The 132nd CP National Horse Show welcomed the top horses and riders in the nation to the Alltech Arena on October 28–November 1 in Lexington, Kentucky. SBS Farms, Inc., closed out another successful year with top honors in the professional and junior hunter divisions with riders Jennifer Alfano and Alex Trolli.
The professional hunter divisions kicked off the week’s competition on Tuesday and Wednesday with Alfano and her horse, Candid, topping a field of competitors to claim the champion rosette in the Oare & Adikes-Hill $15,000 Second Year Green Working Hunter division, presented by Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Oare and Ms. Patricia Adikes-Hill.
Three years ago Alfano purchased Candid for the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Program. She saw a horse with the capacity to climb the ranks and become one of the industry’s best. Together, the pair dominated the Pre-Green Hunters throughout 2013 and are now continuing to showcase their talents as they’ve moved up to the Second Year Green Working Hunter division.
“He’s such a fun horse,” said Alfano. “He’s easy; he’s so fun to ride. He always gives you a great jump no matter what. He’s shy with people he doesn’t know, but he’s really sweet.”
Alfano rode the gelding to first place over fences, as well as third place in the handy on the opening day of the show. On the second day of competition, Candid surpassed competitors to take first place in the stake—sealing their division win.
“He has been awesome,” said Alfano. “Every time in the ring he has just been perfect. I am so excited, and it’s fun that I own him. I always get so nervous. I usually mess up on my own horse because I get so nervous, but he was awesome.”
“They are a great team; it’s so nice,” said SBS Farms, Inc. owner Susie Schoellkopf. “Jen has done all the work on him and brought him along from Pre-Green to now. I don’t think there are many professionals who have done that, so it’s a feather in her cap.”
Alfano also earned good ribbons aboard Billie Steffee’s Maggie May and Helen Lenahan’s Miss Lucy in the $15,000 High Performance Hunter division. She earned a fourth place in both the handy and stake classes with Maggie May and a first place in the handy, while also winning the “Edyth B. Linder” Challenge Trophy, with Miss Lucy.
This year, junior rider, Alex Trolli, made her competitive debut at the CP National Show and left her mark in Lexington by taking the championship in the $10,000 Junior Hunter 3’3” division aboard Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center’s Hey Sailor.
“It’s pretty amazing,” said Trolli of winning the CP National Horse Show championship in her first attempt. “It’s against all the top riders so it feels like an accomplishment; it’s very tough competition.”
The 18-year-old from Clarence, New York, rode Hey Sailor to a third place in the first over fences round and a first place in the handy on Thursday. The pair returned on Friday and claimed another third place in the under saddle for their championship title.
“Yesterday, everything was on and perfect,” said Trolli, speaking of her third place and winning rounds on Thursday. “I love [this horse show]. There’s lots of shopping, there are great prizes, there’s top competition and the courses are hard but manageable. It’s been fun.”
Trolli has trained out of Buffalo, New York, with SBS Farms, Inc. for many years, and she credited their knowledge and expertise with helping her achieve major accomplishments, including the CP National Horse Show championship.
“I train with Alicia Heberle, Susie Schoellkopf and Jennifer Alfano,” said Trolli. “They all give me really good advice, and it is kind of like a family.”
In addition to a wonderful week of competition at the CP National Horse Show, Alfano celebrated 25 years of partnership with SBS Farms, Inc. Susie Schoellkopf along with clients Billie Steffee, Sharon O’Neill and Helen Lenahan pulled off the surprise of the century with a party on Wednesday evening at Billie Steffee's After Hours Farm that included Jennifer’s family and friends.
With the CP National Horse Show wrapped up, SBS Farms, Inc. now looks forward to the George H. Morris clinic to be held at their facility in Buffalo, New York, on November 6–8.
As for Candid, his star performance at this year’s CP National Horse Show has earned him some much deserved time off before his next competition.
“We rarely jump at home. We just do a lot of flatwork to keep him fit,” said Alfano. “He doesn’t really have to practice jumping so much. He goes home and gets his blankets and his shoes pulled off and he’s just a horse for a couple of months until we go to Ocala.”
Based out of Buffalo, New York, SBS Farms, Inc.’s Susie Schoellkopf and Jennifer Alfano run one of the foremost show hunter training operations in the country, and travel nationwide to compete in the 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, Inc. Built in 1922, the 160-stall facility is a historical landmark, with its unique English Tudor and Gothic-style architecture.
For more information on the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, please visit www.thebtrc.org.
Special thanks to Phelps Media Group, Emily Riden and Kendall Bierer for the press release and photos.