Harrisburg, PA - The national anthem of Venezuela played tonight at the 65th Pennsylvania National Horse Show for the winner of the $30,000 Pennsylvania National Big Jump sponsored by M&T Bank, Pablo Barrios aboard G & C Quick Star 11. He 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 in 34.16 seconds.
Barrios's speedy 10-year-old Dutch mare owned by Gustavo & Carolina Mirabel/G&C Farm was fourth to go and shaved time off with tight turns in the six-horse jump-off. The second placed finishers, U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Beezie Madden and the Belgian mare Coral Reef Via Volo, were first to go in the tie-breaker and set the time to beat at 36.04. Finishing third was Toronto with Candice King in the irons finishing with the last fault-free jump-off round in 38.28 seconds.
"I liked the course. It was designed well, allowing six to go clear. I'm glad I was one of those six! I'm very happy with the mare. I've been trying something new with her, the hackamore, and it's working out really well. She's more adjustable and she has better form over the fences. I've had her for about a year and she's been doing really well; has done well in a lot of Grand Prix's. Lately I've given her some time off, saving her for the indoors. She won indoors when I first got her so I knew she was good inside," said Barrios after his victory. "I didn't watch anyone go before me (in the jump-off), I didn't want to! I had my assistant watch for me. I knew Todd (Minikus) was after me and he's fast, so my strategy was just to go as fast as possible."
Minikus was the final rider in the jump-off aboard the veteran Pavarotti, but pulled a rail to finish in fourth place.
The Pennsylvania National Horse Show (PNHS) continues through Saturday, October 23. Special attractions include Friday's carriage racing and draft horse obstacle exhibition, and the grand finale, Saturday evening's $75,000 Grand Prix de Penn National.
In addition to world-class equestrian competition, the PNHS offers a unique shopping environment with boutique vendors that offer everything from fine art to custom jewelry, clothing, accessories and horse show memorabilia.
General admission for 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 organization.
Details are available at the horse show's website at www.panational.org or by calling the horse show office at 717-770-0222.
Photo Caption: Pablo Barrios aboard G & C Quick Star 11 (Al Cook Photo)