Friday, Feb. 23, 2024

Salzman Makes Her Last Competition A Winning One At Horse Shows By The Bay

This teenager is selling her horses to go to college, but she finished her junior career on a high note.
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This teenager is selling her horses to go to college, but she finished her junior career on a high note.

Kate Salzman experienced an emotional rollercoaster in the second week of Horse Shows By The Bay in Williamsburg, Mich., when she won the $2,500 NAL/WIHS Adult Jumper Classic, July 23-27. Not only did Salzman win aboard her own Rhythm & Blues, who was a birthday present, but this will be her last riding competition. A recent high school graduate, she plans to sell her horses, including Rhythm & Blues, a 14-year-old, bay warmblood gelding by Concorde, in preparation for her summer job in New York and college at Duke University (N.C.) in the fall.

 “I’ll be working at an art gallery over the summer, so that means selling my horses after the Hampton Classic [N.Y.]. This is my last show, and it’s really sad,” said Salzman, Riverside, Conn. “My parents want me to have a ‘real life’ experience. I have been so lucky; they have supported me 150 percent the entire way, and it’s time to give them a break.”

She laughed as she fondly told the story of how she got into riding. “My parents always said that if they knew what this would have turned into, they would have given me a tennis racket instead. I grew up in London, and Hyde Park has pony rides. I used to go ride for hours. When I got more serious, I started to ride these little eventing ponies at a nearby stable. When we had to move to the States for my dad’s job, they asked me what the one thing was that could make me feel more at home, and I asked if I could keep riding ponies,” said Salzman.

Salzman trains with Heritage Farm, and although she’s had to balance school, family and riding, riding remains the one constant in her life. She believes riding has kept her focused and humble. She even used her riding experience and the lessons she’s learned in her college entrance essay.

“Two years ago at [the ASPCA] Maclay Finals I was having a great round, and then I added in a bending line,” recalled Salzman. “I had worked so hard all year, getting to the barn at three in the morning and practicing every single day. I knew this was it. These two minutes were it. To disappoint everyone and let myself down—it really taught me how to cope with failure. I know now, no matter how hard you work, that these things happen. Horses keep you humble. No matter how hard you try, sometimes you won’t succeed,
and that’s reality.”

Leaving The Horses Behind

Nina Zenni, an 18-year old high-school graduate, also plans to leave her horses behind when she goes off to college. Zenni won the $2,500 NAL/WIHS Children’s Jumper Classic in week 2 with Spy, a
14-year-old mare. Zenni lives in Lake Bluff, Ill., and trains with Rush and Carl Weeden, but she’s headed off to Miami University in Ohio this fall.

Although Zenni won’t have to sell her horses, she doesn’t plan on bringing them with her to school, and this is her last show before she starts college.

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Zenni comes from a family full of equestrians, so it will be strange to be without horses for the first time. Her dad used to own race horses, and now he and Zenni’s brother play polo. Her sister also rides, and they have a polo barn in Florida. Her mother doesn’t ride but is always there to support.

“I am undecided with what I want to study, but I am thinking journalism or international studies,” said Zenni. “For the first semester at least, I am not bringing my horses to school or riding on the team. I want to explore other options and immerse myself in campus life by other means and seek out other things I am interested in. I am going to continue riding at home but not necessarily with the college.”

Caroline Gibson has a bit more time before she has to worry about college, but she certainly left Horse Shows By The Bay with high honors. The 15-year-old from Houston, Texas, won the grand junior hunter championship in week 2 with her horse Primetime, a 13-year-old, chestnut gelding. Gibson contested the large junior, 15 and under, division in a tough competition and grabbed the championship over Laura King on Vida Blue.

Impulsive Leaps To Grand Prix Win With Lenkart At Horse Shows By The Bay

Impulsive may be fast and aggressive in the ring, but he’s a family pet at home,
and the impressive Dutch Warmblood grabbed top honors in the $25,000 Grand Traverse Bay Grand Prix with Scott Lenkart during the second week of Horse Shows By The Bay.

The duo was the fastest clear in the jump-off over Kirsten Coe on Starlight and David Beisel with Moet Walk. MacMillan Sporthorse owns the 13-year-old gelding by Impulse.

“He’s great,” said Lenkart. “He has the first stall, and my 2-year-old daughter can open his stall door and walk in and give him carrots. He knows exactly what he’s supposed to do. My wife hacks him at home, and I just get on and ride him on Sundays.”

Lenkart, Delano, Minn., couldn’t be happier going to Michigan. A lifelong fan of water sports, he wonders why he didn’t come sooner to the vacation town of Traverse City, which hugs hundreds of miles of Lake Michigan shoreline.

“We used to go to Denver, [Colo.], and had been going there six years in a row. When Dean [Rheinheimer] started this place, I wasn’t here the first couple years. I know Dean from some of the other shows, and he has been trying to get me to come here because he knows how much I like the water. Now that I have come here, I will not leave,” said Lenkart.

Gibson explained that she has a certain routine when she is getting ready to show. “I have so many superstitions. I am so concerned with putting on my left boot first. I have to take the left boot out of my box first, I have to put on my left sock first, I have to put on my left everything first—my socks, my boot, my spur, my glove. Oh, and you can never wear a yellow shirt when you ride, it’s bad luck. I got that from my mom [Kate] and trainer Peter Pletcher,” Gibson said with a laugh.

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A Poignant Victory

Although every win is special, Lissa Guyton’s blue ribbon in the $1,000 Ride for the Ribbon Hunter Classic was very personal. The class raises money and awareness for breast cancer research.

“My younger sister is a breast cancer survivor of two years. It’s a horrible disease, and this is just a small way to fight and give back,” said Guyton. “I’m on the board of directors for the American Cancer Society in the Toledo area, so obviously cancer is something I want to help get rid of.”

Guyton works as a television reporter for the ABC owned station in Toledo, Ohio. She’s worked there for more than 20 years. Guyton rode her horse Society Page, a 12-year-old warmblood mare by Urprinz OLH, to the win over Meredith Wegbreit and Amura in the classic. Guyton trains with Meg and Polly Howard in Michigan.

“I am so privileged to have ridden with the Howards for most of my career. Not many people have the opportunity to ride with such talented and caring professionals,” said Guyton. “We certainly win a lot, but we enjoy every minute of it. They’ve done a wonderful job. It’s my avocation, so it is my hobby; it’s what I love, and they make it fun,” said Guyton.

Guyton said she’s learned many lessons throughout her life and experiences, and some of her best education has come from horses.

“I think you learn responsibility, respect, kindness, good manners and how to interact with large groups of people,” said Guyton. “You learn how to work hard. We are not a group of riders who show up on Saturday, pet the horses and show. I think the other thing I learned is persistence and hard work, and in the end it does pay off. You have a few bumps in the road along the way sometimes, but you always come out much better on the other end.”

Jenny Underwood

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