2005 Hampton Classic Horse Show Swept By Olympic Gold-Medalist

Joe Fargis rides Edgar 12 to victory (photo J. Kassel).

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Stellar performances by an impossibly elegant chestnut named Edgar and his dashing rider Joe Fargis stole the show at the 30th Anniversary Hampton Classic, as they posted double victories in the $100,000 Prudential Douglas Elliman Grand Prix and the $30,000 Sotheby's World Cup. The horse show brought together world-class show-jumping, 1400 amateur equestrians and the horse-loving public for a week of competition, education and just plain fun under the dazzling late-summer sun.

Grand Prix Super Sunday is also the final social extravaganza of the Hamptons summer season. As Classic co-founder Tony Hitchcock is fond of saying, '' it's the perfect end to the perfect summer in the Hamptons.'

The Grand Prix course flanked by a party tent (photo C. Gerber).

3000 VIP guests and celebrities from the worlds of the arts, entertainment and business gathered in the ring-side tents to eat, drink and raise money for Southhampton Hospital. It was also an opportunity to salute Hitchcock and his partner Jean Lindgren, who retire this year after thirty years as Executive Directors. Hitchcock and Lindgren have guided the growth of the Hampton Classic from a small horse show in East Hampton to one of the America's largest and most prestigious.

A crowd numbering 12,000 watched on Sunday as Joe Fargis and the 16-year-old Hanoverian Edgar effortlessly jumped through two flawless rounds to win the Grand Prix main event. 

Retiring Exec Directors Tony Hitchcock and Jean Lindgren (l.) congratulate Joe Fargis (r.) on his Grand Prix victory (photo J. Kassel).

'I just pointed him in the right direction and he did the rest,' said 57-year-old horseman, three-time Olympic medalist and winner of the Gold Medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Edgar, owned by Mary B. Schwab and OEJI Farm, also won the Sotheby's World Cup qualifying event earlier in the week on Friday. Winning both events the same year is an unprecedented first in Hampton Classic history. Fargis took another first place in Tuesday's Land Rover Speed Test riding Diams III. In the closing ceremonies the Southhampton resident was presented with the horse show's Antares Style of Riding Award.

'Joe has been an inspiration to me and the other riders for a long time,' said Anne Kursinski, a former Olympic teammate and two-time medalist. Kursinski emerged second in the high-stakes Grand Prix competition that saw several riders take nasty spills. Her perfect fault-free round on Roxanna was just 13 one-hundredths of a second slower than the winning time of 41.69 seconds. Third place went to Candice King on Tarco,  who had led for most of the jump-off with a clean round in 42.02 seconds.

( l.) Anne Kursinski on Roxanna 112 (photo Diana DeRosa) and ( r.) Candice King on Tarco (photo J. Kassel)

Show-jumping is one sport where woman compete head-to-head with their male counterparts, and ride with them as teammates at the Olympic and World Cup levels.  Female riders were well-represented at this year's Classic, placing in all the major events. They made up half of Sunday's Grand Prix qualifying field.

Beyond the Grand Prix ring kids enjoy pony rides (photo C. Gerber).

Heightened security, an influx of corporate entertaining and a dozen new high-end vendors made this year's Classic more resemble an equine merchandise mart than an old-fashioned horse show. Still, the show remains true to its tradition of educating young riders, enthusiasts and newbies alike about the world of the horse. Opening Day began with World of the Horse parade featuring the exotic Arrieta Frisians and rescued horses from Amaryllis Farm Equine Rescue in nearby Sagaponack, NY.


Girl meets famous Friesian, a Dutch breed valued by medieval knights.



Resources abound during  Hampton Classic week for families with horse-loving kids. Pony rides, demonstrations of rare breeds, horse coloring books, foster farm animals, petting opportunities, hands-on horse care workshops, leadline competition for ponies and youngsters under 7 all played their role in putting people back in touch with horses.



Unique life-sized horse sculpture sports a $12,000 price tag (photo C. Gerber).

The expanded Boutique Garden, Stable Row arcade of shops and individual kiosks throughout the fairgrounds offer a dizzying array of horse-wares from boots and saddles to giant plush stuffed horses to riding helmets to a $12,000 life-size driftwood horse sculpture to a state-of-the-art horsegym exercise machine with optional solarium.

Everything a horse-lover could need is available here (photo C. B. Gerber).

Celebrities spotted ringside included Calvin and Kelly Klein, David Yurman, James Lipton, Bruce Springsteen, Christie Brinkley, Alec Baldwin, Peter Boyle, Katie Couric, Kelly Ripa, Lou Dobbs, Deborah Cox, and Ahmad Rashad. TV coverage of the Hampton Classic includes a one-hour special on WCBS-TV in New York City on Saturday, September 10 at 8:00 p.m. and a 'High Definition' telecast of the Grand Prix on the InHD network in late October.  Details on this telecast will be available at www.inhd.com  

Riding the Grand Prix course (photo C. B. Gerber)

The Classic's impressive list of long time sponsors includes Calvin Klein (since 1980), American Express (1987), Land Rover (1989), Wolffer Estate Vineyards (1991) Manhattan Mortgage (1996) , David Yurman (1996), Jaguar (1997), Prudential Financial (1998) and Sotheby's International Realty (1999). Heading the list of new sponsors is Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate, the title sponsor of Sunday's $100,000 Grand Prix. 

 Visit http://www.hamptonclassic.com for more information on competition, sponsorships or attending  the Hampton Classic Horse Show.





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