By Emily Riden for Phelps Media Group
Buffalo, NY – September 9, 2015 – For decades, the Buffalo International Horse Show has served as the most prominent fundraiser of the year for the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center (BTRC). On Wednesday, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Heritage Horse Show kicked off for the 69th year, welcoming some of the United States’ top hunter riders for the first of five days of competition.
Making frequent appearances on the opening day’s list of winners were Jennifer Alfano, Jennifer Dahlman, Alicia Heberle and David Wilbur.
In the heart of Buffalo at the BRTC, Alfano led the way early in the day with a clean sweep of the Conformation Hunter division. She and her own 7-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Candid, earned the top call in all four of the morning’s Conformation Hunter classes, including the model, the under saddle and two over fences rounds. Alfano continued her domination of the division by also finishing second in all four classes aboard Me Again, a 6-year-old gray Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Helen Lenahan.
Jennifer Alfano and Candid swept the Conformation Hunter division. Photo by SEL Photography.
Alfano also earned a top call in the next division of the day, the High Performance Hunters, this time aboard Billie H. Steffee’s Maggie May. Alfano has seen great success in both the High Performance division and in the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby program with the talented 9-year-old Brandenberger mare, and on Wednesday they picked up another first place finish over fences.
Taking the victory in the second High Performance Hunter over fences class as well as in the division’s under saddle class were Jennifer Dahlman and her own Gianni. Residing just a few hours away in Cazenovia, New York, Dahlman is a frequent competitor at and supporter of the Buffalo International Horse Show where she earned last year’s Amateur-Owner Hunter division championship, also with Gianni. As the High Performance Hunters continue on Thursday, she will shoot to add another Buffalo International Horse Show tricolor to her collection.
Alicia Heberle and The Poet claimed the first division championship of the 2015 Buffalo International Horse Show. Photo by SEL Photography.
In the Pre-Green Hunters, the fight for the division championship will come down to David Wilbur on Charismo and Alfano on Castle. Wilbur kicked off the division on Wednesday with back-to-back victories over fences on the 8-year-old KWPN gelding, owned by Wilbur Show Stables. Alfano and Castle, owned by Sharon G. O’Neill, claimed the top honor under saddle as well as a second and a third place finish over fences.
Riding away with the first championship of the week were Alicia Heberle and The Poet. Heberle and the young gelding, owned by Up The Creek Farm, earned two blue ribbons in the 2’6″ Baby Green Hunters before claiming their championship tricolor. Heberle also rode to a win in the 2’6″ Schooling Hunters aboard Chloe Karl’s Sweet Carolina.
Alicia Heberle and The Poet. Photo by SEL Photography.
Competition continues Thursday at the Buffalo International Horse Show with the conclusion of the professional hunter divisions and the start of the Amateur-Owner Hunters. Thursday will also feature one of the horse show’s always popular special events, the $1,000 Groom’s Class.
The Buffalo International Horse Show is one of fewer than 20 national horse shows recognized with the USEF Heritage Status. This designation is reserved for competitions that have been in existence for 25 years or more and make contributions to the community outside of the show by maintaining and promoting the equestrian ideals of sportsmanship and competition.
To learn more about the Buffalo International Horse Show and the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center visit www.thebtrc.org.