Mortgage Presents Opening Day At The Hampton Classic
Tiny Tots to Veterans and from Miniature Horses to Dog Agility
Demonstrations Opening Day at the Hampton Classic is a Day Not
To Be Missed!
Diana De Rosa
a well-known mortgage company whose founder and owner loves horses
and rides, add that to a famous horse show which showcases tomorrow's
champions side-by-side with Olympic veterans, spice it up with some
Dog Agility Demonstrations, add a dash of kids activities such as
pony rides and a petting zoo and you've got the perfect recipe for
The Manhattan Mortgage Company's presentation of Opening Day at
the Hampton Classic Horse Show on Sunday, August 25.
The 27th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show, which this year takes
place from August 25 through September 1 in Bridgehampton, NY, will
draw over 1500 equestrian competitors from across the country and
some 60,000 spectators. As a kick-off to this weeklong event, The
Manhattan Mortgage Company sponsors Opening Day, which is when the
local horsemen come and compete on the same turf that later in the
week will showcase Olympic veterans and up-and-coming equestrians.
Melissa Cohn, founder and owner of The Manhattan Mortgage Company,
will be among those local competitors.
Melissa and her daughters Sarah (16) and Samantha (10).
MANHATTAN MORTGAGE OPENING DAY AT THE HAMPTON CLASSIC
The excitement begins on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with events
featured in six show rings. One of the highlights is the popular
and prestigious Hampton Classic leadline division. Held in the Grand
Prix Ring, one hundred tiny riders under the age of six will be
mounted on their ponies or horses to experience showing at the Classic.
The 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Joe Fargis annually judges the Classic's
youngest riders. Other equestrian events held on Opening Day include
short stirrup, equitation and local hunter classes. Most classes
are restricted to horses stabled on Long Island.
At around 1:00 in the afternoon, with the media watching the activities
from the Chalet at a special Press Luncheon hosted by Long Island
Food Experience (LIFE), there will be Opening Day Ceremonies in
the grand prix arena. At approximately 2:00 p.m. the arena will
turn into dog heaven as owners and their dogs test their skills
on an exciting obstacle course of balance beams, weave sticks, hurdles
and tunnels in the show's first judged dog agility competition -
the Adequan® Canine "Little Classic. Spectators will be
invited out onto the grass to join in the fun and cheer their favorite
the horses are jumping and the dogs are barking, the Exhibition
Tent will be hopping with activity. Visit the petting zoo, let
your child learn the joy of riding by taking a pony ride, meet
the llamas, alpacas, Miniature Horses and Guide Dogs from the
Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind. If horses are what you came
for then stroll around the stable area and watch the grooms
readying mounts for their riders. Or sit on the sidelines as
the competitors vie for one of the coveted ribbons given out
throughout the day. You might even see Cohn, or one of her daughters,
Sarah (16) or Samantha (10) claiming some of those cherished
ribbons. Last year "Grace," a grey, 15.3 hand Germanbred,
ridden by Sarah won the Grand Local Hunter Champion and "Bulgari"
won the Local Working Hunter Championship.
Day is also a big day for Cohn who competes in the Adult Amateur
classes on her eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood "Aston."
She will also be competing aboard her seven-year-old, 16.1 hand,
grey Dutch Warmblood "Bulgari" in the Local Amateurs.
Sarah will be competing on "Navigator," an 8-year-old,
16.2 hand, German Warmblood gelding in the Large Juniors and
"Grace" in the Small Juniors. Sarah also will be competing
on her new Children's Jumper, "Rollerball," a 16 hand,
12-year-old, grey Dutch Warmblood. Samantha will be competing
in the Children's Hunter Ponies on "Just A Dream,"
a bay gelding and on "Rip Van Winkle," a grey gelding.
Liza Towell, a professional rider, will be competing "Grace,"
"Bulgari" and "Navigator" in the First and
Second Year Green Working Hunters. Scott Kemery and Patti Foster
will be there as trainers guiding them through the week.
STARTED IN THE MORTGAGE INDUSTRY
At the beginning of her working career, Cohn made the decision
to get involved in the mortgage business, beginning with mortgage
lending at Citibank. "I saw immediately that no single
bank could provide all products to all people," she said.
It was her first boss that inspired her. "He clearly saw
the future in mortgage banking, and I listened. I had no knowledge
of the 'margins' of the business, but what he told me was logical
and I pursued it." At first she and one other employee
did all the work, from answering phones to photocopying. "My
business strategy is to create a formula and replicate it from
branch to branch with modifications for each region. As long
as you remember that you are only as good as your last mortgage,
and treat each client as your most important, then the formula
will work anywhere." Melissa's strategy resulted in over
$4 billion in mortgages in 2001.
While mortgaging is Cohn's business, riding is her passion and
supporting a show as prestigious as the Hampton Classic just
makes sense to Melissa, especially since three of her ten offices
are on the East End of Long Island: one in Water Mill, one in
East Hampton, and another in Westhampton Beach. Cohn likes the
idea of combining her corporate world with the riding world.
"I enjoy being a sponsor of the Hampton Classic,"
comments Cohn. "It allows me to combine my personal passion
for riding, the joy of being with my children and my business
life as well as giving me the opportunity to support my local
mostly rides on weekends because during the week she spends her
days in her Manhattan office (555 Madison Ave.), the main headquarters
of Manhattan Mortgage, and her evenings in her New York City apartment.
She started the company 18 years ago and for the past six years
the "Mortgage Originator Magazine" (which is to the Mortgage
world what USA Equestrian is to the horse world) named Melissa the
number one mortgage broker in the country. That's because Cohn knows
what she wants and goes after it.
Rose Hill Farm
weekend Cohn heads out to her home in Water Mill, NY, where
she rides as much as she can. During the week you could also
find her at a horse show either watching her daughters compete
or competing herself. Or you could find her at her 20-acre Rose
Hill Farm in Bridgehampton, where they board 24 horses, have
an indoor and outdoor arena (both with all-weather footing),
train hunters and jumpers, have 12 turnout paddocks and two
hunt courses and each summer have a camp program for kids headed
up by Emily Wintjen with instructors Phyllis Kane and Kate Wilkinson.
This year a number of riders from the farm will be competing
at the Hampton Classic.
"We are going to be having a lot of kids competing, about
20 from six years up to 15 years," explains Wintjen. "I
think it is a really good local showcase. That is the big finale
of the summer. A lot of the kids don't go off the Island, so
this is a nice opportunity for them. It's a nice horse show.
I know everyone is excited about it."
By having her own stable, Cohn has been able to pass her passion
of riding onto others through her staff and instructors. Riding
is something that Cohn has been doing since she was a child.
And being able to combine her love of horses at a horse show
as prestigious as the Hampton Classic with a company as successful
as The Manhattan Mortgage Company is the crème de la
All photos by Diana De Rosa
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