1st Rip Gauthier Amateur Hunter Classic - 2003
was a feel good day – everyone was happy and
lighthearted! The order of the day was celebratory
– from the weather that dawned beautiful and
bright, things unfolded as they had been envisioned.
The notion of hosting a hunter classic came to Rip
many years ago over a beer (maybe two!) with Robert
Meilsoe and Bob Carey. However
it was only in the last few years that Rip stated
giving serious thought to the idea and began manicuring
the front field with it in mind. Sadly time denied
him the ability to see it to fruition but he died
with the promise that it would go forward.
Initially to be called the Someday Farm Tailgate
Classic, encompassing a social and charitable
element along the lines of Polo for Heart,
it seemed appropriate to rename it in memory of Rip.
I selected Headwaters Healthcare Foundation
as the beneficiary for two main reasons. Firstly,
it is our area hospital and provided Rip with outstanding
care in the latter stages of his illness. Secondly,
it is the hospital to which we equestrians are shipped,
should we have the misfortune of an accident at Palgrave.
Amongst their many stated needs was a chemotherapy
benefit to the tune of approximately $10,000.00
thanks to your generosity and support. Thank you to
the individuals, families and corporations who supported
the day financially through sponsorship (many of you
wish to be anonymous so I’ll leave it at that!)
– we could not have done it without you.
event was about participating and giving. It started
with David Ballard who, when walking
the terrain with Rip, Brian and I
last year, painted the picture from which we would
work. Giving us an idea of how he would build a course
using the natural contours of the property, the challenge,
then, was to build the jumps, find sponsors and orchestrate
the mechanics. One of the biggest question marks in
organizing the day was whether people would step up
to the plate, given that it was not for points. In
a sport that is all too often serious and self-serving
it was refreshing and reassuring to see the unbridled
enthusiasm of everyone present. From a planning point
of view the response I received was enthusiastic,
heartwarming and indeed a tribute to Rip.
mentioned that one of the goals was to encompass a
social element – well how about those picnics!
Whether it was Paddy Ann & co.’s
winning “pink everything”, Mary
Skey’s unparalleled culinary feast.
Greg & Irene Aziz’s sunflower
elegance, the Gatsby Group with their
hanging chandelier or the Simms harvest
display – my only regret was that as the “olders”
rode in the afternoon, I didn’t get to really
sample it all appropriately! Esteemed judges Lorna
Guthrie, Sandi Ballard and
Marsi Vince had the most difficult
task of the day – thank you for sampling your
was to decisions! Thank you to everyone who rose to
the fun of the day and simply reclined under the trees
on the driveway for an after lunch siesta (that would
have been a certain Morgan Firestone
essence it all came together as it had been envisioned
– a day of camaraderie and competition for the
love of the sport and support of the community. The
only real surprise of the day came at the conclusion
of the morning class when the Eglinton and
Caledon Hunt, resplendent in all of their
opening- meet finery, jumped the coop at the edge
of the field and gathered in tribute to Rip. I am
not often at a loss for words but I know that I was
not alone in being quite overwhelmed by the tableau
Where does one begin to say thank you? Standing next
to J.T. on the balcony, the morning
of September 13th, overlooking the entire course,
I was transported back in time to the day I had stood
there with Rip, imagining how it might be. I don’t
think we disappointed him – he would have been
so proud of how his farm looked and how well it lent
itself to the day.
you to Kim Kirton and Jill
Irving. The Eglinton & Caledon
Hunt, Lawrence Ayliffe,
The Burdette Gallery, The
Harrington Family and Sue and Mike
Vito for helping us to build banks, walls,
hedges, log piles, doghouses and gates.
Thank you to E.M.G. who supported
us with a full course of hunter jumps to complete
the track and also for the numbers to put on our backs.
The icing on the cake was provided courtesy of Dr.
Cormack and Jack Braithwaite
of Tralee who further dressed our
course with beautiful vintage carriages and wagons,
positioned at different vantage points for our three
pairs of judges.
Thank you to Tyler J. Puddy –
international horn sounder who enriched our presence
with his crystal clear bursts of sound.
Thank you David for build such a
wonderful course that was simultaneously challenging,
inviting and fun! The horse jumped well and relished
the opportunity of picking up a gallop in an open
field. The riders rose to the spirit of the day and
could be seen grinning from ear to ear as they navigated
Thank you to John Weir for the idea
of pairing judges together. Torchy Miller
and Sally Sainsbury, our
senior pros, earned the premier spot in the Robert
Young roof seat Brake and did a stellar job
of setting the standard. Marilyn and Bob Carey,
our amateurs, looked the part (the Stetson was perfect
Bob!) and so enjoyed the day that we might see them
with their cards sooner than later! Our young pros,
Erynn Ballard and Lauren
Hayes completed the panel of judges and proved,
I might add, to be beyond alcoholic bribery (unlike
their older counterparts!). To all of you I extend
my most sincere thanks for giving of your time and
expertise and promise that next year we’ll find
both proper judging cards and vintage parasols to
give you some shade!
To Helen Dillon who, with help from
Cathy Aker, manned the in-gate a
very special thanks for returning from Quebec to be
part of the day. Helen was Someday’s very first
customer and had a very special place in Rip’s
heart, as evidently he did in hers. To J.T.
who had the best seat in the house, thank you for
keeping it all on track and for being the communication
Thank you to Deb and Jennifer
at Running Fox for sponsoring the
champion coolers – they were beautiful and I
know will be treasured by both Muffie
Thank you Brian and Cathy Aker for
sponsoring the beautiful perpetual trophy in Rip’s
Thank you to everyone who rallied with items for
the silent auction – you really are a force!
Thank you Vickie Wild for giving
us a printed image. Thank you to Lynn
and Tammy for coming from Vancouver
and for the inspiration of Horses for Headwaters.
a personal level it was a day of many emotions for
me and for most of the farm family. I debated whether
to ride but in my heart knew there was only one answer
that would have been acceptable to Rip. When I stepped
up on Tennyson he seemed to know
what needed to be done so we rode for our biggest
Many people commented throughout the day that Rip’s
presence could be felt all around and indeed I do
believe that he was with us. Thank you to Brian and
the entire Someday staff for your support and enthusiasm.
Thank you to my girls – Kelly
and Jennifer for just being. Thanks
to all of you for supporting this inaugural classic
– you are a wonderful community of people with
whom I am proud to be enjoined. And most especially,
thank you Rip.
Rip Gauthier Classic Results
The Eglinton & Caledon
The Tailgate Picnic