Two years ago, Jennifer Alfano purchased a young horse for the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Program. She saw a horse with talent and untapped potential, a horse that she had faith would climb the ranks to become one of the industry’s best. Together, they dominated the Pre-Green Hunters throughout 2013, and today they once again showed their talent, claiming the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Grand Hunter Championship, after completing smooth and consistent rounds in the Green Conformation Hunter section.
“I’m still not even sure what happened out there,” Jen said with a smile after accepting the rosette and coveted title. “It means a lot to me, because, of course, he’s mine. He's like my child, and I spoil him like crazy. I just love this horse. He tries every single time. He has an outstanding jump and is so scopey. No matter what distance you put him at, he will jump it beautifully. Honestly, he's just a special horse.”
Jen found Candid, who is fondly called “Sheldon” after the “The Big Bang Theory” television character, through Terry Brown. He's a 6-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Quintender, and only the third horse she's ever purchased for herself. They earned two blues, one second and two third- placed ribbons to capture the championship, and later they were announced as the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Grand Hunter Champions.
Nearly 24 years ago, Jen began working with Susie Schoellkopf and SBS Farms—the rest is history. The Harrisburg hometown rider has shown some of the most prestigious hunters to the pinnacle of the standings at horse shows across the nation, including capturing the 2012 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship title in Lexington, Kentucky, with Jersey Boy. Today, she not only celebrated her win with Candid, but also the Leading Hunter Rider Award, a shared victory of 30 points with fellow hunter rider Scott Stewart.
“It feels great to win this honor, especially since I'm originally from Harrisburg,” Jen said. “Anytime I win here, it's a big deal."
Jen also rode to the Pre-Green 3’ Hunter Reserve Championship with Social Hill, owned by SBS Farms, Inc. The gelding has become a rising star in the Pre-Green Hunter sections, jumping to the high score of 90 points during once class of the section, and showcasing his talent even further with the fifth-placed finish in the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Stake.
During the Pre-Green 3’3” Hunters, Jen was in the irons for Sharon O’Neill, riding Chances R to good ribbons and a strong finish in the stake class out of 17 contenders. She also competed in the High Performance Hunters with Jersey Boy, taking three second-place awards with the quirky chestnut gelding. In the Second Year Green Working Hunters, she completed the show with Maggie May finishing with top results.
“Jen is not only a great rider, but also a great caretaker," said Susie. "She knows her horses inside and out. Jen is just, well, she’s all of it. She’s a great horseman and knows every horse in the barn, as well as the care. She's a great example to all the up-and-coming riders.”
Based out of Buffalo, New York, 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.
Press release courtesy of Phelps Media Group International