GLADSTONE, N.J. — Aug. 14, 2019 — Horses and riders returned to the main arena Wednesday for another day of top-notch competition at Monmouth at the Team. Located at historic Hamilton Farm, former home of the United States Equestrian Team (USET) and current headquarters of the USET Foundation, the show features seven full days of hunter/ jumper competition. In the afternoon exhibitors, friends and sponsors gathered in the hospitality tent to enjoy a Mexican themed meal and the feature class, the $5,000 Bit O’Straw Derby, sponsored by Running ‘S’ Equine.
A plethora of junior Big Eq classes filled the morning schedule, including the ASPCA Medal Maclay, the US Equestrian Talent Search, and more. Following the morning classes, Katy Merchant was named Open Equitation Champion, and as part of her win, she received a prize of a custom Autumn Elizabeth Apparel hat. Merchant accumulated the points after emerging victorious in the US Equestrian Talent Search with the 17-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Carolus 1 x Kamilla 4), Captain Krutzmann.
The evening’s Bit O’ Straw Derby heralded 15 round-one starters and the top 12 riders returned for a second course. The field consisted entirely of junior and amateur competitors producing their best efforts over Skip Bailey’s nine-fence track.
Heading into the returning phase, amateur rider Erin Githens had piloted Alibi VI to the lead score of 78.00. She and Taegan Long’s 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Argentinus x Unika) added 71.50 points for a total of 149.50 to earn the third-place honors. The pair formed a special relationship as they both introduced each other back to the show ring.
“He’s really the best horse in the entire world,” she said. “I was just starting to ride again after many years and he was just coming back from an injury, so I guess you could say we rehabbed each other.”
“I really enjoyed the course today and the long bending lines it offered,” Githens continued, “my horse has a huge stride and these lines allowed him to continue to carry his pace instead of needing to land and woe which was a nice change.”
Olivia O’Malley and Arklys, LLC’s 11-year-old Warmblood gelding, SO WHAT, jumped from their previous third position to claim the reserve title of the class. The duo earned repeat scores of 75.00 for both the first and second rounds for a 150.00 point finish.
“I was worried, but once I got going in the course, I calmed down a little bit,” said O’Malley, a 15-year-old from Summit, New Jersey. She said her trainers, Bethie and Libby Dayton, reminded her to breathe on course.
Young junior competitor Caroline Sameth paired two consistent good rounds to move into the first place position on a score of 151.50. Sameth returned with a first-round score of 77.00, which she and Doris Leventhal’s 18-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Chocolat 15, then paired with a respective 74.50.
“Today was very exciting because this is the first time I have done a derby format class like this,” Sameth said. “At home, we worked a lot on keeping a forward canter and getting correct, balanced changes, and it paid off today.”
“This is my favorite show I think,” she said. “It is such a fun atmosphere and it’s incredible to be able to compete at the venue that hosted the US Equestrian Team for so long.”
Final Results of the $5,000 Bit O’ Straw Derby, Presented by Running 'S' Equine Services
Horse/Rider/Owner/ R1 Score / R2 Score | Total
1. Chocolat 15/Caroline Sameth/Doris Leventhal/77.00/74.50 | 151.50
2. SO WHAT/Olivia O’Malley/Arklys, LLC/75.00/75.00 | 150.00
3. Alibi VI/Erin Githens/Taegan Long/78.00/71.50 | 149.50
4. Rue De Bourbon/Hannah Allen/Hannah Allen/74.00/72.00 | 146.00
5. Luminary/Ella Spina/Ella Spina/73.00/72.00 | 145.00
6. Lenard/Skyler Murphy/Jovanna Lombardozzi/70.00/74.00 | 144.00
7. Volturno/Madison Butz/Madison Butz/69.00/66.00 | 135.00
8. Helios/Kate Chen/Kate Chen/68.00/60.00 | 128.00
Earlier in the day Ava Farley and Shine on Me earned the grand championship of the Pre Children’s Hunter division besting 26 horse-and-rider combinations and was presented with The Marano Family Pre Children’s Horse Perpetual Trophy.
Awards were also presented by Lineage Equine for Sportsmanship and for the Trip of the Day by Stal De Eyckenhoeve. Carmela Cacciatore and Catherine The Great received a pair of new Lineage stirrups for their sportsmanship performance, while Isabella Solis and Mr. Big produced the “Top Trip of the Day” in the Pre-Children’s Hunter division.
Monmouth at the Team thanks its many gracious sponsors. CWD presented a bridle to Caroline Sameth for her win in the $5,000 Bit O' Straw Derby, sponsored by Running 'S' Equine. The morning kicked off with breakfast sponsored by Lussan LLC and Ginny Lussan. Exhibitors cooled off in the afternoon at an ice cream social, sponsored by Windham Hill. All Wednesday first-place winners received a gift certificate, compliments of Dover Saddlery.
Celebrating 20 years of excellence, Running ‘S’ Equine is a premier equine veterinary practice based in Califon, New Jersey, with a focus on top quality sport horse diagnostics and treatment. Founded in 1995, the practice completed construction of the hospital facility in 2001. Since then, the practice has grown from one veterinarian to five full-time practitioners and offers specialists in surgery, sport horse medicine, traditional Chinese veterinary medicine and a broad range of other services.
“The Bit O’ Straw Derby was a great class to sponsor because this division doesn’t traditionally get a lot of attention,” said Amy Gregonis from Running ‘S’ Equine. “Some of these riders enjoyed their very first victory gallop.”
The name “Running ‘S’, comes from the family brand used to identify cattle that grazed in the California foothills where Running ‘S’ Equine Veterinary Services’ founder and owner, Greg Staller, DVM, DACVS, was raised. He first connected with horses on the 11,420-acre ranch. His early experiences inspired his veterinary career and the creation of Running ‘S’ Equine Veterinary Services.
Running ‘S’ Equine has provided official veterinary services to top competitions for many years including the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search, the USET Festival of Champions, the Garden State Horse Show, the Essex Horse Trials and more.
For more information about Running ‘S’ Equine Veterinary Services, visit RunningSEquine.com or contact info@RunningSEquine.com or call (908) 832-5484.