Annville, PA - Riders from across the western United States converged on Las Vegas to compete in the North American League's (NAL) West Coast Finals at the Las Vegas National Horse Show, November 12-17. Dozens of riders competed in the West Coast Finals in five different divisions. The winners of the five divisions were Kerri Grosslight, Adult Amateur Jumper; Annie Miller, Children's Jumper; Hannah Holik, Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper; Mindy Coretz, Adult Amateur Hunter; and Abby Barrett, Children's Hunter. Among the prizes presented to the winners of this year's Finals were an engraved Wellfleet Halter, generously donated by SmartPak; an NAL coolerette; gift certificates from EquiFit, Signature Spurs and The Clothes Horse; and a trophy from the Las Vegas National Horse Show. Every rider competing in all the NAL Finals received a gift bag with an assortment of gifts from the NAL including a commemorative NAL Finals stall plaque.
"The NAL Finals represent important year-end championships for West Coast riders," said Annette Longenecker of Ryegate Show Services, which administers the North American League. "We are pleased to continue to reward West Coast riders with their own Finals in Las Vegas as a way of honoring them for their accomplishments throughout the year."
Kerri Grosslight of Scottsdale, AZ, won the NAL's $5,000 Adult Jumper Final, presented by SmartPak. Grosslight rode her 14-year-old grey Warmblood mare, Sapphira Wade, to the win. "Phenomenal," she said afterwards. "It's really kind of unbelievable. She is a new ride for me; this is only my third show with her. It's our first win and what a great place to have it!"Grosslight, who is trained by Olympic veteran Rich Fellers, rode two horses in the class that featured 21 entrants, five of which made it to the jump-off. Grosslight made it with both her horses. She also placed fifth with Quidam Van de Kapel.
Annie Miller of Salt Lake City, UT took home the NAL's $5,000 Children Jumper Championship, presented by EquiFit, riding Amore Mio. The class had 32 horses with 11 reaching the jump-off after going clean in the first round. In the jump-off, Miller clinched first place aboard her 11-year-old Bavarian Warmblood by going clean again in 37.692 seconds. Prior to Las Vegas, Miller hadn't competed with Amore Mio in Children's Jumpers. "I never would have thought that we'd win," she said.
Hannah Holik of Jackson Hole, WY claimed the $5,000 Championship in the Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Division aboard Santiago, a 13-year-old Warmblood owned by Czech Mate, LLC. Only three horses made it to the jump-off from the starting field of the 25 entries. Holik won the championship with another clear round and a jump-off time of 32.944 seconds. Olivia Chowdry and Gaja 20 finished second with a jump-off time of 34.633 and Angela Burns was third with a time of 35.407s on Acordyno. "I saw Olivia go and she was so fast that I didn't think I could beat her," said Holik. "But Santiago has a giant stride and I relied on that in the jump-off. That's where Santiago is always at his best!"
Mindy Coretz of Tulsa, OK won the $5,000 Final in the Adult Amateur Hunter Division, Presented by Practical Horseman. Coretz rode Stone Town, owned by KAC Horses LLC, to victory with a two-round total of 169 points. Coretz, who is trained by Joie Gatlin, also came in third with Gretta, also owned by KAC Horses LLC with 161 points narrowly missing second place by two points which went to Stephanie Goodson on her Leonetti. "It was such an incredible experience," said Coretz of riding in the NAL Final. "I wasn't able to compete in the Finals at Harrisburg because I couldn't miss class. Having Finals here in Las Vegas is absolutely phenomenal. It was a lot of fun."
Abby Barrett of Rancho Santa Fe, CA won the $5,000 Children's Hunter title. The 17 entries competed in two rounds with the sum of their two scores determining the Champion. Barrett, riding Quilambo owned by Katie Kelso, won with a two-round score of 167. "I've never won anything this big before," said Barrett. "It's great to have something special for the hunters and for the kids...it gives us something big to compete in!"
Further information on the NAL, including 2013-2014 series specifications, membership information and a list of upcoming events, is available by calling 717-867-5643, emailing NAL@Ryegate.com or visiting www.ryegate.com.