser for the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center's students-most of whom are financially supported by this show. The generous support of donations, as well as the help of sponsors and exhibitors are only a few of the ways the BTRC raises money to fund the therapeutic riding program and cater to groups such as Be A Friend, Kids Escaping Drugs and St. Mary's School for the Deaf, as well as more than100 independent students challenged by autism, fetal alcohol syndrome, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome.
The Adult Amateur Hunter divisions got underway early this morning, completing the final classes of the division. The Grand Adult Amateur Hunter Championship was awarded to Chris Steer showing Tivoli. The duo also rode to the Adult Amateur 36 & Older Hunter division championship, taking two first place ribbons and the second place ribbon. The reserve tricolor was awarded to Holly Ferrell and Tempo.
"She is an 8-year-old, and I got her about a year and a half ago, and she is amazing," Steer said. "My trainer Andy Lomker has been wonderful with her. When we first bought her, she came to us hardly doing the 2'6" and not cantering with much balance. Now she is wonderful, and she takes me around the Adults no matter what."
Steer continued, "She is just an angel, because she takes care of me. I just love her. The courses are beautiful, and I just love Buffalo. It is such an amazing place to show at, so no matter what we come here every year. This was my first time winning Grand, so it was very exciting. This is only our fourth time doing the Adults, and we are hoping in the future to qualify for the Zone Finals."
Lomker added, "This is one of the nicest mares I have ever had. She is not mareish, she is just really sweet and loves her job. She was a real find for us, and I am so proud of how the two of them did out there today."
Katharine Jemison and Logan's Peak were awarded the Adult Amateur 18-35 Hunter Championship, with Sandra Condino and Benelli earning the reserve championship. Kristen Wilson and Stillwater fell shy of the championship awards, but their two flowing rounds in the $500 Adult Amateur Hunter Classic earned them the blue ribbon with scores of 75 and 80 for a total of 155 points. Holly Ferrell and Tempo claimed the second place award, and Condino rounded out the top three with Benelli.
During the Syracuse PHA Adult Medal, Alyssa Bokor and Carafino captured the first place award. Alexis Mierzwa and Upstart CBF were awarded the second place, and Steer rode to the third place finish with Tivoli.
Next, the Pony Hunters took center stage in the Indoor Arena, where the top pony riders from across the country competed for the coveted points to qualify for the 2014 USEF Pony Finals. Jenna Drago and Groovy Girl were awarded the championship in the Small Pony Hunters, with Emma Seving and Grand Jete earning the reserve championship. Claudia Freeman and El Nino were awarded the Medium Pony Hunter Championship, while Victoria Zelch and Bayridge Wait N See claimed the reserve championship. The Large Pony Hunter Champion was Lara McHale and Find the Laughter, with Olivia Sala and Billabong close on their heels to take the reserve championship. McHale was also awarded the Grand Pony Hunter Championship.
"I started riding him last year, he's so much fun to ride," McHale explained. "He felt really good-smooth, happy and really good. He's a goober in the barn, but it is all work in the ring. He is already looking for his peppermints. He is a hard ride, so winning Grand Champion for the division made me feel really accomplished."
Next in the scheduled order were the Children's Pony Hunter divisions. Emma Walters and Lucky Charm were awarded the Children's Pony Hunter Championship, and Grace Yerdon aboard Brightside rode to the reserve championship. Walters also captured the victory in the $500 Children's Pony Hunter Classic. She piloted Lucky Charm to a cumulative score of 144 points for the win, while Yerdon and Brightside finished in second with 133 points. Winter Hein and Crème Brulee earned the third place finish.
Concluding the afternoon's highlight events, the Children's Hunter Horse divisions named their champions and hosted the $500 "Say Hey" Children's Hunter Classic. In the Children's 14 & Under Hunter division, Real Magic and Georgia Goodell came out on top with the championship prize. Emily Cherney showed Union Bay to the reserve championship.
It was Alex Trolli and Del Piero who stole the show this afternoon, not only capturing the championship in the Children's 15-17 Hunters, but also the Grand Children's Hunter Championship. Martina Holzhauer and Remington were awarded the division's reserve championship.
"Del Piero I have had for five months, and he is a fantastic ride. He is very different from my other mount. He jumps six feet over the jumps, and has a big stride. He is very comfortable and rideable," Trolli described. "I thought the courses were very inviting, and I have been working on riding off of my eye."
Trolli continued, "I just came back from six months of mono, so I needed a lot of practice to get back to where I was. Susie Schoellkopf found Del Piero for me and, at first, I didn't think we clicked, but I have grown to really like him. I am hoping to move into the Junior Hunters, and I'd like to go to Ocala for the Winter."
It was a fantastic day for Erica Lipke and her mount Aate as the pair topped the "Say Hey" Children's Hunter Classic with the top score of 154. Meghan Joyce and Nadal were awarded the second place for their score of 152 points. Jessica Sciarra and Caspian rounded out the top three.
"I just got him not even a month ago, and I love him," Lipke said. "He has a huge jump, and it takes a lot to get used to him. He is young, so you really have to stay with him. The plan is to move up into the higher divisions with him. We have been building up to this win all weekend, each round got better and better, and today we were able to put it all together."
Connie Holman and Accomac rode to the Pre-Children's Hunter Championship, while Hannah Anain and Spartacus were awarded the reserve championship. Dr. Ellen Bifano and Roma were the top horse and rider combination for the Pre-Adult Hunters, capturing the championship, while Jennifer Basile and Rasputin were awarded the reserve championship. It was Holman who captured the judges' attention during the $1,000 Johnson Horse Transportation Silver Stirrup Classic and rode Accomac to the first place finish. Anain finished second, while Laura D'Aquino and Wasabi took third place.
Trolli concluded, "This show is home for me. The courses are so nice, and everyone is so happy. They really go out of their way to give personal gifts as trophies, and make the exhibitors feel really welcomed and special. I actually used to ride here in 2005, and then I took a little break. When I came back, I was astonished at how big the show had become and it is a real top class show."
Sunday's competition concluded the 2013 Annual Buffalo International Horse Show for its 67th competion. The BIHS is held each year as a benefit for the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center and had another fantastic week of competition thanks to the many exhibitors and all those involved. For more information regarding the 67th Annual Buffalo International Horse Show and the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, please visit www.thebtrc.org or call (716) 877-9295.