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SBS Farms' Jersey Boy and Jennifer Alfano Emerge Victorious in $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Saratoga Classic

June 22, 2010
Jennifer Alfano and SBS Farms' Jersey Boy
SBS Farms' Jersey Boy and Jennifer Alfano emerged victorious in the 2010 $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Saratoga Classic June 19, 2010. © James Leslie Parker 2010.

Buffalo, New York - June 21, 2010
Fresh off of their win in the $25,000 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Devon Horse Show on June 6, 2010, Jennifer Alfano and SBS Farms' Jersey Boy added another win to their long list of hunter derby accolades after securing top honors in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on June 19, 2010, at the Saratoga Classic Horse Show in Saratoga, NY.

Alfano and Jersey Boy have led the USHJA International Hunter Derby Series since its inception, and were recently crowned the USHJA International Hunter Derby Series winner for the second year in a row. The derbies were developed to bring horsemanship and tradition back into the hunters, and as such, require a special horse and a talented rider.

Together, Alfano and Jersey Boy have mastered the art of hunter derbies, a feat SBS Farms trainer and director Susie Schoellkopf attributes to talent and a great partnership. "I think that the great thing about Jersey Boy is he just gets better and better. He didn't even do the Regular Working Hunters this week, only the derby, and I think his focus is really improving. He's a special horse and he jumps beautiful all the time. The partnership Jersey Boy and Jen have is amazing - they know each other so well."

Prior to their appearance at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Hunter Derby Demonstration, Jersey Boy and Alfano will not only compete in the 2009-2010 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY, but also in the respective USHJA International Hunter Derbies of the following events: I Love New York in Lake Placid, NY, Chagrin Valley Hunter Jumper in Chagrin Falls, OH, and the Chicago Hunter Derby of Antioch, IL.

Reflecting on the value of the hunter derbies to the sport of show hunters, Schoellkopf, who is also on the USHJA High Performance Committee, explained, "I think it's a really popular class as it is about teaching good horsemanship and teaching good riding style. The derbies are so different from the normal hunter courses, and there is a lot of strategy involved, especially going into second round and determining what you need to do to be handy."

The derbies provide immense opportunities for professionals, juniors, and amateurs alike. "I think the derbies have done a lot for the hunters," Schoellkopf noted, "there was a huge crowd last night and people had a lot of fun. It's nice to be able to develop horses of Jersey Boy's quality and not have to show him in the division, and to be able to have that option. I also think that it's a great opportunity for juniors and amateurs to be able to show against professionals such as Jen, Scott Stewart, Louise Serio, and Havens Schatt, because it brings out the good riding in everyone."

In addition to winning the derby at Saratoga, SBS Farms also took home a number of other tri colors including the Large Pony Hunter championship. Victoria Colvin piloted Harper Hills LLC's Blue Ridge Sunset to two victories, two second place finishes, and a fourth in the under saddle to clench the championship honors for the Large Pony Hunters. "Blue Ridge Sunset went so beautifully," Schoellkopf said, "it was really great to see him back in action and doing well."

SBS Farms captured the reserve championship honors in both the Children's Jumpers and the Second Year Green Working Hunters. Madison Brayman piloted SBS Farms' Only Jumping Boy to the reserve tri color in the Children's Jumpers, while Extraordinary, a Jennifer Alfano ride for Helen Lenahan, took home the reserve championship in the Second Year Green Working Hunters.

Following their success at the Saratoga Classic, SBS Farms headed home to Buffalo, NY, where they will take two weeks off from horse showing before starting up again with the I Love New York Horse Show in Lake Placid, NY.