Ocala, FL – March 20, 2012 – HITS VII Ocala Winter Celebration concluded the last week of the winter circuit in Ocala, and SBS Farms continued to come out on top in numerous hunter divisions. Alfano guided an array of mounts to the great awards in their divisions, including the young Maggie May—earning the coveted circuit championship for their rankings in the High Pre-Green Hunters.
Out of a field of 50 competitors, Maggie May and Alfano stepped forward to take the lead in the High Pre-Green Hunters for the final week. The duo has been amazingly consistent throughout the course of HITS Ocala, and their second, third and fourth place ribbons over fences secured the circuit championship. Together, Alfano and Maggie May also took the blue ribbon in the Hi-Low Hunter division, ending the week with great success.
“I am so pleased with Maggie May’s performance throughout circuit,” Alfano said. ”She keeps getting better and better every time we go in the ring. The circuit championship is a huge honor and I could not be more thrilled for Maggie May and her owner Billie Steffee.”
Alfano also rode Kim Sierin’s horse Amigo to the second place finish in the High Pre-Green Hunters, but he was not the only new horse Alfano rode to ribbons. Hays Investment Corporation saw great success in the hunter ring with Alfano in the irons. She piloted Cornerstone to two first place ribbons in the First Year Green Hunters, and eventually claimed the championship title. She also earned top ribbons aboard Rapunzel, owned by Karen MacDonald, for their efforts in the division.
Michigan Avenue also earned top awards in the Second Year Green Hunters, being pinned with the first, second, third and fourth place ribbons over fences. Cornerstone will continue on to the Winter Equestrian Festival with SBS Farms, continuing to show in the hunter divisions with Alfano steering the way.
Castell competed in the High Performance Working Hunter, placing second, third and fourth over fences as well as earning the second place ribbon for the under saddle. Luke Olsen competed in the equitation classes, earning good ribbons aboard several new horses, but it was Jane Gaston who stole the show during SBS Farms’ last week at HITS.
Gaston dominated the Amateur-Owner Hunter 36 & Over division, sweeping the over fences for the second week in a row. It was easy to see from the first day that Gaston would be taking home the championship tricolor for both she and her horse, Lumiere’s, efforts.
The duo continued their success in the Special Hunter Classics. Out of a field of 17 horses, Gaston guided Lumiere to the third place finish in the $1,000 Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic. She also competed against 51 competitiors to ride Lumiere to the third place position in the $10,000 Devoucoux 3’3” Hunter Prix.
“All of the horses and riders were fantastic this season at HITS Ocala, they showed that consistency is key and they earned prizes to prove it,” Alfano elaborated. “I am very excited to be going to Palm Beach this week and hope that we will continue our winning ways.”
Based out of Buffalo, NY, SBS Farms’ Susie Schoellkopf and Jennifer Alfano run one of the foremost show hunter training operations in the country, and travel nationwide to compete in the nation’s most prestigious horse shows. SBS Farms, Inc. continues the proud tradition of the Saddle and Bridle Club as one of the top show stables in the northeast. Schoellkopf is also the Executive Director of the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, which houses both The Buffalo Equestrian Center as well as SBS Farms. Built in 1922, the 160-stall facility is a historical landmark, with its unique English Tudor and gothic style architecture. For more information on SBS Farms and the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, please visit www.thebtrc.org.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Alfano rode Maggie May to the High Pre-Green Hunter Circuit Championship during HITS Ocala. Photo By: ESI Photography. Photograph may be used only in relation to this PMG press release.