Hampton Classic Horse Show Begins Summer's Last Hurrah
The 42nd Hampton Classic Horse Show opened Sunday under a sunny sky, a sure sign of the near end of the famed Hamptons summer season. For the next eight days, however, this spectacular annual equestrian event will host the highest levels of competition for hunter-jumper horses and riders of all ages and abilities. From the youngest local "leadline" riders all the way to Olympic and World Champions, the prestigious Hampton Classic Horse Show welcomes them all.
From now through September 3, the Classic will feature over 200 classes in six beautifully manicured show rings; a Boutique Garden with more than 70 vendors for shopping, and a wide selection of dining options on the world-class 60-acre showground.
Sunday's Local Day competition began bright and early in the Grand Prix ring with the smallest of the week's competitors, leadline riders aged two to four, followed by the group for ages five to seven.
Hotly contested with nearly a hundred entries, these immaculately presented young riders and their mounts had the honour of being judged by Olympic gold medal winner and Show Jumping Hall of Famer, Joe Fargis of Middleburg, VA.
Sponsored by Kristen Baran and Mitch Kates and presented by Brennan's Bit and Bridle, the winners of the four sections of the two to four-year-old group were Brynn Collins, Larchmont, with Oakledge Fire and Rain; Isla Mnuchin, East Hampton, with A Wish Come True; Sienna Feldman, New York, with One Fish Two Fish and Victoria Roman, East Hampton, with Strawberry Shortcake.
Sponsored by Laura Bowery of Sea-Aire Inc., and presented by Brennan's Bit and Bridle, there were five sections of five to seven year olds, won by Ava Patino of Bridgehampton with Longacre Red Rhapsody; Tatum Scharf, Watermill, with Napoleon Dynamite; Ava Cederholm, New York, with Diva; Sam Boley, Brooklyn, with Land's End Apollo and Vivienne Akrzewski, Setauket, with Aspen Spring.
The official opening ceremonies followed in the afternoon, with the introduction of officials and special guests before moving into the highlight of the afternoon, the $30,000 Boar's Head Open Jumper Challenge presented by Dan's Papers.
Executive Director of the Hampton Classic, Shanette Barth Cohen welcomed Steven Bernstein, President of the Southampton Hospital Foundation and Chief Development Officer of the Stony Brook Southampton Hospital.
Stony Brook Southampton Hospital has been partnering with the Hampton Classic Horse Show since its inception 42 years ago, and over that time has been the recipient of more than two million dollars in contributions from the Classic.
The Lesportsac Long Island Sportsmanship Award was handed out in a very special presentation to the "voice" of Long Island horse shows for decades - Tom Mannos.
From Sagaponack to the Hampton Classic and the National Horse Show, in some years Mannos announced more than thirty shows. Serving on the Long Island Professional Horseman's Association for decades, he was always prepared and always gave the same recognition to lead-line riders as to international show jumpers. The Hampton Classic is proud to recognize Tom Mannos as a true gentleman and sportsman with the presentation of the Lesportsac Long Island Sportsmanship Award.
A wonderful new addition to this year's Opening Day was a Dressage Exhibition by East Hampton native Stephanie Brown Beamer, owner of Hampton Dressage at Pinnacle Farm in Watermill, NY. An active FEI competitor and trainer, Brown Beamer is a United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Gold, Silver, and Bronze medalist and a USDF "L" judges graduate. She rode "Gryphon Z," a Friesian cross-breed who has competed through the levels and is now schooling Grand Prix. Their crowd-pleasing demonstration included a number of upper-level dressage movements along with a shortened Grand Prix Musical Freestyle narrated by Anne Howard, a fellow FEI competitor and trainer.
Stephanie Brown Beamer and Gryphon Z.
As a sneak preview to Monday's Animal Adoption Day sponsored by Gotham North Enterprizes, the crowd was then treated to a parade of horses from many of the rescue organizations participating. Joining the rescue groups was award-winning advocate and host of the New Dog Bowl specials on Animal Planet, Jill Rappaport.
The national anthem was performed by Christian Guardino, 17, of Patchogue, currently a semi-finalist on America's Got Talent.
"It's just incredible to be singing the national anthem at the Hampton Classic" expressed an emotional Guardino. "Growing up on Long Island, I've always heard that the Classic is something special and being here, it's just so beautiful. Today is an unbelievable experience for me."
Local Hunter classes for Juniors, Amateur-Owners, and Professionals took place in other rings throughout the day, as well as Children's and Adult Equitation classes and various Medal classes. All local hunter competition featured horses based on Long Island. The Anne Aspinall Ring, the Hampton Classic's premier hunter ring, featured the $10,000 Marders Local Hunter Derby, a two-round 3'3" class returning for the second year.
The Hampton Classic is one of the most spectacular events in the nation and showcases the highest levels of equestrian show jumping competition. The world-class event hosts hundreds of top riders and horses from all over the nation and world.
The 60-acre Hampton Classic show grounds is also a shopping and dining mecca. There is a wide variety of food choices, daily kids' activities, and the luxurious Boutique Garden and Stable Row feature more than 80 vendors, so you can shop 'til you drop.
Located near the Hamptons' famous beaches, nightclubs, restaurants, and boutiques, the Hampton Classic is a celebrity hot-spot. Among those who have attended in recent years are many A-listers including Jennifer Lopez, Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa, Billy Joel, Jon Bon Jovi, Matt Lauer, Jerry Seinfeld, Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, Sofia Vergara, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Julianne Moore and Michael Bloomberg.
For those who can't make it to the show grounds, complimentary live webcasts of all Grand Prix ring competitions air on the Hampton Classic website, produced by ShowNet. In addition, WVVH-TV, the official Long Island television station of the Hampton Classic, broadcasts up to five hours of competition and highlights each day during the Classic. These broadcasts can also be seen on line at www.wvvh.tv. Most of the Classic's other classes are also available on ShowNet.biz.
For more information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show, please visit the Hampton Classic website at www.hamptonclassic.com or call (631) 537-3177. Hampton Classic Horse Show, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation.