Harrisburg, PA - Kelsey Thatcher, of Bluffdale, UT, had an amazing day at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, winning the $15,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic and earning the division Championship with ATHENA, and also placing second and taking the Reserve Championship with EVERYTHING. Thatcher, who is trained by Alex and Maggie Jayne, was also named the horse show's Leading Amateur-Owner Jumper Rider.
"I'm elated - I'm going to start crying!" said Thatcher, who won the class without a jump-off after riding ATHENA to the only clear round out of the starting field of 26. "It doesn't get any better that this!"
ATHENA, a former grand prix horse ridden by Charlie Jayne, was purchased by Thatcher in August 2012. "It's been steady progress", said the 21-year-old University of Georgia senior. "Contrary to what she looks like, she is the strongest mare, and the most athletic thing in the whole world, so controlling her is hard. It's a constant balance because she wants to go so forward.
"With the Jaynes doing great flat work on her, figuring out bits, and getting us together as a team, it has just started clicking. I'm just so excited it all came together", said Thatcher.
Her Reserve Champion horse EVERYTHING, who placed second in the class with the fastest four-fault ride, is the half brother to ATHENA. "He's amazing", said Thatcher. "He can be a little downhill, so I'm incredibly thankful that Maggie nailed it - she switched a curb chain for him between the Capital Challenge and Harrisburg, and it made all the difference".
Talent runs in the family as her sister, Madeline, was second in the $5,000 NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Final yesterday.
The Classic is a member event of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Jumper Classic Series which hosts classes at approximately 100 horse shows across the country from January through November. The Series hosts year-end championship Finals at the Alltech National Horse Show and the Las Vegas National Horse Show in November.
The Pennsylvania National Horse Show, the 2011 National Show Hunter Hall of Fame Horse Show of the Year and the sixth ranked horse show in North America in the 2012 North American Riders Group (NARG) annual rankings, is one of the largest indoor horse shows in the U.S. It hosts horses and competitors from across the country with 10,000 spectators attending from the Mid-Atlantic region.
With over 1,400 qualified horses competing for $450,000 in prize money, the show features Hunter and Jumper competition and is the site of the Pessoa/US National Hunter Seat Medal Final Presented by Randolph College, the Randolph College/USEF National Junior Jumper Championships, North American League (NAL) National Finals and the $85,000 Grand Prix de Penn National.
In addition to world-class equestrian competition, the horse show offers a unique shopping environment with boutique vendors that offer everything from fine art to custom jewelry, clothing, accessories and horse show memorabilia.
Proceeds from the event benefit community equine and youth programs. Since its inception in 1945, the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Foundation has donated over $1.5 million to charitable entities.
For more details on show events, competitors and vendors, please visit the show's website, www.PAnational.org or contact the Pennsylvania National Horse Show at 717-236-1600 or by email, eventinfo@PAnational.org.