Five Hunter Classics to Highlight Schedule at 63rd Annual Buffalo International Horse Show
RELEASE: September 2, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Jennifer Wood
The Buffalo International Horse Show will host its 63rd annual competition this fall at the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center (BTRC). The show will be held on September 9-13 in downtown Buffalo, NY. The horse show will host a number of special classes in their large indoor arena, including hunter classics.
The BIHS is one of the oldest horse shows in the country, and it raises money for a very worthy cause. All proceeds are donated to the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, which offers programs for mentally and emotionally impaired, learning disabled, and developmentally challenged children ages 6 to 16.
The show is a USEF 'AA' rated event and caters to all riding abilities, ages, and divisions. The BIHS has also gotten its approval from Equine Canada, so points earned in recognized hunter divisions at the BIHS will count towards qualification for the 2009 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
Generous sponsors have made it possible for the BIHS to host a number of special hunter classics. Penelope Ayres, an amateur rider, will sponsor this year's $1,000 "Full Monty" Adult Hunter and $1,000 "Shogun" Children's Hunter Classics, and the $500 "Full Monty" Pony Hunter Classic.
"I am proud to be a sponsor of the 2009 Buffalo International Horse Show for the benefit of the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center. My love of horses has been a major source of joy in my life since I was a little girl. I have seen firsthand how these beautiful animals can touch the soul and work their magic on grown ups and children alike," Ayres stated.
Ayres purchased her horse, The Full Monty, in 2001 from Barbara Kearney, a client at SBS Farms. "Monty has been my friend, partner, and teacher through good times and bad. We did a great deal of winning together in the Amateur-Owner Hunters, but on days when I surely let him down he was always there for me with composure and forgiveness," she described. "He is a once in a lifetime horse, and I am so pleased that I can honor him with two Classics at this year's show: 'The Full Monty' Adult Hunter Classic and 'The Full Monty' Pony Hunter Classic."
Three years ago, Ayres purchased another horse, Shogun, from Kearney and BTRC Executive Director Susie Schoellkopf. "He will be honored with the 'Shogun' Children's Hunter Classic on Sunday," Ayres explained. "I am excited to be showing in the Amateurs at this year's show and privileged to have the opportunity to help the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center introduce horses to emotionally and physically challenged children."
Alexis Mierzwa and Magnolia won the "Winston" Handy Hunter Classic at last year's Buffalo International Horse Show
The $2,500 "Winston" Handy Hunter Classic will be held on Saturday evening. The class is sponsored by Meredith Lipke and is in memory of her wonderful amateur horse, Churchill, who won the Handy Hunter Classic in 2007.
"It's just a nice way to keep his memory alive on our home turf," Lipke said. "He had so much fun doing those classes, as did I riding him. The BTRC is a very special place, as was Winston, and it's important to support the high level of this show and to keep it in our area."
The Handy Hunter Classic is a favorite for competitors and spectators alike. "It's great to offer exhibitors the chance to ride in something fun like that. We have the hunter derbies now, but this Handy Hunter Classic is for a different level of rider who wouldn't do those types of classes."
As a Buffalo resident, Lipke has seen firsthand the impact that the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center has had. "The therapeutic program is truly remarkable. To see those kids with the horses and what they bring to each other is a magical experience. The kids get so much out of it physically, mentally, and emotionally. It's another special element to the barn and to the show. If it wasn't for Susie, it wouldn't be there. It's nice to help that program an