GLADSTONE, N.J. — Aug. 12, 2019 — Monday kicked off a week of top hunter, jumper and equitation competition at the 2019 edition of Monmouth at the Team. The event is held at historic Hamilton Farm, former home of the United States Equestrian Team (USET) and current headquarters of the USET Foundation, in Gladstone. The show features seven full days of equestrian sport through Monday, Aug. 19. Known for its over-the-top hospitality, the show's first day's festivities included an afternoon ice cream social sponsored by M.L. Cutler and Jim Mignone, a cocktail party, sponsored by Michael Mauro Equine Transport and a Louisiana-themed dinner.
Following several pony hunter divisions, the jumps were increased in height in order to accommodate more than 10 horse-and-rider combinations in the Performance Working Hunter division. Tranquillity Farms’ own Michael Desiderio piloted multiple entries in the division but claimed the tricolor ribbon aboard Katarina Muhlhauser’s Adele. He and the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Verdi x Future) were victorious in two out of three of the over-fences classes and received a fourth place in the under saddle to end the division on a 22.5 point total.
I campaigned I believe six out of the 14 entries in the class but this mare is really wonderful," he continued, "she's a perfect example of the standard type of hunter you'd like to have for these kinds of classes."
Desiderio’s Tranquillity Farms has just under 30 horses participating in the weeklong event with both junior and amateur clients. Student Grace Parker Gara was hot on Desiderio’s heels in the Performance Working Hunters as she captured the Reserve Champion title with King Power. The Newton, Pennsylvania, resident and 8-year-old Warmblood gelding earned 18 points for the honor.
Breeders and owners had the opportunity to show their young horses in hand with the backdrop of Hamilton Farm and on the hallowed ground were the greats of the sport once trained. The Hunter and Pony Hunter Breeding classes for yearlings through 3-year-olds included hopeful young horses and ponies who will debut under saddle in several years in the green hunter competitions.
Ivy Lane, owned by Janet Rizzo, and handler Jay Raach from the 2-year-old section took the top honors for the Hunter Breeding division while 3-year-old Elite Yankee Doodle, also handled by Jay Raach and owned by Michael Stonionis and bred by Amanda Vance De Sarbo were champions of the Pony Hunter Breeding competition.
Tuesday Monmouth at the Team continues with a full day of hunter competition culminating in the featured $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Eastern Hay. For complete results, please visit www.horseshowing.com.
The Desiderio family and their Tranquillity Farm, in Chester, New Jersey, is well-known in the area and on the show circuit and have been supporters of Monmouth at the Team since its move to Hamilton Farm. Led by parents Stephanie and Ricci, they run a top-notch hunter/jumper show operation and also compete Arabians at eight to 10 shows each year. They currently have about 75 horses in training.
Throughout a lifetime of experience riding, training and competing horses, Ricci and Stephanie Desiderio have developed a system for success that few others can attain. Their names are synonymous with the highest level of achievement in the Arabian and hunter/jumper world. Ricci is an accomplished trainer of both students and horses, and together with Stephanie and their four children, has created a dynasty of champions. Stephanie's reputation as a perfectionist rubs off on her students and helps them achieve their goals, as both junior and adult riders praise her for improving their skills at every level.
As a competitor in Arabian-breed shows, Michael has won the most National Championships of any rider in history. He is also a competitive grand prix rider and trains and coaches at all the most prestigious shows in the country. Daughter Alexandria, a Texas A&M graduate, distinguished herself in National Collegiate Equestrian Association competition and continues to ride and compete as an amateur. Youngest son Vincent, who was champion of the 3'6" Equitation division, is a competitive hunter/jumper and equitation junior rider.
Click here for more about the Desiderios and Tranqullity Farm.