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ON THE SCENE: Lake Placid Horse Show: 2011 edition

July 25, 2011
NAJ WIKOFF
“Horses are expensive, addictive and will impair your ability to use common sense,” said

Horse Junkie United.

“More new people are coming to the Horse Show than ever before, people who have never been to Lake Placid,” said Kim Tudor, sponsorship director. “Every one of them has said they want to come back. This is the most family friendly horse show in the country. Mom comes with the kids who ride. Dad comes with the other kids. He golfs. They swim. Not many shows have this kind of hospitality available and where everything is so compact. What is great is that there is so many new people with young kids, kids who represent our future riders and will be coming back again and again for years.”

“Last year the economy really bit into us, and the footings in the rings were not up to snuff,” said Richard Feldman, chairman of the Lake Placid Horse Show. “We had to take off the top surface, put in a new subsurface of clay, then a new surface of granite shavings and sand and it is now phenomenal. Our grass is considered by those who ride one of the best in North America, and there are very few grass surface left. Synthetic is great, don’t get me wrong, but synthetic isn’t Lake Placid. Getting the word out about the new surface helped attract new audience I have no doubt. This is a great place to show, do business and relax.”

“I’ve been riding for 10 years,” said Olivia Hupy from Ridgefield, Conn. “I love everything about the Horse Show. I love the connections I can build with people and with my horse. I just feel like he is my best friend. It doesn’t take words to communicate with him.”

“I have been riding 13 years,” said Lexi Selldorff from Farmington, Conn. “Olivia and I ride for the same barn. We met two to three months ago. I like how the sport is competitive and that there is a lot of teamwork with your horse, your barn, and your trainer – that it isn’t just you out on that horse, that you are part of a team that is especially with your horse. It takes a lot of practice, knowing your horse, knowing what he will do, and taking it one step at a time, except there is no substitute for improvisation when you are in a spot and have to make a smart decision for yourself and for your horse.”

“I like Lake Placid,” Olivia said. “This is the best of all the horse shows I have been to. There is so much to do, the restaurants are very good and it is so pretty.”

“What quality is most important for a horse and for a rider?” I asked.

“A good brain,” Lexi said. “A horse needs a calm, sensible brain. A rider needs a good work ethic and sense of practice. You have to do it and keep doing it. You have to get up at 5 in the morning and do your workouts. The more you put in, the more you get out of it. There are no short cuts.”

“I have been doing this forever,” said Stella Manship of West Cherry, Conn. “I ride with the Old Salem Farm. We come each year with a ton of horses. We have 41 this year. What I look for in a horse is athleticism, temperament and trainability.

“What does it take to be a parent of a rider? It takes money and patience,” said John Wolf of New Albany, Ohio. “I am here with my youngest, who will be 22 tomorrow. We will take her to the Lake Placid Lodge. She has been riding since 6 and competing since she was 7. We just try to support her. I brought a semi for the horses, which I drive out. The horses are amazing. They are true athletes and we treat them that way. We ice them down after a workout and they get massages to keep their muscles loose. We want them to perform their best so we treat them well. Lake Placid is really neat. No matter where you go in town people ask if you are with the Horse Show. Everyone we meet is so supportive. We always have a great time and there is so much to do as a family.”

“The Horse Show is great,” said Jared Stark of the Summit Hotel. “It brings a lot of people into town. We sponsor a class. I came down with all our colleagues to watch it. We had a great time. It is impressive.”

“Business would have been disaster this year, would be difficult any other year without the Horse Show,” said Ed Weibrecht, owner of the Mirror Lake Inn. “The Horse Show is the single most important economic event in this community.”

“The Horse Show went from a leaky circus to one of the top four shows in the entire United States,” Feldman said. “This year we had over 950 horses. We had a lot of new people. A large contingent came all the way from California. Shipping a horse across the country is not cheap. They do it because if the attention they get here, the sense of welcome.”

“I rode this morning,” said Berit Barr from Dover, Mass. “I have been competing all week, been showing all week. I like working with young horses. I like to bring them along and see their progress, and competing is a lot of fun. It is a chance to share the results of your practice. I have been to Placid four or five times, twice since graduating from high school. I hope to come back more often.”



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