BRIDGEHAMPTON, N.Y. — The 2019 Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities (LIHSSRD) Championship Finals were held at the Hampton Classic on Aug. 26, with 19 riders across three divisions competing for the year-end titles, presented by BNB Bank.

The day began with a breakfast in one of the VIP Chalets, where top hunter-jumper rider Heather Caristo-Williams presented ribbons to each rider who had qualified to compete in the finals.

Following the breakfast, United States Equestrian Federation R-rated judge Phil DeVita put each group through their paces and awarded Champion and Reserve Champions accordingly. DeVita first judged these finals in 2016 and considers it an honor to be part of their year-end finale.

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“It’s such a joy and pleasure to be able to be a part of what means so much to these athletes and this organization,” said DeVita. “I judged some of these riders two years ago and I think the caliber and quality of the riders today is even better today. I could really see the work and progress they have all made, from riders to trainers and parents. It’s very special to see how much effort and energy they are all putting into this.”

In the Leader/Sidewalker division, Champion was Isaiah Forte with My Fairy Tale Hero. Reserve Champion was Julia Glenz with 5thAvenue.

In the Beginner Independent division, Kylie Long took Champion with Reade and Reserve Champion went to Sheridan Basso with Cup O’ Joe.

In the Advanced Independent division, Champion was Sophie Baghdassarian with The Devil Wears Prada. Reserve Champion went to Noah Capps riding My Fairy Tale Hero.

Lisa Zimmerman, founding member and managing director of LIHSSRD, explained that most of the horses for the year-end finals are borrowed and shared, and these riders only get one or two opportunities to get to know their mounts in advance of the Hampton Classic.

“It’s a very unique circumstance that few other riders ever experience,” said Zimmerman. “It really makes their rides and their successes that much greater.”

Zimmerman emphasized the importance of having a year-end final at the Hampton Classic as something these riders work toward the entire year, not just the competition season.

“Isiah Forte started at eight or nine riding a pony here and now he’s 15 and riding a horse, and was Champion in his division,” said Zimmerman. “He’s getting ready to move up another level and division next year. It’s great for them to use this as their goal and wonderful to see them successful.”

Shanette Barth Cohen, Executive Director of the Hampton Classic, said “It’s such an honor for the Hampton Classic to host the LIHSSRD series finals again this year. These riders are an outstanding example of meeting challenges head-on. We thank BNB Bank for their continued support of this wonderful day.”

Tuesday’s events include open jumper classes for young horses, the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search, Amateur-Owner and Junior jumpers, Children’s and Working Hunters as well as Short-Stirrup competitions.

Also on Tuesday, in the Der Dau/CWD Riders’ Lounge following the last class in the Grand Prix Ring, Dr. Amy Polkes of HV Equine Internal Medicine and Antech Labs Equine Division will be hosting a seminar titled “Equine Neurologic Disease — is your horse neurologic or lame?” This event will be shown live on

One of the most spectacular equestrian events in the nation, The Hampton Classic showcases the highest levels of show jumping competition. The world-class event hosts hundreds of top riders and horses from all over the world, competing over eight days for prestigious titles and over $800,000 in prize money. The week builds towards the $300,000 DOHA.INC Grand Prix CSI4* on Sunday, September 1, where the $30,000 LONGINES Rider Challenge will be awarded to the rider amassing the highest number of points from the show’s five FEI Jumper competitions.

The 65-acre Hampton Classic show grounds is also a shopping and dining mecca. There is a wide variety of food choices, daily kids' activities, and the luxurious Agneta Currey Boutique Gardenand Stable Row feature more than 80 vendors.

For those who can’t make it to the show grounds, complimentary live webcasts of all Grand Prix ring competitions air on the Hampton Classic website, produced by ShowNet and courtesy of LONGINES. Complimentary live webcast of all Anne Aspinall ring competitions also air on the Hampton Classic website, produced by ShowNet and sponsored by RideTV. In addition, WVVH-TV, the official Long Island television station of the Hampton Classic, broadcasts up to five hours of competition and highlights each day during the Classic.  These broadcasts can also be seen online at Most of the Classic’s other classes are also available on

For more information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show, please visit the Hampton Classic website at or call 631-537-3177. Hampton Classic Horse Show, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation.

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