The SBS Farms team traveled from New York to Pennsylvania to Kentucky this spring in May and June and drove home with many accolades and achievements from Country Heir, Devon and Saratoga.
The best news, however, was Jen Alfano’s return to the show ring after a second knee surgery earlier this spring.
“I showed three horses last week at Country Heir and four this week,” said Jen with a smile. “Hopefully, I’m on the road to recovery. I’m home now for three weeks to continue my physical therapy and to practice, and, hopefully, I’ll be able to show all my horses during our next show at Chagrin in Cleveland.”
Jen eased back into the show ring and chose the mounts she competed based primarily on the jump height, starting at 3’. “This second week of Country Heir I did the 3’6”, and my knee feels pretty good,” she said. “It’s a bit sore, but it’s not like it was in Houston (at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show) before my surgery.”
The first week of Country Heir, Jen rode the Green Hunters Talladega, owned by Sharon O’Neill, and Kathy Chiaf’s Kindred. She also competed her longtime partner Jersey Boy, owned by SBS Farms, in the 3’3” Performance Working Hunters.
“Lewis (Jersey Boy) was great,” she said. “He got good ribbons in all of his classes, and with 69 entries it was a tough division.” Kathy’s Kindred also earned top ribbons in the 3’ Green Hunters with 42 entries.
During the second week of Country Heir, Jen and Jersey Boy won in the 3’6” Performance Working Hunters, and she piloted Girl Crush to the top of the card in the Green 3’6” section.
“I also did the USHJA National Hunter Derby with Lewis at Country Heir, and I’m hoping by Cleveland to do the International Derby. He feels good and happy, but it depends on if we both stay that way—but that’s what we hope for!” she said. “He was great in both rounds of the National Derby, and in the Handy he was spectacular and back on his game. When he’s on, he’s on, and he was perfect both rounds, scoring an 88 plus 4 for a 92 in both rounds.”
Jen and Kindred picked up the 3’ Green Hunter reserve championship during Week 1 and moved up to championship honors Week 2. “He’s still really green, but he’s coming along so well,” she said. “The first day this week there was a new sign in the ring, and he wouldn’t go by it and made a scene. He got a zero, so I stayed in the ring for the second round and he got an 87. He’s still super green and doesn’t know, but when he puts it all together he wins. It’s just a matter of him gaining the experience.”
SBS client Kathy Chiaf also earned her own top ribbons, winning an Adult Amateur Hunter, 50 and over, section class with Sweetwater. “She was in the ribbons both weeks with both of her horses in a tough crowd, with more than 30 entries,” said Jen.
Alicia Heberle and Peter Pletcher also assisted in the saddle for SBS Farms. Alicia rode Kathy’s Silver Lining to excellent ribbons in the Green Hunter 3’6”, and Peter did the same, taking the reins with Helen Lenahan’s Girl Crush.
“Peter did a couple for me the first week of Country Heir—Girl Crush and Candid— and he’s been amazing all the way through,” she said of her friend and fellow trainer from Texas. “He jumped up to help me a year ago when I was injured and continued throughout the year. He’s been amazing and supportive, and any time I need him he’s been there.”
SBS Farms also enjoyed time at the Devon Horse Show in Pennsylvania earlier in the month, where their horses made their presence known.
Jen’s Candid placed fourth in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby with Kristy Herrera in the irons. In the same class, Kristy also finished 11th with Jen’s Kensi.
Candid racked up even more impressive placings with Kristy during Devon, including a third-placed ribbon in the High Performance Conformation Hunters and additional placings. Trainer Carleton Brooks also had fun with Candid, taking home third place in the High Performance Conformation Hunter Model.
Helen Lenahan’s talented mare Girl Crush, with Kristy in the irons, claimed second and fifth places in the Green Hunter 3’6” section.
“I’m so grateful to have gotten to show such a great group of horses at Devon! Thank you so much to SBS Farms, Jen Alfano, Louise Serio, Bryan Baldwin, Lisa Rex, Over the Top Stables, and all the fantastic support teams behind the scenes who made this week so fun!” said Kristy on her Facebook page.