Articles: Press Release
Victoria Birdsall Leads the Field in Opening Round of $10,000 Wolffer Estate
Equitation Championship at Hampton Classic Horse Show
Contact: Meg Schermerhorn, (508) 698-6810, email@example.com
Bridgehampton, NY-August 27, 2009-Victoria Birdsall, 15, of Topsfield,
Mass., took the lead aboard Sierra among 48 Junior riders in the first round
of the $10,000 Wolffer Estate Equitation Championship.
The 34th Hampton Classic, one of the nation's premier show jumping
competitions, continues through Sunday, August 30. The Classic hosts
hunter/jumper competition for riders ranging from the youngest competitors
in Leadline and Short Stirrup classes all the way up to Olympic veterans in
the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix. Entered in the show are McLain Ward and Chris
Kappler, members of the United States' 2004 Gold Medal Olympic show jumping
team, as well as legendary riders such as Olympian and Hall-of-Famer Joe
Birdsall's score of 94 positioned her two points ahead of her nearest rival,
Elizabeth Lubrano of Glenmoore, Pa., on LB Carte Noir (92 points). Lubrano's
younger sister, Jacqueline Lubrano-who won last year's championship-took
fifth position (85). Schaefer Raposa was in third position with Y2K (89),
followed by Reed Kessler on Flight in fourth (88).
Birdsall has been having an impressive run at the Hampton Classic, earlier
in the week winning her section of the Platinum Performance/USEF Show
Jumping Talent Search, as did Jacqueline Lubrano.
At last year's Hampton Classic, Birdsall won the SHALANNO Farms Perpetual
Style of Riding Award. The award is presented to the Junior Jumper rider who
best exemplifies the American style of equitation as modeled by Olympic
medalists Joe Fargis, Conrad Homfeld and George Morris. The recipient must
have the respectful, dignified, courteous and workmanlike manner of a true
Birdsall's trainer, Andre Dignelli, described her as a "very competitive and
accomplished rider and an all-around horseman." He lauded her and her family
for their commitment to her riding career, which involves frequent commutes
from their home base in New England to his Heritage Hill Farm in Katonah,
Birdsall and this year's other top-10 Junior riders will return Saturday for
the second and final round on a new course on the Grand Prix field, after
which the $10,000 Wolffer Estate Equitation Champion will be crowned. The
finalists can count on a course every bit, if not more, challenging than the
"This is not a typical equitation class," said Phil de Vita, who has judged
the competition several times. "It fine-tunes Junior riders for the jumper
divisions. It gets them thinking about what they need to do as jumper
The top 10 scores ranged from 76 to 94 points.
These are Saturday's finalists:
1. Victoria Birdsall
2. Elizabeth Lubrano
3. Schaefer Raposa
4. Reed Kessler
5. Jacqueline Lubrano
6. Samantha Schaeffer
7. Christina Lin
8. Christina Gellos
9. Gabrielle Bausano
10. Christy Distefano
Competitors must ride the same horse in both rounds. They are judged on
such factors as their use of the aids, position, analysis of the course, and
eye for assessing jumping distances in negotiating the varied fences. The
goal is to effectively control the horse and produce a competitive yet
stylish jumper performance. Major emphasis is placed on clear rounds, as
well as the rider's ability to cope with natural obstacles and to complete
the course within tight time restrictions. Thursday's competitors negotiated
a series of obstacles that included verticals, spreads and combinations.
The Hampton Classic continues through the weekend. Exhibitors and spectators
are sure to be excited to see the $50,000 increase in prize money in this
year's FTI Grand Prix and FEI World Cup Qualifier. The $250,000 Grand Prix
event serves as the horse show's feature attraction and takes place on
Sunday, August 30.
Other upcoming highlights include:
$15,000 Arcadia Aviation Speed Derby on Friday, August 28
$50,000 Spy Coast Farm Grand Prix Qualifier on
Friday, August 28
$30,000 FENDI Cup on Saturday,
$25,000 Carolex Show
Jumping Derby on
Sunday, August 30
Those unable to attend the Hampton Classic will have ample opportunity to
see it on television. WVVH-TV, the official Long Island television station
of the Hampton Classic, will broadcast up to five hours of competition and
highlights each day during the Classic. These broadcasts can also be seen
online at www.wvvh.tv.
The Classic will also receive extensive coverage on WLIU 88.3 FM, the
official radio station of the Hampton Classic. WLIU will broadcast updates
daily throughout the Classic as well as live programs from the Classic on
Thursday-Sunday, August 27-30.
For more information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show, please visit the
Hampton Classic website at www.hamptonclassic.com or call (631) 537-3177.
Hampton Classic Horse Show, Inc. is a 501.c.3 charitable corporation.