Articles: Press Release
Maggie McAlary Wins Her Second Equitation Final of the Year in the 2006
ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship National Championship
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
Jennifer Wood of Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
at (561) 753-3389 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Syracuse, NY - November 5, 2006 - The ASPCA Maclay National Championship
hosted the top junior riders in the nation at the Syracuse Invitational
Sporthorse Tournament on November 4-5, 2006. The top four riders battled
it out in a work-off and once the dust had settled, 16 year old Maggie
McAlary of Amherst, NH, was victorious. Julie Welles of West Simsbury,
CT, placed second, while first time Maclay competitors Jennifer Waxman
of Chagrin Falls, OH, and Nick Haness of Coto de Caza, CA, were third
The "Maclay Finals" was divided into three phases over two days of
competition. Yesterday, 147 riders performed over a course for judges
Ralph Caristo and Scott Williamson. Thirty-six of them were brought back
in groups of three to ride on the flat. From there, the judges picked
the top 25 to return for another over fences round today.
Today's course gave riders options in turning and striding and asked for
a show of handiness with one short turn out of a corner. The riders
handled the course well and many were able to show off their turns or a
lengthening of stride to the last jump. Before the top ten, there were
great rounds from Jacqueline Lubrano, Zazou Hoffman, and Sloane Coles.
The biggest move came from Addison Phillips, who rode a forward course
and great turns on Talisman to move from 20th to sixth place.
Jennifer Waxman made the jump from seventh to fourth place with her
fantastic smooth trip. Mallory Olson, Nikko Ritter, and Tina Dilandri
all had small mistakes in their rounds that led to them falling out of
the top six.
McAlary and Chagall, owned by Natalie Johnson, had great turns
throughout their course, and Chagall jumped beautifully. Welles and
Sander had some hard rubs but rode well through every inside turn.
Haness and Landano kept a steady pace throughout the course.
After the first round, the judges made the decision to call back four
riders for additional testing. The riders were called into the ring,
where they heard the test. The judges asked the riders to leave the
line, hand gallop fence ten, halt, counter canter around the corner to
fence eight, rollback and canter fence seven, rollback again to a long
approach to fence two, and return to the line at a sitting trot.
Waxman was the first to go. She had an average hand gallop and halt, but
really shone in the counter canter. She found the perfect distance out
of the corner, and finished the rest of the test without fault. Haness
attempted next. He and Landano picked up a very brisk gallop to the jump
and halted well. Haness could not get Landano to pick up the counter
canter until he had turned the corner towards the jump. He got the lead,
cantered three short strides, and then finished his course.
McAlary did not go fast in her hand gallop, but her counter canter was
excellent as well. She made great turns to each jump, and the crowd
broke out in cheers when she made the transition down to the trot.
Welles and Sander had no trouble getting the counter canter, but Welles
seemed to be working to keep him on the lead around the tight turn to
the jump. His stride was short, so Welles added a stride before the
jump. She finished, and the spectators awaited the results of the class.
The riders were brought back in reverse order for the awards
presentation. It came down to Welles and McAlary, but McAlary came away
with the win.
Judge Ralph Alfano was pleased with the results of the class. "It was
fantastic riding. This group was really above and beyond the call of
duty when it came to riding these courses. The top four- it could have
went any way. It was hard to separate them. [In] today's test, we liked
them all. The deciding factor might have been the counter canter to the
Animal Planet jump," he pointed out. "That might have been why Scott and
I really made the decision that maybe Maggie was a little smoother as
opposed to Julie. Rideability wise, there's no separation between the
two. That's just the way it worked out in today's round. We liked Julie
a lot. This final test was the deciding factor on who was going to be
first or second."
This was McAlary's second equitation final win this year. She trains
with Andre Dignelli, Patricia Griffith, and Kirsten Coe at Heritage
Farm. She triumphed in the USEF/Pessoa Medal Finals at Harrisburg and
was fourth in the WIHS Equitation Classic on her own horse, Mid-Accord.
When they realized that Mid-Accord was not sound on Tuesday of this
week, they had to act quickly to find a horse that would be suitable for
Maggie and the class, as well as a horse for fellow Heritage Farm
student Addison Phillips.
The team made the decision to choose Chagall, Natalie Johnson's
equitation horse from last year, for McAlary rather than her green, six
year old equitation horse that had never shown indoors. "We knew that
Chagall is a great horse. After a lot of tears and everybody begging and
pleading, we got him. I knew that if everything went our way, we had a
shot to win. If it didn't, we gave it a good shot," Dignelli expressed.
Chagall has been leased for the past year to show in the Children's
Hunters. He had not shown in the equitation since last year's Maclay
Finals with Johnson, and McAlary had not ridden Chagall since the USEF
Show Jumping Talent Search Finals two years ago. McAlary took a few
lessons early this week on Chagall and came to the show. About her ride
on him, she said, "In the first round yesterday I thought I was a little
conservative because I was trying to get a feel for him in the ring. My
horse has a very big stride, so I had to go a little slow. I could have
showed off a little more to the first two singles. I was a little slow
and conservative because the rest of the course you had to have contact.
That's what I thought I could have improved upon. Today I thought I was
a little more loose, and I trusted him."
Both McAlary and Dignelli were fairly confident in the pair working well
together. "I'm really good friends with Natalie and last year we showed
against each other, so I watched him a lot. I know that I can trust him
and that he's going to try his best to win the class. I just had to give
him the chance to. I thought everything flowed and clicked. I was so
thankful that Natalie let me show him."
Dignelli mentioned, "This is one of the nicest equitation horses that
I've trained. She's one of the most stylish riders that I've ever
brought to the ring. I have to say, I think the combination was magic. I
think probably it made the difference, in the end, of winning this
Welles rode Sander, a seven year old gelding with very little experience
in the equitation ring. They started together in Lake Placid in July,
and he was her mount in the USEF Medal Finals this year.
"I was so happy with my horse," Welles said. "I loved the course
yesterday. I thought it was perfect for him. Today, he couldn't have
been any better. It's really his first test that he's ever done before.
I was happy with the way he went and the way I rode him. I couldn't have
asked for anything else."
Waxman and Haness seemed very happy to finish in the top four. It was
their first time riding in the Maclay Finals, and both of the talented
young riders held up very well under the pressure.
Waxman jumped up the standings in each round and showed great poise for
a 14 year old. Her horse Falcon jumped incredibly well for her, which
presented a beautiful picture to the judges. "Yesterday, I just wanted
to have a nice round because it was my first time here. Today, I came in
seventh, so I just wanted to try and do the same as yesterday and
hopefully move up and place," she explained. "I accomplished that, so I
was happy. I was trying to put in a solid round. Since I went first in
the test, I just didn't want to go off course or anything!"
Haness was second after the first round and was leading going into
today's round. "It was an amazing experience. It's my first time at the
Maclay Finals so I was pretty nervous, but I just tried to ride the best
I could. After yesterday's round I knew I was on top so it was a little
nerve-wracking coming back for the second day," he said with a big
smile. "I tried to keep my thoughts calm. Last night, I just kept
thinking that I need to ride like I always do.
"Having a little bit of a green horse, I was a little bit nervous about
how he would react with a crowd and under more pressure," he added. "All
in all, I'm really, really happy, and I'm glad that I got to be a part
of it. It was my first shot and my last shot, but it's been a dream to
be able to make it. That's the dream accomplished."
Haness' trainer John Bragg was thrilled for the 17 year old who will
turn professional and ride for him next year. "He's a great rider. He's
worked really hard for this. He's had some green horses, and he got to
ride a lot of sale horses. He worked really hard to get here, and he's
made it all happen for himself really."
ASPCA President Edwin Sayers was present to watch the competition and to
congratulate the riders. He reminded that the ASPCA was the first animal
protectin agency in the Western Hemisphere, and that the horse was the
first animal to be officially protected legally in the United States.
"Congratulations to all of you. It's a very important award that we
sponsor. The Maclay means a lot to us. You are the finest young riders
in America, and we look to you as ambassadors for the protection of all
equines and the humane treatment of horses in this country. It's an
honor to see you all, and it was great to watch you out there."
For more information on the ASPCA, please visit www.aspca.org
Results: ASPCA Maclay National Championship
1. Maggie McAlary, Chagall, Andre Dignelli, Patricia Griffith, Kirsten
2. Julie Welles, Sander, Missy Clark and John Brennan, Kristy McCormack,
3. Jennifer Waxman, Falcon, Ken and Emily Smith
4. Nick Haness, Landano, John Bragg, Shawna Haness, Don Stewart Jr.
5. Sloane Coles, Papillon 136, Frank and Stacia Madden, Krista
Freundlich, Max Amaya
6. Addison Phillips, Talisman, Andre Dignelli, Patricia Griffith,
7. Adrienne Dixon, Tarantino, Benson Carroll, Carrie Atkinson, Don
8. Mallory Olson, Patriot, Keri Kampsen
9. Nikko Ritter, Double O Seven, Wendy Peralta, Frank Madden
10. Tina Dilandri, RSVP, Karen Healey
11. Katie McDaniel, Casino, Christina Schlusemeyer
12. Jacqueline Lubrano, Versace, Frank and Stacia Madden, Krista
Freundlich, Max Amaya
13. Zazou Hoffman, Littlefoot, Missy Clark and John Brennan, Kristy
14. Kimberly McCormack, Sundance, Missy Clark, John Brennan, Kristy
15. Victoria Birdsall, Baheera, Patricia Harnois
16. Hannah Selleck, Truffle, Karen Healey
17. Eleanor Kunsman, Triumph, Emil Spadone
18. Lucy Davis, Hearts on Fire, Archie Cox
19. Hillary Dobbs, Aaron, Missy Clark, John Brennan
20. Nicole Husky, Altobelli, Jennifer Brown
21. Henry Pfeiffer, Justinian, Polly Howard
22. Heather Dobbs, Raven, Missy Clark, John Brennan
23. Maria Schaub, Whimsey, Frank and Stacia Madden, Krista Freundlich,
24. Elizabeth Lubrano, Golou II, Frank and Stacia Madden, Krista
Freundlich, Max Amaya
25. Nicholas Dello Joio, Vintage, Missy Clark and John Brennan