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Fall Victories

Roy and Denice Perry, center, celebrate Placido's victory in the $5,000 Miller Toyota Warrenton Hunter Classic.

Skyland Farm Scores Fall Victories in Virginia 

Denice Perry’s Skyland Farm, based in Upperville, Virginia, had a lot to celebrate in the fall of 2011 with horse show victories throughout the region.

Warrenton-based rider Chiara Parlagreco guided Mike Smith’s bay warmblood Paris North to championship honors at the Middleburg Classic Horse Show on September 24. They earned the Adult Amateur, 18-35, division championship after earning a first and two seconds over fences and a fifth in the under saddle. They also placed eighth overall in the $10,000 Derby held at the show in Leesburg, Virginia.

Perry paired Parlagreco and Paris North together after Smith’s show career ended due to back issues. The trio works together to prepare Paris North for his competitions, with Smith traveling to Skyland from his new home at Poplar Grange in Middleburg, Virginia.

“Mike comes and rides Paris on the flat in preparation for his select horse shows,” said Perry. “He tries to come the day before the show. Mike’s strong ability on the flat helps Chiara with the horse’s straightness. Mike did show Paris when he first bought him, but the jumping seems to bother his back, so he lets Chiara show him.”

Parlagreco and Paris North have developed a strong and winning partnership over the past several years. Earlier this season, they earned the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival reserve circuit championship in the Adult Amateur Hunter 3’3” division in Wellington, Florida, and they’re now qualified for the World Championship Hunter Rider Adult Amateur Challenge at the Capital Challenge Horse Show (Maryland) in October.

Perry didn’t leave all of her accolades to her students in September, however. She guided Skyland Farm’s Placido to the blue ribbon in the $5,000 Miller Toyota Warrenton Hunter Classic, held September 3 at the Warrenton Horse Show.

Perry and Placido earned the top scores of 86 and 89 in the two-round competition under the lights on Saturday night.

“He’s a great horse,” said Perry. “He’s seasoned. He was purchased for my husband Roy Perry, but due to Roy’s business commitments he wasn’t able to show him much this year, much to my disappointment.”

Denice was pleased with both of her rounds and the courses designed by Glenn Moody. She was thrilled that her 15-year-old warmblood still enjoys his job so much after a long and storied career.

“He’s just so pretty going around because he wears his ears up all the time. He loves his job,” said Denice. “He’s also really smooth to ride. There was a higher option fence that I jumped in each round. The higher options aren’t a problem for Placido because he doubles as a 3’6” equitation horse for Skyland student Ashley Burke, when possible.”

Going into the second round in first place did give Denice some butterflies, but she and Placido jumped another beautiful course to clinch the top spot. “Yes, I was nervous!” said Denice, laughing. “I didn’t want to make a mistake in front of all of those people! I drank a lot of Diet Coke so that I could perform in the evening. I’m old—I’m usually done by 6 p.m.

“During the second course I tried to be as consistent as possible because in the classics consistency wins,” she added. “Next year it’s Mr. Perry’s turn or a lucky Skyland student. I’m retired from this class because after finishing second last year and winning this year with Placido, it’s someone else’s turn.”

Versions of this article appeared in Middleburg Life and Fauquier Now in the fall of 2011.

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