Grand Adult Amateur Hunter Champion

Stephanie Riggio and Saline Are Grand Adult Amateur Hunter Champions at Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show North Salem, NY

May 16, 2013 – The Adult Amateur Hunter competitors were featured today at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show, and it was Stephanie Riggio of New York, NY, and her mount Saline who took top honors as the Grand Adult Amateur Hunter Champions. In the Grand Prix Field, the Young Jumpers started the morning, and Mario Deslauriers and Christine McCrea each took home a win. The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show continues through Sunday, May 19, when the featured event, the $100,000 Empire State Grand Prix presented by The Kincade Group, takes place.

Along with their Grand Champion Award, Riggio and Saline, a 15-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare by Cortus, were the Adult Amateur 18-35 Hunter champions and won the $500 Marshall & Sterling Adult Amateur Hunter Classic. The pair placed first, first, second, and sixth in their division over fences. With more points over fences, they won the championship over Corvet Z, ridden by Sarah Cohen and owned by Streett Moore, who received first, first, and second places over fences and sixth under saddle.

For their Grand Adult Amateur Hunter Championship, Saline and Riggio were presented with the Margaret Hausman Sarasohn Memorial Challenge Trophy.

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Stephanie Riggio and Saline with their trophy

Coming back for the second round of the classic, Riggio and Saline were the top scorers. “It's always a little nerve-wracking to come back on top, especially with Sandy Epstein,” Riggio remarked. “She laid down such a nice trip. I knew I had to rise to the occasion. Saline gets a little nervous with water trucks, and when they were in the schooling area, I felt her kind of holding her breath. I came around one turn and I forgot what to do when she gets nervous. We had a deep one to the single oxer, and it came down to a quarter of a point. Sometimes the dice just roll in your favor, and that happened to us today.”

Sandra Epstein and Smart Assets placed second in the Classic.

Today's victory was another championship to add to their list of accolades, but it was a somewhat emotional win for Riggio. She explained, “Last winter we weren't sure if we'd ever get her back, so just the fact that she's back and winning, and winning the classic, is really huge. I can't stop smiling. I'm just so happy.”

 After more than a year off, Saline came back to the show ring in Florida for one week. This was her second show since February of 2012. Keeping Saline fit was an easy goal to accomplish, Riggio said. “She loves to work; that's probably her best attribute, how much fun she has doing her job,” she went on to say. “It's not challenging getting her back in shape because she thinks all of the flatwork, cavalettis, poles on the ground, and gymnastics are a blast. It's really fun to work with her.”

“She's a really big mare. She's very heavy (looking) and she's curvy,” she smiled. “Sometimes I forget how big she is until I hop down off of her and I realize that she's almost 17 hands. She's got such a neck on her that the ribbon barely fit around it!”

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Stephanie Riggio and Saline

Despite her size, Riggio said she “has the softest mouth.” “Usually she goes in a rubber snaffle. She doesn't ride like a strong horse. She's very easy to get exactly in the right spot,” she added.

Riggio was happy to win at Old Salem Farm, a show she has attended since she was young. She mentioned, “We've been coming to this horse show since I was a kid and we absolutely love it here, especially when the weather is as beautiful as it is today. It's just such a heavenly place to horse show.”

Winners in the Adult Amateur Hunter divisions this week received gift certificates from Dyer Equestrian. The champion of the Adult Amateur 36-45 division was Lulu, ridden by Bridget Hallman and owned by Hallman and Merrylegs South. Hundred Acre, ridden and owned by Barbara Spizzirro, was reserve champion. Sutton Place won for the second week in a row in the Adult Amateur 46 & Over Hunters with Katie Robinson for KJ Robinson LLC, while Revelstoke, ridden by Louise Otten for Annie Phillips, was reserve champion.

Young Jumpers Learn the Ropes

In today's Young Jumper Championship 8 Year Old class, Christine McCrea and Ronaldo de la Pomme were one of seven clear rounds out of 15 entries in the class. They finished in 35.521 seconds in the jump-off to win over Darragh Kenny on Cequila and Candice King with Antigone Quality. This week's course designer is Anthony D'Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY.

McCrea found Ronaldo de la Pomme, an eight-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Stakkato x Darco, in Belgium last fall, but it was not love at first sight. “To look at, he's not maybe the most attractive animal. He's kind of short. (When I first saw him), I was like, 'Is this a joke? He's a pony!' Then you get on and he's electric,” she said. “He's like a bouncing ball and he can do things that other horses find so difficult. He can twist himself inside out. He's an absolute blast to ride. I'm obsessed with him.”

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Christine McCrea and Ronaldo de la Pomme

She continued, “He's eight years old, but it's like he's 12 years old. He's so straightforward and he wants to do the right thing every time. He wants to win more than I do, I think. He could do it without me. He's really fast, he turns on a dime, and he's not afraid of anything. He has the biggest heart and that goes a long way.”

McCrea said he great personality in the ring translates to the barn too. “I call him 'Mushball.' He's mushy and adorable,” she expressed. “He rests his chin on your shoulder and he has the best personality.”

McCrea said that the grass grand prix field helped her young horse get a good education. “As hard as (the course) was, it was good for the horses. They learn from it. It's why we came, to be honest,” she revealed. “This show, for the young horses, they learn so much on this field. It's invaluable to their upbringing. This is our warm-up for Spruce Meadows.”

Mario Deslauriers was in full agreement on how the field helps young horses. He and Scout de la Cense, a seven-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Easy Boy x Crazyhorse of Coco, won this morning's Young Jumper Championship 7 Year Old class. They beat a field of 20 horses for the win in 37.189 seconds over Filip de Wandel and Gstar in 37.583 seconds and Nicole Bellissimo on VDL Bellefleur, who finished in 37.680 seconds.

Since Deslauriers is aiming toward the Young Jumper Final at the Hampton Classic Horse Show (Scout was second in last year's final for six-year-olds), he knew the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show would help his horse.

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Mario Deslauriers and Scout de la Cense

“A place like this, he really loves to gallop on the grass,” he said. “He jumped great today. Anthony designed a really good course. It was complicated and hard for a young horse. It's how you bring a young horse along, to have rings like this (and) good courses. You really find the character of your horse when you present it with something like this and many different challenges. It's a great attribute to (come to) a show like this and to give a good experience to a horse.”

Deslauriers has been showing at Old Salem Farm for 15 years and has seen the improvements to the facility. “The atmosphere here is great. The footing right now is really, really great. They've worked at it for a long time and I think it's finally paying off. The people of Old Salem try hard and they're really making a great place to show. I think the riders really appreciate it,” he concluded.

The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show continues tomorrow with the $25,000 Grand Prix of North Salem, while the amateur-owner hunters start their competition. There is are two $5,000 Groom's Classes for hunters and jumpers that will be held in conjunction with the Exhibitor Party at 5 pm.

For more information, please visit www.oldsalemfarm.net, and for full results, please visit www.horseshowsonline.com.

Join Us for Great Events This Week!

Exhibitors – Sign up for a Free Raffle in the Horse Show Offie to Win a Henry Lloyd rain jacket from Beval Ltd!

Friday, May 17 Competition - Noon: $25,000 Grand Prix of North Salem 5 pm: $5,000 Groom’s Class sponsored by: Ilan Ferder Stables, JET Show Stables, CEO Stables, Mclain Ward, Inc., Equine Equipment 5-6:30 pm: Pasta Extravaganza! “Make Your Own Pasta” Exhibitor Party with Hilby the Skinny German Juggling Boy, called “Rivetingly Absurd” by The New York Times Saturday,

May 18 Competition – 1 pm: $20,000 Speed Derby of North Salem 3-4 pm: Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Social sponsored by Marshall & Sterling Insurance Competition – 4 pm: $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate 5-6:30 pm ASPCA Equine Advocacy Reception, Join VIP bartenders Beezie & John Madden, Georgina Bloomberg and Prince Lorenzo Borghese of ABC’s The Bachelor, 100% of tips go to ASPCA Equine Advocacy efforts. (R.S.V.P. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 212-8767700, x 4676)

Sunday, May 19 Highlight Competition – 2:30 pm: $100,000 Empire State Grand Prix, presented by The Kincade Group 11 am – 4 pm: ASPCA Adoption Day! Meet rescued dogs, cats, and miniature horses looking for forever homes!

For those who can't make it out this weekend, but still want to watch great hunter/jumper action, our two main events - 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 be live streamed on USEF Network presented by Smartpak. The entire Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show is also live streamed at www.shownet.biz!

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.

Photo Credit:© The Book LLC. These photos may be used only in relation to this press release and with proper credit.