Harrisburg, PA - Samantha Perry and Ramazotti sailed through both rounds of the $10,000 North American League (NAL) Children's Hunter Finals at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show topping the score board with a 162 combined score. A single point separated each of the three top finishers.
In her first year visiting the NAL Finals, Perry, 18, of Dublin, Ohio, and Ramazotti bested a field of 30 competitors, who qualified for the year-end Finals. After round one, 12 horses returned for the second phase and Perry stood in third place with an 83, and scored a 79 in round two for the win.
Ramazotti is an 11-year-old brown gelding. Perry said, "This was my first time here (to Harrisburg). My goal this year was to win here. I wasn't nervous at all because I got to practice on a lot of different horses. My trainer set up a lot of really good scenarios in our indoor for me to practice over. I felt really ready. My mom and dad are one hundred percent behind me, they've gone to extremes to support me. The last thing my trainer said to me before I went in the ring was to ride my own plan, get it done, and have fun."
Trainer Jennifer Nadalin commented, "They're a really, really good team. An awesome team. He's a great horse, but he takes a certain ride."
Sydney Fadel and Arch Angel were leading after the first round, but came up short in round two to finish in second with 161. Stephen Foran and Canadian Sunset turned in the top second round with a score of 84, but their combined score was 160.
The NAL offers a year-long series in six divisions - Children's Hunter, Adult Hunter presented by Cavalor, Children's Jumper, Adult Jumper, Pony Jumper, and the Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper. The series includes classes held at hundreds of horse show across the United States and Canada.
Riders need not be members of the NAL to compete in the qualifying classes, but only members earn points toward the year-end finals. With the annual membership fee only $35, most riders join in hopes of earning a trip to Harrisburg. The 2010-2011 NAL qualifying period began on September 1, 2010 and runs through August 31, 2011.
Historically, the NAL has only offered one Final in Harrisburg. The addition of the West Coast Finals, taking place in November 2011 during the Las Vegas National Horse Show at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV, will help make the NAL a truly national series.
The Pennsylvania National Horse Show (PNHS) continues through Saturday, October 23. Highlights include Monday night's Hunt Night, Tuesday night's Local Night, Wednesday night's Western Night, and the final event, the $75,000 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 Tuesday, October 19 to Friday, October 22, is $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and students. General admission for Saturday, October 23, 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 organization.
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: North American League Children's Hunter Finals Champions Samantha Perry and Ramazotti (Al Cook Photo)