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Garden State Horse Show Celebrates Biggest Year Yet

AUGUSTA, NJ—May 12, 2003— The 52nd edition of the Garden State Horse Show, held April 30-May 4, celebrated a record 1151 entries during its five days at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, NJ. The impressive turnout was also reflected in the $50,000 Garden State Grand Prix, presented by Junior Essex Troop, held on Saturday, May 3. Thirty entries vied for the prize money with some of the nation’s best show-jumping riders and horses competing.

Topping the class was Chris Kappler of Flemington, NJ, who won the Grand Prix riding Profox. The pair was the final team to tackle the jump-off course and they posted a winning time of 32.043 seconds. Profox was one of ten horses to jump clean over the Anthony D’Ambrosio-designed first-round course. Kappler also piloted two others in the second round – Rafiki and Korina.

The battle for the blue came down to Kappler and McLain Ward of Brewster, NY. Ward rode Galant and Onyx 66 in the jump-off, and it was Galant who put the heat on Kappler as he posted a time of 32.523 seconds and jumped into the lead just moments before Kappler returned as the last to go.

“The kid’s lethal,” said Kappler referring to Ward’s speed and accuracy. Kappler knew he needed to cut time and ride a faster track than he did on Korina. Sitting in the second and third position he had “nothing to lose.”

The win at Garden State was the first big grand prix win for Profox, a ten-year-old Rhinelander owned by Jorgen Winroth.

Kappler also picked up ribbons earlier in the week. Kappler and the 2001 winner of the Garden State Grand Prix, Nona Garson, were part of a three-way tie for the Modified Jumper championship. Kappler and Garson each won a class riding Profox and Rhythmical, respectively. The third rider involved in the tie was another USET veteran Laura Chapot, who was riding Green Card.

Kappler also won two classes in the low preliminary division aboard Jewel’s Titanium to take the division championship. Jewel’s Titanium is owned by Michael Morrone and Equisport. Morrone found and imported the young bay stallion for Kappler to show. Jewel’s Titanium is now seven years old and was started on the Florida circuit.

In the lower jumper divisions, the Marshall & Sterling children’s and adult jumper classes drew the top children’s and adult riders who are competing for year-end points. These classes were also North American League (NAL) events. The NAL runs season-long series in six hunter and jumper divisions – Children’s Hunter, Children’s Jumper, Adult Hunter, Adult Jumper, Pony Jumper, and Open Jumper Speed. Each series culminates with a championship final at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, PA, in October. Riders need not be members of the NAL to compete in any qualifying classes, but only current members earn points toward year-end finals. For more information and a list of qualifying competitions for 2003, please visit the Ryegate Show Services website at

At Garden State, the winner of the adult class was Sean Finn riding Kylemore Kid, a seven-year-old Irish sport horse. In his second year at Garden State, Finn said this win is the best so far in his career with this horse. Finn, of Smithtown, Long Island, trains with Debbie and Marty deLeyer.

In the children’s NAL jumper class, Francesca Bolfo, 13, of New York, NY, rode her horse LaBaron to the blue ribbon. Bolfo topped the field of 32 and beat out the six who qualified for the jump-off by jumping a double clear round in 31.675 seconds. The young rider was one of only two who posted a double clear. Bolfo trains with Jeff Cook at Hunterdon in Pittstown, NJ.

The Marshall & Sterling Adult Hunter class was won by Melissa Feller, 19, of Mendham, NJ. She topped the two-round $500 class riding Tammy Craig-Smith’s horse Rumors Fly. In addition to picking up the blue ribbon in the Marshall & Sterling class, she also collected the younger adult amateur championship as well as the grand champion ribbon in the adult division.

Winning a Marshall & Sterling class is nothing new for Feller who finished first last year at Garden State in the Marshall & Sterling Children’s Hunter class aboard her own horse Imported. Feller and Imported also took home the Marshall & Sterling Children’s Hunter Championship held at the Capital Challenge Horse Show last October.

Moving into the adult amateur division has clearly been a smooth transition for Feller. She and Imported had a successful horse show at Garden State, taking home the second place in the adult amateur Marshall & Sterling class and picked up three thirds, a second, and a fourth place to take the reserve championship for the division.

Feller is finishing her freshman year at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ. She is also a working student for trainer Robert Beck of Hunters Crossing in Long Valley, NJ. This is the third consecutive year Beck has trained the winner of the Marshall & Sterling Adult Hunter class as well as the grand adult amateur champion. Last year’s winner, Alison Fernandez was unable to defend her two-year title as she stood on the rail nine months pregnant and watched her stablemate pick up the honors.

In the $1500 Garden State Pony Hunter Classic, Kelley Cowperthwait rode Cheryl Creque’s large pony Scandal Sheet to top honors. The pair also took home the Large Pony Hunter Championship. Second in the classic went to Kaitlin Campbell and her medium pony Crack of Dawn, a five-year-old bred by Champlain Isle Farm. Crack of Dawn was named Medium Pony Hunter Reserve Champion and Campbell also collected the Medium Pony Hunter Championships with Believe in Magic, a pony she had been leasing since January and recently purchased. This is Campbell’s third consecutive year picking up a pony hunter championship and it is also her second year winning the Best Child Rider award at the Garden State Horse Show - the May Colquhoun Perpetual Memorial Trophy. The only other junior to receive the award twice was Georgina Bloomberg.

Both Cowperthwait and Campbell train with Patty Miller of Pipersville, PA. Cowperthwait also rode in the junior hunter division and earned the Small and Grand Junior Hunter championships riding Tally Over, a ten-year-old Thoroughbred owned by Jill Goldfine. The Best Child Rider award has now been won by one of Miller's students for the past three years (Campbell in 2001 and 2003 and Kate Conover in 2002).

On the last day of the Garden State Horse Show, twenty junior and amateur-owner jumper riders attempted an impressive course built by Anthony D’Ambrosio in the $5000 Garden State Junior/A-O Prix, a member event of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Jumper Classic Series. And for the third consecutive year the big grey Belgian-bred mare named Laurin topped the class. Ridden this year by owner Leigh Healy of Mount Holly, NJ, Laurin was the last to go in the four-horse jump-off and stopped the clock clean in a blistering 36.805 seconds.

“I put a lot of faith in Laurin. She never lets you down,” said Healy who just moved up into the high junior jumper division this past March. Healy also rides a ten-year-old Dutch gelding named Liverpool in the low juniors. That pair picked up a blue in the $2500 Garden State Junior/A-O Prix.

The field of 32 was narrowed as seven horse-and-rider combinations qualified for the second round. Healy and Liverpool were the first to go and set the pace with a clear round in 36.077 seconds. No one could beat their clean go and the win propelled them to the Low Junior Jumper Championship.

Healy trains with Frank and Stacia Madden of Beacon Hill. The Maddens also train Maria Schaub, winner of the $1500 Garden State Hunter Classic, sponsored by Beval Saddlery Ltd. Schaub rode Abigail Carpenter’s horse John Courage to the prestigious honors. Schaub picked up the ride on Johnny since Carpenter needed to take SAT’s on Saturday and wasn’t feeling well emerged to ride him for the second day of classes.

The Garden State Horse Show is rated “AA” by USA Equestrian and is the largest hunter-jumper show in New Jersey.


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