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Lauren Reischer Wins Grand Championship

The Hampton Classic Horse Show was once again the proud host of the Championship Finals for the Long Island Horse Show Series (LIHSSRD) for Riders with Disabilities, presented by Bridgehampton National Bank. For the 11th consecutive year, the top qualifiers in three divisions competed for year-end titles with Lauren Reischer of New York, NY, winning the Grand championship.
Reischer earned the Grand Championship by winning every class in the LIHSSRD Independent Finals Division. She first competed in the Finals at the Classic in 2009 and then took a break until this year. At first the 17-year-old found it difficult to describe her feelings regarding her victory, but then managed the perfect word.

"This is unbelievable. I don't know if I have enough words," said Reischer. "But if I had to pick one it would be Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!"


Lauren Reischer Receives Her Awards
Photo credit: Shawn McMillen

The Hampton Classic Horse Show runs through Sunday, September 4 at its pristine Bridgehampton, NY, venue. For this year's 41st annual edition, a fourth FEI class has been added to the schedule in addition to more than 200 classes of competition for horses and riders of all ages and abilities. A wide range of hunter, jumper and equitation classes are offered at all levels, from leadline all the way up to grand prix.

Bridgehampton National Bank continued its longtime sponsorship of the LIHSSRD year-end event and provided all of the ribbons as well as a $25 gift certificate for the Hampton Classic Souvenir Shop to all of the winners. Hermes donated commemorative back packs and saddle pads to the champions and a cooler to the Grand Champion. Bridgehampton National Bank Senior Vice President Patricia Horan and Hermes representative Priscilla Smith-Gremillion presented the awards. Other sponsors included Independence Day Clothing and Triple Crown Feed.

Prior to the start of the championship event, LIHSSRD high-point riders enjoyed breakfast with their families and friends in the ringside chalet. International jumper rider Callan Solem had the honor of presenting the high-point ribbons to each rider.


Callan Solem and Victoria Natale
Photo credit: Marty Bauman

USEF-licensed judge Gary Duffy awarded the following championships:

LIHSSRD Independent Finals Champion - Lauren Reischer of New York, NY, on Opportunity Knocks. Kate Kniesly of Great Neck, NY, won the reserve championship riding Just In Time.

LIHSSRD Spotter/Independent Finals Champion - Tyler Armak of Long Beach, NY, riding Hasza. There was tie for the reserve championship between Joshua Gootnick of Jericho, NY, on Uptown and Bonnie Bokser of Farmingdale, NY, riding Knight In Shining Armor.

LIHSSRD with Aides Finals Champion - Emory Shapses of Plainview, NY, riding Robin Hood. Victoria Natale of Bayville, NY, won the reserve championship riding Calgary.

LIHSSRD classes are held at five USEF-recognized competitions throughout Long Island each year and are open to all junior and adult riders with a documented disability. Riders compete for points at each show to qualify for the Series Finals at the Hampton Classic. Ten riders in each division are invited to compete each year at the Hampton Classic.

"This is one of our favorite days at the Hampton Classic," said Shanette Barth Cohen, the Hampton Classic executive director. "The Championships are the culmination of the LIHSSRD's show series. We are so proud and thrilled to be able to host this meaningful event."

The LIHSSRD was created by Katie McGowan of Camp HorseAbility, Inc., in 2005 to provide riders with disabilities the same competitive experience that other equestrians enjoy at USEF rated hunter jumper horse shows. Riders are judged on equitation, as well as demonstration and knowledge of riding skills.

"I can't believe this is our 11th year here at the Hampton Classic," said McGowan. "I am forever grateful to Shanette Cohen and the Hampton Classic for giving our riders this opportunity to compete here."