Hampton Falls, NH – August 15, 2013 – The inaugural edition of the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament is entered into the record books and will go down as one of the most successful debuts of any new horse show in the United States. Universal praise came from riders, owners and spectators alike for the show, held at the beautiful Silver Oak Equestrian Center in Hampton Falls, NH.
Five days of excellent show jumping was highlighted by the $75,000 Equestrian Estates Planning Group Grand Prix and the $15,000.00 Agero Speed Stake Classic on Sunday afternoon.
“We showed the world’s most beautiful sport in the way it should be showcased,” said Show Chairman Jeffery Papows. “I was delighted with our inaugural effort for a number of reasons. We had great sport in the most beautiful setting in America. The team we put together did a wonderful job in producing a first class event and most importantly, we raised over $40,000 for our dedicated charity, the Children’s Wish Foundation International. I only wish my dear friend David Birdsall had been there to see the success,” he said.
Birdsall, the owner of the Silver Oak Equestrian Center, died unexpectedly earlier this year. A special ceremony honored Birdsall before Sunday’s main event.
A recap of the week’s show jumping action saw junior rider Maria Brugal scoring the first victory on the grand prix field with her feisty gray horse Arann DV on Wednesday. “This is my first time here,” smiled Brugal. “Riding out on the big field was great fun. It’s refreshing to come to a new place that’s so beautiful.”
In the second event on Wednesday (1.30m Jumpers) Ramiro Quintana rode to victory on Bialda, a top seven-year old Young Jumper owned by St. Bride’s Farm of Upperville, Virginia. “Awesome. A great venue,” Quintana said of the Silver Oak facility. “This is the first time here for me and I couldn’t be happier that I came. I have a bunch of young horses here. I have six year-olds, seven year-olds, eight year-olds and I wanted to give them the experience and mileage on grass because they are all headed to the Hamptons. It’s hard to find shows in America in the summer where there’s a grass field and this field is absolutely perfect,” he noted.
Riding Oakland Venture’s Picolo, Darragh Kenny wrapped up the opening day activities with the win in the 1.40m Jumpers. “I’ve got a great string of horses, very careful, very competitive and easy to ride. I have some great clients and some wonderful horses underneath me, so I couldn’t be happier.”
As far as the Silver Oak facility, Kenny said, “I think the facility and the horse show is absolutely fantastic. I think it’s a brilliant show. The show is run well, the field is beautiful, the footing is super, so it’s really enjoyable to be here. The people are so nice. I can’t say enough good things about this horse show.”
Irish eyes were smiling on Thursday as Paul O’Shea and his long-time partner Instant Karma topped a strong field of fifty-five competitors to take the win in the $20,000 ESP Welcome Stake class, the first of the big money classes headed into the big weekend.
Charlie Jacobs held the lead in 45.025 seconds when O’Shea entered the ring for his jump-off ride.
O’Shea and Instant Karma were off and running and never let up until the end. Neat and tidy all the way around and then a great cut to the double combination headed for home and a fast gallop to the final oxer set O’Shea up for the win as he raced across the finish line in 44.547 seconds, the only rider on the day to break through the 45 second barrier. Jacobs finished in second place.
“She’s been a great mare for me,” said a beaming O’Shea following his victory gallop. “I’ve had her since she was a foal, so a long time and she’s been a really, really successful mount for me. She’s very good in her turns, very rideable, very balanced and that’s makes it a lot easier to get the job done.”
“I love this place. I think it’s the nicest show I’ve ever been to really,” O’Shea commented. “It’s a beautiful setting. It’s a dream for any horse or rider. The ground is absolutely fantastic and they have everything for us. Food, fruit, water, they even have carrots for the horses, they just really want to look after us and make sure we’re happy. I can’t say enough nice things about this show.”
Munich, Germany’s Olaf Petersen, Jr. was on hand to design the tests for the show jumpers at Silver Oak. Speaking of the facility, Petersen said, “It’s great. It’s amazing. There are not many places like this in all of the world and the footing is very good. Though it was raining a bit early this morning, the field is still perfect and there’s not one place to complain.”
Petersen’s comments were prophetic as a fourteen hour long, hard and steady rain on Friday dampened the competition on that day, but did little damage to the well maintained grass field or a new Jumper 2 ring that held up perfectly as the all weather GGT annex ring. Things finished up with perfect weather and a great Saturday and Sunday in Hampton Falls.
Saturday at the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament couldn’t have dawned more beautifully. Brilliant sunny skies, low humidity and an afternoon high in 70’s made for absolutely ideal conditions as the big weekend got underway.
The $15,000 DG Ventures Speed Derby drew a total of twenty-one starters, but only one horse and rider combination, Cody Auer and Timo, were able to master the track of sixteen numbered obstacles with nineteen jumping efforts. Auer stormed to victory, completing the course in 93.958 seconds for the win. “I just wanted to make sure I got the clean round, so I didn’t go crazy fast, just neat and tidy,” Auer said. “It was a long, tough test, so I was thrilled that Timo jumped around without a fault. It was a very exciting class, a fun one to win. It’s great to be here. This is a lovely facility and riding out on the grass is something we don’t get to do that often. The field is in beautiful shape, even after all that rain that we had yesterday.” Paul Halpern finished second with Kathleen Kamine’s Super G.
In the Low Junior-Amateur/Owner Jumper Classic, Allyson Shryoc piloted her mount, Cheval D’Espoirz to the top spot, defeating a starting field of twenty-one and ten others in the dash for cash. Shryoc breezed to an easy win, two seconds faster than the next best, hitting the timers in 33.673 seconds.
Ashley Prusak on the Top Story LLC entry of Rabin took home the Championship in the Low Junior Amateur Jumpers. Shryoc picked up Reserve Champion honors.
“It’s great,” Shryoc said of the show. “I wish there were more shows in America like this one. They have spectators and they have fabulous footing. You know, we don’t get to jump on grass very much anymore. It’s really just a pleasure to be here. I wish they had more weeks at this facility.”
The High Junior-Amateur/Owner Jumper Classicwas won by Nicole Bellissimo with the only double clear round of the class on Bellissimo LLC’s VDL Bellefleur. One of only three that went clear from the original starting field of thirteen, Bellissimo toured the jump-off course fault-free in 36.619 seconds.
As the first to return for the tiebreaker, she explained that she wanted to be fast enough to put the pressure on the other two coming behind her. “I went first, and with only two following me, I thought just a nice, efficient clear round would work. Fast enough to put the pressure on, but nothing too crazy so that I wouldn’t be clear,” she detailed. “Luckily, that worked in my favor.”
“It’s beautiful. It’s really an amazing venue, the field has held up really great and Olaf (Petersen, Jr.) is really good with moving all the jumps. We’re really lucky to be here,” Bellissimo said.
Prof de la Rogue from the Postage Stamp Farm and rider Annabelle Gundlach secured the Championship in the High Junior-A/O section.
In the Masters Classic, the first event on Saturday morning agenda, it was Christine Blair riding to a dominating victory on Foxgate’s Joker, owned by John Blair. The Tiverton, RI resident raced through the timers in the jump-off in 27.503 seconds for the win. Show Chairman, Jeff Papows finished in second place on Eurostar, also double clean.
The Champion from the Developing Jumpers, Alan Griffin from Ox Ridge, was the winner of the Herb Chamber Auto Group Piaggio Typhoon 50 scooter. With a one in five chance, Griffin drew the winning key that started the motorcycle.
The Silver Oak Jumper Tournament drew to a close on Sunday, under gorgeous sunny skies, low humidity and perfect temperatures in mid 70’s. The fantastic weather put an exclamation point on what can only be described as an extraordinary debut for what certainly will become one of the nation’s premier show jumping extravaganzas. A huge Sunday crowd documented the success of the local promotion that went in to this first year event. From the three deep folks that lined every available spot along the rail, to many sold out luncheon tables in the numerous VIP tents surrounding the grand prix ring, the throng on hand enjoyed a great Sunday of big-time show jumping in the Granite State of New Hampshire.
The $15,000 Agero Speed Stake was the Sunday morning feature. Ramiro Quintana emerged victorious with Remarkable Farms’ Ollywood Des Horts, crossing the finish line in 59.191 to claim the victory. Peter Wylde placed second with Wiesielotti, owned by Winley Farm of Millbrook, CT
“Luckily I went after Peter and he took the lead right before me,” admitted Quintana. “My horse is very experienced and naturally fast. I got him right after Florida to be sold, and he’s been moving up and getting really consistent results. He can do the speeds really well, but he can also jump bigger tracks. He’ll go to the Hampton Classic after this to do the 1.50m classes.”
The main event, the $75,000 Equestrian Estates Planning Group Grand Prix, saw the second big win for Irish rider Paul O’Shea. In the Winning Round format, where the top ten horses returned for the jump-off, O’Shea guided Primo de Revel to the win.
Petersen’s course proved to be king, yielding only one clear round. Despite a big field of riders showing over the track, only Charlie Jacobs of Boston, MA, left all of the first round fences in the cups aboard Flaming Star.
The course featured an open water and a vertical-oxer double combination, but the most daunting task was the oxer-vertical-oxer triple combination coming off a tight turn for home, which caused 22 horses to lower 28 rails. “It was a big, long and wide opening galloping course, but then at the end, it was a short turn to home for a tight triple combination, so you really had to get your horse back and under control,” said Petersen, Jr. “But I was surprised that so many people had trouble through there to be honest.”
The lone clear rider from the first round, Jacobs, stated, “The combination was quite difficult. I had seen a number of riders get stuck in there. The footing was pretty deep in there, so when I went in I looked at the jump and saw how deep it was and I tried to stay as far left as I could through the turn so my horse could have the best footing possible. I came in real quiet, sat up, and kicked real hard to get out in two.”
The format invited the top 10 finishers from the first round to return for the jump-off in reverse order of faults and time, with only Jacobs returning on a score of zero.
Irish rider Darragh Kenny set the original score to beat in the jump-off, clearing the course in 48.590 seconds with Quiz. His total of four faults from the first round would hold up for fourth place. Fellow Irishman Kevin Babington and Mark Q soon bested him, shaving off valuable time through the rollbacks and clearing the course in 46.276 seconds, which would earn the second place award, also with four faults from the first round. Ramiro Quintana of Argentina followed aboard Whitney. The pair was right on Babington’s heels, but fell just shy of the time, breaking the beam at 46.972 seconds to take home the third place award.
When Paul O’Shea entered the ring he had his eye on the prize with his experienced mount Primo De Revel. And for the second time during the week, the luck of the Irish was on his side, as he quickly made his way around the arena, never wasting a second in the air and leaving each rail in place in a time of 45.112 seconds, and just his first round four faults.
“My plan was just to be a little bit faster than Kevin,” explained O’Shea. Between the third and fourth fences I did one less stride, and then to the last fence I also left a stride out. I had the advantage of watching him and everyone else go, so that was a big help.”
All of the pressure fell on Jacobs and Flaming Star, because with less than four faults, they would claim the win. Unfortunately, that would not be the case. They lowered the height of two fences, bringing their total to eight faults. “Hats off to Paul O’Shea, he had a great week,” stated Jacobs. “Olaf had built a very similarly difficult course last year. One horse jumped clean and won the class. I was hoping to win the class as the one clean, but I came back and had a couple rails, and those are the breaks. It was fun; it was a good class.”
Grand Prix winner O’Shea stated, “We have this format a lot in Europe, and sometimes it has worked to my advantage and sometimes it has not, but today it really did, so I was very happy about that.”
O’Shea has been riding Primo De Revel, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, for six years. “We’ve had a lot of fun,” he noted. “He hasn’t jumped since Lake Placid when he won the grand prix, and before that he won the grand prix in April during the spring series in Wellington. I am over the moon with him. He’s a really fantastic horse. He’s very easy to ride, very straight forward, I just have to get him to the jump. He does everything else.”
“The first round did not walk as hard as it rode,” admitted O’Shea after his win.” The triple combination walked a little short, and with my horse, when I jumped in, I really supported him up front. He was good in front, but knocked it behind. In the jump-off I just kept my hand really soft and he jumped it really well in front and behind.”
O’Shea picked up the two biggest prize money checks during his week at the Silver Oak Tournament. “I love this show; everything has just been fantastic,” he expressed. “The ground was fantastic today, there was a super crowd, they had a band, there was great food, they thought of everything for the horses and the riders. The stalls are actually a stall and a half. I’ve never been at a show where the stalls are so big, which is very nice for the horses. I think the horses really enjoyed it!”
“A lot of work went into this event. Seeing this great crowd on Sunday is very rewarding to me and those of us that love the sport of show jumping,” said Show Chairman Jeff Papows. “Although this first year was everything we expected and more, we’re already looking ahead to next year and the different improvements we can make. I’m confident that there will be more money offered next year and a few tweaks here and there will make this wonderful event even better, and I’m thrilled we were able to help the charities we supported in the dramatic way we did.”