Professional hunter rider Jennifer Alfano, who had fractured her left knee in a fall while competing at the Devon Horse Show the previous year, returned to the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, presented by the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund, in winning form as she and her Candid took the High Performance Conformation Hunter Championship title.
Based out of Buffalo, New York, but originally from Harrisburg, PA, Alfano and Candid won three of the over fences classes in the division and placed second in the other. They took fourth place in the hack and second in the model, giving them the points needed to be named Champion.
Jennifer Alfano runs SBS Farms with Susie Schoellkopf, one of the foremost show hunter training operations in the country, and compete in the country’s most prestigious horse shows.
“He was so good, I am so excited,” said Alfano. “I was a little nervous, Kristy [Herrera] has still been showing him quite a bit because I love watching her ride him. I have actually only shown him twice this summer. Which just dawned on me the night before, and I got nervous about it. Because he is my own horse it makes it more special, but I also get nervous because he is my own. But he was so, so good. I have always loved coming to this horse show, it is my hometown. When I was little, this horse show was such a big deal. It is always fun to come home. Candid was actually Grand Hunter Champion here when he was a First Year horse. He loves it here.”
Thursday at the PNHS was “Pony Up For Pink” day, in support of Breast Cancer Awareness with many of the riders, including Alfano, sporting pink armbands to show their support of for the PA Breast Cancer Coalition.
Green Conformation Hunter Champion and recipient of the Wild Air Farms Challenge Trophy was Private Life, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker and ridden by Scott Stewart. This was a hard-fought battle for Stewart, as the pair won the first over fences class then had trouble in the second and only scored a 45. The second day of competition was a return to form as they were fourth and then won the final class with a score of 92.
“The Championship came down to the last class,” admitted Stewart. “I knew I had to win it. I made a few mistakes in the other classes, myself not the horse, and I knew it going in. Sometimes the pressure is good for me. Private Life is only a six-year-old, and he has had a light schedule but has been very successful. He was awesome today. He is the easiest horse to ride. It is so easy it is hard. He is always pretty right-on, they are usually my mistakes.”
Stewart received the Elizabeth M. Solter Memorial Perpetual Trophy as Leading Hunter Rider. This is the third time in a row that Stewart has won the award. Stewart also won the EMO High Five Award for receiving the highest score in the Professional Hunter divisions, a 92, given in the last class with Private Life.
Wonderly, also owned by Dr. Parker and ridden by Stewart was awarded the Pennsylvania National Grand Hunter Championship and the Beaufort Hunt Perpetual Trophy. Wonderly competed in the 3’6″ Green Hunter division.