Leading rider for the 69th Pennsylvania National Horse Show was Switzerland’s Beat Mandli, an Olympic silver medalist. He won the Grand Prix with Antares F with the only double clear round. Credit alcookphoto.com
The excitement was palpable at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show as crowds filed into the arena to watch the star-studded field of top international riders, including Olympic and World Champions, compete in the $85,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix de Penn National, a qualifying competition for the 2015 FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas.
In his first competition in the US, Olympic silver medalist Beat Mandli of Switzerland proved unbeatable aboard Antares F, with the only double clear round of the field of 32 riders. Mandli also won the Open Jumper Championship and the Open Jumper Leading Rider Award.
Mandli was impressed with the Pennsylvania National Horse Show and the facilities. “It's a great facility and it's super for the horses."
A total of five riders made it through to the seven fence jump-off. Todd Minikus, who has competed in seven FEI World Cup Jumping Finals, dropped a rail with Quality Girl in the fastest time to finish in second place. Irish Olympian Kevin Babington and Shorapur also dropped a rail but crossed the timers a little slower to take third place. Margie Engle and Indigo were also prey to a rail, finishing in fourth place, while Callan Solem and VDL Wizard had two rails down for fifth place.
The Leading Lady Jumper Rider Award was awarded to three-time Olympic medalist Beezie Madden for her success at the PA National aboard Abigail Wexner's Simon. Brian Reed, the groom for Antares F, received the Caretaker Award during the final award ceremonies.
Prior to the Grand Prix, Irvin 'Irv' S. Naylor and Steve Stephens were inducted into the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Hall of Fame for recognition of their extraordinary efforts, leadership, service, and guidance throughout the years. They join last year's inaugural inductees Gerry Hempt and Frank Chapot.
The Pennsylvania National Horse Show Hall of Fame was created in 2013 to recognize and honor individuals whose contributions and dedication to the show have set them apart.
A competitive field of 38 top international riders tackled the 1.50m, 12 fence course for the $40,000 Pennsylvania National "Big Jump". Only six riders made it through to the exciting jump-off. Kent Farrington, ranked #1 in the US and number four in the world, was first into the ring and set the pace with Willow, jumping clear in the unbeatable time of 35.05 seconds. Farrington took home the $13,200 first place prize money as well as the Second Cannabis Challenge Trophy.
Olympic champion Beezie Madden and her World Cup Champion Simon also jumped clear but crossed the timers in 36.67 seconds for second place. Ali Wolff and Casall also produced a clear round, but their jump-off time of 37.39 seconds put them in a final third place
In the $33,000 Keystone Classic Speed Stake Friday night, October 17, Beezie Madden and her 2012 Olympic team partner Coral Reef Via Volo, 24th into the ring, sailed around the course faultlessly in an unbeatable time of 59.52 seconds to clinch the win out of the 29 starters. The mare is known around the barn as "Shrimp" for her tiny size of 15.2 hands.
Karen Polle, of New York, NY, and What Ever also jumped clear, but had a slightly slower time of 62.16 seconds to finish in second place. Switzerland's Beat Mandli and Zaza Harvey finished just a fraction behind in 62.17 seconds, finishing in third place.
Reed Kessler, of Lexington, KY, was Crowned Open Jumper Speed Champion.
In Friday’s Celebrity Challenge 5 Drum Barrel race, four jumper riders competed again four of the Canadian Cowgirls. Lillie Keenan, Ali Wolff, Todd Minikus, and Charlie Jayne represented the jumpers, and rode horses supplied by the Canadian Cowgirls. Spectators cheered loudly as the riders sprinted around a pattern of three barrels. Keenan and Minikus, the final two competitors, playfully tried to wrestle each other off their horses before crossing the starting line. When Minikus was later crowned champion, they put their differences aside and completed their victory gallop hand-in-hand.
On Wednesday night, competitors and spectators saluted those who have served in our country's military. A men's choral group opened the evening's festivities with beautiful renditions of God Bless America and the National Anthem. The $5,000 Speed Challenge was an exciting competition as riders galloped around the course cutting corners where they could to clinch the win. McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, and Zander were the fastest of the night, jumping clear and crossing the timers in 55.857 seconds for the blue ribbon. Karen Polle and What Ever took second place, completing in 61.396 seconds, while third placed Leslie Howard of Darien, CT and Moondoggie finished in 61.416 seconds. After the prize giving Ward, Howard, and fifth placed Laura Chapot, rode their horses over to the stands and kindly handed their ribbons to three delighted and star struck young girls sitting in the front row.
Candid, owned and ridden by Harrisburg native Jennifer Alfano of Buffalo, NY, was crowned Grand Champion Hunter. Amy Polacheck won the Grand Champion Hunter Grooms Award. There was a tie for the Leading Hunter Rider Award and Alfano shared the winner’s circle with Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL. Both riders finished with 30.0 points each.
Golden Rule, owned and ridden by Stephanie Danhakl of Pacific Palisades, CA, was crowned Grand Amateur Owner Hunter Champion.
The winner out of 244 riders in the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final was 17 year-old Spencer Smith of Wellington, FL, who wowed the judges over three fantastic rounds. It was his was third time competing in the Medal Finals, and the first time in 12 years that a male rider was the winner. Smith rode Beau Van Het Keyershof, and is trained by Don Stewart, Geoff Teall and his parents, Ken and Emily Smith. Thirteen year old Mckayla Langmeier took Reserve Champion with her own Skyfall, and Ali Tritschler took third place after three great rounds aboard Helio Rouge. Twenty five riders progressed to the second round, out of which five were chosen to compete in the final test which included a trot jump, a transition to walk, counter-canter to a jump, and a halt.
The Randolph College/USEF National Junior Jumper Championship consists of three phases – two individual competitions whose scores are added together, and a team competition, run in a modified Nation’s Cup format. In the Individual competition, the scores from Thursday's Phase I, and Friday’s Phase II individual and team competition carry forward to Saturday’s final Phase III of the $7,500 Randolph College/ USEF National Junior Jumper Championship which decides the winner.
In the first individual phase Lucy Deslauriers, of New York, NY, the last to go of 32 competitors with Lisa Deslauriers' Hester, produced a clear round with the fastest time of 59.839 seconds. Deslauriers took over the ride from her father and trainer Mario Deslauriers, a well-known international show jumper. Emily R. Sheveland of Delafield, WI, and her own Lyla held the lead for most of the competition with a clear round, but were relegated to second place with a time of 62.464. Third place went to Kelli Crucioitti and her Chamonix H who also jumped clear, but crossed the timers in 65.004 seconds.
Next in order was the $15,000 Randolph College/USEF Prix de States Team Championship, which was won by Zone 4 (AL, FL, GA, MS, SC, TN). Team gold medal winning riders included Virginia Ingram of Franklin, TN, on Urban; Louise Graves of Nashville, TN, on Zavira; Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL, on Don Juan; and Hayley Waters of Sparr, FL, on Qurint.
With a two-way tie after the second round, it was a battle for the silver medal between Zones 5 and 2 which had to be decided in a jump-off. Giavanna Rinaldi of Zone 5 was first into the ring aboard G.P.S. Brilliant Disguise, but unfortunately the pair dropped two rails. This put the pressure on Lucy Deslauriers who pulled off a clear round aboard Hester and guaranteed Zone 2 the silver medal, while Zone 5 settled for the bronze. Other members of the Zone 2 (NJ, NY, PA) Team were Lauren Fischer of Bedford Hills, NY, with Offenbach du Granit; Victoria Press of New York, NY, with Cayenne 140; and Michael Hughes of Allendale, NJ, on Luxina. Eamon Hughes was Chef d'Equipe.
The top 60% of competitors from Phases I and II were eligible for Phase III. Faults from Phases I and II were combined and the starting order was the reverse of that order. The Individual Champion--the competitor with the lowest number of combined penalties—was Chloe Reid of Washington, D.C. with Athena. The overnight leader, the duo from Zone 3 jumped a beautiful clear round to clinch the gold medal with a final score of 3 faults. A jump-off for silver was won by Lucy Deslauriers and Hester, who had a clear round and a final score of four points. Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL, and Don Juan had a rail down to win bronze with 8 faults.
Nineteen hunt clubs, including hounds, huntsmen, and horses, took over the main arena for Hunt Night on Monday, October 13. In the Field Hunter 35 & Under class, 34 hunt club representatives competed over eight natural-type obstacles. The Keswick Hunt’s Jill Wilson and Apple clinched first place and fellow Keswick member Jordan Sipes and En Vogue took second. Wilson and Apple also claimed victory in the Ladies Hunter Under Saddle competition and won the Leading Lady Rider Award for the sixth year in a row.
Rebekah Robinson and her massive chestnut Ballaghmore from the Radnor Hunt club won the Field Hunters 35 & Over for the second year in a row, while Cindy Buchanan and The Lone Spy from Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds took the runner-up spot. Stevie Hayes rode The Lone Spy to win the Gentleman's Hunter Under Saddle class and the Rose Tree Perpetual Trophy against a field of 12 other riders. Sandy Rives and Cruiser from the Keswick Hunt took second place.
For the first time in 19 years, Radnor Hunt took the Hunt Team title, beating 18 other teams for the prominent award after a super round in unison. The Hunt Night Championship went to the Keswick Hunt, while Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds were runners up.