North Salem, NY – May 7, 2013 – The 2013 Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows kicked off competition today on the beautiful show grounds in North Salem, NY. They are welcoming more than 1,000 horses to the two-week competition, which runs May 7-12 and May 14-19. The show has invested in their grounds in recent years and their efforts have been recognized by attendance of the world's best riders.
Some of these riders include: Beezie Madden, who just won the Rolex FEI World Cup Finals in April, two-time American Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, Olympic gold medalists Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil, Chris Kappler, Peter Wylde, and Leslie Howard, Olympians Anne Kursinski, Lisa Jacquin, and 2012 American Gold Cup winner Peter Leone, 2011 Pan Am Games double gold medalist Christine McCrea, and top riders Georgina Bloomberg, Candice King, Todd Minikus, Mario Deslauriers, Brianne Goutal, Katie Dinan, Darragh Kenny (IRL), Darragh Kerins (IRL), Lauren Tisbo, Jimmy Torano, Kirsten Coe, and more.
This week's show hosts a full schedule of hunter, jumper, and equitation classes, including the $25,000 New York Welcome Stake on Friday, May 10, the $5,000 Equitation Classic, presented by AIG/Kaplow Insurance Agency with Heritage Farm, on Saturday, May 11, and the highlight class, the $50,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix, presented by Suncast, on Sunday, May 12.
McLain Ward, one of the sport's top athletes, lives “a mile down the road,” and has seen the changes that Old Salem Farm has enacted. “It's improved light years. It's remarkable what Old Salem has done. This is a facility where you can see where they spent a lot of money. It's not only a top-class sporting venue, but still has retained the charm of this area. For our sport in the U.S., this is exciting,” he remarked.
Ward, who is the Vice-President for the North American Riders Group, feels that Old Salem Farm improves on their facility every year. “It's a group that wants to do everything first-class. When you look at venues like Spruce Meadows (in Canada), this is a group who is following in that suit, always trying to better themselves. If you build properly and to the highest standards, people will come,” he noted.
Ward won both of the Sunday grand prix classes last year and is excited for this year's competition. “It's nice to be out on the grass; it looks spectacular,” he said. “I'm comfortable on this field. I've logged a lot of trips out there! I know it pretty well and we'll try to do our best.”
The course designer for this week in the Grand Prix Field is Guilherme Jorge of Brazil. Jorge has designed at some of the best horse shows in the world, including the 2005 and 2007 Rolex/FEI World Cup Finals. He brings his skills as a designer to set tracks that will challenge and reward the riders.
“It's my first time here and I'm really impressed,” said Jorge. “It's a wonderful field, really beautiful, and a wonderful set-up for a grass arena. The footing looks really good as well. It's a very good place to prepare before going to Europe or Spruce Meadows in Canada, or for other tournaments that have a grass field.”
The rolling grass field at Old Salem Farm is a unique setting for horses and riders. “It's a very interesting ring. Normally I arrive at the show with a few more courses done, but here I only have my first day done. I really wanted to see the field, the natural obstacles, and now I can see there is a lot of slope on it,” Jorge explained.
He continued, “It's always interesting for me to design and use the slope of the ring as part of the test, and for sure it's special for the riders to cope with it. I think it affects the balance and rhythm of the horses and I just need to be very conscious of the distances that I use, especially on combinations, if I'm going uphill or downhill. I like to build in rings with some slope. It's part of the challenge for me and for the riders.”
Jorge's courses will test the exhibitors this week in a variety of divisions, including Open, Junior, Amateur, Children's, Adult, and Young Jumpers. Watch live streaming of every round in the ring on www.shownet.biz, and tune into USEF Network to watch Sunday's grand prix!
The $50,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix, presented by Suncast, on May 12, the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate, on May 18, and the $100,000 Empire State Grand Prix, presented by The Kincade Group, on May 19 will all be broadcast on the USEF Network.com presented by Smartpak. You can watch these events LIVE as they happen at www.USEFNetwork.com or www.oldsalemfarm.net.
The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, rated the #11 show in North America by the North American Riders Group, has a full schedule of fun events for exhibitors and spectators. General admission, set at $20.00 per car on Friday-Sunday, generates proceeds to support the Old Salem Farm Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
ATTENTION EXHIBITORS: There is a schedule change for tomorrow's competition. Class 418, the Open Jumper 1.20m, II, Sec. 1 class will move to the Sand Ring following the end of hunter competition in that ring. The Grand Prix Field will begin with the Open Jumper 1.30m class at 9 a.m.
Tomorrow's schedule will include championships for the professional hunter divisions, the opening classes of the Adult Amateur Hunters, and Open Jumpers at 1.20m, 1.30m, and 1.40m heights. For more information and full results, please visit www.oldsalemfarm.net/mayhome.
The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows celebrate its 31st year in 2013 and offer two weeks of exceptional equestrian sport on May 7-12 and May 14–19 at one of the nation’s premier and newly renovated equestrian facilities, Old Salem Farm, in North Salem, New York. Old Salem’s beautifully manicured grounds, list of elite horses and riders, and fantastic social gatherings draw spectators from Westchester County and beyond to watch horses and ponies of every size compete for almost $500,000 in prize money. The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows feature over 130 hunter and jumper classes each week, bringing together top competitors, including Olympic show jumpers, from across the country. For more information, please visit www.oldsalemfarm.net/mayhome.