Jennifer Dudniyk, 18, stood in the warm afternoon sunshine hosing down Playin' Hooky, an 8-year-old gelding she rides in the junior hunter classes at the horse show.
She has been riding since she was 8 and showing for the last seven years. Two years ago, when she graduated from high school, she opted for life full-time on the horse show circuit.
The season starts in Florida in January and moves slowly northward, ending at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto in two weeks. Still, she insists she does not miss home or friends much since "my mother comes and visits a lot and most of my friends are on the circuit."
The expenses for riding in the circuit are tremendous. Entry fees can average $350 a horse per class. Dudniyk's father, a commercial artist who lives in Doylestown, Pa., and designs Godiva chocolates, spends "about $150,000 a year" on the vanning, training, showing of the horses and his daughter's traveling expenses.
"It's a very rich person's sport," she said. "And when you're in this sport, you have to be in it all the way."
He is listed in the program as H.R. Kaplan, the official show ferrier, but he is known only as "Cappy." Thirty-five years ago he stopped showing horses for a living and began shoeing them.
"I was forced into it. I realized I had bad shoes on my horse and couldn't get anyone to do the job right," he said. Kaplan started doing his friends' and neighbors' horses on Long Island and became an apprentice ferrier, or "horseshoer," as he prefers to be called.
Shoes for a horse usually cost about $50 a pair but "there's an infinity of prices."