Harrisburg, PA – October 15, 2011 – Meg O’Mara of Rumson, NJ captured the gold medal riding Sinatra IV in the $7,500 Randolph College/USEF National Junior Jumper Individual Championship at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show on Saturday evening. Only one time fault incurred in Phase I of the Championship kept the 17-year-old rider from achieving perfection, but that made no difference to O’Mara.
“It was very special,” beamed O’Mara. “It was so special to stand on the podium as the gold medalist. It was such a great opportunity on such an amazing horse.”
O’Mara was the bronze medalist in the 2010 Junior Jumper Championship, so she felt pressured to improve this time around. “It was hard coming into this competition after doing so well last year,” said O’Mara. “It was a little nerve-racking. The course was really technical. I thought it was the hardest in the competition so far, but Sinatra pulled it off for me.”
The scores from Phases I and II carried over into the final phase of the Championship with the field of 19 riders competing in reverse order of merit. Since O’Mara was the leader she was the last to go, but she knew she had a little bit of a cushion for the win. “Before I went into the ring my trainer told me that if I had a rail down I was fine, but that didn’t seem to phase Sinatra because he did not touch one jump” said O’Mara. “He was perfect.”
The gold was decided, but there was a fierce battle for silver between Reed Kessler of Armonk, NY and Savannah Talcott of Wildwood, MO. Both riders were tied with 8 faults each. Kessler went first on Ligist and knocked down a rail in a jump-off time of 34.093 seconds. Talcott clocked a slower speed of 37.256, but kept all the rails in the cups aboard Recover taking the silver medal and giving Kessler the bronze.
Chase Boggio of Canton, GA had the only other clean round on the Steve Stephens designed course, but finished fifth overall with an overall score of 13 faults.
Junior weekend culminates on Sunday with the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Equitation Finals presented by Randolph College. Competition continues at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show through October 22 featuring Hunt Night, Western Night, Family Day with free pony rides and face painting, and the featured event, the $75,000 FEI World Cup Qualifier 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 Saturday, October 16 to Friday, October 21, is $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and students, except for Wednesday, October 19. On Wednesday spectators can download a coupon for free admission at www.panational.org. General admission for Saturday, October 22, 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 www.panational.org or by calling the horse show office at 717-770-0222.
Photo: Meg O’Mara Wins $7,500 Randolph College/USEF Junior Jumper Championship. Riders Left to Right: Savannah Talcott, Meg O’Mara, Reed Kessler. Al Cook Photo.