New Jersey-Zone 2: The Heartbeat of Horse Shows in the 70-90’s

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Lyn Gallagher and Southern Magic.

Part 1. Schooling Shows and Outside Courses

BY Pearl Running Deer

It’s the last years of the 70’s and the beginning of the 80’s. Wham, Tears for Fears, and the Jackson 5 is the music to listen to. Facts of Life and Different Strokes are a hit on TV. Men dressed like the cops on Miami Vice. Disco and big hair is in.

During this time, riders in Zone 2 attended some of the best schooling shows in New Jersey. They retrained their horses off-the-track and they were ready for showing.

Foggy Meadows was known for schooling and sidesaddle divisions. Barclay Equestrian Center, or really any show Suzanne Auletto gave, was the “cool” place to be. Going past Trenton, Snowbird Horse Shows had one of the best outside courses. It was a huge place with five rings going on at the same time. You could only get there by driving up a steep hill.

Bert De Nemethy coached the USET team to 1982. He designed the Los Angeles Olympics course and William Steinkraus was the commentator with Frank Chapot as the Chef d’ Equipe in 1980.

Kira Matonick currently ridines dressage with Stephanie Mason and is the founder and one of the administrators of Adult English Equestrian Forum. She currently resides in Westampton Township, New Jersey.

When I was 8 years old, I met my childhood trainer Marie Asper at Foggy Meadows. We brought my green grade quarter pony, named My Golden Peaches to her very first show there. My pony acted so stressed that day. She was spinning around, screaming etc. We happened to park next to Marie’s trailer unbeknown to us. In conversation with her, my mom mentioned this was Peaches’ first show. I think Marie was afraid I would get hurt. Out of the kindness of her heart, she offered to let me ride her well-schooled pony named Chase the Blues in my division. I got a 3rd and a 4th in my first show! I love Foggy Meadows because even if you didn’t spend a lot of money, you could have fun with the other kids. From that day forward Marie was my trainer, we moved Peaches to Marie’s farm named Mason Run, in Hainesport, New Jersey. She took Peaches and I from beginner rider to showing 2’3 courses and jumping 2’6 in lessons. At Foggy Meadows, I never felt out of place. Even though I had rubber high top boots, and no jodhpur boots, I didn’t feel less than. It was the best place to show locally.

Kira Matonick and My Golden Peaches.

Lyn Gallagher rode in the Adult Amateur. She now works with Gleneayre Horse Shows with Suzanne Auletto and also judges. Gallagher and her grandchildren take lessons at Hidden Sun Farm. Gallagher’s private barn is in Chatsworth, NJ.

Hunt Cap was a show in the heat of the summer that everyone looked forward to. I loved showing on their short outside course with the little hills. It was really a fun course that you could gallop if you had a horse that didn’t get carried away. You could sit under the tall shady trees next to that course and wait for your classes, kind of like a picnic. I loved the outside ring at Snowbird also! They used it for the Adult Amateurs. I remember one show, they moved us to one of the main rings near the barn. There was a goat owner right off of the ring. The goats were continually bleating and ringing their little bells. Needless to say, my thoroughbred horse was terrorized and I couldn’t even get him near the first jump. Not a good show day! On another note; back then, you braided, and groomed your own horse. It was part of the fun. Just spending time with your horse you got to know him better just as he got to know you.

Coeli Netsky, NAWD, DOD, OHSA is a licensed judge ARIA certified instructor. She is the founder and Director of CNNJ Horse Show Judges Group.

Coeli Netsky and Cinnamon Soldier.

Suzanne Auletto gave so many wonderful shows in South Jersey. One was held at the Marlton Equestrian Center. One of my favorite shows was Barclay Equestrian Center in Evesham Township, N.J. They had a beautiful indoor. Back then, there wasn’t that many indoors in the state. The shows that she ran was always nice. The outside course was enough of a challenge. It taught you to lengthen or shorten your horses’ striding. Your horse had to ride forward. I rode on a close contact Prix de Nation saddle, which means no knee rolls. You really had to have a good leg. Everything was simple. We had one little fence outside the ring. And that was your practice fence. You couldn’t practice on the course ahead of time, nor show your horse the fences. The rules in a schooling show back then were like riding in an ‘A’ show. You were practicing at these shows to get ready for the main circuit. Personally, as a judge, would like to see that back again.

Part 2 and 3: Stories on the major shows such as Woodedge, Four Seasons, Middlesex and more!

Pearl Running Deer was one of the first Native American riders to compete on the circuit in the 80’s-2002. Her trainer was Maurice Honig from the French Equestrian team. From 2003 to 2013, she was a high fashion model at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in NYC. In between, she worked with film directors as an assistant. She founded a nonprofit Turtle Island Equestrian Inc., which started a Native American Equestrian Team. Ms. Running Deer also is a Freelance writer.