Pennsylvania National Horse Show Crowns Ward, Garofalo Torres, Kenny, and Pony Hunters and Junior Hunter Champions in First Few Days
RELEASE: October 15, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Classic Communications
McLain Ward and Miss Liberty 7 Wind Their Way to The Winners Circle
McLain Ward showed the crowd that he deserves his many accolades, as he piloted Miss Liberty 7 to a perfectly planned and executed round to win the $10,000 Gem Twist Sprint Gambler's Choice at the 64th Pennsylvania National Horse Show.
The Gambler's Choice competition is very different from the standard style of classes offered at horse shows. In the Gambler's Choice, the course designer places fences around the arena and they are given numerical values depending upon their level of difficulty. The riders plan their own track, trying to amass the most points in 50 seconds, while only jumping each fence twice. Once they have completed their course, they are given the opportunity to jump the Joker fence, the highest fence in the ring, which will give them an additional 200 points if cleared and if knocked down will cost them 200 points.
Miss Liberty 7, a 14-year-old warmblood owned by Overlook Farm, jumped flawlessly, and the track that Ward had planned took advantage of the mare's speed and agility. They were even faster than Ward had planned, stopping before the final timers and waiting for the buzzer to ring, signifying the end of their allotted 50 seconds. Their final score after jumping the joker without difficulty was 1,090 points.
"I knew that 12 jumps were the most I was going to get in the time allowed," said Ward. "Especially since I didn't get the inside turn after the plank the first time like I wanted, so I thought to stop right inside the timers. I actually didn't get her stopped quite as quickly as I would have liked but I was trying."
"I actually thought that was a course that most people would do. I know Rodrigo and a few people did different ones at the end. It was a nice, smooth course, and she's a very, nice experience mare that Katherine Miracle has been kind enough to let me show while we're trying to sell her. She's been solid all season and she was good again tonight."
"I got the ride on her this summer. We actually originally sold the horse to Katherine four years ago and Katherine has since stopped riding , so the mare is on the market, so I'm going to enjoy her while I have her and then someone else will enjoy her. She's pretty game. She goes a little bit her own way but she's very honest and she's careful and she always tries to do a good job, so if you try to be competitive she'll normally come through with a nice result. She's brave with all these funny turns, and she's careful, a great speed horse. I took her to Calgary, and I've used her in a lot of big shows in this kind of position, and she's a very competitive horse. She jumps again tomorrow and then she's done for the week."
"Phillipa will be going in the Grand Prix on Saturday, and tomorrow [Thursday] Goldika will go in the Big Jump," explained Ward. "I'm lucky with mares, me and the girls get along well. We have a lot of nice mares, and we've been very lucky with that."
Second place in the class went to the ever speedy Margie Engle with Hidden Creek's Pamina L. The pair amassed 1,080 points, just 10 points fewer than Ward. The big grey has her own style of jumping and proved once again that power wins out over pretty in the jumper ring.
Judy Garofalo Torres and Oliver Victorious
Judy Garofalo Torres and her mount, Oliver, won the $7,500 For The Moment Open Jump Off at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, handily defeating an international field.
Of the 19 horse-and-rider combinations that entered the ring, only six managed to traverse Course Designer Steve Stephens tricky course of bending lines, large oxers and airy verticles. Garofalo Torres and Oliver delivered two clear rounds and their jump-off time of 40.519 gave them the win.
The class, named in honor of For The Moment, a horse that represented the United States in two Olympic Games, 1984 and 1988, winning a Team Silver Medal in Seoul, Korea. In 1995, "Fred" became the oldest horse ever to win a show jumping grand prix at the age of 21. Over the course of his career, For The Moment became one of the most successful American Thoroughbreds ever to compete.
It is fitting that Garofalo Torres of Dover Plains, NY, should win this class with its oldest entry. Oliver is a 19-year-old stallion that has been her mount ever since she found him in Norway 10 years ago. He was her first grand prix horse, and the duo has been competing successfully ever since, including a superlative second-place finish behind Olympic veterans McLain Ward and Sapphire in the 2009 $250,000 Grand Prix at the Hampton Classic Horse Show.
Second place, and the only other clear round of the jump-off was Contino 14 and Jonathon Millar of Perth, Ontario, the son of famed Canadian Show Jumping rider Ian Millar. Contino 14 crossed the finish in 41.124 seconds.
Third place went to another Canadian entry, Erynn Ballard of Caledon, Ontario, and her mount Robin Van Roosendael, a huge Belgian warmblood gelding. Ballard took her time moving through the course and although clear over all the obstacles, incurred one time penalty for going over the time allowed.
Like Millar, Ballard is part of an equestrian dynasty, her father, David, a well-respected coach, was the course designer for the 1999 Pan American Games.
Darragh Kenny and Gael Force Win The Jet Run Classic
Darragh Kenny, the young Irish phenomenon, and Gael Force owned by John Brennan and Missy Clark, won the Jet Run Classic, a Power and Speed competition held at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show.
McLain Ward and Esplanade 7 held the lead for most of the class with a clear power round and a speed phase time of 36.719. Kenny, with his first mount, Obelix, almost caught the leader, but their speed round time of 36.835 was 1/100 of a second too slow.
Kenny took the lessons learned from his first mount and put them to good use on the young Gael Force. The horse jumped effortlessly over the power obstacles, and when asked for the twists and turns of the speed phase, the horse performed as if he was one with his rider. They stopped the timer in 35.927 to win the class.
"He is such a super horse", said Kenney. "Every day he goes out and is fantastic. He has had some wonderful results; Lake Placid, Southampton, Vermont and now here, I couldn't ask for him to be better."
The Idle Dice Classic, a speed competition for Open Jumpers was also contested with Andres Rodriguez and his DaVinci leading the class from start to finish.
Rodriguez, the first competitor in the ring, had no idea how the rest of the field would do and he and DaVinci went all out to win, completing the course in a time of 49.390 seconds.
Kent Farrington aboard Samar came the closest to taking the win away from Rodriguez, but turning to the last obstacle, a double combination, Samar drifted to the right and jumped the first fence of the combination at a considerable angle, then took two strides where there should only have been one, and crossed through the timers in 49.691, good enough for second place.
Pony Hunter Champions Crowned
Nearly 100 ponies competed in the Small, Medium and Large Hunter divisions at the Pennsylvania National Show, but only three emerged as champions.
Eight-year-old Daisy Parish rode Victoria Colvin's Ballou to the Small Pony Hunter Championship on her first trip to the Pennsylvania National. "He was a little spooky the first day, but he got better," she explained in a soft voice. Parish, from Versailles, KY, has been riding the 12.1-hand chestnut mare since the beginning of the year.
The Small Pony Hunter Reserve Champion, Marigot Bay Farms' Made For Me, ridden by Pearl Theodosakis, was decided after a ride-off against Chloe Reid's Snowbird.
Medium Pony Hunter Champion (sponsored by Dr. Betsee Parker), Tuscany, ridden by Meredith "Maddy" Darst, was also crowned Grand Champion Pony Hunter (sponsored by Carlye Byron Nelson & Wild Sky Farm). Although the bay gelding is owned by West End Stables of California, his most recent rider outgrew him so the pony is looking for a new owner and returned to former trainers, Ken and Emily Smith, who had 12-year-old Darst ride him this year. "He is a really dependable pony and one of our all-time favorites. He really likes to win," Emily said.
Ohio's Darst, who rode ponies in all three divisions, frequently rides green ponies for her mother, professional trainer Mindy Darst, and has been riding since she was three. She is trained by family friend Tom Wright who said, "Maddy rides so many ponies, but to win at Harrisburg is very special, especially on such a nice made pony."
Reserve Champion Medium Pony Hunter was Neverland, owned and ridden by Allison Toffolon.
Vanity Fair, a legend in the pony world, continued his dominance, winning the Large Pony Hunter Championship for the third year in a row. Vanity Fair is owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, and ridden to the win by Victoria Colvin. The beautiful bay gelding's stablemate, For the Laughter, was Reserve Champion with Colvin again in the irons.
"With his win today, Vanity Fair tied the record for championships here; he tied the record (three) at Devon earlier this year, as well as at Pony Finals," said the proud owner. "Both ponies are easy keepers and get lots of attention and handling. Ponies feel love and when it gets tough in the ring, they will give it back and work hard for you. I really credit their trainers, Robert Coluccio and Richard Cunkle. We have a great team."
The rider of the Champion and Reserve Champion Large Pony Hunters, Victoria Colvin, of Loxahatchee, FL, won the Best Junior Pony Rider Award. "Tory is a very serious and exceptional athlete, when things get tough, she stays as calm as possible no matter the situation," said Parker.
The winner of the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Pony Rider Sportsmanship Award was Sophie Michaels of New York, NY.
Junior Hunter Champions Shine in the Spotlight
Large and small junior hunter champions were honored after the first two days of competition during the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. Round after round of polished performances resulted in cherished championships for World Time in the Small Junior Hunters-Riders 15 & Under, Lyle in the Small Junior Hunters-Riders 16 & 17; Garfield in Large Junior Hunters-Riders 15 & Under, and Vida Blue in Large Junior Hunters-Riders 16 & 17.
Canada's Chris Brandt is the designer of the hunter courses at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, and presented these riders with a flowing, but technical, course of fences.
The Small Junior Hunter-Rider 15 & Under Championship was sponsored by SBS Farm & Susie Schoellkopf and was won by Scott Stewart's World Time, a 15.3-hand bay gelding ridden by Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL. Reserve Champion was Don Stewart and Meg O'Mara's Fern Gully, ridden by Taylor Ann Adams.
The Small Junior Hunter-Riders 16 & 17 Championship was sponsored by Stoltzmouse Enterprises. The champion, the well-known grey gelding, Lyle, is owned by Stephanie Keen and ridden by Abby O'Mara of Rumson, NJ. Reserve champion in the division was awarded to Stone Hill Farm's Sublime, ridden by Jessica Springsteen.
"Everyone loves Lyle. He was champion here last year and has shown here for many years," said O'Mara of her winning mount. "I started riding him in January and only ride him at the shows. He just jumps five jumps in the schooling ring and goes in the ring. My trainer just tells me to have fun when I go in the ring with him, because of his record there is pressure riding him," she said.
The Large Junior Hunter, Riders 15 & Under Championship, sponsored by The Bedard Family, awarded the tricolor to K & S Show Services' Garfield ridden by Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, MD. The busy 15-year-old rider dominated the division and also rode the reserve champion, Marianna Bishop Wade's flashy bay, Bishonen.
"This is my last year as a younger junior and it was nice to ride Garfield. He's a First Year horse and green but very honest and always tries to win. He's eight now, and Kim (Stewart) found him in Europe when he was three; she has a great eye for horses," said Schaefer. "I've shown Bishonen a few times during the year and he was on the wait list to get in," she added happily.
Jennifer Waxman of Chagrin Falls, OH, had the good fortune to ride Laura King's mare Vida Blue for the first time when she arrived at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. The match was a good one as she captured the Large Junior Hunter-Riders 16 & 17 Championship after winning the final over fences class.
"Some horses are just winners and she's one of them. She never touched a fence in any of the classes. It just got better as the week went on, and I just stayed out of her way," said Waxman with glee as she described being asked to show Vida Blue at Harrisburg. The horse qualified in the older juniors before being leased by a younger junior who couldn't show him here, so Waxman, in her last year as an older junior, got the ride.
Reserve Champion in the division went to Stone Hill Farms' Tiziano, ridden by Jessica Springsteen of Colt's Neck, NJ, her second Junior Hunter Reserve Championship of the show.
The 2009 Pennsylvania National Horse Show runs October 8-17, at the Pennsylvania Farm and Show Complex in Harrisburg, and features 10 full days of hunter and jumper competition with both amateurs and professionals vying for the coveted championships. The Pennsylvania National hosts 10 national championships. The competition highlight is the $75,000 Grand Prix de Penn National on Saturday, October 17, at 7:00 p.m.
Special event highlights include: Kinsley Construction Company Hunt Night Competition, Jack Russell Terrier Races, The North American Fox Hunting Horn Blowing Championship, Family Days with Free Pony Rides. There will be demonstrations, as well as special educational events and barrel and carriage racing.
The show is entertaining and educational. Approximately 70 vendors are accepted, offering a wide variety of items: clothing, gifts and antiques, custom signs and furniture, fine and costume jewelry, toys, pet items, t-shirts and tack shops. All offer a unique variety of items sure to please horse lovers and non-horse people alike.
The Pennsylvania National Horse Show is proud of its tradition of supporting both equine and youth programs. The show benefits the Harrisburg Kiwanis Youth Foundation and the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation.
Further information is available at the horse show's website at www.panational.org or by calling the horse show office at (717) 770-0222.
Live streaming webcast of the event is available at www.productionseast.com.