NORTH SALEM, N.Y. — The 2018 Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, N.Y., wrapped up on Sunday, May 20. Many winners had short rides home during the two weeks of competition that also drew riders from around the world.

Jessica Ott and Rizzi’s Comet Claim Jockey Club T.I.P. Championship

Jessica Ott of Katonah, N.Y., christened the 2018 Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows with a division title riding Rizzi’s Comet in The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.) $2,000 Low Thoroughbred Hunter 3' division, held Sunday, May 6, during Welcome Day.

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Ott, 24, purchased Rizzi’s Comet, an 11-year-old gelding by Rizzi, two years ago straight off Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The mount participated in the T.I.P. division at Old Salem Farm in 2017 under the direction of Ott’s trainer Heather Hays of Buxton Farm based out of Brewster, N.Y., and earned reserve champion honors before moving up to the top spot this year. They were first and third over fences before winning under saddle to take the tri-color.

 “We got along right away and he has been so good and seen a lot of success,” said Ott of Rizzi’s Comet, the horse she also competes in the amateur-owner hunter division. “He will do anything I ask him to and that makes him really special.

 “I love this division,” said Ott, who participated in the T.I.P. classes for the first time this year. “It allows me to feel comfortable competing on an even playing field with amateurs and professionals because we are on the same type of horse. It’s very competitive and it really shows off what the Thoroughbred breed can do.”

T.I.P. classes were offered at Old Salem Farm for the fifth consecutive year thanks to the support of Vivien Malloy, who owns Edition Farm, a Thoroughbred breeding operation in Dutchess County, N.Y. She presents the division in honor of her daughter, Debby Malloy Winkler, who showed at Old Salem Farm as a junior and passed away following a tragic fall from a horse at her home in Germany in 2011. In addition to high-point awards, Ott was also presented with the Debby Malloy Winkler Memorial Trophy, donated by the Malloy Family.

 “The exciting thing is that every year we have more entries,” said Vivien Malloy. “Some of these horses have never been at a big show like this and they walk right in the ring always willing and that’s what I love about this division and the breed. The whole world is going local and Thoroughbreds are right here in our own backyard. There’s no need to go overseas — they are right here, handsome, lovely and ready to go on forever.”

The reserve champion title was presented to Keirstin Johnsen and Hennepin, owned by Shelly Ferrall, who finished first and third over fences and second under saddle.

The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows continue on Tuesday, May 8, and spectators are welcome to

Hundred Acre Claims Comeback Grand Adult Amateur Hunter Championship Title

Barbara Spizzirro of North Salem, N.Y., piloted Hundred Acre to the Grand Adult Amateur Hunter Championship with four first-place ribbons and a fourth under saddle in the Adult Amateur Hunter 36-49 division.

“I was exceedingly happy with him,” said Spizzirro of her 11-year-old Westphalian gelding. “He was better than I ever expected him to be. I have been riding him for six years, so we are familiar with each other. He’s slipped right into a really good gear for us.”

The honor marked a comeback for Hundred Acre after Spizzirro spent the winter season rehabbing him from a minor injury.

 “This was our first show back and I love this show,” said Spizzirro, who trains with Keirstin Johnsen at Riverside Farm. “I have to thank Keirstin. She has been wonderful with me and this horse. She is a godsend.”

Reserve champion in the Adult Amateur Hunter 36-49 division was presented to Mimi Moulton riding Trip To Paris for owner Privet Farm, LLC. They were second and third twice over fences, as well as fifth under saddle.

Elli Yeager Tops $5,000 Equitation Challenge

Fifteen-year-old Elli Yeager of New York, N.Y., won the $5,000 Equitation Challenge on May 12.

Yeager and longtime partner Copperfield 39 jumped to scores of 92 and 91 to take a commanding lead in both rounds of the $5,000 Equitation Challenge and finish with a total score of 183.

“It was a really fun class and a good way to top off the week,” said Yeager, who trains with Stacia Madden at Beacon Hill Show Stables in Colts Neck, N.J. “It’s an awesome feeling and I could not have asked for my horse to be any better. He knows when it’s serious and he really performed his best today. We’ve gone through everything together and we have a special relationship.”

Yeager got the ride on Copperfield 39 when she was 10 years old and grew up on the mount. For two years she has been riding him under the tutelage of Madden, who received a $2,500 Trainer Bonus, sponsored by Old Salem Farm, for her part in Yeager’s victory.

“Before the second round, Stacia told me to really keep him straight, collect in the four stride, and not lose track of the last line,” said Yeager, who is aiming towards a top performance in the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final this year.

Behind Yeager, Caroline Bald took second on scores of 84.5 and 84 for a 168.5 total riding Vondel DH Z for owner Maarten Huygens Horse Sales Inc. Tessa P. Brown and Davide, owned by Equipearl, LLC, finished third with scores of 83 and 85 for a total score of 168. Annabel Revers finished fourth after combining an 85.5 and 81 for a total score of 166.5 riding Quax for owner Beechwood Stables, LLC. Madison Goetzmann rounded out the top five on Resonate, owned by West Hill, with scores of 80 and 84 for a 164 total.

McLain Ward Races to Victory in $15,000 Old Salem Farm Speed Derby

Just a few weeks before the Old Salem Spring shows, McLain Ward did not have a derby horse in his string. So, he looked to a sales horse named Dakota to point towards the Old Salem Farm Speed Derby.

“I don’t know if he has ever done the derbies before, but I said to some people in the barn that he was going to be the one to win the derby,” recalled Ward, who hails just up the road from Old Salem Farm in Brewster, N.Y. “I started jumping him through the woods at home. I jumped him in and out of the ring a few times and really just goofed around with him to get him ready. He’s a really game little horse and a real trier.”

Ward and Dakota secured a time of 64.242 seconds over the faults converted course set by Ken Krome of Westminster, Md., which included the use of elements on the Old Salem Farm Grand Prix Field like the table top, ditch, and bank. Ward and his eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Vittorio clinched the win by more than a second over Pablo Mejia Villa (COL) riding his own RL Real Love. They crossed the timers in 65.933 seconds for second, while Canada’s Mario Deslauriers took third aboard his own Curo in 67.556 seconds.

“I think it’s a fun class and a bit interesting when there’s less and less classes like this in the world,” said Ward. “It’s such a beautiful field that it’s quite a fun class to participate in. The footing is great and has been holding up well with the spring weather we had today. This show has really grown into a lovely two weeks.”

Chablis Crowned Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion

Kelly Tropin of New York, N.Y., rode Chablis, a 10-year-old Wurttemberger gelding by Camparino to the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion title during the first week of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows. Tropin rode to three first-place ribbons over fences, as well as a third and fourth under saddle.

Tropin works as an economist at Graham Capital Management in Norwalk, Conn., and rides under the direction of Peter Lutz and Mary Manfredi just five minutes from Old Salem Farm.

“Everything about the show is top notch and I like everything about being here,” she said. “Chablis was his usual self, which means he was perfect. He is so remarkable and I was really trying to show off his beautiful gallop and be bold. He knows what he’s supposed to do so well that he goes in the ring and behaves perfectly. Whenever I’m showing, I’m always trying to maintain a high batting average and have every round be a really good round. When you’re Grand [Champion] it speaks to that consistency.”

The Amateur-Owner Hunter division was split into two sections with Set To Music, ridden by Laura Sexton, sharing the championship, and Rocklyn, ridden by Katie Robinson, and Chicago, ridden by Callie Seaman, taking reserve.

Sternlicht Earns First Grand Prix Win

Adrienne Sternlicht of Greenwich, Conn., led her first grand prix victory gallop riding Toulago after the $50,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix CSI2*, presented by The Kincade Group, on May 13.

From a field of 40 over tracks built by Ken Krome of Westminster, Md., Sternlicht, who celebrated her 25th birthday on Wednesday, May 9, was first to return in an 11-horse jump-off. She and Toulago, a 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Toulon x Carthago Z) owned by Starlight Farms, LLC, laid down an unbeatable time in 39.15 seconds for the win.

“It was an amazing day,” said Sternlicht. “It’s a bit surreal and everyone was telling me not to cry. I am super happy with my horse and even happier that I executed my plan.”

Sternlicht trains with U.S. Olympic team gold medalist and Brewster, N.Y., native McLain Ward, who is known for pulling out all the stops when it counts.

“McLain’s advice was to do six from one to two and I wasn’t sure how that would ride given that I did eight in the first round, but I picked up a good canter and believed in my horse,” said Sternlicht, who executed the two-stride leave out perfectly. “My horse is incredible and quite brave. He really knows his job and he’s quite seasoned at this level; I‘m really lucky to have him as a teacher. Typically, I would ride a bit conservative to the last fence [in a jump-off], but I knew I had nothing to lose with so many fast horses coming after me, especially Sydney on her horse Villamoura, who was definitely the fastest horse in the class. I knew I had to take a shot.”

Sternlicht took that shot and held off Sydney Shulman, also of Greenwich, Conn. But, it was a rivalry among friends as the two young riders have been competing together since they were children.

“She’s like my sister,” said Sternlicht. “We were best friends since we were born and she’s family to me. It’s amazing to have that kind of connection with someone in the sport.”

Shulman and her nine-year-old mare by Diamant de Semilly, owned by her mother Jill Shulman, stopped the timers just short of the lead in 39.29 seconds.

Katherine Strauss and All In Return to the Show Ring with Under 25 Grand Prix Victory

Katherine Strauss, 19, of New York, N.Y., claimed a win in the $5,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by Miller Motorcars, in a three-horse jump-off riding her own All In. Strauss piloted two horses over the short course with the only challenger being Brianne Link of East Islip, N.Y., in her Under 25 division debut.

Strauss crossed the timers clear in a blazing 29.991 seconds for the win aboard All In, while Link, 19, finished second riding her own Dobalia in 32.093 seconds. Strauss rounded out the top three aboard her own Capacity with a time of 33.320 seconds.

“I really like the Under 25 division because it is a great stepping stone between the high amateurs and high juniors to the FEI classes,” said Strauss, who has had success in the division under the direction of her trainers John Madden and four-time U.S. Olympic medalist Beezie Madden.

All In, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Aachen x Indoctro), has not competed since late July 2017 and made a return to the show ring at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows.

“I just finished my first year at Vanderbilt and we thought that would be a good chance to give All In some time off,” said Strauss of the mount she’s had for four years. “I’m so happy we did. It seems to be paying off and he’s done so much for me, so I want to do everything I can to help him. In these first few weeks before stepping up to the FEI division, the Under 25 gave us a chance to seriously get going without risking anything with his fitness and confidence.”

All In was turned out at the home base of John Madden Sales in Cazenovia, N.Y., along with other accomplished equine athletes, including San Remo, the 2017 ASPCA Maclay Final winner, owned by Strauss’s barn mate Madison Goetzmann.

“The cold weather is so good for their legs, health, and happiness,” continued Strauss. “I am lucky to have a team at John Madden Sales that is excellent at developing horses and helping rehab horses. As soon as I got done with my finals, I went to Cazenovia and he was ready to start jumping again.”

Victoria Birdsall, 24, of Frenchtown, N.J., finished fourth riding her own Doman with the fastest four-fault ride from the first round in 69.150 seconds. Lucy Deslauriers, 18, of New York, N.Y., rounded out the top five riding Kaspara for owner Luja, LLC, with a rail and a time fault in the first round.

First Hunter Derby, First Win for Keirstin Johnsen

Keirstin Johnsen of North Salem, N.Y., captured victory in her first-ever USHJA International Hunter Derby on Saturday during week two of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show. The class offered $15,000 in prize money and was sponsored by The Gochman Family. Johnsen and Aster de la Cense, owned by Kimberly Witherspoon, were crowned the winners.

In the first round, Johnsen and Aster de la Cense scored 164 and added a score of 189 in the handy for a total of 353 for the win. Second place went to Early Winter, ridden and owned by Aubrienne Krysiewicz-Bell, who had a total score of 344.5. With a final score of 344, Amber Harte and Style, owned by Take the High Road LLC, placed third.

Johnsen, who rides for Brooke Baldwin-deGrazia’s Riverside Farm just around the corner from Old Salem Farm, started riding Aster de la Cense just last month.

“He’s super fabulous,” she said of the eight-year-old Selle Français gelding by Mylord Carthago. “I couldn’t say enough things about him; we joke that he is the total unicorn. He’s kind of like an old soul, and he hasn’t done that much.”

The decision to compete in the derby was last-minute, and Johnsen also decided to forgo the high options to “play it safe.”

“I thought the ring footing held up nicely,” she said. “He actually went better in the rain; he had a little more life and extra pizazz.”

The pair won the handy round, which Johnsen said was a nice change of pace for the gelding.

“He almost rises to the occasion when he doesn’t know what’s coming, I’m learning,” said Johnsen. “He gets a little bored when it’s simple and he knows the drill. As he’s getting a surprise, he seems to rise up and be a little extra special. I could not have asked him to be better. There is nothing I would have changed about my handy.

 “It feels great!” said Johnsen of her first derby victory. “It’s really nice. [His owners] were very excited to watch him. They said they wanted to see him do [a derby], but that opportunity just never worked out before. They were super excited, and it was nice they let me do it and we had a nice result.”

McLain and Clinta Win Welcome Stake

Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward of Brewster, N.Y., earned an impressive win aboard Clinta in the $35,000 Welcome Stake of North Salem CSI3* on May 17.

Coming off a recent CSI5* victory at the Longines Masters of New York just three weeks prior, Ward proved the versatility of Clinta, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare (Clinton x Lord Pezi), owned by Sagamore Farms, by claiming a win outdoors at Old Salem Farm. The indomitable duo bested a field of 59 over courses designed by Alan Wade (IRL). Crossing the timers in 37.32 seconds, Ward posted the fastest jump-off round by one one-hundredth of a second over runner-up Brianne Goutal-Marteau.

“It was good fortune,” said Ward of his narrow victory. “Brianne’s horse is a bit of a faster horse. He can’t quite cover the ground the way Clinta can, but he’s quicker over the jumps. [Clinta] loses a little time in the air and I was galloping, but I wasn’t going full speed with her. I tried to execute the plan and it would fall where it would.

 “The [Longines Masters of] New York was a boost of confidence and showed us we were headed in the right direction,” continued McLain on the progress of Clinta, a mare he added to his string at the end of the winter season in Florida. “I wanted to show her here at Old Salem to get on the grass once before going to Europe, but unfortunately the weather is not cooperating with us. We’re lucky this venue has such great all-weather arenas to fall back on.”

Ward considered not returning for the jump-off and saving Clinta for the $131,000 Empire State Grand Prix CSI3* on Sunday, but decided to take the opportunity to learn more about his new mount, saying, “I wanted to do the one inside turn on the oxer because I haven’t really done that with her to an oxer. I thought I needed to experience that at some point and see how she reacts, and she performed great. Every round I have with her, I know her a bit better and probably take a little bit of a breath myself.”

Forever Claims Grand Adult Amateur Hunter Championship

James Anderson of New York, N.Y., picked up the Adult Amateur 50 & Over Hunter championship to repeat their week one performance at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows. Their top placings of three firsts over fences and a second under saddle also gave them the Grand Adult Amateur Hunter championship.

Anderson, who has owned the nine-year-old Westphalian gelding (Rock Forever – Piana) for two years and trains with Jenny Dunion, was thrilled with his horse’s performance over the two weeks.

“Last week was the first week I’ve been champion at this horse show, so to be champion two weeks in a row and then Grand Champion is amazing,” he said. “Showing yesterday, it was our first time in the rain with this horse. He was awesome, super consistent, and we won both of our jumping classes yesterday.”

Anderson described Forever as, “Beautiful, talented, athletic, and he’s really sweet. He’s really the nicest, kindest horse I’ve ever had.”

“I was so proud of both of them,” said Dunion. “I’ve had this horse since he was young. James works so hard at what he does. It’s so nice when it comes together with the results. It’s really special.”

After consistency in the Adult division at the three-foot height for two years, Anderson and Dunion have plans to move up the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” division.

For Dunion, winning is also special thanks to the venue at Old Salem Farm.

She noted, “It’s a local show for us. We’re based in Bedford, N.Y., in the spring, so it’s really nice to be a part of a hometown show that I’ve been coming to for over 20 years.”

The reserve championship in the Adult Amateur 50 & Over Hunters went to Meredith Lipke riding her own Eleventh Hour. They placed second in two over fences classes and won the under saddle.

Mattias Tromp Has Successful Show

Mattias Tromp of North Salem, N.Y., scored a hometown victory aboard Eyecatcher in the $10,000 Old Salem Speed Stake CSI3* on May 16, then came back two days later to win the $5,000 Under 25 Jumper 1.45m on May 18.

On May 16, speed was the name of the game for the 34-horse field that contested the one-round track. Fractions of a second separated the top four, but Tromp and Eyecatcher, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Harley VDL x Orthos), owned by Beyaert Farm, claimed the win in 51.41 seconds.

The time to beat was set early by U.S. Olympic team gold medalist and Tromp’s coach, McLain Ward, which held for 18 rounds before Devin Ryan of  Long Valley, N.J., bumped him from the top spot. Just two horses later, Tromp, 23, caught them both. Ryan settled for second in 51.56 seconds riding his own Florida, and Ward moved to third in 51.72 seconds aboard Cerise for owner Sagamore Farms.

Tromp got the ride on Eyecatcher after Ward and François Mathy found the mare earlier this year in Switzerland under the direction of Swiss rider Romain Sottas.

“I started showing her halfway through the winter season in Wellington,” said Tromp of the new ride he purchased to develop into a sales horse. “I never actually got to try her and bought her straight off a video. For sure, she is a very competitive horse.

“Before we went in, McLain told me to do a set of numbers and I followed that plan and wasn’t thinking too much about the time,” continued Tromp of his plan for the class. “I found the jumps out of stride through the turns and I think that was the biggest thing.”

Tromp is hopeful for more top results with the mare, saying, “Once I get to know her a little better and understand the size of her step, I think it will start to fall into a routine.”

In the U25 on May 18, Tromp, 23, and Sydney Shulman, 23, of Greenwich, Conn., posted the only two double-clear efforts of the day with Tromp claiming the victory by more than three seconds in a five-horse jump-off over tracks designed by Alan Wade (IRL). Tromp stopped the clock at 32.598 seconds riding Avon for owner Swede Ventures, LLC, while Shulman took second in 35.920 seconds aboard Hilgarie, owned by Jill Shulman.

Avon, a 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood stallion (Quidam de Revel x Cortez 679), is a familiar mount for Tromp after adding the ride to his string in 2016, and helped him step into the international ranks.

“The horse has been a big teacher for my growth as a rider,” he said. “I did a lot of my first international classes on him and he has come through many times for me. He has given me a lot of confidence over the years and I think he was very integral in what direction my career took.”

The Under 25 division was added to the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows schedule three years ago in an effort to further revolutionize the offerings at the two-week event. The division is an innovative way to bridge the gap between the junior/amateur and professional jumper levels.

“Under 25 classes are great to practice riding well and being competitive,” said Tromp. “The more you can do outside the FEI division is like anything else; the more practice you have, the better you are going to do.”

Beezie Madden Wins $35,000 Classic

Reigning FEI World Cup Champion Beezie Madden (USA) topped the $35,000 Old Salem Farm Jumper Classic, CSI3* presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, riding Jiva on Saturday, May 19, at the 2018 Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, running through May 20 at Old Salem Farm.

Madden utilized the speed of Jiva, a nine-year-old BWP mare to score the win in a 12-horse jump-off over courses designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade. She crossed the timers double clear in 32.90 seconds for owner Abigail Wexner, while fellow U.S. rider Amber Harte settled for second-place honors in 33.10 seconds riding Austria 2, owned by Take The High Road, LLC.

Madden got the ride on Jiva at the start of 2017, saying, “She was a pretty green eight-year-old at the time and I didn’t get her in time to show in Florida last year, but she started to catch up to the nine-year-olds. She is super careful, so we have to take a little time with her because we don’t want to get her in trouble anywhere.”

The win was Jiva’s best FEI ranking class finish to date and Madden has high hopes for the mare.

“She has some all-around foot speed between the fences,” said Madden. “Today, from one to two she was really quick and I did six down to the last [jump], which not everybody did.

“We love showing on the grass here but when it does rain, luckily we have a good place to show in the sand,” continued Madden of competing at Old Salem Farm. “It’s nice to be able to rely on being able to show when it does rain.”

Switzerland’s Beat Mändli Steals $131,000 Empire State Grand Prix CSI3*

Switzerland’s Beat Mändli and Simba, owned by Grant Road Partners, won the $131,000 Empire State Grand Prix CSI3*, presented by The Kincade Group, during the final day of the 2018 Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows.  The highlight class of the two-week event also had local superstar McLain Ward of Brewster, N.Y., in second place with Clinta, while Brianne Goutal-Marteau (USA) and Viva Colombia were third.

There were 33 entries in the grand prix, and five found a clear round to advance to the jump-off over courses designed by Alan Wade of Ireland. First to return was the initial round pathfinder Amber Harte (USA) on Take the High Road LLC’s Cafino. They had four faults in 36.09 seconds for fourth place. Following Harte was Charlie Jacobs (USA) with Cassinja S, owned by CMJ Sporthorse, LLC. With nine faults in 46.60 seconds, they took home the fifth-place ribbon.

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