Neither heat nor rain can hinder the Chagrin Valley Hunter Jumper Classic. Scattered rain showers, including a half hour downpour, brought a welcome relief from the heat and did little to slow down Friday’s competition at the Schneider Saddlery Opening Weekend at the Cleveland Metroparks Polo Field.
The Riders with Disabilities competition, hosted by the Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center (FFTRC), featured four hours of fun-filled competition and produced hundreds of smiles on the faces of the 27 competitors, their parents, instructors, volunteers, and the spectators.
“The students have embraced the competitive spirit and are showing us their best stuff,” said Teresa Morris, Program Director at FFTRC. “They have all really been looking forward to this because they’ve been practicing hard for six weeks.”
One of the stars of the first class, Carriage Driving, was May, a 14-year-old grey Percheron mare. In 2009 FFTRC was in need of a great driving horse, so the volunteers banded together to run a fundraising campaign, which resulted in the purchase of May from a local Amish farm. May accompanied four riders in the show ring, Stephen Sydenstricker of Solon, Paul Thompson of Chagrin Falls, Chaz Fitzgerald of Twinsburg, and the winner of the class, Vince Gwirtz of Middlefield
Local Hunter/Jumper Competition
The weekends competition included three rings of hunter and jumper competition. Olivia Traci, of Aurora, took the Walk/Trot Crossrail division championship with pony Little Manhattan. Morgan Mann, of Ravenna, then took the Walk/Trot/Canter Crossrail division championship aboard My Hobby.
With two blue ribbons the Limit Rider division championship went to Lilla Turoczi, of Moreland Hills, aboard Hillcrest Blue Wishes. The Novice Rider division championship went to Chloe Drennen, of Warren, aboard Amazing Grace and Molly McDougall, of Bentleyville, won the Fox Smith Memorial Medal aboard Cassio Peia.
Mighty Maverick and his rider, Kristen Kolenda, a Lake Erie College alum, won both Hopeful Jumper classes before the jumper ring was turned over to the Leadline classes, which included riders as young as 2.
Gus, owned by Craighead Farm and ridden and trained by Carol Lewis, of Chesterland, took the Very Green Hunter division championship and with two blue ribbons the Intermediate Hunter Rider division championship went to Maureen Clancy, of Dublin, and her horse Something Charming.
The Childrens Hunter Pony division championship went to Dani Herzberg, of Beachwood, and October Sky after they won two blue ribbons and the Childrens Hunter Horse division went to Genuine, ridden and owned by Avery Alatis, of Gates Mills. With a first and two second’s Larissa Jurczenko, of Mentor, took the Beginner Adult division championship aboard Certain Chance.
With two blue ribbons the Adult Amateur Hunter division went to Elijandro, ridden and owned by Stacey Friend, of North Olmsted. The Low Childrens Hunter division championship went to Rachel Nelson, of Hudson, and Cashmere, owned by Lori Snetsinger. They also went on to win the Low Childrens Hunter Classic.
Following their win in the Classic Rachel said, “Cashmere is a lot of fun to ride and I’ve learned a lot from him.” Rachel has been riding Cashmere, or Pilgrim as he is known in the barn, for about a year. She said that she was very appreciative of Lori allowing her to ride him. Lori said, “it’s been really fun to watch him go because I used to show him.”
Elisabeth Blossom, of Gates Mills, won the Pony Hunter division championship, on Saturday, aboard Benlea Easter Lily, and then went on to take the blue in the Gascoigne Memorial Pony Medal on Sunday. The Low Adult Hunter division championship, on Saturday, was taken by Wendy Adelman, of Moreland Hills, aboard Magnolia. They went on to place third in the Low Adult Hunter Classic on Sunday. The blue in the Classic went to Deep Blue Something and rider Whitney Honroth of Akron.
The first weekend of the 2010 Classic was a great success. The Classic, organized by the Chagrin Valley PHA Horse Show, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, continues Wednesday, July 14, with local and national competition, rated “AA” Hunters and level 4 Jumpers.
For ticket information for the upcoming Family Weekend, July 16-18, including the Classic K-9 canine exhibitions, carriage rides, and the Cleveland Grand Prix, visit www.clevelandhorseshow.com. For more results visit www.horseshowsonline.com.
Photos: Mighty Maverick and his rider, Kristen Kolenda; Leadline competitor Sidney Scionti and Low Adult Classic awards presentation, Whitney Honroth and Deep Blue Something - credit Anne Gittins Photography