Annville, PA - September 24, 2013 - The North American League (NAL) season has concluded and the top finishers in each of the league's six divisions have qualified to compete in the NAL National Finals at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, October 10-19.
Topping the standings in the six NAL divisions were Alissa Kinsey (Adult Jumper Presented by SmartPak), Grace Knox (Children's Jumper Presented by EquiFit), Kate Morrison (Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper), Elizabeth Monaco (Pony Jumper), Mindy Wurzburg (Adult Hunter Presented by Practical Horseman) and Abby Miller (Children's Hunter).
Alissa Kinsey, of Danville, NH, has continued her winning ways in 2013, winning the NAL's Adult Jumper Division for the fifth year in a row! Alissa has won the division all five of those years aboard her Hanoverian mare Grisset. Alissa and Grisset have achieved their continued success together winning Classics at many major horse shows such as the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington. It's their consistency that Kinsey is most proud of. "I would have to say that my proudest achievement is being successful in this sport . . . knowing that my horse performed well because of the training and care that I personally gave it." She credits Grisset for the contributions she's made to their success. "My horse is so special; she just keeps topping herself. I'm just along to maintain it," she said.
Grace Knox started riding when she was five years old, and entered NAL classes for the first time in 2012. The young rider and her horse Rapidash are from North Barrington, IL.She finished the 2013 season in the NAL Children's Jumper Division with 4717 Points. She's been with her trainers, Mary and Lisa Goldman of Red Coat Farm in Hawthorn Woods, IL, for the past nine years. "My biggest influences would have to be Mary and Lisa for teaching me how to become a successful rider, and also my Mom for helping me and supporting me to get as far as I have," Grace said.
Kate Morrison, of Dublin, OH, finished at the top of the North American League's Low Junior/Amateur-Owner standings aboard her horse Vaillant with 5110 points. Last year, Kate entered the NAL Finals for the first time and qualified with two Low/Junior horses, Sweet Leonie and Vaillant, taking fourth and seventh respectively. She says her proudest accomplishment came during the gap year she took after graduating high school in 2012. "I was on the combined Zone 5 and Zone 3 Bronze Medal team at Young Riders and then went on to get the Individual Bronze Medal for Young Riders. It meant a lot to me because it meant that everything I worked for paid off!" She's starting school at Savannah College of Art and Design this fall to pursue her love of photography, which she hopes to turn into a career while still competing, someday, hopefully, at the Grand Prix level.
Elizabeth Monaco, of Oak Ridge, NJ won the Pony Jumper Division aboard EZ TO SPOT with 688 Points. Elizabeth started riding when she was 8 years old and joined the NAL in 2012. She is looking forward to competing in the NAL Finals for her first time this year. Elizabeth says that her biggest influences are her parents and her trainer Donna Owen, who she says, "taught me everything I know about horses and riding." Elizabeth's motto for success is "don't let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game," which she says to herself before entering the show ring.
Following a win from last year, Mindy Wurzburg finished the 2013 season atop the NAL's Adult Hunter Division standings aboard Overseas. Mindy started showing at age 10 and has been a frequent competitor in the NAL Finals. Mindy has had success in past seasons at the NAL Finals. "I competed in the NAL Adult Hunter Championship Finals in 2001 & 2002 on Starstruck, finishing fourth in 2002. I competed on Overseas in 2006, finishing eleventh, and in 2007, finishing seventh."
Abby Miller, of Gettysburg, PA and Daisy May won the Children's Hunter Division with 5588 points. Morgan Bland of Gloucester, VA finished second with 4635 points aboard A Girl's Best Friend. Miller started riding when she was 6 years old. This is her first year riding in the NAL. Her role model and biggest influence is Kelsey Bernini because she is a great rider. Miller's favorite horse show is State College because she gets to spend a whole week with her friends and her trainer, Chris Gemmill, who is based in York, PA. Miller has been training with Gemmill for 6 years. Miller rides once a week and shows on the weekends. In her free time she tries to be a normal 14 year old. Qualifying for the NAL Finals is Miller's biggest accomplishment to date. Miller credits Gemmill as the biggest reason for her success and thanks her for all of her patience and support throughout her riding career. She also thanks her aunt Wendy for all of her help.
In addition to the NAL's National Finals at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, the NAL will also host West Coast Finals at the Las Vegas National Horse Show, November 12-17.
Further information on the NAL, including series specifications, a list of member events and how to join, is available on line at www.ryegate.com or by contacting Ryegate Show Services at 717-867-5643 or NAL@Ryegate.com.