Syracuse, NY - November 2, 2008 - The Syracuse
Invitational Sporthorse Tournament featuring The 125th National
Horse Show was an exiting show for everyone. The five days of competition held
seminars, demonstrations, autograph sessions, and more. The hunter and
equitation divisions were exceptionally exciting.
Jennifer Alfano, who rides for SBS Farms and Susie
Schoellkopf, took home the top tricolor in the Regular Conformation Hunters on mountSting, owned by Helen Lenahan. The pair had a stellar week with three firsts, a fourth, and
fifth place ribbons. Reserve champion in the
division was Molly Ashe-Crowley and De-Lovely, owned by Caroline Lasersohn.
Champion in the Regular Conformation Hunters was only one of
Alfano's many wins today. In the Green Conformation Hunters, Alfano and Sting
were reserve champion. Adding to her success, she also picked up a reserve
championship award with Jersey Boy in the Green Working Hunters and Regular
Champion of the Amateur Owner 35 and Over Hunter division
was Ellen Toon and her horse Invincible. Toon rode her horse to two firsts, a
second and fifth place ribbons.
Toon rides with JT Farm, which is led by Jimmy Toon. JT Farm
has two locations in South Salem, NY
and Wellington, FL.
Right behind Toon in the reserve champion position was Meredith Lipke Bartolone
and her horse Once and Again.
In addition to the top prize they were also honored with The
Automation-Model Cadet Memorial Perpetual Trophy for the overall best round in
the first two classes of the amateur owners.
Coming away with the Amateur Owner 18-35 Hunter Championship
was Tracy Scheriff and her horse Lavari. Scheriff piloted her horse to two
firsts and two third place ribbons. Stephanie Riggio and her horse Indian
Summer took home the reserve championship award. Scheriff has been extremely
successful on the indoor circuit this year.
In the Green Conformation Hunters, Ken Berkley was honored
with the championship ribbon aboard Gina Day's horse, Sambalino. Berkley
and Sambalino rode to three firsts, a second, and third place ribbons. Berkley was also named Grand Hunter Champion with Sambalino.
After the professional hunter classes concluded, it was
determined that the Leading Hunter Rider award went to Jennifer Alfano. Alfano
rides for SBS Farms, which is led by Susie Schoellkopf and based in Buffalo,
NY. Alfano was presented with the The
Leading Hunter Rider Challenge Trophy.
The junior hunters were the first classes of the day and
competed for championship honors. The first course for both divisions was a
handy round. It was a twisting, turning course made up of many single fences
and a snake fence.
Champion of the Small Junior Hunters was Lucy Davis aboard
Red Rooster, who is owned by Old Oak Farm. Davis
piloted Red Rooster to two first place ribbons. Davis
was presented with The "Follow Me" Challenge Trophy. Reserve champion was
Jessica Springsteen and Sublime.
Jessica Springsteen continued her success in the Large
Junior Hunters where she and her eight-year-old horse Tiziano took home Large
Junior Hunter Champion. Springsteen had two firsts, a fourth, and fifth place
ribbons in the division. For her championship win, she took home The "Whiskey
Before Breakfast" Memorial Challenge Trophy.
Springsteen took home several other awards as well. The
"Blue By You" Memorial Challenge Trophy was presented to her in honor of the
Best Junior Hunter Round award. In addition, Springsteen was also Grand Junior
Hunter Champion and took home The "Theodorus Van Wyck Cusny" Memorial Challenge
Trophy. She also received the Best Child Rider award.
The first round of the ASPCA Maclay Championship began at Judges Leo Conroy and Jimmy Torano
watched 150 riders tackle the first round course they designed. Later in the
day, Conroy and Torano invited back the top 25 riders to compete in a second
The best of the 150 competitors was Jessica Springsteen.
Springsteen went eighth in the first round, and was able to watch the first few
riders go on the monitor. This allowed her to see how the course rode. She had
no problem going so early in the class because she has a tendency to over-think
things if she goes toward the end.
The course was very technical and really tested the rider's
ability. The course called for a lot of shortening and lengthening of stride
complete with tight turns, roll backs, and long run single fences. It required
a forward, aggressive ride, and the exhibitors rose to the challenge.
Going into the second round, Springsteen was the last to go
of 25 riders and was in first place. Following the completion of the second
round, four riders were invited back into the ring for further testing. Those
riders included Jessica Springsteen, Victoria Birdsall, Zazou Hoffman, and
Christy DiStefano. The test asked the riders to canter a fence, counter canter
a second fence, canter two more jumps, hand gallop another, halt and sit the
trot back into line.
They were asked into the ring before the test was announced.
This prevented the riders from conferring with their trainers and putting
together a plan.
"I watched the three riders go before me and they were
really good," said Springsteen. "I wanted to do something different, but I knew
that I didn't have enough room to do a flying change. I just hoped he would
hold it, (the counter canter) and he did."
Stacia Madden trains Springsteen, who is a past winner of
the Maclay herself.
After the first round, Conroy and Torano had Springsteen in
first place. While a first and second round is mandatory, it is up to the
judge's discretion if they want to make the riders perform any further testing.
"To be honest with you, we felt that if Jessica came in as
the last rider and absolutely nailed it, we were not going to have another
test," said Conroy. "There was one jump that was a little weak, and the second
place rider did not quite hand gallop fast enough. So, we wanted to give the
girls another chance to really show us what they could do."
Torano was very impressed with the way Springsteen executed
her test. Throughout the two rounds it remained extremely close between
Springsteen and the second place finisher, Victoria Birdsall.
Both judges were very complimentary of the competitors.
Conroy said the trainers in this country have been doing a fantastic job. The
riders are so well trained and people can see the quality of the horses. He
thought this explained the U.S.
success in the past two Olympic Games.
Torano agreed with Conroy. He thought that what happened
today did not happen by accident. From watching today's class, people could see
the types of riders top barns are producing. These riders are the future of the
In the stands to cheer on Springsteen was her father Bruce
Springsteen, her mother and her two brothers.
"Jess has worked so hard ever since she was young. It is amazing
to see young girls and boys her age with the kind of adult discipline it takes
to achieve something like that," said Springsteen. "It is tremendous; it takes
a very mature work ethic and a good degree of character. She has done
wonderfully and has really developed. It has been so exciting to watch her ride
and exciting to watch her develop into who she is through the activities with
the horses. That has been exciting for us."
Springsteen's mother was also there to watch her daughter
compete. She said that she usually does not get nervous when she is watching
her daughter unless it is an important class like today.
Bruce Springsteen commented on his daughter's discipline and
how much he has learned from this sport over the years.
"After you have been to so many shows year after year, you
realize how difficult it is and what an achievement it is. You also realize how
good the others riders are and how much work has gone into it," said
Springsteen. "You see a culmination of thirteen years of riding come down to
one minute and thirty seconds. That is a tough lesson in life. Musicians always
get to sing it again; riders get one shot."
Ed Sayres, the President of the ASPCA, was also in the
stands to watch the young riders compete. He was very proud of them and the
example they are setting for other animal lovers.
The Bates Year-End Awards were presented at the Syracuse
Invitational Sporthorse Tournament featuring the 125th National Horse Show
today. Jessica Springsteen took the gold, Chelsea Moss the silver and Victoria
Birdsall the bronze.
The riders invited to the George H. Morris Horsemastership
Training Session to be held on January
5-9, 2009 will be: Jessica Springsteen, Chelsea Moss, Victoria Birdsall, Kimberly McCormack,
Jacqueline Lubrano (all based on their Bates rankings), plus two high-ranking
West coast riders: Shelby Wakeman and Sophie Benjamin. Hannah Selleck was
chosen as the winner of the USEF Talent Search West and North American Young
Riders Individual Champion. Taylor Land was chosen as USEF National Junior
Jumper Individual Champion. Matthew Metell was chosen as the wild card based on
The Horsmastership training session is hosted by Bates Saddles and Equestrian
Sports Productions with the support of the United States Equestrian Federation.
Bates Saddles, Purina Mills, Practical Horseman, the Syracuse Invitational
Sporthorse Tournament, the USET Foundation and the USHJA are supporting
1. Jessica Springsteen, Papillion 136, Stone Hill Farm 2. Victoria Birdsall, Cheyenne,
Heritage Farm 3. Zazou Hoffman, Ivy, Missy Clark 4. Christy DiStefano, Fingerprint, Christy DiStefano 5. Samantha L. Smith, Palladium 6. Laura Pfeiffer, Foreign Encounter, Terri Dandino 7. Rachel Udelson, Littlefoot, Missy
Clark 8. Carolyn Curcio, Rodin, Golden Goose Investments 9. Lucy Davis, Patrick, Lucy Davis 10. Samantha Senft, Lord Loxley, Liza Finsness Reserve is Jacqueline Lubrano who rode Calito 7, owned by
Horizon Hill Farm.
Bates Top Ten
1. Jessica Springsteen, 28324,
Colts Neck, NJ, Stacia Madden 2. Chelsea Moss, 27425, Medford, NJ,
Stacia Madden 3. Victoria Birdsall, 27023, Topsfield, MA,
Andre Dignelli 4. Kimberly McCormack, 26325, Clermont, NJ,
Missy Clark & John Brennan 5. Jacqueline Lubrano, 25517, Glenmoore, PA,
Stacia Madden 6. Carolyn Curcio, 25495, West Islip, NY,
Stacia Madden 7. Matthew Metell, 20426, N. Falmouth, MA,
Andre Dignelli 8. Emma Lipman, 18609, Bedford, NY,
Missy Clark & John Brennan 9. Christina Lin, 18018, Lewisburg, PA,
Stacia Madden 10. Alexandra Arute, 7954, Avon, CT,
Missy Clark & John Brennan