Medal Finals 2005
Medal Finals Weekend Draws Two Hundred and Seventy Seven Riders and Ninety Nine Trainers from Eight States
Photo Credit to Peter Weyland and Reflections Photography, Kingston, NY and Barry Ralston, Hebron, CT
The 2005 Connecticut & Jumper Association 22nd Annual Medal Finals showcased in the main ring situated directly in front of the Georgian style clubhouse at the Fairfield Hunt Club in Westport, CT on August 19, 20 and 21st.
As each class was called by the sound of Ring Master Ed Nowak's hunting horn, 277 competitors executed 545 trips over the challenging courses designed by William Glass of Bokeelia, FL. The riders entered the ring and navigated long bending lines, roll back turns and short landing sides embedded in the beautifully decorated jumps framed with hibiscus trees, leafy green shrubs and large pastel colored mums.
Equitation Committee members Sherry and Tara Lynch, assisted by Denise Duffee, were responsible for the final's new look this year which featured summertime pastel flowers, wildflower centerpieces and softly colored matching tablecloths in the CHJA tent. Tara also provided a peak into the past again this year by setting up an exhibit with leather bound albums tracing the history of the CHJA Medal Finals through photos and past programs. Exhibitors clustered around the display where candid photos of last year's finals were also on display.
A record ninety nine trainers from eight states stood at the rail hoping for the perfect round as their students negotiated the picturesque course in the hot August sun. Judges Todd Karn of Staatsburg, NY and Linda Shahinian of Edgewater, New Jersey spent long hours in the ninety degree heat choosing their champions. Spectator's overflowing from the exhibitor's tents watched the rounds while enjoying early morning coffee and pastries.
A lavish catered buffet lunch was offered each day by the Board of Directors for the CHJA members and their families featuring carved ham and turkey, fruit salad, assorted side dishes and the scrumptious 11 foot long desert table! While enjoying lunch, generous members bought raffle tickets from Scholarship Committee Chairperson Jane Miller to benefit the CHJA Scholarship fund which has awarded over $33,000 to CHJA members for higher education.
Secretary and CHJA Board Member Karen Amedeo and Assistant Secretary Maria Howe presented each competitor with an envelope containing their number, program, timetable and the the much anticipated qualifier's gift!
Competitors received custom made burgundy and navy blue ribbon belts featuring a parade of jumping horses and the CHJA monogram. "Awesome" was the most used comment as the competitors tried on their belts. Touted as the "best gift ever", the belts were proudly worn by the competitors all weekend. To show their appreciation, the Equitation Committee also presented monogrammed CHJA ribbon key rings to the many trainers.
When not watching the competition, exhibitors flocked to the Awards table managed by Equitation Committee members Debbie Schneider and Donna Poeta. They were assisted by Junior volunteers. The CHJA Champions Jacket was the centerpiece of a large assortment of coveted prizes made possible by the generosity of the many sponsors. They were the highlight of the Medal Finals program produced by committee member Lynn Taylor. Coolers, trophies, scrim sheets, show shirts, gift certificates, watches, canvas gift bags and director's chairs all waited to be claimed!
Saturday morning's schedule jumpstarted with the 2'3" and 3' Special Hunter classes. Paddock Master Matt Brayman held the "warm ups" to the time schedule in the expansive grass ring by pushing through 212 trips before noon!
The CHJA Children's Hunter Classic and the Adult Hunter Classic each invites a maximum of twenty five high point hunters to participate in the two round class. The CHJA Adult Hunter Classic saw London Fog with rider Meg Wilkison of Glastonbury, CT lead the victory gallop. They are trained by husband and wife team Martha and CHJA President Armand Chenelle, and London Fog owner Holly Rebello. Again this year, Southport, CT resident Libby Tritschler and Clean Slate rode to second place for their trainer, Jenny Martin Rudaz.
The CHJA Adult Medal final at three feet was won by Regan Duffee of Simsbury, CT, trained by the team of Martha and Armand Chenelle and Holly Rebello. The silver medal went to Jenny Martin Rudaz' student Brenda Tanenbaum of Norwalk, CT. Katie Jean Carson from Clinton, CT took the bronze applauded by her trainers Tricia Carlton and Louisa Fedora.
Is A Dream ridden by Olivia Trueb of Ellington, CT rode to the win in the CHJA Children's Hunter Classic for trainer Hanson Keene. Ursula Green and Scary Story of Easton, CT, trained by Jenny Martin Rudaz secured the reserve championship.
The CHJA Pony Medal, won by Melissa Groher of South Glastonbury, CT was the first of four championship classes scheduled for "Junior Sunday". Melissa's trainers, Cindy Ferguson and Kristen Newton were awarded the Trainer's Award for the multi size and height championship. The silver medal went to Olivia Jack of Fairfield, CT. Her trainer, Jenny Martin Rudaz, stepped back into the ring to collect another trainer's award for Olivia's second place win. Emma Schauder of South Glastonbury, also trained by Cindy Ferguson and Kristen Newton received third place honors.
Hanson Keene was all smiles as he entered the winner's circle once again in the CHJA Children's Medal Championship won by his student Abbey Bernal of Wilbraham, MA. Lindsay Johnson of Manchester, CT took the second place ribbon to rounds of applause from the rest of the "Windcrest" team whose cheers continued when Hunter Ralston of Hebron, CT was presented with the bronze medal. Both Lindsay and Hunter train with Armand and Martha Chenelle and Holly Rebello.
Devon Poeta of Old Lyme, CT, also trained by Martha and Armand Chenelle and Holly Rebello rode to the Championship in the CHJA Junior Medal. Melissa Prusock of Larchmont, NY, trained by James Lala, completed the victory gallop with the Reserve Champion award. The bronze medal was awarded to another of Kristen Newton and Cindy Ferguson's students. Roxanne Vincek of Wellington, CT took the third place honors.
The last class of the day featured talented riders competing over fences at three foot six inches in the CHJA Master's Medal. Christine Hart's student Lauren Horth of Dalton, Ma won the nod of the judges and proudly wore the championship ribbon. Rhode Island's Jordan Fisk of Middletown was reserve champion and is trained by Jay Sargent. The bronze medal was awarded to Linda Langmeier's student Julie Welles of West Simsbury, CT
A collective sigh by the volunteer Equitation Committee chaired by Holly Rebello could be heard at the conclusion of Finals weekend. As they assisted committee member Kelsey Amedeo and her junior clean up committee, the group was already making plans for next year. The committee members devoted hours of energy to their assigned jobs in an effort to carry on the tradition of having each "CHJA Finals Weekend" being better than the last. And, they succeeded... wonderfully! After a long weekend,they truly did drive off into the sunset as they left the show grounds well after dusk.