Courtesy of Alpha and Omega Stables Photography
Ingrid Donnan and Morris of Piffard winning the Beginner Novice Horse B division at the Genesee Valley Pony Club Spring Event.
Wheeler Green event is better than ever
The Genesee Valley Pony Club Spring Event at Wheeler Green has a long history as the first three-phase event of the year. It also is the first event ever for many rides and horses, many of whom come back year after year, and even decade after decade.
Two of this year’s division winners exemplify that truth. Beginner Novice Horse Division A winner Aaron Donnan first rode at Wheeler Green over 40 years ago. (We’ll let it go at that rather than pin down his age. For all I know he may have been in diapers, or…?)
His daughter Ingrid won the other Beginner Novice Horse Division (B) on a homebred thoroughbred cross by Foggy Bottom Farm’s Slice of Reality.
Well-known at local happenings, Barb Havill from Branchport, first competed at the GVPC Spring Event in 1975. Turning 68 this year, she was delighted to come out on top of the Intro Horse C division with her latest prospect, Rio Dinero, in his first go at eventing.
Barb found Rio through the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program (FLTAP). Her last time riding at the Spring Event was four years ago, when she won the Novice Horse division with her Hot Shotta, who was also a FLTAP graduate.
Lesa Mulligan was taken a bit by surprise at hearing that Mulligan had won the Intro Rider B division. She and her husband Jeff had donated the horse to Kim Sanford’s Leg Up Stables when it appeared he had little interest in foxhunting. He seems to have found a better outlet for his talents in his first go with Geneseo University student Karen Stamatis who rides at Leg Up.
Twenty-year-old Morgan mare Shasa was another familiar face. The 14.3 hand liver chestnut has carried several local riders through Pony Club and Wheeler Green over the years starting with Heidi Wehner.
Finishing third in the Novice Rider division, she looks bright and fit and ready to bring on another generation or two of young riders.
Looking ahead to a bright future for a locally bred pair, I had the distinct pleasure of watching Quentin Peter Llop of Fowlerville do his stadium round on his homebred, six-year-old, 16.3 hand Stoney in the horse’s first try at eventing.
Peter felt that Stoney’s foxhunting experience and overall attitude of acceptance made it worth having a go at the Novice level. The good-natured bay made his way around the course, slowing before each fence to have a good look at the bright colors and decorations before agreeably and carefully finding his way to the other side, gaining confidence with each fence.
Peter is to be commended for letting his horse figure things out without the added annoyance of a flailing and kicking rider. It remains to be seen whether the Tres Sangres gelding (a mixture of thoroughbred, Arabian, and Andalusian) will develop the speed and drive for upper level eventing, but whatever they do I’m certain it will be worth watching.
One New Age upgrade for Wheeler Green was moving to electronic scoring using the StartBox Online Scoring System, which even shows cross-country details and all. Show Secretary Julia Hainsworth was instrumental in bringing this about. She reported, “(I) have to say it’s pretty neat and it worked very well. The best part was to have it updating live so anyone could see scores on their smart phones as we uploaded them throughout the day. … Best of all it’s free for us and is fully paid for by advertising on the (startboxscoring.com) site. We ran the day with two computers, a generator and fourpeople, rather than the six or seven that we usually needed when done by hand.”
Along with Hainsworth, event organizers Jana McCormick and Sheila Pease are to be commended for putting together a very smoothly-run event, with well over 100 entries competing in all three phases in one day — something of a rarity nowadays in the eventing world.
Of course there was the requisite legion of volunteers without whom this sport would not be possible. Thanks is also due to landowners Sally Wood and her sons Eric and Jeremy Grace.
Winners of the Week
(I love including where people are from when the information is available, as I think it puts a perspective to how far people travel to enjoy the quality competitions held here in The Valley. My first time here in the mid-60s I came with a team from Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, for the hunt horse trials. I recall it was like coming to Mecca.)
Open Novice: 1. Judy DelVecchio’s El Niño and Anne Eilinger (Mendon); 2. Ben Nevis and Carrie Wehle (Scottsville); 3. Maybe Mabel and Julie Sahler (Webster) Eilinger finished with her dressage score, moving up from third place. The final top three were separated by only .4 points overall.
Novice Horse: 1. Dr. Bruce Stewart’s Honey Locust Mate and Anne Eilinger; 2. Not the Brightest Star and Jesse Evans (Canandaigua); 3. Boon’s Power and Valerie Sprague (Scio) Although the first two held their initial placings, Sprague moved up from ninth place after dressage with double clears in cross-country and stadium phases.
Novice Rider: 1. Muskrat and Max Stwertka (Rochester0; 2. Anne Eilinger’s Black Points Tillamook and Lydia Eilinger (Mendon); 3. Shasa and Olivia Crosby (Springwater)
Open Beginner Novice: 1. Anne Mortimer’s Galatea HU and Carrie Wehle; 2. Lexus and A.J. Torelli (Jamesville); 3. Nancy Stevens’ Maggie and Nicole Lund (Andover)
Beginner Novice Horse A: 1. Carlos and Aaron Donna (Piffard); 2. Michael and Hillary Marshall (Clifton Springs); 3. Simon and Alex Cooke (East Aurora)
Beginner Novice Horse B: 1. Morris and Ingrid Donnan (Piffard); 2. Trial by Fire and Olivia Lapham (Canandiagua); 3. Bentley and Tracy Torelli (Fabius)
Beginner Novice Rider A: 1. Moranda and Hannah Berger (Scottsville); 2. Mountain Dew and Jax Maxian (Berkshire); 3. Carol Crowl’s April Love and Chloe Celani (Hamburg)
Beginner Novice Rider B: 1. Lisa Dreste’s Silver’s Peppy and Meryl Dreste (East Aurora); 2. Humehills Eleganze and Alexis Lewis (Elma); 3. Steve Ashley’s Lady Glencora and Katherine Kenney (Geneseo)
Intro Horse A: 1. Jim Wagner’s In The Groove and Farley Wagner (Farmington); 2. Kim Sanford’s Ragtime Dually and René Armendinger (Warsaw); 3. Sunny and Celena Jo Goodwyn (Lima)
Intro Horse B: 1. (tie) Alicia Odobina’s Charlie with Sierra Chase (East Aurora) and Slew Gin Fizz with Devyn Merritt (Williamson); 3. Tricks R 4 Kids and Olivia Hannah (Tonowanda)
Intro Horse C: 1. Rio Dinero and Barb Havill (Branchport); 2. Michael Failey’s Isis and Tiffany Cross (Cameron Mills); 3. Oberto and Jennifer Blackburn (Brockport)
Intro Rider A: 1. Mary Lou Spencer’s Mr. Phibbs and Lydia Wright (Elmira); 2. Sara Vakiener’s Jane Doe and Morgan Kline (Horseheads); 3. Helios and Sarah Klocke (East Aurora)
Intro Rider B: 1. Kim Sanford’s Mulligan and Karina Stamatis (Victor); 2. FLF Rohem and Ryan Lefkowitz (Geneseo); 3. Rain Dancer and April Krenzer (Livonia)