Buffalo, NY - Held as a benefit for the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, the 64th Annual Buffalo International Horse Show (BIHS) continued today with a grand championship win for Jennifer Alfano and Helen Lenahan's Miss Lucy.
Held at the Buffalo Equestrian Center, the show will host a number of special classes in their large indoor arena through Sunday, September 19, featuring great prize money and exciting competition.
Beginning the day with two beautiful rounds over fences, Jennifer Alfano rode Miss Lucy to two first place ribbons in The First Year Green Working Hunters. Adding to the pair's win under saddle as well as first and second place ribbons over fences yesterday, the beautiful chestnut mare took home the division's championship honors. Alfano and Shelley Shaulinski's Fantabulous earned the division's reserve tricolor.
As the professional hunter divisions concluded in the morning, Miss Lucy also earned the Grand Hunter Championship and was presented the prize alongside Alfano and Lenahan. Miss Lucy was purchased just two weeks ago from Jeffery Welles, and Alfano immediately showed the eight-year-old mare in the recent Chicago Hunter Derby and finished in fourth place.
"This is actually the first real show that have I ridden her in, because the hunter derby is sort of a different thing, so we are just really getting to know each other," Alfano stated. "Even though I do not know her that well yet, even the difference from Wednesday to Thursday was big. Today she felt amazing; she was great yesterday too, but today she felt amazing. I am really excited about her and I think that she has a lot of potential. She is really fun to ride, she has a huge stride and she has such a great jump."
Owner Helen Lenahan is equally excited about Lucy's potential and great win this week and was present to receive the championship award with a big smile. Alfano noted, "Helen has owned a lot of really good horses and she has been an incredible supporter of me and a lot of other professionals. To have someone like her who will just keep buying great horses over the years is amazing. I could not even begin to count the number of horses that I have ridden for her. From Sting to Extraordinary to Red Onion and way back to Night Owl, there have been a lot."
Continuing the day's competition, David Boley remained at the top of the Conformation Hunter division. Boley rode Phil in the Blank, owned by Ellen Bifano, to the divisions championship tricolor and also earned the reserve championship riding Kingdom Come, owned by B&B Ltd.
Sarah Mechlin rode Yes Indeed, owned by Olivia Weaver, to the championship honors in the Second Year Green Working Hunter division with Jennifer Alfano and Meredith Lipke's Accomplice finishing in reserve.
Alfano then completed out the day with the championship and reserve championship tricolors in the Regular Working Hunter division, topping the division with Meredith Lipke's The Specialist and taking reserve with Jersey Boy.
"The Specialist was awesome today," Alfano smiled. "He has just been a great horse from the beginning. He is really Meredith's horse for the Amateurs, but I do him in the Regular Working Hunters and I have been doing the hunter derbies on him. He really is always the same; he is Mr. Consistent. He is a funny horse too, he is always looking around to see who is watching him and he just has a lot of personality."
After spending most of the year on the road, Alfano enjoys the opportunity to compete on her home turf and thinks that it is a great opportunity for her students. "Everything has been great; I think the courses have been great and it is nice to see our ring look like this. Once a year it gets all spruced up and it looks beautiful," she expressed. "I enjoy showing here and I think that it is great for our customers, for the kids and the amateurs. It is really fun for them to be at home and have their friends and family come watch, so they love it."
Thanks to judges Carleton Brooks and Jim Clapperton, as well as course designers Phil DeVita and George Heston, the day's competition was successful for all. Also many thanks to Delaware North for sponsoring the green hunter divisions, HSBC Bank USA for donating the ribbons, EMO Insurance for the sponsorship of championship awards, and The Hunting Horn for donating the reserve champion awards.
The five day schedule of the Buffalo International Horse Show features highlights for everyone to enjoy, including $15,000 worth of hunter and jumper classics for children, adults, juniors, amateur-owners, ponies and professionals. Exciting classes to come include the USHJA 3' Hunter Classic and the Silver Stirrup Classic. This year the show will also proudly offer a $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on Sunday afternoon. For more information regarding the 64th Annual Buffalo International Horse Show, please visit www.thebtrc.org or call (716) 877-9295.
Photo Credits: Miss Lucy Grand Hunter Championship Presentation; Jennifer Alfano rode Helen Lenahan's Miss Lucy to the Grand Hunter Championship at the 2010 Buffalo International Horse Show. Photo © 2010 Lauren Fisher/PMG.