Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hunter/Jumper: Penn National: Wrap Up: The 65th Annual Pennsylvania National Horse Show Showcases A Wealth of Equestrian Talent

Harrisburg, PA - October 27, 2010 - The 65th annual Pennsylvania National Horse Show, which took place October 14-23 in Harrisburg, PA, showcased a wealth of equestrian talent ranging from pony hunters to grand prix competitors. From the first junior rider to step into the area at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Exhibition Center until Rodrigo Pessoa crossed the timers to win the $75,000 Grand Prix de Penn National on the horse show's closing night, this year's Pennsylvania National Horse Show featured the best-of-the-best in hunter-jumper competition.

            For the second year in a row Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil emerged as the champion of the $75,000 Grand Prix de Penn National, an FEI World Cup Qualifier. Pessoa, a former Olympic and World Champion, rode HH Ashley, the entry of Double H Farm, to victory against a starting field of twenty-five horse-and-rider combinations representing 6 countries.
            An incredibly challenging course by Steve Stephens proved to be the biggest adversary for the field of Grand Prix competitors. Following the first round of competition, seven horse-and-rider combinations qualified for the final jump-off round.
            Beezie Madden and Coral Reef Via Volo, owned by Coral Reef Ranch, who were fourth to go in the jump-off, pulled a rail at the second of nine obstacles, earning four faults and a time of 46.25, still enough to temporarily take the lead.
            Canada's Ian Millar, rode Star Power, owned by Team Works, to a clean jumping round, however, the pair incurred four time faults in 53.47 seconds, leaving them just behind Madden. The pair ultimately finished third.
            Pessoa was the final entry in the jump-off. "It's always nice to go last. When I saw the draw I was relieved, but I still had to get through the first round. It was nice not to have to go crazy fast for my greener horse in the jump-off," he said of his 10-year-old Hanoverian mare. "It was an advantage and I'm very happy with how she jumped.
            "This horse show gets better every year and I'll be back next year. The infrastructure here is great with the horses never having to go outside and the new footing is really fabulous," he added.
            HH Ashley's caretaker, Caroline Holmberg, was also awarded for her efforts with the Caretaker of the Winning Grand Prix Horse award, a prize she won last year as well. Additionally, Pessoa was named Leading Rider for Open Jumper division.
            Madden won the Leading Lady Rider Award for Open Jumpers and she and Coral Reef Via Volo won the Open Jumper Championship. Pessoa and HH Ashley were Reserve Champions.
            Earlier in the week, a total of 208 junior riders came to Harrisburg with the hopes of winning the prestigious national equitation championship, the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Equitation Medal Finals Presented by Randolph College.
            It came down to a ride-off and exchange of horses between Hayley Barnhill of Collierville, TN, and Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, MD, that resulted in the win for Barnhill.
            Of the starting field of 208 entries, twenty-eight riders were called back for the second round and jumped in reverse order with Schaefer entering the ring first and Barnhill following behind fourth in the order of go.
            Seven riders then returned to hack off, and afterwards Barnhill and Schaefer were asked to remain in the ring. Judges Julie Winkel and George H. Morris tested the top two further by asking them to dismount and remount on each other's horse, then jump the second round course they had jumped earlier. Neither girl had ridden the other's horse before.
            "It was a tough decision - that's why we had them switch," explained judge Winkel. "Both riders did a tremendous job executing, as well as being stylish. You could tell they've ridden a lot of different horses. Their experience really showed today."
            Also highlighting the junior competition at the Pennsylvania National was the Randolph College/USEF National Junior Jumper Championships. The Championships comprise the $7,500 Randolph College/USEF National Junior Jumper Individual Overall Championship, which was won by New York's Karen Polle and Cachette Z, and the $15,000 Randolph College/USEF Prix de States Team Championship, which was won by the Zone 2 team of Polle, Katie Dinan, Reed Kessler and Meg O'Mara.
            The victory marked the ninth win for a Zone 2 team (New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) since the Prix de States competition was first held at the Pennsylvania National in 1979.
            This year's Hunt Night proved to be a night to remember for Jill Wilson Louisa County, VA, as she swept the competition and claimed blue ribbons in the hunters over fences, under saddle, and team events. Wilson was also awarded the Leading Lady Rider Award for her overall performance aboard Sally Lamb's All Aboard.
            The Hunt Night Championship was awarded to Keswick Hunt Club for the second straight year. The team accumulated 37 points throughout the evening's events. In the horn blowing competition, Huntsman Steve Farrin won the North American Fox Hunting Horn Blowing Championship after a tie-breaking round of competition during the Masters of the Foxhounds Association-sanctioned event.
            In another long-time favorite at the Pennsylvania National, fans watched as Venezuelan rider Pablo Barrios jumped to victory aboard G & C Quick Star 11, owned by Gustavo & Carolina Mirabel/G&C Farm, in the $30,000 Pennsylvania National Big Jump sponsored by M&T Bank.
            Barrios bested an international field of 30 top riders from Brazil, France, Ireland, Canada, as well as the USA's best, to gallop away with victory.
Additional winners throughout the week included:
Victoria Press of New York, NY, piloted Olivia Jack's Love and Laughter to top honors as Grand Champion Pony Hunter
Hunt Tosh rode Lone Star, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, to the Grand Champion Hunter title
Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, MD, rode K & S Show Services' Garfield  to the Junior Hunter Grand Champion title
Sandra Ferrell of Bernville, PA, won the Grand Green Hunter Champion aboard Showman, owned by Krista & Alexa Weisman
Brad Wolf rode Rio Renoir to the Amateur Owner Hunter Grand Champion title
Jonathon Millar of Ontario, Canada, rode Victoria, owned by Brookstreet Stables, to victory in the $10,000 Open Jumper, Gambler's Choice class as well as the Open Jumper Speed High Score Award, both sponsored by Morgan Stanley
Hunt Tosh took home the Leading Hunter Rider Award
Danielle Cooper was honored with the Leading Rider Award for the Amateur Owner Jumper Section, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Gary E. Swenson
The North American League (NAL) also held their year-end Finals at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show.
NAL Finals winners included:
Jessica Karsin Landis of Greenville, NC, and Oliver Twist, owned by Hillary Watkins, in the $5,000 Pony Jumper Finals
Samantha Perry of Dublin, OH, and Ramazotti in the $10,000 Children's Hunter Finals
Victoria Watters of Cincinnati, OH, and Eye Remember Rio, owned by Wattership Downs, in the  $10,000 Adult Hunter Finals, presented by Cavalor
Lydia Ulrich of Rochester, NY, and Tiger Lilly II, owned by Up The Creek Farm, in the $5,000 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Finals
Kenzie Donovan of River Hills, WI, and Nikon's Prima Donna in the $10,000 Adult Jumper Finals
Abbie Ross rode her sister Lillie's horse, TNT, to their second consecutive win of the $10,000 Children's Jumper Finals.
            For a complete list of results, please visit

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