Farrington Wins Grand Prix at the 67th Pennsylvania National Horse Show
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Farrington Wins Grand Prix at the
67th Pennsylvania National Horse Show
December 2012

Kent Farrington and UcekoKent Farrington won his third Harrisburg Grand Prix October 20 on Uceko.
Credit Al Cook.

Kent Farrington and Uceko, owned by RCG Farm, won the $85,000 Grand Prix de Penn National at the 67th annual Pennsylvania National Horse Show, held October 11-20 in Harrisburg, PA.  It was the third Harrisburg Grand Prix win for Farrington, who went early in the line-up and was not convinced that his clear round time of 37.95 seconds would stay on top of the leader board.

“He’s actually kind of a slow horse in the air, he jumps very high and a little bit in slow motion,” said Farrington. “With this horse I never really know.  I ride him as fast as I can go and even then sometimes it’s still not enough to win.”

A field of 31 riders from eight nations competed in the Grand Prix, and the list read like a who’s who of the equestrian industry.   Four out of the nine that made it to the jump-off were Olympians, but of those only Margie Engle managed a clear round in a time of 46.68 seconds for fifth place. Beezie Madden, who went first in the jump-off, had faults, as did McLain Ward and Reed Kessler.  Second place went to Katie Dinan of New York, NY who piloted Nougat du Vallet to a fault-free round on the Alan Wade designed course in 39.48 seconds. 

PA Big Jump
Tim Gredley's victory in the $40,000 Pennsylvania National "Big Jump" Open Jumper class was all the more impressive because he had just returned to the sport after a hiatus of two years. Riding Unex Omelli, his mount for the last decade, the British rider posted the fastest of the four double-clear rounds.

“I kind of gave up the sport for two years and only started again in April," said Gredley, 26. "It's been a bit of a long road back, so I'm really happy with the win here."

An international field of 36 riders from eight nations took part in the event. The Alan Wade designed course yielded nine for the jump-off. Katie Dinan went first in the jump-off and set the pace on Nougat Du Vallet with a clear round time of 35.56 seconds. Riding sixth, Charlie Jayne took over the lead, with a clear round in 35.00 seconds on Chill R Z, until Gredley saved real estate on one of the turns to trip the timers in a blistering 34.56 seconds.

Gambler’s Choice
Shane Sweetnam of Ireland won the exciting $10,000 Open Jumper Gambler’s Choice.  As the last rider to go, Sweetnam realized his only chance for victory was to risk it all with Cyklon 1083, owned by Spy Coast Farm, by jumping the “Double or Nothing” fence. Once the rider completed the course they had the additional choice of jumping the Joker fence for 200 bonus points, or the "All In Double-or-Nothing" fence, set at five feet, six inches. Clearing the Double-or-Nothing fence doubled the rider’s point total; if knocked down, the rider received no score.  Sweetnam succeeded, finishing with a whopping 2120 points.  In second was Charlie Jayne of Elgin, IL, and Valeska who cleared the big fence to score 1800 points. Leslie Howard of Darien, CT, and Zack were a few points shy scoring 1740 points.

Exupery, owned by Steven Borders of San Marcos, CA, and shown by Tommi Clark, was named Grand Hunter Champion.  Clark was also named Leading Hunter Rider.

Medal Finals 
Meg O’Mara of Rumson, NJ, bested a field of 257 junior riders to win the prestigious Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Equitation Medal Finals, presented by Randolph College.  It was an emotional time for O’Mara.  The announcer had just finished naming Lillie Keenan of New York, NY, the Reserve Champion.  When she realized that the championship title was hers, the 18-year-old put her hand over her face to hide her tears. “I never thought that I would be here,” said O’ Mara. “So to be able to win it – I am still in disbelief.”

Junior Jumpers
Junior Weekend began with Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL, winning the $7,500 Randolph College/USEF Junior Jumper Championship Welcome Individual Phase One class riding Monsieur Du Reverdy. The 15-year-old rider, who had the fastest of the eight clear rounds, said "I feel great.  Last year I fell off, so it was a bit of a step up."  A total of 31 riders competed in the class with Abigail McArdle of Barrington Hills, IL, and Cosma 20 finishing second and Meg O'Mara of Rumson, NJ, coming in third on Sinatra IV.

Scores from the Welcome class carried over into Friday's $15,000 Randolph College/USEF Prix de States Team Championship/Phase Two of the Individual Championship, which was won by the team from Zone 5.  The team members were: Kalvin Dobbs of Tallahassee, FL riding Winde; Abigail McArdle of Barrington Hills, IL on Cosma 20; Lillie Ross of Wheaton, IL aboard Pako; and Catherine Tyree of Chicago, IL on Wetter.  The teams jumped the same course twice with one drop score permitted from each round. At the conclusion of the first round, the team from Zone 1-8 topped the leader board scoring eight faults. Zone 2 was only one point behind with nine penalties. The Zone 5 team was in the mix with a first round score of 12 faults and Zone 4 had 14 penalties.  The riders returned in reverse order of merit for the final round, which meant that the pressure rested on the final rider. Ross and Dobbs were faultless, and McArdle’s clear gave Zone 5 a score of 12 faults and the gold medal. The Zone 1-8 Team won silver with an overall score of 16 faults, and the Zone 2 Team of Meg O' Mara and Sinatra IV, Lydia Ulrich with Santos Utopia, Charlotte Jacobs riding Kachina and Mattias Tromp on Vosqinus took home the bronze with a final tally of 25 penalties.

Dana Scott of Wilton, CT, captured the Junior Jumper Individual gold medal riding KM Whatever RV with a score of only two faults. The dynamic duo did not have a single rail down throughout the four rounds of competition. Their only faults were incurred by the clock, by going a little too slow on Thursday evening. . Abigail McArdle and Cosma 20 added nothing to their carryover score of five faults, finishing in second.

NAL Finals
The Pennsylvania National Horse Show featured six North American League (NAL) Finals for hunters and jumpers. Katherine Pontone of Red Bank, NJ, and Wicked blazed to victory in the $4,000 North American League Pony Jumper Final. The pair managed the only double clear out of the four that made it into the jump-off.  Despite a two-month layoff from riding, Nina Montross of Bedford, NY, and Caprifol impressively captured the $10,000 North American League Children’s Jumper Final.  The talented 14-year-old high school freshman was on an equestrian hiatus in order to attend Westminster School in Simsbury, CT.

Madison Goetzmann, of Skaneateles, NY, piloted Sirius Black, owned by Christina Gellos, to victory in the $10,000 North American League Children’s Hunter Final.  Lily Blavin of Scottsdale, AZ, and Pringle were the Reserve Champions.

Revealed and Julie Holzberger of Fairfield, OH won the $10,000 North American League Adult Hunter Final in their first time at Harrisburg. Anna Cardelfe of Spring Lake, NJ, and Wenda AK won the $5,000 North American League Low Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper Final in their first year competing in the jumper division.

Landdame, a 21-year-old Hanoverian mare owned by Whipstick Farm and shown by Hannah Murrin of New York, NY, won the $10,000 North American League Adult Jumper Final. 

Hunt Night
Foxhunting competitors and enthusiasts from throughout the east traveled to Harrisburg for Hunt Night, sponsored by Kinsley Construction.  The evening began with the Field Hunter Class for Riders 35 Years of Age and Under, sponsored by Hempt Bros., Inc. and Mr. & Mrs. Gerald Hempt.  The class was won by Petty Cash, of the Green Spring Valley Hunt, and shown by Katie Cooper. Cooper also took home the Hunt Night Leading Lady Rider Award.  Jill Wilson earned the blue ribbon on Keswick Hunt Club’s Private Eye in the Ladies’ Hunter Under Saddle Class sponsored by LSC Design.

Steven Hayes, of Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds, won the Gentlemen’s Hunter Under Saddle Class, sponsored by Gregory W. Gingery, for the third consecutive year riding Clever.  Hayes defended his title in the Field Hunter Class for Riders over 36 years of age, sponsored by Roundtop Mountain Resort, and led the team of Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds to the Hunt Night Championship.

The featured event of the evening was the Hunt Team competition, won by the River Hills Hunt Club. Ten teams of three riders jumped the course at the same time. following each other as if out on a hunt, and jumping the final fence abreast.  Huntsmen from across the nation qualified for the North American Fox Hunting Horn Blowing Championship, each demonstrating four classic fox hunting melodies. Steve Farrin of the Amwell Valley Hounds in New Jersey was crowned Champion.

The Local Hunter Championship, went to Reminiscent, owned by Kathryn Frydenborg of Stewartstown, PA, and ridden by Allison Wherley.  Divinity, owned and shown by Bridget Gregory, was Reserve Champion.

Garnet and Penny Denegre of Middleburg, VA, won all three classes and was crowned the Ladies’ Hunter Sidesaddle Champion.  The Reserve Champion was Nu Moon, owned and shown by Susan Michele Cark of Phoenixville, PA.

Proceeds from the PNHS are divided between the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Foundation and the Harrisburg Kiwanis Youth Foundation, each of which support a number of  charitable organizations. For complete results visit www.panational.org.