Following another successful showing in Lexington, Kentucky in July, the Real Rider Cup returned to its home in Fair Hill to complete the 2023 series of events, welcoming 21 horse and rider combinations along with hundreds of spectators to Fair Hill Thoroughbred Horse Show for an evening of lively competition and entertainment. Created by Anita Motion, the charity show jumping competition brings together personalities from across the breeding and racing industry to increase awareness and raise funds for Thoroughbred aftercare, with each rider pledging to raise at least $1,000.
“We are thrilled to see how well received the Real Rider Cup has been by both the racing and equestrian industries,” said Anna Ford, Thoroughbred Program Director at New Vocations. “The event is a true testament to how athletic these Thoroughbreds are and that they love having a job beyond the track. The funding raised is much needed and will help a lot of horses as they transition into new careers.”
Riders, mounted on off-track Thoroughbreds and wearing the silks of their employers, colleagues, and clients contended a winding course of fences with the fastest clear rounds taking home top honors. Connections and institutions represented included Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Country Life Farm, Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, Winstar Farm, Sienna Farm, Klaravich Stables, Maryland Jockey Club, Graham Motion, Tom Morley, Chad Brown, an entire team from equine veterinary clinic Sports Medicine Associates of Chester County (SMACC), and more. The field of horses included black-type runners Flash McCaul, Ninety One Assault, Call Provision, Nakamura, and GI winner Sermon of Love, who was trained by the recently departed Johnathan Sheppard. Olympic Show Jumping Silver Medalist (Atlanta 1996) and Kentucky Derby-winning trainer (Barbaro, 2006) Michael Matz led a course walk for competitors and WBAL’s Radio Baltimore’s Scott Wykoff served as emcee, providing color commentary.
Returning after serving on last year’s winning Fair Hill team, junior Jaidyn Shore, riding multiple stakes placed Grandiflora and wearing the silks of the gelding’s trainer Ann Merryman, put in a quick and tidy round to clinch the individual win. Awards were given for individual results, team results, and a Highest Earner award for the individual whose fundraiser garnered the highest total as of the conclusion of the event.
Individual results: Win: Jaidyn Shore and Grandiflora; Place: Gabrielle Nguyen and Oniyome’s Honor; Show: Tom Mansmann catch-riding his wife Clare’s horse, Buff Dude.
Team Results: Win: Team SMACC Down (Ashley Taylor, Sandi Norris, Kamryn Stockar, Gabrielle Nguyen, and Allison Haspel); Place: Team Racing Kids (comprised entirely of returning juniors Paige and James Wyatt, Will Slater, and Jaidyn Shore); Show: Team Maryland Five-Star (RRC veterans Kim Crowell and Maggie Morley joined by first-timer juniors Summer Chestnut and Natalie Holdren, each on their Thoroughbred Makeover graduates).
The Highest Earner award went to Team SMACC Down’s Sandi Norris who personally raised $6,000.
Earlier in the summer the event passed a milestone of having raised half a million dollars since its inaugural run in 2017. As of this writing, a total of 47 entered riders have raised over $125,000 this year. When combined with corporate sponsorships and general contributions, the 2023 event has raised over $140,000, which brings the historical total to $550,000 raised for Thoroughbred aftercare.
“We’re incredibly proud of the meaningful impact we’ve made for our beneficiaries since 2017,” said Motion. “Beyond that, we’re also proud to highlight our industry’s commitment to aftercare and we look forward to growing the reach of the event in the future.”
View full results and learn more at www.therealridercup.com.