This past weekend I spent some time up at the Western New York show in Buffalo. It’s hard to stay interested when I’m not invested in any way or really know anyone there that well. But I have to say, this is a nice show. The new facility (the show was held near Elmira, NY up until 2 years ago) is very well laid out for exhibitors and well maintained. The barns are new and very close to the indoor arena and there are at least 2 indoor warm-up arenas in very close proximity to the show ring (I believe there are more arenas further out, but I didn’t go find them). The only complaint I have about the facility is as a spectator there’s not a good place to sit and watch where you can get a good view of the whole arena.
As long as I’ve been taking note this show has always been fairly well attended and this year is no different. I heard pre-show estimates of 130 horses and I think the final count exceeds that. One pleasant surprise was Clayhill Farm in attendance with 4 horses! There were barns in attendance from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada. Some of the other larger barns included Champion Hill, Sunny Acres, Corinthian Stables, Nancy Flower, Dan Williams, Idle Creek, Summerbird, Bramblebrush, Kingfisher Creek, North Star, and Silver Maple. I know there was at least 1 barn that I didn’t even walk through.
There were also many smaller barns in attendance. To me this show strikes just the right note between the high class of a regional show, and the laid back nature of a local show. The show as a whole is very professional, but is also very friendly to smaller barns and amateur owners. You also see people break loose every once in awhile. Like on the first day when Ada Staley took a rodeo style victory gallop after she won the Hunter Hack over fences class (that moment brought a smile to my face, I wish I’d had my camera out). And there are hospitality events almost every afternoon and evening.
Everyone always wants to know about the judging. Well, I’m no judge, so feel free to not take me at my word. But I have to say I think Erlene Seybold-Smythe and Missy Hanover did a fine job. I wasn’t always paying the closest attention to the class in the ring, but whenever I placed a class in my mind I was rarely off by 1 or 2 placings. Any time I was way off I could at least acknowledge what the judge was going for and why they made the choice they did. I believe this pair is judging another show later this year. I remember seeing their names when I was putting together the events calendar, although I don’t remember what show I saw them at.
Jamie Bish and his gelding Three K’s Titleman were dominant in the WP divisions. This horse is always in attendance whenever I make it to WNY or Penn-Ohio. He is consistently high in the ribbons and is one of the western horses to beat in the region. Between Jamie, his sister Kelly Bish Ryan, Todd Trushel and Jeff and Amy Bessey the western classes had many quality entries.
Dan Williams consistently had quality horses in the hunter and saddle seat divisions, often with daughter Alyssa riding. Regardless of how they ended up performing in a given class my eyes were always drawn to their horse for the sake of its quality.
The thriving lesson program of Champion Hill brought entries to the Jr Exhibitor classes, and single-handedly supported the Academy classes. The Academy classes were new for this year. I hope they continue to be a part of the show and become more widely supported.
Sunny Acres farm also deserves a shout out. They consistently bring quality horses and are able to compete well in a multitude of disciplines. They had horses in hand, pleasure driving, western, hunter and saddle seat. The Vidlers always seem to be having a good time and make it easy for everyone with them to do the same.
The carriage classes, which are held in the main arena, had a consistent 6-7 entries per class. JoAnn Squier and her lovely stallion Chandelle High Noon were the top performer, only being edged out in the Reinsmanship class by Creekvale Copenhagen with Jennifer Jensen and Starshine Regulus with Leigh Semilof.
The WNY Classic, which I believe debuted in 2009 with over 10 entries, had only 4 entries this year. It’s a little sad to see such a small turn-out for what I remember being a highlight of Saturday evening. But I suspect the main reason for this is the reduction in breeding seen across the country due to the economy.
Well, there you have it. One gal’s take on the 2012 WNY Morgan Horse Show. I didn’t stay for the whole show, but from what I observed I think it can be considered a success. This show will continue to thrive for years to come. Maybe one of these days I’ll have the opportunity to hop in the ring here myself.
I hope to get some pictures of my own up soon. But in the meantime if you have any of your own please email them to me, email@example.com.