Ocala, FL - February 22, 2012 - The success within the hunter rings continued this week for SBS Farms at the HITS III Ocala Winter Festival. Professional rider Jennifer Alfano guided numerous horses to the top honors this past week, including riding the young Maggie May to the High Pre-Green Hunter Championship.
Maggie May is a six-year-old Bradenberger mare owned by Billie Steffee, who Alfano showed to the championship tricolor in the High Pre-Green Hunter division. The young mare is always improving, and the pair took two blue ribbons over fences and the second place award for their efforts in the under saddle.
"She has been great, I am really excited about her this year. She keeps getting better and better every week, and she is really growing up a lot," Alfano explained. "It's really fun to be a part of her coming along, and being able to watch it all unfold."
This was the first week that Jersey Boy made his debut at the 2012 Ocala HITS in the High Performance Working Hunter division. With Alfano in the irons, Jersey Boy earned first, second and third place ribbons for their smooth and consistent rounds. Alfano also earned top honors aboard Castell, nabbing the first and third place awards over fences and the second place honors in the under saddle.
"This was Jersey Boy's first week showing in Ocala, and he definitely was happy to be back in the ring," Alfano described. "He had some beautiful rounds, and we look forward to what is to come of the next few weeks."
The Regular Conformation Hunters saw great success for Danny Robertshaw's Lions Paw. Alfano rode Lions Paw to two second and two third place ribbons over fences, as well as using his scope and stride to earn the second place spot in the handy round. His combined scores over fences and a second place win in the under saddle, eventually earned the duo the class championship.
Competing in the Low Pre-Green Hunters, Christina Major's Samba Sensation also scored top awards. With a beautiful rhythm and flow, Alfano guided the horse to the first and fourth place honors. Alfano also rode Benelli, Emma Bergqvist's mount, to the first and third place finish during the Low Hunters, preparing Benelli for the upcoming equitation classes where Bergqvist would have a chance to shine.
Against a large field of riders competing in the Equitation 14-15 division, Bergqvist rode to success. The horse and rider combination earned the third place award over fences, and also impressed the judges during the under saddle. Luke Olsen took his turn in the equitation rings this week, too. He rode Lassaro to a third place finish over fences, but looks forward to showing Mick O' Angelo in the upcoming High Children Jumper classes over the next few weeks.
Page Flournoy of Georgia, showed Olivier de Upatoi and Castello to top awards in the 36 & Over Amateur-Owner Hunter division. Aboard Olivier de Upatoi, Flournoy earned the first place ribbon for her efforts in the handy round as well as a fourth place ribbon over fences. Steering Castello through smooth courses, Flournoy also picked up the third place award.
Dr. Alexis Mierzwa also found success in the Adult 18-35 Equitation and Adult Hunter divisions. Mierzwa rode GPS Got Milk to the third place ribbon over fences in the equitation division, as well as good ribbons in the Adult Hunters. It seems as though SBS Farms has no limitations as both their riders and horses flourish at Ocala.
Schoellkopf and the team at SBS Farms will continue to compete at HITS Ocala over the next four weeks, gearing up for the $10,000 USHJA International Derby in Ocala, and preparing for the $50,0000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, where Alfano and Jersey Boy will return as the defending champions.
Based out of Buffalo, NY, SBS Farms' Susie Schoellkopf and Jennifer Alfano run one of the foremost show hunter training operations in the country, and travel nationwide to compete in the nation's most prestigious horse shows. SBS Farms, Inc. continues the proud tradition of the Saddle and Bridle Club as one of the top show stables in the northeast. Schoellkopf is also the Executive Director of the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, which houses both The Buffalo Equestrian Center as well as SBS Farms. Built in 1922, the 160-stall facility is a historical landmark, with its unique English Tudor and gothic style architecture. For more information on SBS Farms and the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, please visit www.thebtrc.org.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Alfano rode Maggie May to the High Pre-Green Hunter Championship during HITS Ocala III Winter Festival. Photo By: ESI Photography.