GLADSTONE, N.J. — April 29, 2019 — Hunters dominated the field on Monday for the third day of competition at the 2019 Garden State Horse Show. Riders piloted mounts from the Hopeful Hunters through the Performance Working Hunters took to the USET Main Ring at the iconic Hamilton Farm.
The Garden State Horse Show is celebrating its inaugural year at the farm which is home to the United States Equestrian Team headquarters. Premier AA hunter and jumper competition kicked off on Saturday, April 27 and will run through Sunday, May 5.
Many young horses set foot in the arena for the first time today, including Osvaldo Ornia Pacher’s Palermo Show Stables entry, Caro. The pair captured two out of three blue ribbons in the day’s 3’ Green Working Hunter division.
The Bedminster, New Jersey native piloted his self-bred seven-year-old Warmblood cross gelding to the lead in the first over-fences course as well as the flat class.
“This is his first time back in the show ring since we competed him in the 3” Green Working Hunters at the Winter Equestrian Festival where he was Reserve Champion during Week 12,” he said. “He is one of our home-bred babies and even though he’s very green, I think he’s got a lot of potential.”
“We mostly bred jumpers so my plan was to compete him in the jumpers, but my wife insisted I try him in the hunters because he has such a correct technique,” he added.
Alexandra Garrity and Cynthia Rowe’s 7-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Dance Party, took the first place ribbon in the second over fences class of the division.
The Style of Riding award for the day was earned by Red Oak Farm’s Libby Dayton. As part of the award, Dayton received a $150 gift certificate towards a shopping experience at Le Fash from owner and CEO, Arianna Vastino.
“I’ve been coming to this show for as long as I can remember because it’s always been our big season opener,” Dayton said. “It’s very nice to win this award here and I love Le Fash’s shirts and attire, so I can’t wait to put this to good use.”
Classes on Tuesday, April 30 once again will begin at 9 a.m. with the Hopeful Hunter division.
Sue Ashe is easily one of the country’s most well-recognized rated judges as well as an incredibly rounded horsewoman. She found many years of success as a rider and trainer before focusing her career on judging. Her daughter, Molly Ashe Cawley is currently is currently a top trainer and rider and has previously competed for the United States Equestrian Team.
Ashe can often be found judging at the country’s most prestigious shows and will judge the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals–East, a championship style competition finals for the top up-and-coming junior and young riders, held at Hamilton Farm. This year, Ashe Cawley, who was Reserve Champion at the finals, will join her to judge the event.
For the finals, there is a stipulation that the panel consist of one recognized judge and one person who has ridden for the United States. The mother-daughter team also judged Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals–West together in 2011.
Ashe is enjoying judging the Garden State Horse Show in its inaugural year at Hamilton Farm. She says that the facility brings back many fond memories for her and her children. The year before Ashe Cawley was reserve champion, son Neil Ashe won the finals at the same venue in 1986. Neil Ashe also participated in a young riders clinic at the farm with legendary horseman Bert DeNemethy.
“This venue means so much to me because there is so much history here,” she said. “When you first walk into the stables that used to host some of the most talented horses and riders in the country, the feeling is like no other; it really makes your hair stand on end because it’s just so incredible.”
“I believe that all the professionals need to give back to the sport and becoming a registered judge is a great way to do that. To be asked to judge events such as this show and the Talent Finals is a great honor.”
Ashe will judge the rest of the week in tandem with USEF “R” rated judge, Steve Wall. Wall has officiated at top horse shows such as Pennsylvania National, Washington International, and Devon Horse Show. Wall has also begun officiating at several IEA and IHSA events which he and Ashe both agree are a huge part of the future of horsemanship for young people.
“The sport has become essentially quite a big business and is (often) focused on business aspects instead of the sport itself,” he explained. “However, these teams allow kids to horse show without the huge expense and really bring them up to understand what true horsemanship is like which is important for anyone really serious about becoming a professional or making it to finals.”