Harrisburg, PA – October 13, 2011 – Reed Kessler of Armonk, NY, won the $7,500 Randolph College/USEF National Junior Jumper Individual Championship Welcome Individual Phase One class riding Ligist at the Opening Day of the 66th Annual Pennsylvania National Horse Show on Thursday evening. Kessler was the fastest of the five clear rounds, negotiating the Steve Stevens designed course in a time of 53.146 seconds. Frances Land and Merlin were second in a time of 55.107 and Nora Laue was third on Peninsula Kheelan going clear in 56.608 seconds.
The victory was special to Kessler because she accomplished it all on her own since her trainers Katie and Henri Prudent were not able to make it to the show. “This was a big step for me because this was the first time I have ever gone to the show by myself,” said Kessler. “I had to decide what horse I was going to bring, how I was going to school and I had to walk the course by myself, but it worked out well.”
Kessler has been competing in Europe all summer but returned to the U.S. in order to compete in the indoor circuit. She has not ridden in the junior division all year but felt it was her duty to compete at Harrisburg on the Zone 2 Team. “I’m very loyal to the Zone 2 Team,” said Kessler. “I knew I was going to be home so I wanted to come to Harrisburg and compete in the event to support my team.”
Kessler has an impressive record as a Zone 2 Team member. The 17-year-old won the individual gold medal in 2009. She was also member of gold medal wining teams in 2008 and 2010.
Scores from the Welcome class carry over into Friday’s $15,000 Randolph College/USEF Prix de States Team Championship/Phase Two of the Individual Championship. The Championship culminates on Saturday evening with the top 60% from Phases I and II.
Junior weekend wraps up on Sunday with the USEF/Pessoa Hunter Seat Equitation Finals presented by Randolph College. The world-class equestrian competition will then continue through Saturday, October 22, at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg.
Competition continues through October 22. Highlights include the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Equitation Medal Finals presented by Randolph College, Hunt Night, Western Night, Family Day featuring free pony rides and face painting, and the final event, the $75,000 FEI World Cup 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 22, 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 21, 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: Reed Kessler and Ligist Won the $7,500 Randolph College/USEF National Junior Jumper Individual Championship Welcome Individual Phase One Class. Al Cook Photo.