Participation in the St. Clement’s Saratoga Horse Show is down this year because of the high cost of transporting and caring for horses, officials said.
“This is a luxury,” said Maureen LaBelle, president of the horse show that raises money for St. Clement’s Regional Catholic School on Lake Avenue.
The show features jumpers, hunters and equitation classes, but only the jumpers can win money.
“They’re not going to go out and win what it costs them to come,” LaBelle said.
Brian Flynn, the show manager from New Albany, Ohio, said participation was down the first week about 15 or 20 percent.
“It could have been a lot worse,” he said.
He expects the usual number of participants to come next week — 500 to 600 horses.
Jumpers compete for the fastest speed while trying not to knock over obstacles as they soar over them.
Hunters jump obstacles while keeping perfect form for the best score, and equitation riders are judged on the rider’s form.
Most of the horses and riders come from the East Coast; the St. Clement’s show is the first outdoor show of the season in the “A” circuit, LaBelle said.
Other shows in the circuit run in Lake Placid and Saugerties, as well as the Skidmore show in June in Saratoga Springs.
Sandy Kelly of Stepping Stone Farm in East Greenbush brought 32 of her horses to the competition.
Stepping Stone Farm is the biggest stable represented at the show and won 10 championships by Friday afternoon, Kelly said.
“We’ve been very successful.”
Each Sunday of the show features a $25,000 Grand Prix jumper competition at 11:30 a.m.
Kelly’s daughter, Shaine Brooks, and the stable’s longtime trainer, Amy Monrow, will both be competing for the Grand Prix on warmbloods Arezzo and Main Course.
“Amy has won it several times on her horse Summer Storm,” Kelly said.
Kelly’s son, Monty Kelly, is also competing at the show.
Flynn said the St. Clement’s show is scheduled a week earlier than it has been in past years, which may account for the lighter attendance the first week.
“People are a little leery of getting snowed on,” he joked.
The show began Tuesday, when hot weather baked the region.
The horse show is in its 50th year and originally was put on by the Lions Club before St. Clement’s took it over.
The school makes between $60,000 and $100,000 each year during the fundraising event.
Hillary Dobbs of New Jersey, the daughter of CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, will compete at the St. Clement’s show. The Harvard University student won both Grand Prix events the first year she competed at St. Clement’s, in 2007.
Horse show information
What: St. Clement’s Saratoga Horse Show
When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday through Monday and May 6 through May 10.
Where: The Yaddo Grounds at Saratoga Race Course, on the north side of Union Avenue past the main entrance to the Oklahoma Training Track.
Cost: $3 per person, and children 12 and under are free.
Highlights: The $25,000 Saratoga Cup competition is at 11:30 a.m. Sunday; the $25,000 David Wood Cup at 11:30 a.m. May 10.
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: Schenectady County