A Triumph After Tragedy Helps Sandy Ferrell Sparkle in American Hunter Jumper Foundation Pro Finals
RELEASE: October 30, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Diana DeRosa
“It’s the camaraderie that means so much,” commented a cheerful Sandy Ferrell after winning the 15th Annual $7,500 Professional World Championship Hunter Rider Finals for the 2008 American Hunter Jumper Foundation (AHJF) Professional World Cup Championship Rider (WCHR) title, which took place on October 3 during the eight-day Capital Challenge Horse Show at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD. The 2008 WCHR Professional Finals is sponsored by Stillwell-Hansen, Inc., presented by John R. Ingram Fund and the Ingram Family, produced by the AHJF and hosted at the Capital Challenge Horse Show.
“It’s the one class where we are all rooting for each other,” continued Ferrell, who was sparkling with energy and enthusiasm after her victory. “Trainers helping trainers, grooms helping grooms, and riders giving advice to other riders; that camaraderie is a great thing and one we don’t see in our other competitions. It is competitive but we are not out to prove anything. At a normal horse show it’s everyone out for him/herself.”
Ferrell knows about rooting because not too long ago she was diagnosed and survived breast cancer and it was then that she learned that there was a huge cheering squad behind her. “It was the horses that helped get me through that,” admitted Ferrell.
Ferrell of Bernville, PA, claimed the victory with a score of 345.66 just a fraction ahead of two-time winner John French of Redwood City, CA, with a score of 344.33 after an initial three rounds of six riders was paired down to three. In third was Erin Duffy of Pacific Palisades, CA, with a score of 329.64. Finishing fourth was Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL (247.33), fifth was Patricia Griffith of Katonah, NY (239.65), and sixth was Jennifer Alfano of Buffalo, NY (238.82).The Competition
Riders had to qualify to compete in this class by earning points in WCHR-recognized shows (of which there were 42 to choose from but only the top four count) throughout the U.S. in eight regions: Southeast, South Central, Central Mountain, Mid-Atlantic, Southwest, Northeast and Midwest). The points from their best ride in WCHR recognized divisions earned at the Capital Challenge Horse Show is added to that total. Then, the top six riders from each region and the top 10 riders in the standings are invited to compete in the WCHR Challenge Class at the Capital Challenge. Those points are then combined with the overall points to determine the final six riders.
And things can change dramatically during the 10-day Capital Challenge Horse Show. In fact, Griffith was able to move up from 23rd to sixth. Since this was her first time qualifying that achievement showed why you should never give up.
“I’m excited that we’ve got new people and for Patricia, the moon and the stars had to align exactly in order for her to get in this class and it did! I feel like it was really meant to be for her,” commented AHJF Executive Director Michele Perla.
In the Pro Finals, each rider must supply one horse and ride that horse first. The riders then alternate on the other horses. Some top hunters were shown in this class, including Magnolia, a seven-year-old 16.1-hand Warmblood, mare, owned by Bright Star 158 LLC (supplied by Jennifer Alfano); Class Action, a nine-year-old, 16.3-hand gray Warmblood gelding, owned by Bar X Ranch (supplied by Erin Duffy); Maddox, a nine-year-old, 16.1-hand bay Oldenburg gelding, owned by Lissa Bachner (and supplied by Scott Stewart); Notoriety, a 12-year-old 16.3-hand bay Warmblood mare, owned by Lexi Maounis (supplied by Patricia Griffin); Type Cast, a six-year-old, 16.1-hand bay Warmblood gelding, owned by Patricia Rose (supplied by John French), and Wilson, a seven-year-old 16.3-hand brown Warmblood gelding owned by Debbie Malony (supplied by Sandy Ferrell).
The riders were allowed to briefly warm-up on their horse but for all subsequent rides they had to go