Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hunter/Jumper: Penn National: Zone 2 Triumphant in Prix de States Team Championship at PNHS

Karen Polle aboard Cachette Z, winners of Junior Jumper Individual Phase 1 and members of Prix de States Champion team, Zone 2. (Al Cook Photo)
Harrisburg, Penn. - October 15, 2010 - The four team members from Zone 2 came to Harrisburg with the intention of winning, and that is exactly what they did. With seven of their eight trips clear, Katie Dinan, Reed Kessler, Meg O'Mara and Karen Polle made it look easy.

The riders from Zone 2 led the way all night, but they were closely followed by last year's Prix de States Champion, Zone 10. Jocelyn Neff aboard Gaja 20 and Audrey Coulter aboard Rodenburghs California both pulled off double clear rounds, but Lindsay Douglas aboard Pernot and Alec Lawler aboard Live Fire both had faults.

For Zone 2, Meg O'Mara aboard Sinatra IV, Karen Polle aboard Cachette Z, and Reed Kessler aboard Flight all pulled off double clear rounds. Katie Dinan aboard Vancouver was clear in the first round, but tired in the second round to end up 16 faults. With Dinan's second round score dropped, Zone 2 had a final score of 0 faults to clinch the $15,000 Randolph College/USEF Prix de States Team Championship.

Ralph Caristo, Zone 2 Chef d'Equipe, said "I've got great parents, great kids. There's a great support system in our zone." This support system was made evident by the numerous, and colorful, posters throughout the complex and the bright face paint on each team member's cheeks, as well as on many spectators cheeks. Each time a Zone 2 rider finished a course a loud cheer went up from the stands. The riders from Zone 2 all agreed on one thing, that "Ralph is the best Chef there is!"

Kessler, 16, of Armonk, NY, said of Flight, "I've had him forever, I love him." Polle, 18, of New York City, NY, has had Cachette Z for about a year and said "she's been so amazing, she knows exactly what to do, and she helps me out a lot." Dinan, 16, of North Salem, NY and O'Mara, 16, of Rumson, NJ, also had nothing but great things to say about their mounts, Vancouver and Sinatra IV.

The course was very challenging for these Juniors. Out of 59 trips around the Steve Stephens designed course, there were only 18 clear rounds. The biggest challenge on course were the three one-strides, with fences 3A and 3B proving to be especially difficult, resulting in more than 20 knockdowns throughout the night.

This was the 32nd year of the Prix de States competition being held at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. Each zone across the United States may field a team of four for the Randolph College/USEF National Junior Jumper Championships. The top four horse-and-rider combinations in the zone's National Junior Jumper standings qualify to represent their zone in the Prix de States competition.

Junior weekend continues with Saturday's Family Day, October 16 with free pony rides and face-painting from 1 to 4 p.m. Competition will include Pony Hunters and the Randolph College/USEF Junior Jumper Individual Championship on Saturday, and Sunday's USEF/Pessoa Hunter Seat Equitation Finals Presented by Randolph College.

In addition to the world-class equestrian competition that will run through Saturday, October 23 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, the PNHS offers a unique shopping environment with boutique vendors.

General admission for Saturday, October 16 to Friday, October 22, is $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and students. General admission for Saturday, October 23, is $20 for adults and $10 for seniors and students.  As always, children under 6 are admitted free in general admission seating.  Convenient parking is also free.

The Pennsylvania National Horse Show is proud of its tradition of supporting 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.

Details are available at the horse show's website at or by calling the horse show office at 717-770-0222.

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