Asburby, NJ - The Ridge at Riverview hosted its fourth annual Asbury Classic in early October, the crowning jewel to their very successful 2012 Hunter/Jumper Horse Show series held in scenic Asbury, New Jersey. The show saw top competitors gather to contend for the coveted prizes in their respective divisions. The show was highly successful with phenomenal sponsorships, fabulous exhibitor amenities and a fantastic turnout for the 2012 Asbury Classic.
The beautiful facility is run by Nona Garson and George D'Ambrosio, both of whom have been involved with show jumping at its highest levels for most of their lives. "George and I have made it our goal with this facility to bring quality, hospitality, and atmosphere back to American Show Jumping, something that's been lost at so many of the venues where we compete today," Garson said. "Not enough attention is given to the beauty of the surroundings or the exhibitor experience. I want our exhibitors to feel as if they are at Lake Placid or The International Show at Monterrey-not just another cookie cutter horse show. We have gone to great lengths to make our exhibitors feel special and surround them with beauty."
The Asbury Classic was blessed with perfect weather this year. Competition was held in two state of the art "all weather" sand rings and on the beautiful, well-manicured grass derby field. The show was well attended with riders from at least nine different countries competing for top awards in all divisions.
Ken Berkley, a seasoned competitor in both hunter and jumper rings who runs River's Edge in Flemington, NJ, along with top professional hunter rider Scott Stewart, remarked, "This show is awesome. I arrived to a happy, upbeat atmosphere and the footing in the jumper ring was as good as anywhere in the country. The ring is huge, a perfect size to gallop!"
Garson and D'Ambrosio were grateful for the support they received from top sponsors including Hermitage Farm, B.W. Furlong & Associates and Valley Brook Farm & Nursery to name a few. In addition to the prize money, ribbons, trophies, and coolers that were awarded throughout the event, there were many special awards.
Samshield, maker of high-end helmets and gloves, sponsored three "Jumper Style of Riding Awards" in the Children's, Adult, Junior, Amateur-Owner and Open Jumper Divisions. Prestige Saddlery awarded bridles to each of the Jumper Classic winners, and Hadfield's Saddlery presented a beautiful riding jacket to the winner of the Futures Grand Prix.
During the show, the Asbury Classic's Exhibitor's Hospitality Tent was a big hit, serving wine and cheese in the afternoon as well as daily specials including a very popular "create your own" baked potato bar on Saturday, and a delicious hot meal on Sunday for all to enjoy while watching the Grand Prix.
From lead line participants to the Futures Grand Prix, a good time was had by all. In fact, Olympic Silver Medalist, Peter Leone stated, "What an unexpected pleasure to compete at the Asbury Classic. I felt like I was at a country show, like the ones I attended when I was a boy, except the facility is at today's evolved competition standards."
The $2,000 Asbury Hunter Derby saw thrilling action as top competitors vied for the coveted champion title. BJ Ehrhardt and Woodrow rode to the top of the leader board with beautiful flowing rounds, utilizing the open grass field to the best of their ability, catching the judges' eyes with their traditional hunter athleticism and style. Liz Perry-Merbler and Tycoon rode to the second place finish, while Lacey Morrone-Cramer and Avatar ES took the third place honors.
In the M&S Bit O' Straw 2'6" Hunter Classic, Phillip Haber and Windesi took the blue ribbon prize, while Jayna Suoninen and Diesel Only rode to the second place finish. Janet Rizzo and Penny Lane finished with the third place honors.
The M&S Children,s/Adult 3' Hunter Classic was filled with an array of talent as riders of varying ages vied for the top awards. It was Lacey Morrone-Cramer and Avatar ES who rode to the top, taking it all with a beautiful two-round competition. Kylie Fedynich and Mr. Worldwide rode to the second place ribbon. Hannah Engelman and Little Diamond were awarded third place for their efforts.
The Itty Bitty Mini Prix was a huge hit with a large field of entrants. Melissa Lacamera and Silver Lining blew spectators away with their speedy round. The pair took the top honors, with Kim Fredericks and her own Worlds Bright Abby riding to second. Erin Walk and Traveler finished third, rounding out the top three for the new Mini Prix series.
The $20,000.00 Hermitage Farm Grand Prix had a field of 24 entries. The tension was palpable as riders entered the ring to go against a battle of the best at the Asbury Classic. Although many tried, it was Taylor McMurtry and Just an Illusion who posted the fastest double-clear effort, leaving all rails in place while using their quick pace to their advantage. Ken Berkley took second place with his speedy horse Acxent, also capturing the third place on Alex Crown's K N Nemo. Ronan McGuigan and High Heels were presented with the fourth place award, with David Tromp and Zadermus capturing fifth place. Penny Brennan and her own Wanda, rounded out the top six of the class with a phenomenal effort.
Leone concluded, "The show offered friendly management, and lots of prizes: trophies, grooming boxes, coolers, and certificates, not like most of today's shows where all you win is a ribbon and a check. While the management is committed to improvements, this fun and exhibitor friendly show is a definite on my calendar for next year!"
Photos: Taylor McMurtry and Just an Illusion won the $20,000 Hermitage Farm Grand Prix; Alex Crown on Starnato won the Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic, sponsored by Brendon Furlong & Associates. She was also awarded the Samshield Style Award for Junior and Amateur riders; David Tromp won the Samsheild "Profesional" Style of Riding Award. All Photos Courtesy of Paws and Rewind.