With three professional riders who might ordinarily be expected to show in Bridgehampton in Normandy this week for the World Show Jumping Championships, “we still have a star-studded lineup,” Marty Bauman, the Hampton Classic’s knowledgeable press officer, said Sunday as more than 600 Long Island riders of all ages vied throughout the 39th Classic’s opening day.
The absentees are McLain Ward, arguably the sport’s top competitor, Kent Farrington, who won the Classic’s Grand Prix last year, and Beezie Madden. They and Lucy Davis of California make up the United States’ team that, said Bauman, goes into the world championships as one of the favorites, along with Germany and Great Britain, which took home the gold in the 2012 London Olympics.
“We’re going in red hot,” said Bauman, “with big wins at the Hickstead and Dublin shows.”
Back to the Classic, Bauman said he expected in Ward and Farrington’s absence that the Irish-born Kevin Babington and Richie Moloney, Candice King, Callan Solem, and Beat (Be-AT) Mandli, a first-timer from Switzerland, would be among those fighting it out in the jumping competitions this week.
Georgina Bloomberg, too, was “back in action full time,” he said, after having given birth to a son, Jasper, last December. Jasper’s father, Ramiro Quintana, is also riding here this week.
Marie-Christophe de Menil, who is credited with having transformed what had been the Southampton Horse Show into its present incarnation as a five-day A-rated event with show jumping’s top riders and horses, is to be honored in the Grand Prix ring Thursday.
That first year, 1976, was hardly auspicious as a hurricane hit the Dune Alpin, East Hampton, showgrounds, blowing down the stabling tents and causing hundreds of horses to be evacuated. Still, because of the efforts of show workers, the tent crews, and volunteers it opened one and a half days behind schedule.
Bad weather has periodically threatened the Classic in the years since, though you wouldn’t have known it given Sunday’s sunny skies. Despite twisters, hurricanes, and tropical storms, the show has always gone on.
Sunday’s main event, a two-round hunter derby competition in the Grand Prix ring, was won by Black Label ridden by Patricia Griffith, 37, of White Plains, N.Y., and owned by Maxwell Levy. That victory earned them $15,000. Griffith also was in the money, in fifth place, with Coco, owned by Further Lane Farm.
“We had no spectacular wins, but, on the other hand, we didn’t have any spectacular failures,” said Patsy Topping of Bridgehampton’s Swan Creek Farm, when asked Monday morning how Swan Creek’s riders had done. “The customers and the children were happy, and the animals did their jobs, all of which made for a nice day. Everybody had fun.”
The Topping Riding Club of Sagaponack had a winner in Emma Dyson, who, said Mercedes Mann Olivieri, topped the 5-to-7-year-old Leadline division on Peter Pony for the second year in a row. Cady Ryan, also of that barn, was “second out of 40 entries.”
“Our older girls also did very well in the equitation classes. Chloe Terestchenko, 11, was fourth in the Hugh Cassidy III Junior Maclay, Olivia Guarna was sixth in the Children’s Medal Horse over fences, Devin Merrimann also took a sixth in the Local Children’s Hunter, and Isabel Adolf was seventh in Children’s High Equitation over fences.”
Back to Swan Creek, Jagger Topping, on Secret and Sun Phoenix, was in the ribbons in the professional local hunter division; Obelix, ridden by Kate Whalen, was third in the two local nonprofessional hunter jumping classes and seventh in the under saddle class; Caroline Adler, on M and M, was in the ribbons in the local junior hunters, and Popeye, ridden by Phoebe Topping, won a local junior class.
Swan Creek had three riders compete in the local amateur-owner division — Yvetta Rechler-Newman on Spring Fling, Barbara Borg on Sun Phoenix, and Madeline Grebow on Lincoln. “All three got ribbons,” said Patsy Topping, who added that Caroline Jungck “had a fifth in the Low Children’s Equitation walk-trot-canter/flat and a second over jumps, and Sophia D’Angelo was fifth in Children’s Eq High.”
“There’s still a lot to go — we’ve just gotten started,” Topping added. “We’ve got 15 riders in the Children’s Hunters on Tuesday, and we’ve got more riders in Short Stirrup on Wednesday, and in the Adult Amateur classes on Wednesday and Thursday.”
Stony Hill Stables in Amagansett, which has for the past two years been offering scholarships to local students, had seven competitors on opening day — Gemma Roberts and Jacqueline Weiss, who each rode Oh Darla in the 2-4 Leadline division; Gemma Essex, on Shenanigans, Andre Steyn, on Snickers, and Stella Bilman, on Sparkle Plenty, in the 5-7 Leadline, and Eve Abraham, on Mighty Mouse, and Dylan Murphy, on Castlegate Rockabye, in Children’s Low Equitation.
Katarina Amann, on Empire Sweetheart, was to have ridden in Children’s Large Pony classes Tuesday. Grace Burns, on Farnley’s Blew Kisses, was to have competed in the Children’s Medium Pony division that day.
Yesterday, three other Stony Hill riders were slated to vie in the 9-and-under Short Stirrup division — Caroline Cole, on Rainbow Bright, Philipa Amann, on Yes No Maybe So, and Olivia Berger, on Velveteen.