GLADSTONE, N.J. – Aug. 16, 2018 – Monmouth at the Team continued competition at Hamilton Farm, headquarters of the USET Foundation and former training facility of the U.S. Equestrian Team. Thursday, the hollowed grounds hosted the highly-anticipated $10,000 Bobcat Derby, sponsored by The Nature Conservancy. The local community came together. Friends, family and spectators got into the spirit and donned bobcat-ear headbands. Riders in the class received an extra point if they wore their bobcat ears in the class. Even a horse or two was seen with cat ears.
“The Nature Conservancy is pleased to continue its sponsorship of Monmouth at the Team,” said Barbara Brummer, New Jersey State director of The Nature Conservancy. “This event gives us an opportunity right in our community to raise awareness of endangered bobcats in New Jersey and the importance of contiguous land for wildlife. Tucker, Michael and their team do a great job with the show, and we’re excited that the Bobcat Derby continues to grow in popularity!”
The format of the class changed this year with the 2’ and 2’6’ combined in a section and a separate 3’ section. As in previous years, it was open to professionals, amateurs and juniors. The top twelve came back in each section for the handy round.
Skip Bailey’s course and the handy round provided many choices of track depending on the level of the horse and rider. The cattier the horse, the better. Finding their inner feline, Heartbreakker, owned by Megan Storms and ridden by Libby Shea Dayton, topped the 2’/2’6” section and Micah 7:7, owned by Leigh Creamer and ridden by B.J. Ehrhardt, took the top prize of the 3’ section.
Micah 7:7 had his derby debut at Monmouth at the Team with B.J Ehrhardt in 2017. The big gray 7-year-old Warmblood gelding has had success since, but this marks his first derby win. Ehrhardt has a soft spot in her heart for the youngster and his owner, Creamer (Saddle River, New Jersey), is her longtime friend. The pair received an 85 and an 86 from the judges.
“We place in a lot of derbies, but he’s a young horse, just learning the ropes,” said Ehrhardt, who trains at Foxhedge Farm in Goshen, New York. “I haven’t pushed him very hard. Every horse show I try a little bit harder in the handy to be a little slicker and he just always steps up to the plate.”
Ehrhardt was presented with the Style of Riding award, sponsored by Le Fash for her impeccable style.
Junior rider Gigi Moynihan (14, Oldwick, New Jersey) and Golden Dream, owned by Christy Johnson, earned the second-place prize with a total of 170. Moynihan rides at Cedar Lane Farm and trains with Samantha Davis.
“I’ve had him two and a half years and he’s done everything for me,” Moynihan said of her multiple ring horse. “We did our first jumper classes and our first equitation classes together.
Michael Meyers had a third-place finish with Unwritten, owned by Emily Sukert, who has been at Windham Hill only a week. He had the high score of the day with 88 in the first round. He loved Bailey’s course.
“It was lovely, there were plenty of options,” Meyers said. “My horse likes the left lead so I really catered the course to him.”
The win in the 2’/2’6” section was with a horse near and dear to Dayton also.
“We’ve had Heartbreaker for a very long time. He belongs to good friends of ours, longtime clients, the Storms family," Dayton said. Dayton trains alongside her mother, Bethie Dayton at Red Oak Farm in Stirling, New Jersey. “We’ve had him since he was six years old. He’s been hanging out for a while. His mom went to school and we hadn’t been horse showing so this is his first attempt back. I think he did a pretty good job.”
Dayton and Heartbreakker, a 15-year-old chestnut Selle Francais gelding, earned scores of 87 and 84.5 (171.5 total) to win the class. She thanked her friends the Storms for the ride, her mother and the support team at the barn for their hard work.
Amateur Tempe Salatiello (Lebanon, New Jersey) and Salham’s Biddle Bug (Boomer), a half-Welsh homebred pony owned by Mary Beth Hamorski, were second with 86 and 83 points and a total score of 169.
“My mom and I broke him and Sarah’s been with us,” Salatiello said. “I feel so good for him to do so well. He’s talented and he gives me a lot of confidence.”
Her trainer, Sarah Stewart was overjoyed. “Tempe works hard in between her lessons,” Steward said. “I’ll see her practice; she’ll drop her stirrups. She was on that pony last week bareback jumping.”
During a break between classes, a special presentation was made in honor of Roy D. Evans. Evans was a horseman who began his career in rodeo and later hunters. He was an expert handler on the line and other equestrians turned to him for help with their tough horses. The Gladstone Hunter class trophy will be presented each year by his friends Sara Goetz from Dapple Hill Farm and Kori Edwards from Tandabrook Farm. They made a contribution in his honor to the Equestrian Aid Foundation.
“Equestrians need to support equestrians,” Goetz said. “We want to set an example and I want people to donate to support other people that might get into trouble and can’t financially take care of themselves. In the end, you just need to be kind.”
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT: Stal de Eyckenhoeve
Monmouth at the Team thanks Stal de Eyckenhoeve for their sponsorship of the Top Trip of the Day award. Stal de Eyckenhoeve’s Niels Haesen and Maxime Tyteca, based in Geel, Belgium and Ocala, Florida, buy and sell world-class hunters and jumpers. They also have a breeding operation and take young stallions to European breed approvals and compete at European-approved stallion shows.
They look for potential hunters, jumpers and equitation horses all over Europe and sell direct to clients in the U.S. Stal de Eyckenhoeve caters to trainers looking for standout prospects. Their clients include some of the best trainers in the business.
Two Stal de Eyckenhoeve horses are currently in the top 20 in the 3’3” and 3’6” Green Incentive Hunters at the Bluegrass Festival in Lexington, Kentucky.
“We look to find potential hunters all over Europe,” Tyteca said. “We buy horses of all ages then work with them and sell them or bring them over to the US.”
“This is our third time at Monmouth at the Team. It’s a really nice show,” Haesen said. “We’ve made a lot of friends and clients. It’s satisfying to see some of the horses we found show at this historic facility.”
Click here for more information about Stal de Eyckenhoeve.
Monmouth at the Team resumes Friday with the jumper divisions kicking off and features the $5,000 Welcome Stake, sponsored by Equine Billing Services.