Harrisburg, Pa. - Oct. 16
As Kelley Farmer left the ring at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show with an armful of tricolors, there was one award she was the happiest to receive.
“It’s been too long since I was leading hunter rider here!” she joked.
Farmer last earned the title in 1999, but this year was all hers as she won the grand hunter championship, green conformation hunter championship and the regular conformation hunter reserve championship on Quotable to help take the win.
Larry Glefke and Kenneth Garber’s 8-year-old warmblood gelding sported six blue ribbons yesterday between the green and regular conformation hunter divisions, trumping Farmer’s other mounts in the division, Skorekeeper and Back Story.
Despite breaking the blue streak with an uncharacteristic rail down today, they still managed to pick up the grand championship. “It caught up to him in the second class today,” she said. “He was a hair tired. He tries hard and I think that rail surprised him.”
Holly Orlando rode “Richie” before Farmer took the reins at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (Fla.) this year. “He’s a light horse, not like other warmbloods,” said Farmer of Richie’s docile nature, which requires a soft ride.
In fact, the gelding is so easy-going that he not only tolerates the stressful environment of horse shows, but has been known to pass the time taking naps.
Farmer related a story of when they competed at the Traders Point Charity Horse Show (Ind.) in Aug. The show was running behind schedule, and “[our groom] Julio had him ready – tack on, scrim, bridle, martingale, saddle – so he put him in his stall with a halter over his bridle.”
After Julio went quickly to attend to one of Farmer’s other mounts, “he came back and [Richie’s] laying down, napping! Fully tacked up, he’s sound asleep! Julio said, ‘I’m going to be a few minutes,’ because he was covered in shavings from head to toe.”
Keeping Richie relaxed is a priority for his team of owners. He enjoys plenty of grass turnout and down time when they’re not at shows.
“Quotable has never even jumped at home,” said Glefke. “Kelley and I go to a lot of places but the horses get a tremendous amount of rest.”
A copious amount of carrots and oatmeal cookies are also part of Richie’s daily routine.
Although Hunt Tosh was tied with Farmer for the grand hunter championship, he narrowly missed out when it was determined that Farmer had earned more points in the over fences classes.
But he didn’t walk away empty handed. After winning the high performance hunter championship with Rosalynn and the second year green championship with Queen Lattifa on Tuesday, he added the regular conformation tricolor to his collection with Betsee Parker’s Cold Harbor.
“He’s been fabulous,” Tosh said of the 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding that he began riding just last year.
“He was champion here last year and to come back and be champion two years in a row is always a special thing,” he said.
Cold Harbor was diagnosed with Lyme disease earlier this year, making the win even more worth celebrating.
“He was a little body-sore during Devon [Pa.], but we couldn’t catch onto it right away. We started treating him for that this fall and it’s made a huge difference. His strength is back,” said Tosh.
Tosh strives for a consistent training program and prepares for indoors no differently than a regular horse show.
“When you’re going to a show and the program is working, you try to stick with it and not over-train, which I think can happen very easily,” he said. “So we try to be consistent with what we’ve done and stick with that. Good horses tend to do the right thing at the right time.”
Parker has an eye for choosing champions. “I look for [winning] patterns,” she divulged. “That’s what I’m trained to do. When I watch a pattern I pay attention to whether it’s an emerging pattern or whether it’s receding and I make my decisions based on that.”
Due to a foxhunting accident when she was 12 years old, Parker can no longer ride. “When you can’t get up in the irons, it’s kind of as if you were a blind person and your senses kick in and you become much sharper at other things. Because you can’t be up there riding, you get better with your powers of observations. That’s what happened to me, I broke my neck and got better at looking at a horse. I couldn’t be in the irons anymore, so I have to get vicarious pleasure out of watching.”
She treats each horse as a member of her family.
“I’m more interested in that they get themselves safely back to Virginia one day to retire at [my farm] Huntland than that they go on forever. None of them get over-pressed in any division.”
Because of Parker’s expertise from the sidelines and Tosh’s expertise within them, Cold Harbor met well-deserved success.
Want more Harrisburg? Stop by The Chronicle of the Horse's official Pennsylvania National page and catch up on all the news.
There will be a full report from the senior week of Pennsylvania National in the Nov. 4 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse. Check out the Pennsylvania National's website for results. There's also a live feed at USEFNetwork.com