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More than 1,500 horses gather for eight days of top competition

Bridgehampton, N.Y., Aug. 23, 2015- Highlighting the Opening Day at the 40h Hampton Classic Horse Show, sponsored by The Atlantic Hotel, was the presentation of the Long Island Sportsmanship Award, given annually to a Long Island horseperson in honor of their years of dedication.

Show President Dennis Suskind presented the Long Island Sportsmanship Award to Karen Bocksel of Aquebogue, N.Y., the managing director of the Center for Therapeutic Horseback Riding on the East End (CTREE).

Since 2007, the Hampton Classic has presented the Long Island Sportsmanship Award to a Long Island resident who has demonstrated excellence and service in horsemanship over a long period of years.

Bocksel was a co-founder and a remains a driving force behind the continuing success of CTREE, which provides therapeutic riding lessons and equine-assisted activities to children and young adults with cognitive, physical or emotional disabilities.

Bocksel is an advanced therapeutic-riding instructor registered with PATH International and was named PATH's Volunteer of the Year in 1994. She's a member of the Board of Directors of the East End Livestock and Horsemen's Association and is a past president of the New York State Therapeutic Riding Organization.

The 40th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show runs Aug. 23-30, in Bridgehampton, NY. The Hampton Classic features world-class equestrian competition, with more than 100 classes of competition, including jumper, hunter, equitation, short stirrup and leadline classes, as well as competitions for riders with disabilities.

"It's a little cloudy today, but it's still a perfect day for a horse show," Shanette Barth Cohen, the Classic's executive director, told the gathered crowd. "I want to thank all our competitors, officials, staff and sponsors for making this show possible for 40 years!"

The Southampton Hospital has long been the Classic's charitable beneficiary, with more than $2 million in contributions over the years. Said Robert S. Chaloner, the hospital's president and CEO, "The Hampton Classic's contributions are an important part of everything we do."

Following the presentation of the Long Island Sportsmanship Award, Lindsay Barry of Bethpage, N.Y., sang the National Anthem. Barry, a graduate of Marist College and New York Law School, is an amateur singer who has sung the National Anthem at Marist College hockey and basketball games. She's also sung the National Anthem for several professional sports teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, the New York Islanders and the Long Island Ducks.

To start the morning, six sections of the SeaAire Leadline Division, for riders 2-4 years old and for riders 5-7 years old, took over the Grand Prix Ring. Carefully scrutinizing the riders of tomorrow was judge Joe Fargis, the winner of the individual and team gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and the team silver medal at the 1988 Olympics.

Riders of more than 600 horses stabled on Long Island vied for the local hunter championships all day long in the Anne Aspinall Hunter Ring and in Hunter Ring 2.
The children of two celebrities competed in the local hunter classes on Sunday. Alexis Joel, daughter of singer Billy Joel, rode in the amateur-owner hunter division, and Sasha Seinfeld, daughter or comedian Jerry Seinfeld, rode in the junior hunter division. Romy Lauer, daughter of "Today Show" host Matt Lauer, will ride later this week in the children's equitation division.