Riding Gentille Van Spieveld, Olympic veteran and World Cup winner Leslie Howard won her first $85,000 Grand Prix De Penn National to close the 70th Pennsylvania National Horse Show, held October 8-17 at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA.
Only four riders managed to get around Designer Michel Vaillancourt's 1.60 meter course. Going seventh, Peter Lutz, Goldens Bridge, NY, and Robin Du Ponthual, owned by Katherine Gallagher and Michael Meller was the first clear round, followed by the next in the order, Laura Chapot, Neshanic Station, NJ, with Quointreau Un Prince, jointly owned by the rider and McLain Ward. It took five more rides before Canadian rider Jordan MacPherson with Aldine, owned by SVED Stables, posted another fault free round. Howard, the 14th rider on course, guided the nine year old bay gelding, owned by GJ Stable, to a faultless performance, making four to return to jump off against the clock.
Lutz, riding first in the second round, had two rails down for eight faults in a time of 43.92. Chapot, always a speed threat, was next, but her time of 40.79 came with four faults. MacPherson turned in a clear round in a time of 44.31. This left the door open for Howard, who broke the timers in 43.71 seconds to win the class.
Howard was thrilled to finally add this Grand Prix to her list of wins. "Finally I get to make the wall," she said. "I came to this show when I was 11 on a large pony, and I am 59 so I have been here a lot. The first year I rode in the Grand Prix would have been Chase The Clouds, so that would have been 1979. I just kept on trying, so, finally!"
"I'm very excited about this horse. He is very green," continued Howard. "I got the ride about a year ago and he's done nothing but what I have asked him to do. I have always had a tremendous amount of confidence in the horse because he is so scopey. He is like a big puppy dog, all big and cumbersome, but now he is getting quicker and more coordinated. He wants to do the right thing. I think he's the horse for the future."
By virtue of their win, Howard was named Open Jumper Champion. Laura Chapot was named Leading Lady Jumper Rider as well as Leading Open Jumper Rider due to her top placings through the week.
Friday’s featured event, the $34,000 Keystone Classic, a Longines World Ranking class, time first round speed format with fences set at 1.45 meters, drew a field of 16 horse and rider combinations.
It was a speed duel between Swiss rider Beat Mandli with Celina, owned by Grant Road Partners, who had a fault free performance in a time of 58.75, and Irish rider Conor Swail and Cita, owned by Susan and Ariel Grange, who also jumped without penalty in a time of 58.79. Mandi took first place over Swail by a margin of .04 seconds.
"She is only eight years old," said Mandli. "She is hopefully going to be a grand prix horse. To be honest I thought I did not ride so well. We had a bit of misunderstanding to the red fence, then again to the next line, but she really helped me out. She is a wonderful mare."
Mandli and Celine tied Swail and Cita for the Open Jumper Speed Championship.
Conor Swail rode Simba De La Roque to victory Thursday night in the $40,000 Pennsylvania National "Big Jump" class, besting a field of 22. The course took its toll on many of the riders, but seven managed to post clear first round trips to advance to the jump off.
Jordan MacPherson riding Aldine for the SVED Stables out of Toronto, Ontario, the first to jump off, crossed the timers with 4 faults and 42.56 seconds. She was followed by Michael Hughes, Allendale, NY, and MacArthur owned by Christina Fried. They finished with 8 faults in a time of 39.20 seconds. Next was Swiss rider Beat Mandli and Grant Road Partners' Zander, who ended with 4 faults in a time of 36.84. Aaron Vale, Morriston, FL was next to try his luck with Finou 4, an entry from Thinks Like A Horse. Vale was the first to post double clear rounds but his time of 38.13 left the door open. Swail was in the ring next and he and Simba De La Roque, owned by Susan Grange, made every cut to finish the course without penalty in a time of 36.33. Peter Lutz and Robin De Ponthual, owned by Kathryn Gallagher and Michael Meller, were next, leaving the ring 36.57 seconds later with 4 faults. The last to contest was Callan Solem, Glenmoore, PA, with VDL Wizard, an entry from Horseshoe Trail Farm. As a Pennsylvania girl she had the crowd behind her, and even though she cleared the course without penalty, at 37.22 seconds she was well behind Swail.
"I don't know how to explain how good he is," said Swail. "He's just an amazing horse. In the jump off I thought I was just a little bit too aggressive. We set off at a nice rhythm and I think I had a little too much spur on. It wasn't the smoothest ride I've ever had on him but it's another win and I'm delighted."
Lucador, Dr. Betsee Parker's 7 year-old German Oldenburg gelding, was named Pennsylvania National Grand Hunter Champion. Lucador and rider Scott Stewart swept the Regular Conformation Hunter Division with four class wins out of the six classes contested.
The EMO Agency Professional Hunter High Five Award, presented to the professional hunter rider with the highest numerical score, was shared in a three way tie. Stewart and Lucador posted a score of 91 in the Regular Conformation Over Fences class, Hunt Tosh piloted Dr. Betsee Parker's Cold Harbor to a 91 on Wednesday in the Regular Conformation Hunter Over Fences and Point Being, owned by David Glefke and ridden by Kelley Farmer achieved a 91 in the Second Year Green Hunter Over Fences.
Due to the winning efforts of Lucador, Stewart was named Leading Hunter Rider.
Mindful and Kelley Farmer turned in two days' worth of near perfect trips to claim the High Performance Hunter Championship. Farmer also rode Point Being to the Grand Green Hunter Championship. Havens Schatt piloted Custom Made around the ring to take home the First Year Green Championship, his third First Year Championship in three years on three different horses.
Dash for Cash
Conor Swail of Wellington, FL dashed to victory on Simba de la Roque in the $10,000 Dash for Cash Open Jumper class, stopping the timers in 57.028 seconds going clear in the speed class on Wednesday. Laura Chapot and Quointreau Un Prince finished a fraction slower, going clear in 57.405. Swail credited Simba's ability to cut corners as the key to success.
Less than three seconds separated the top six in the field of 15 competitors with eight in all going clear. Callan Solem was the third fastest, finishing in 58.456 seconds on VDL Torlando, owned by the Torlando Group.
Hunt Clubs held the spotlight on Monday night’s Hunt Night, one of the most popular events of the show. Rose Tree - Blue Mountain Hunt exhibited their pack of foxhounds. Keswick Hunt won the Hunt Night Championship with Potomac Hunt in reserve.
Twelve Hunts participated in the Hunt Team competition. Each Hunt Club was allowed to enter two teams of three riders and all but two did just that, for a total of 20 teams. Each team started over single fences, then jumped a staggered fenced set on the long side of the arena and culminated with a fence on the diagonal that was to be jumped in unison. The Team from Elkridge Hartford Hunt comprised of Ellie Williams, Katie Doherty and Katie Fitzpatrick rode in on matching gray horses and had the crowd cheering as they jumped to the top award.
Kelli Cruciotti won the Pessoa/US Hunter Seat Medal Final over a field of 287 competitors. Taking reserve champion honors was Hunter Holloway; McKayla Langmeier finished in third.
Following a preliminary round that featured natural obstacles and a variety of options, 25 riders were called back for the second round work-off. Cruciotti (Elizabeth, Colo.) and her own Monterrey impressed with a confident and stylish round, earning her the last to-go position. Again producing a flawless round, Cruciotti remained last in the order as judges Julie Winkel and Scott Hofstetter called back six riders for a final test: seven jumps including a roll back from the first fence to the second fence at the counter canter, a demonstration of two simple or flying changes, and a hand gallop to the final fence.
Monterrey was awarded the Doris H. Clark Memorial Perpetual Trophy for Best Equitation Horse.
The 2015 Neue Schule/USEF National Junior Jumper Championship concluded Saturday with Phase III welcoming back 13 combinations to jump for the national championship title. Lucy Deslauriers was the ultimate victor, adding nothing to her three-phase total of one fault to secure the Gold medal. In a jump-off for the Silver medal, Victoria Colvin secured the second spot on the podium with a clear jump-off round ahead of Vivian Yowan who took Bronze.
Deslauriers (New York, N.Y.) and Lisa Deslauriers' Hester entered Phase III on just a single fault, having jumped two double-clear rounds in Phase II's Prix des States, where she contributed to the Zone 2 Gold medal win. Last to go and leading coming into the day on zero faults, Colvin (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Take the High Road LLC's Cafino, had a rail down at fence 11, sealing the win for Deslauriers.
Yowan (Versailles, Ky.) and Stone Hill Farm's Vornado Van Den Hoendrik began the day on three faults and were clear over the course, but added a single time fault to their total. Following Colvin's knock-down, the two were tied with four-faults, forcing a jump-off for the Silver medal, which Colvin secured with a clean round to Yowan’s four fault performance. Deslauriers was awarded the William C. Steinkraus Style Award.
In Friday’s Neue Schule/USEF National Junior Jumper Team Championship. Zone 2 earned Team Gold, while Zone 1 took Team Silver and Zone 4 took Team Bronze. Led by Chef d'Equipe Krista Freundlich, Zone 2 finished round one on a score of four and clinched Gold by collecting no faults in round two.
Thurs Oct 8
Victoria Colvin and Cafino, owned by Take the High Road, LLC, jumped to victory in the Individual Phase One of the Neue Schule/USEF National Junior Jumper Championship on Thursday evening. The 17 year-old resident of Wellington, FL was the fastest of the field of 29, stopping the clock in 58.393, more than six seconds faster than last year's winner, Lucy Deslauriers and Hester. Lucas Porter and Phineas owned by Sleepy P Ranch LLC had the only other faultless round crossing the timers in 65.185.