McLain Ward Wins $5,000 Open Jumper Speed Challenge at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show

McLain Ward and Zander (c) Al Cook - alcookphoto.com
McLain Ward and Zander (c) Al Cook - alcookphoto.com

Harrisburg, PA - October 15, 2014 - It was a patriotic evening at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show for Military Night, sponsored by Yards Brewing Company, as competitors and spectators saluted those who have served in our country's military. A men's choral group opened the evening's festivities with beautiful renditions of God Bless America and the National Anthem, as Cadet Major Zihra Alizada, Cadet Captain Brandon Faux, Cadet Command Sergeant Major Neil Painter, and Cadet Major Evan Shuey displayed the American Flag.

The $5,000 Speed Challenge was the big class of the night with 41 entries, in which competitors tried their best to complete the 11 jump course fault-free in the fastest time. It was an exciting competition as our nation's top riders galloped around the course cutting corners where they could to clinch the win.

Olympic rider McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, and ZANDER were the fastest of the night, jumping clear and crossing the timers in 55.857 seconds for the blue ribbon. Karen Polle of New York, NY, and WHAT EVER took second place completing in 61.396 seconds, while third placed Leslie Howard of Darien, CT and MOONDOGGIE finished in 61.416 seconds.

After the prize giving Ward, Howard, and fifth placed Laura Chapot, rode their horses over to the stands and kindly handed their ribbons to three delighted young girls sitting in the front row, who were very star-struck to say the least!

The Jet Set Dogs were next into the ring, competing in a fast paced relay race over hurdles to release a tennis ball and return it to the next dog on their four-dog relay team. There was a lot of barking and tail wagging as the dogs sailed over the jumps, with the smallest dog, a little Jack Russell Terrier, bringing the most cheers from the crowds.

The Canadian Cowgirls, dressed in their dazzling outfits, closed the evening with a fantastic performance set to music, riding difficult patterns while carrying giant American and Canadian flags. The Canadian Cowgirls never disappoint and are always a crowd favorite.

The Pennsylvania National Horse Show (PNHS) is one of the largest indoor horse shows in the U.S., hosting horses and competitors from across the country with 20,000 spectators attending from the Mid-Atlantic region. With over 1,400 qualified horses competing for $485,000 in prize money, the show features national Hunter and Jumper competition and is the site of the Pessoa/USEF National Hunter Seat Medal Final, 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 experience with boutique vendors showcasing one-of-a-kind, equine inspired products including jewelry, fun fashion and accessories.

The 10-day event is being held from October 9th to 18th at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA. Proceeds from the event benefit community equine and youth programs. Since its inception in 1945, the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Foundation has donated nearly $2 million to charitable entities.

Live coverage of the competition, scoring results and more details on the show are all available at www.PAnational.org.




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