USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals

SBS Farms’ Jersey Boy and Jennifer Alfano Finish Second in $100,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals

Jersey Boy Awarded The George H. Morris Hunter Derby Trophy

 Lexington, KY – August 25, 2009 – SBS Farms wrapped up two more weeks of competition at the Kentucky Horse Park and finished with a bang at the $100,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals. Jennifer Alfano, trainer and rider at SBS Farms, rode Jersey Boy to second place over 55 other competitors in three rounds of competition. SBS Farms is led by Susie Schoellkopf and based out of the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center in Buffalo, NY.

In the qualifying round for the derby finals on Friday, Alfano and Jersey Boy put in a solid trip to put them into Saturday’s first round. On Saturday, the top 25 horses returned with a clean slate. The pair put in a great trip to finish third in the first round. They returned for the handy round and were brilliant for the win. These top ribbons gave them second overall in the inaugural derby finals.

Alfano said that going into the first round on Saturday night under the lights, Jersey Boy took a breath by the third jump and settled into his stride. For the handy round, Jersey Boy was ready to go from the start. “Once I know he’s on, then I can really count on him,” Alfano remarked. “In the handy, I knew he’d be good. He picked up a gallop, and he was just awesome. There was a long gallop to the first jump, some tight rollbacks, and a narrow walk-through, which was my biggest worry. He handled everything perfectly.”

The finals were held in the new main outdoor stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park. Alfano felt that the setting was perfect for the prestigious event. “I thought they did an amazing job. It was a really fun class, and it was a beautiful course,” she said. “Jersey Boy has a very big stride. The course rode so nicely and had a good flow, so you didn’t get lost in the big ring.”

Going into the derby finals, Jersey Boy led the nation in money won for the 2008-2009 season. He competed in nine hunter derbies and won three, including the 2009 $10,000 derby in Ocala, the 2009 $50,000 derby in Wellington, and the 2008 $10,000 derby at Chagrin. For his stellar record this past season, Jersey Boy was given the George H. Morris Hunter Derby Trophy (below).

image00110The George H. Morris Hunter Derby Trophy

Diane Carney donated a substantial bronze trophy, which was created by Harry Weber and stands about two and half feet high. The bronze is a hunter jumping over a split rail with hounds. “I donated the trophy to the USHJA on behalf of the hunter derbies and in honor of George H. Morris,” commented Carney. “He has been such an influential horseman in our industry. I thought there should be a trophy in his name to recognize the years of endless dedication he has given our sport. I also wanted to honor the leading hunter derby horse and rider. As the derbies took off, it became clear that they would become nationally popular, changing the makeup of showing for years to come. I congratulate Jennifer Alfano and Susie Schoellkopf and hope they have continued success this year.”

Finishing second in the finals and winning the trophy was very special for Alfano and Schoellkopf, who purchased Jersey Boy as a four-year-old. The talented chestnut Hanoverian gelding, who is now seven years old, has come into his own in the hunters and found his niche in the derby classes. Alfano was very excited to have the derby finals as a goal with a horse that she has developed over the years.

“It’s really neat to do so well with a horse like him because I’ve brought him along. That really makes it special to have him compete at this level,” Alfano revealed. “He’s getting to be very consistent. It means a lot to have one like him. I was really excited for the finals, and it turned out great.”

Jersey Boy and Jennifer Alfano

image0024Competing at the derby finals in front of a packed stadium also meant a lot to Alfano. “To have a class like this with a huge crowd for the hunters is amazing,” she noted. “In the handy round, the whole crowd got into it and were yelling and cheering us on to the last jump. I think it’s great for the hunters to have this kind of event with this many spectators. It’s taken off, and it’s exciting to have competed in the first finals. It was really neat to be a part of it and was really special.”

Earlier in the week at the KHJA Horse Show, Alfano rode in the professional hunter divisions. She and South Beach, owned by Bright Star 158 LLC, were champions in the Green Conformation Hunters. They were second in the model class, won two over fences class, were second in the handy class, and placed first under saddle.

On The Specialist, owned by Meredith Lipke, she won a class in the Second Year Green Hunters. Lipke and The Specialist were reserve champions in the Amateur-Owner Over 35 Hunters. They received two seconds and two fourths in the division. Lipke also placed well in the division with Once and Again.

During the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show the week before, Alfano picked up two reserve championships. She and Bright Star’s Kid Rock were reserve champions in the First Year Green Hunters, while Rock Star, also owned by Bright Star 158, was reserve champion in the Regular Working Hunters.

Sara Rimmler and Bravado, owned by the BTRC, won a Novice Children’s Hunter class and received three third place ribbons in the division. They also competed in the Equitation 11 & Under division and placed first over fences and third on the flat.

SBS Farms and Alfano will compete next at the $25,000 Chicago Hunter Derby on Sunday, August 30, in Illinois. For more information on SBS Farms, please visit www.thebtrc.org

image003Jersey Boy and Jennifer Alfano

Photo Credit: SBS Farms’ Jersey Boy and Jennifer Alfano finished second in the $100,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals. Jersey Boy was awarded the George H. Morris Hunter Derby Trophy for the most money won in the 2008-2009 derby season. Photo C Randi Muster and courtesy of client. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.