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Chrislar Hosts UPHA 14 Winter Tournament


Chris & Larry Cassenti's Chrislar Farm in Rowley, Mass., hosted one in a series of UPHA Winter Tournaments for the season on Sunday, Dec. 4. The facility was festively decorated inside and out for the upcoming holidays.

According to Tournament Secretary Sarah Lettre, Wright-Way Stables, Augusta, Maine, Chrislar's location is convenient and welcoming and attracts many UPHA 14 instructors/trainers from the New England area who are always graciously accommodated for a day of winter showing.

"This location is perfect for everyone since the farm is located just off I-95. The Chrislar staff and clients go all out for everyone who attends, serving a large variety of hot dishes and wonderful foods for all to enjoy," said Lettre.

Cheryl Marcelonis of CPM Farm, Newton, N.H., donated her services to officiate as the judge for a day, which turned out to be seasonally cool and quite busy. Of course, the heated indoor arena quickly took the chill away. Chrislar's Kevin Solimine donated his professional announcing services for the event and Colleen D'Alessandro did a terrific job as ring mistress and ribbon person for the day.

Another Chrislar associate, Jaime O'Quinn pulled the event together with the help of Lynne Pomerleau and Cathy Carruccio. Teresa Rosa and Tiffany Cunningham efficiently moved riders in and out of the ring the day of the tournament. Greeting attendees and parking vehicles was expertly done by Larry Cassenti and Chuck Jenkins. Heading up the lunch break was Jan Jenkins with the help of Chris McDermott and Liz D'Alesio-Spina. Chrislar's Pat Ingersoll and many eager clients also assisted.

In addition to the Chrislar trainer/instructors and students, other farms participating in the event included Afterthought Farm, Kim Ann Timmons; Boston Show Horses, Harriett Finks; HMA Enterprises, Hillary MacDonald; High Tail Acres, Deana Tate & Darla DelTorchio; S&S Stables, Susan & Heather Casper; Sunshine Stables, Donna & Amanda O'Brien; Taylor River Farm, Kristen Farley & Becky Fish; and Victory View Saddlebreds, Deb Black. Filling in as tournament secretary for the event (as Sarah & Jon Lettre were expecting their new baby boy any minute!) was Amanda Hill from Portland, Maine. She reported that this was one of the largest tournaments ever.

The UPHA Winter Tournaments are winter “schooling” horse shows. The tournaments were originally organized by the United Professional Horsemen's Association (UPHA) in Kentucky to promote saddle seat riding across the country, primarily with Saddlebreds and Morgans. With the increased interest and expansion over the last few years in each breed, the association rallied to the wants and needs of the instructors/trainers and exhibitors and expanded their tournament classes to include hunt seat pleasure and hunt seat equitation classes.

This year Chapter 14 enjoyed a 70-year-old gentleman participating as a western rider. The UPHA National Chapter provides insurance for the host facility for the day, as well as the ribbons in each class. The winners victoriously sported neck ribbons & medallions similar to the style awarded at the Olympics.

UPHA 14 Chapter consists of the professional membership in the New England area, where, one day each month (during the non-horse show season, November to March), a professional trainer will donate the use of their indoor facility to accommodate the day of showing. Other participating professional instructors/trainers attend with their students of all levels, preparing them for larger show competition, sharpening their skills, or to give them a feel for what competition is like. The exhibitors bring along members of their families and friends. The event also attracts many spectators.

The attire is informal: Kentucky jodhpurs/breeches, boots, gloves, a turtleneck and sweater, with lots of thermal underwear under all of that. Exhibitors are not required to own a horse, because those competing must ride horses typically used in lesson programs. The competition begins at 11:00 a.m. and is usually concluded by 4:00 p.m., with a coffee break, lunch break and a demonstration showing proper equitation riding and show ring attire. Chrislar's Katelyn Jenkins and Gaetana D'Alesio-Spina, dressed in their fine riding apparel, showed the audience what is appropriate for hunt seat equitation and saddle seat equitation. They performed synchronized riding, displaying their ability to place themselves effectively in the show ring. They also performed intricate transitions at each gait. Chris Cassenti explained to the audience what was taking place, and alerted the audience as to what they should be looking for in a top equitation rider.

Upcoming Tournaments are scheduled for Jan. 15, 2006 at High Tail Acres, Newbury, MA; Feb. 12, 2006 at Phoenix Stables, Hopkington, NH; and the final tournament is scheduled for March 5, 2006 at S&S Stables, Rye, NH.

The UPHA Chapter 14 holds the first USEF “A” Rated horse show of the season, the Spring Premiere Horse Show, on April 19-22, 2006 (School Vacation Week for Massachusetts students) at the Eastern States Exposition Center in W. Springfield, Mass. For more information about the horse show, or to receive a prize list; or if you are a professional trainer who wishes to become an active member of UPHA Chapter 14, please contact: Chris Cassenti, Chrislar Farm (978) 948-7674 ( For more information about the Winter Tournament Program, contact Sarah Lettre, Wright-Way Stables (207) 626-5680 or visit:

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