Sussex show has something special for both riders and spectators

The Sussex County Horse Show is marking its 80th anniversary as it gets under way this week–but it isn’t standing still.

Set against the backdrop of the New Jersey State Fair, its giant ferris wheel and bright lights, Sussex keeps adjusting to the times. It no longer has the draft horse team pulling classes, but it does offer a dizzying range of competition opportunities across three rings, everything from the featured $35,000 grand prix at 8 p.m. Aug. 13, to A-rated and unrated hunter classes, a hunt night July 12, western classes and such old favorites as the local, costume and family classes.On Sunday, Aug. 14 at 10 a.m., there’s a challenged riders show.

An American Quarter Horse Show begins at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta Aug. 4 and then starting Aug. 5, runs concurrently with the Sussex show through Aug. 7. Sussex runs on its own through Aug. 14.

The show has a campaign to improve footing for the rings at the fairgrounds, with proceeds from the raffle of a Kingston two-horse Classic Elite trailer going toward that fund. Another money-raising initiative to support the show involves purchase of 80th anniversary commemorative wine bottles.

The drawing for the Kingston trailer is Oct. 29. Only 500 tickets are being sold. To buy one, call (973) 725-9367. To order the wine, call (973) 948-9950 or email


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Google+

What was it REALLY like in Rio?

Marilyn Payne, president of the eventing ground jury at the Olympics, will be reporting on her experience at the Games at Beval Saddlery in Gladstone Aug. 20.

The occasion is a fundraiser for her daughter, Holly Payne Caravella, who is heading to the Burghley, England 4-star in September with Never Outfoxed. Tickets are $50 in advance and $75 at the door. Other attractions are wine and beer, a buffet and hors d’oeuvres, as well as 20 percent off on shopping and a silent auction.

Holly got a grant that will help get her and Fox to Burghley, but she needs another $25,000 to make the trip.

rolex cc april 30 2016 no 4158 holly payne caravella never outfoxed 300dpi
Holly Payne and Never Outoxed completed cross-country in the rain at the Rolex Kentucky 4-star this year.

Tickets for the event, which runs from 5-8 p.m., may be bought in advance at Beval’s, the Gladstone Tavern, Somerset Grain in Benardsville, Applewood Farm in Tewksbury, the Oldwick General Store and Old Fox Farm in Chester. They also are available through or


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Google+

A new destination for the WEG? UPDATE,

The chatter at this weekend’s International Bromont show in Canada was that the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games might find a home in Eastern Europe. Word was, though totally unconfirmed, of course, that the Samorin Equestrian Center in Slovakia could be under consideration.

And today, Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners, announced the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina is in play for the WEG in an effort to have it stay in North America after Bromont bowed out for financial reasons.

Bromont couldn’t get support from the Canadian government for its effort, but Tryon already has the governors of North and South Carolina on its side. Tryon also is working with United States Equestrian Federation to keep the WEG on this side of the Atlantic. It’s a lot less expensive for USEF to send horses and riders to North Carolina than to Eastern Europe.

Are there other contenders for the 2018 WEG? The FEI will only say at this point, “We are looking at all options and will make an announcement shortly.”

Samorin will be hosting the endurance world championships in September. Meg Sleeper of Frenchtown has been named to the U.S. team with Shyrocco Rimbaud, a 10-year-old Anglo-Arab gelding.

There’s more going on at Samorin than endurance, however. It just wrapped up a 3-star show where the U.S. developing jumper riders were competing. It is located near the country’s capital of Bratislava.

The center, which is two years old, has 640 stalls and six arenas, three grass and three sand. There are two indoor arenas, and the complex is surrounded by a racetrack.


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Google+

It’s dressage gold for Jerseyans at NAJYRC (update)

Two New Jersey riders were half of the gold medal Region I dressage team at the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Riders Championships, as competition got under way for the meet at the Colorado Horse Park.

Elizabeth Bortuzzo of Annandale on Macao and Mallory Chambers of Flanders with the quirky Urithmic, both of whom are trained by Heather Mason of Flying Change Farm in Lebanon, helped boost the Young Rider squad to the top of the podium over seven other teams.

They earned 63.868 percent and 64.474 percent respectively. The high score for the squad and the entire competition, as the only rider to score above 70 percent, was Nicholas Hansen of Catawissa, Pa., aboard Ritter Benno with 72.263. The fourth Region I team member, Lian Wolfe of New Hope, Pa., on Zimba, was marked at 62.026.

Nicholas, who is in his third NAJYRC, brought Elizabeth’s horse with his mount in a four-horse trailer on the long trek west.

Heather noted that fundraising so Elizabeth and Mallory could make the trip only went so far. Mallory, a Centenary University student, shipped Urithmic commercially. She was able to find a $3,600 alternative to an original bid of $5,800, but hitching a ride with Nicholas was a money-saver for Elizabeth, who couldn’t afford a commercial shipper. That’s an example of teamwork going beyond the competition arena.

The Region I team total was 66.868, just edging the Canadian squad from Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta, which had a score of 66.737.

The bronze medal went to the composite team from Regions 4, 5 and 7 with 65.474.

Nicholas, who trains with Canada’s Jacquie Brooks, called the Colorado competition “invaluable. When you have an opportunity to compete against people who are riding at your level, but then have a chance to ride against people from different countries at the same time, you form bonds that you have for the rest of your life,” he said.

Elizabeth, 20, planned to compete in eventing at NAJYRC, but when her mount came down with Lyme disease, she opted instead for dressage and turned to her mother’s “good horse with a good temperament,” who has just started Prix St. Georges.

Heather owns Urithmic, a talented but troubled horse, and has put in a lot of effort with him.

“He had been with a rough trainer and it blew his mind,” said Heather, noting he’s a difficult combination of “lazy and explosive” with a penchant for rearing and bolting.

After training him to Grand Prix, Heather “put him on the back burner” for about a year until handing the Dutch warmblood off to 21-year-old Mallory, her working student, a C2 with the Spring Valley Pony Club.

“I saw she was a brave rider,” Heather remarked.

Urithmic has a permanent home with her.

“I would never sell him,” she said, explaining the unreliable horse is useful “as long as he’s managed correctly.”

She’ll be working on more ring familiarization with Mallory preparing for the next day of competition, because Urithmic spooked in the canter depart during the team test.

Mason, who competed at Young Riders’ twice herself and earned a team bronze medal, was happy to be back at the international continental competition.

“It’s always a big deal,” she explained.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Google+

Rolex Central Park Show set for Sept.

The third edition of the Rolex Central Park Horse Show is coming to the Wollman Rink Sept. 21-25, featuring Arabians, show jumping, hunters and dressage.

Jumper riders already confirming their appearance including McLain Ward, Georgina Bloomberg, Laura Kraut and Kent Farrington. while it is expected that German Olympic multi-gold medalist Isabell Werth will appear to defend her title in the dressage freestyle.

The schedule gets under way Sept. 21 with an Arabian show. The next evening offers three jumper classes, ending with the puissance making its debut at the show. On Sept. 23, the afternoon belongs to the dressage Grand Prix, while the evening feature is the $216,000 CSI 3-star grand prix.

On Saturday, Sept. 24, the hunters take over with the Duchossois Cup and competition for ponies and juniors. That evening, the dressage freestyle runs under the lights.

The final day of the show runs from noon-3 p.m., with free admission to watch a variety of equestrian exhibitions. Tickets are available online at


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Google+

New Jersey’s horse industry needs a unified voice

Karyn Malinowski, director of the Rutgers Equine Science Center, gave an address last week to the state Equine Advisory Board calling for a unified voice in the New Jersey horse industry, and a why the different facets of the industry must support each other.

She made some important points. Here is her entire address:

In New Jersey, where the horse is the state animal, the equine industry is invaluable as a major factor for improving the quality of life for New Jersey residents by preserving open space, providing outdoor sport and recreation, building a solid foundation for youth development, and providing mental and physical therapy to adjudicated youth and handicapped persons.

The New Jersey equine industry, valued at $4 billion, produces an economic impact of $1.1 billion comprised of the $278.2 million spent annually for racing-related operations, not including racetracks; $262.4 million spent annually by non-racing operations, $117.8 million spent annually by equine owners without operations, $502 million spent annually by New Jersey racetracks. The industry employs approximately 13,000 persons and generates $160 million in tax revenue, annually. Horses are found on 7,200 facilities on 176,000 acres in every county statewide. (The New Jersey Equine Industry: 2007 Economic Impact, Rutgers Equine Science Center).

Horse racing and the horse industry are essential to the well-being of New Jersey in many ways. There exists a delicate the balance between the future of horse racing, the preservation of the New Jersey equine industry and the importance of the equine industry to traditional agricultural, open space and quality of life for the residents of the state.

Why should non-racing equine interests care

about racing’s future?

Racing is not the only equine discipline that will lose if New Jersey racing does not receive the “shot in the arm” it so desperately needs, by expanding casino gaming outside of Atlantic City.

The future of young people who would like to make a living in the horse industry in New Jersey is in jeopardy. Why stay?

The New Jersey Equine Advisory Board’s (EAB) annual budget to support the Horse Park of New Jersey and the sport and recreation segments of the horse industry, predominantly, including 4-H Youth Development programs is correlated to a percentage of the pari-mutuel handle from racing. The EAB annual budget which was $498,000 in 1990 declined to a new low of $162,500 in 2015. This budget will disappear if racing is not saved in New Jersey.

The “top shelf” level of services New Jersey horse enthusiasts have come to expect such as equine veterinary clinics and feed and supply stores are at risk, because, while they are frequented and supported by sport horse competition and

recreational users, a predominant economic flow to these entities is from the racing industry.

The entire infrastructure supporting ALL segments of the horse industry is in jeopardy.

The racing industry was there to support the development of the Horse Park of New Jersey, which exists primarily for non-racing interests. It is time for the entire industry to rally around once and for all to let the public and the legislature know that the future of horse racing in New Jersey will impact horse owners of every breed and discipline; as it will open space, traditional agricultural production and quality of life. Use the tool kit (Economic Impact Report and the accompanying DVD; available at provided by the Rutgers Equine Science Center to tell the story of the importance of the New Jersey Equine Industry to legislators and policy decision makers. YOU can make a difference.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Google+

It’s over–Bromont loses 2018 WEG

WEG sj day 3 sept. 4 2014 bromont fence 300dpiThe FEI (international equestrian federation) pulled the plug today on the Bromont equestrian facility’s ill-fated effort to stage the 2018 World Equestrian Games. The finances just weren’t there to enable the Quebec venue to host the compilation of eight disciplines.

Now the FEI is exploring alternatives for the eighth edition of the often-troubled concept. It is handicapped by the fact that locations such as the Wellington, Fla., or Tryon, N.C. showgrounds, which could handle the WEG on short notice, have sponsorship from Rolex, a former FEI sponsor. The federation’s current sponsor is a rival high-end watch company, Longines.

Bromont, which is in the middle of its two-week jumper show, also hosts major eventing and driving competitions.

Why not scrap the total WEG package and host groupings of sports? The European championships, for instance, have held show jumping, dressage and para-dressage at the same venue. WEG, which has grown from six disciplines to eight since it began in 1990 with a successful run in Stockholm.

Prior to that, world championships in each discipline were held separately. In 1986, for instance, show jumping was at Aachen, Germany; eventing in Australia, dressage in Canada and driving in England.

The last straw in a history of financial turmoil for the Bromont effort was the federal government’s decision this month not to put any money toward the project.

While expressing sadness over the situation, FEI President Ingmar De Vos said, “We have been working very closely with the COJEM (organizing committee) board and all levels of the organization since the Games were allocated to Canada in mid-2014 and have known for some time that the Bromont team was facing major financial difficulties.”

In fact, after Bromont’s problems became evident early-on, the FEI reopened the bidding process but in the end, Bromont seemed to be the only alternative, so it was allowed to continue.

“This has been a very difficult decision to come to terms with,” said Rosaire Houde, chairman of the COJEM board. The recent departure of key board members signaled the beginning of the end for Bromont.

“Since the new board took over, we have left no stone unturned in our quest to find solid funding to support the Games, but sadly this has not been forthcoming.”

The two organization mutually decided to end the contract.

“It is something I personally bitterly regret but it was the only responsible course of action,” the COJEM chairman stated.

The FEI pointed out that when Ireland dropped out as WEG host in 1998, Rome stepped in with less than two years to go and held a successful WEG. However, it did not include endurance, which went elsewhere, or reining and para-dressage, which were not part of the WEG at that point.

The FEI is hoping to make an announcement “shortly” about an alternative. With the Olympics getting under way next month, riders around the world are already thinking about their next major international championship, so the WEG has a spot on the calendar that the FEI must hasten to fill.

At the same time, it will have to make sure the host, if there is only one (see my comment above about doing the world championships in groups instead of in one event) is viable both economically and in terms of its facilities.


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Google+

Save us a table in heaven, Kiki

wef feb 9 no. 363 Kiki and friend 300dpiShe was the guardian at the gate, the one who presided at so many VIP areas, always gracious but firm if someone without a wristband tried to cajole their way to a table. It won’t be the same without Kiki Umla, who has left us.

How Kiki kept her sense of humor and equilibrium I’ll never know, but she handled a tough job with aplomb.

She was a real pro, and the presentation to her of the Welles Trophy for service to the horse show industry at the 2012 National Horse Show was so well-deserved.

From Lake Placid to Wellington and so many shows in between, Kiki will be sorely missed.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Google+

U.S. takes dressage Cup series title

A second-place finish in the dressage Nations’ Cup at the Aachen, Germany show today gave the U.S. victory in the overall Cup series that began last spring in Florida.

Steffen Peters led the way for the U.S. with a 76.627 percent performance on Legolas, which put him fourth individually, behind three German riders. World number one Kristina Broring-Spree won with a sore of 83.725 on Desperados. The German total was 492.598, with the U.S. on 437.139 and Denmark 430.418.

The U.S. was without a drop score after team member Katherine Bateson Chandler withdrew Alcazar, who was the squad’s drop score on the first day of the competition, which incuded the Grand Prix Thursday and the Grand Prix Special today.

“He showed signs of colic yesterday which explained a little why he was a bit lack luster in the Grand Prix,” Katherine said on her Facebook page.

“Unfortunately, he became worse and culminated in a colic surgery for him. It was a long difficult night for us all but my boy is tough! Please pray for him especially the next five days.”


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Google+

Big trouble for Bromont WEG

A decision by the Canadian federal government  not to provides funds for the 2018 World Equestrian Games scheduled for Bromont, Quebec, leaves the event in a fiscal hole from which there may be no way out.

The WEG has been in trouble from the start. Bromont got the original nod for the competition, which subsequently was re-bid, with Bromont again selected as host  when alternatives weren’t forthcoming. The Wellington, Fla., showgrounds were out because Rolex is a major sponsor of the Winter Equestrian Festival there, and Longines is the big sponsor of the FEI (international equestrian federation).  The Rolex stadium is the focal point of the Kentucky Horse Park–scene of the 2010 WEG (which ran at a loss)–so it cannot be the venue either.

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez acknowledged that, “The FEI has been officially advised by the Bromont Organising Committee (COJEM) that the Canadian Federal Government has made the decision not to fund the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Bromont and obviously this is very disappointing. As the international governing body, the FEI has a responsibility to ask the right questions and protect the future of our flagship events so, as a matter of priority, we will be meeting with the COJEM Board and the National Federation, Equestrian Canada (actually Equine Canada), to get a full picture of the situation and to look at next steps.”

With only two years before the WEG is scheduled to get under way, the FEI will have to move fast. It may be time to scrap the WEG concept that began in 1990 and go back either to individual world championships for the eight disciplines that make up the WEG, or do them in groupings, such as show jumping, dressage and para-dressage, which has been presented for the European Championships.

Problems with putting together the WEG are nothing new. The venues that won the bids for the WEGS of 1994 (Paris) and 1998 (Ireland) both dropped out and other nations pitched in with little time to spare. The 1994 Games in the Hague, Netherlands, were a financial disaster. The 1998 Games in Rome were well put together, despite the short window organizers had for arranging their competition. Rome did not, however, include endurance, reining and para-dressage, all of which are part of the eight-discipline package at this time.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Google+