Grand Hunter Championship Goes to Mariano and Sandy Ferrell at Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show

RELEASE: May 16, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Sandy Ferrell and Mariano (The Book LLC)
Sandy Ferrell and Mariano (The Book LLC)
North Salem, NY
– The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show continued in its second week with Wednesday's competition and presentation for the Grand Hunter Championship. Mariano, the champion of the Green Conformation division, scored the most points for the top title with rider Sandy Ferrell for owner Stephanie Riggio. Winston and Brooke Baldwin-deGrazia rode Winston to the win in the $1,000 USHJA Pre-Green Incentive class. In the jumper ring, Sarah Segal was victorious in the Open Jumper 1.40m class with Ramses. The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show continues through Sunday, May 19, when the highlight event, the $100,000 Empire State Grand Prix presented by The Kincade Group, is hosted.

This was the second week in a row that Sandy Ferrell of Bernville, PA, took the top prize with a Grand Hunter Championship. Last week it was with Stephanie Riggio's Moshi. Mariano won every class in the Green Conformation Hunter division to easily take the Grand honors. The reserve champion in the Green Conformation division was Galaxy, ridden by Brooke Baldwin-DeGrazia for owner Tina Allen. They placed second in the model and three over fences classes, as well as third in the handy hunter and under saddle classes.

Riggio bought Mariano almost two years ago and was successful last year in the Pre-Green Hunters. The eight-year-old Holsteiner gelding moved up to the Green Conformation this year. Ferrell said it is a combination of attributes that makes him perfect for the conformation division.

“He has a lot of natural talent. He's very brave and scopey and he's beautiful. He has a little bit more on the sensitive side, but it doesn't affect any of his training. He's so light across the ground and has a lot of Thoroughbred-like qualities. His refinement is what makes him such a beautiful conformation horse,” she stated.

Ferrell said these looks and conformation translate into his way of going and how she can ride him. She explained, “He has a beautiful mouth. He never touches the bridle, he's slow in the air. He's just so elegant about the way he does things. When he lands, you don't feel it or hear it. He's a wonderful horse to ride because he is very in tune to what's happening. He's always just right there with you. He has a tremendous stride, and doesn't require a hard ride as you're going around the ring. I can sit as light as he wants to go, which is very nice.”

This was Mariano's first show back since the winter circuit. Ferrell said with a smile, “He walked in the ring both days like he owned it. He's grown up a tremendous amount.”

Ferrell said they plan to show Mariano at the Devon Horse Show, which she is looking forward to, and in the future he will be a great horse for owner Stephanie Riggio in the amateur-owner hunter division.

The winner of the $1,000 USHJA Pre-Green Hunter Incentive class, sponsored by Vincent & Whittemore Real Estate, as well as the Pre-Green Hunter division champion, was Winston, ridden by Brooke Baldwin-DeGrazia and owned by Lannie Lipson. They scored an 84 for the incentive win and in the division, they placed first and second. The reserve champion was Quantico, ridden by Jennifer Bauersachs for Spring Hill Farm Inc. They placed first, third, and sixth.

Brooke Baldwin-DeGrazia and Winston (The Book LLC)
Brooke Baldwin-DeGrazia and Winston (The Book LLC)
Baldwin-DeGrazia, of North Salem, NY, found Winston in October. The four-year-old Westphalian gelding by Captain Fire was only competing in his eighth horse show ever this week. They pair had a good showing in Florida this winter with blue ribbons and a reserve championship. Baldwin-DeGrazia was very complimentary of the pretty grey. “I'm so excited because he's so easy and so smart,” she said. “I just love him and he's such a good boy. For four years old, and doing this just eight times, he's a real champion. He has this beautiful, lopey canter. He's just so calm and confident. You can ask him to do anything and he's just like, 'Ok!'”

This was the first time that Winston showed in the three-foot Pre-Green Hunter division; in Florida he showed in the Pre-Green 3&4 Year Old division. Baldwin-DeGrazia felt that the higher jumps this week helped her horse. “I think he likes the bigger jump for sure,” she agreed. “I'm hoping maybe if he keeps going as good as he is now, he'll finish the year in the 3'3” Pre-Greens and be ready for First Years next year.”

Baldwin-DeGrazia is a fan of the new USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Program and asked to include the class at this week's show. “ I think it's such a great thing for the Pre-Green horses to promote them and bring it along and have their own Finals. I'm so excited that he won it!"

The Pre-Green Incentive Program is an innovative program designed to encourage the development of pre-green horses. The Pre-Green Incentive will have a 2013 Championship held August 14-15, 2013.

Sarah Segal, of Flemington, NJ, rode Ramses, a 12-year-old Belgian Sporthorse gelding by Toulon x Limbo, to victory in the Open Jumper 1.40m class. There were 49 entries in the class, and 16 of those made it through to the jump-off over a course designed by Anthony D'Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY.

Of the course, Segal said, “There were a couple spooky places with the double (combination) right by the bank and a liverpool next to the tree. The last fence was a little difficult heading up toward the road. The horses got to see the whole ring, which was nice. It wasn't super long and was good preparation for the week.”

Segal has been riding Ramses for five years, but they have been coming back from an injury and back to the grand prix ring for two years. Last week's grand prix was Ramses' first in two years.

“He's had a long, slow building-up to get him back and be really good again,” Segal said. “I was really, really happy with him last week. I was even happier to have him come back today and feel good after jumping two big classes.”

Segal planned to go for speed in Wednesday''s class to practice jump-off situations with Ramses. “Someone certainly could have beaten me, but I was trying to go fast and winning is always good, she remarked. “He felt great today so I'm hoping to show him Friday and have a good class. We'll take these successful weeks and build on that going into Spruce Meadows.”

While he doesn't look like it, Ramses is under 16 hands. “He's little, but he gives you a really good feeling when he's jumping,” Segal said. “He likes to go on the quicker side, which helps him with his scope. He's very careful when he's paying attention.”

Along with coming back from an injury, Segal has worked with Ramses to help get him in a program and “working properly on the flat.” While he “doesn't have a mean bone in his body,” Segal noted, he has “kind of a special personality.”

She described, “He can be a little silly horse. Chris (Kappler) helped a lot with his flatting, getting him to focus and not screw around in the ring. He's actually really a straightforward horse, but he's like a jokester. He's always been like that. He's funny in the barn; he jumps out of his paddock. As he's gotten a little bit older, we've figured out a program and getting him worked more, and fit and strong. He's just been a project in that sense. The jumping side has always been good. Any time I think that I've outthought him, he finds a way to find some new trick. He keeps you very humble for sure. I've finally stopped trying to outthink him and it seems to work a lot better.”

The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show continues tomorrow with a variety of hunter and jumper classes, including the Young Jumper 7 and 8 Year Old classes, as well as the Grand Adult Amateur Hunter Championship.