Articles: Press Release
North American League Finals Cap Off Exciting 2003 Season
Contact: Marty Bauman, (508) 698-6810
Annville, PA-November 4, 2003-The 2003 North American League
(NAL) Finals capped off an exciting NAL season when they were held at
the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg.
The Finals had an exciting start with Jennifer Waxman
winning the NAL Pony Jumper Final on opening day at the riding her bay
mare, Just Have Fun. The pair put in a faultless performance to edge
out the competition in a time of 29.448 seconds. Julianna Fischer and
Indigo came in second with a double clear in a time of 30.729. Caroline
Woods on Longacre Lavender just missed the Reserve spot to finish in
third with a time of 30.869.
The field of 21 yielded eight for the jump-off with the
first seven going clear and very little time separating the top two.
The pressure was on for Waxman who, as the top qualifier, was the last
to go in the first round, which put her in the final slot for the
"I was so nervous," said Waxman. "I knew that everyone had
gone clear before me, and they went fast, but I knew my mare could do it
because she's really fast and great on the turns. She's so cool."
The 12-year-old from Chagrin Falls, OH, and her pony faced
the challenge of leaving all the rails intact and beating the clock by
nearly a second for the victory and the $1,750 top prize.
"I had a hard rub both rounds at the eighth fence," said
Waxman." It was the highest one on the course, but I was lucky. It was
so exciting to win, I am really happy." said Waxman.
Waxman won the NAL Pony Finals in her first appearance in
the series and hopes to be back again. The young rider plans on
competing with ponies for at least three more years.
Ashley Hotz 15, of Shamong, NJ, won the $10,000 NAL
Children's Hunter Final riding her Dutch Warmblood, Insignia. The
Reserve Champion was Gangbuster, owned and ridden by Ashley Scott of
Consistency was the key for Hotz and "Micki", the barn name
for the 13-year-old gelding. The pair came into the second round in
third place, but moved into the top spot when they put in an impressive
second round and received the highest overall score.
"I was really excited to win," said Hotz. "I was a little
nervous at first, but Micki's been here before and he was great."
Ashley's mom Karen still could not believe her daughter's
good fortune. "I never would have dreamed that Ashley would have won,"
said Karen. "The whole experience has been so good for her. It's a
wonderful program and a great confidence builder."
Lauren Pedicini, 16, of Farmingdale, NJ, jumped to the head
of the class to win the $10,000 NAL Children's Jumper Final with a clean
round in a blistering 30.585 seconds on Moonlight Sonata.
Katie Brown of Wellington, FL, finished second also going
clean in a time of 31.181 and Lisa Goldman riding Judgement Farms Count,
owned by Tina Judge, came in third with no faults and a time of 31.687.
It was a question of time rather than faults with 15 of the
31 going clean in the first round and making for a very exciting
jump-off. Pedicini and her Mecklenberg mare were eighth in the line-up
and just about all before her went clean, prompting Pedicini to ask her
mom for help.
"Just before I went into the ring, I asked my mom for the
fastest clear," said Pedicini. "I never thought there would be so many
in the jump-off and then when they were going clear, I got a little
nervous. I knew I had the best horse in the class. This is her forte,
but I knew I was really going to have to try hard in order to win."
The competition was fierce as less than two seconds
separated the top three. "When I won, I was like 'YES!' and then I
thought my trainer was going to yell at me for going so fast."
Pedicini's trainer, Hugo Huesca, of Olympia Farm, was not mad, he was
"When I saw the way she took the course, I knew it would be
difficult to beat her," said Huesca. "She lost a little time in one of
the turns, but the rest of the course was great."
Coatails, owned by Stephanie Ingram and ridden by Pamela
Vance of Amenia, NY, impressively captured the $10,000 NAL Adult Hunter
Final. The pair received the top score in both rounds to easily win the
class with an overall score of 171. Silver Rhythm, owned and ridden by
Michelle Woodall of Gum Spring, VA, finished second with a score of 162
and Rumors Fly, owned by Tammy Smith and ridden by Melissa Feller,
finished third scoring 160.
"He is such a special, kind and gentle horse," said Vance
about the 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood. "He is as good as it gets, I
adore him and he's not even my horse."
Vance picked up the mount in May when Ingram's sister,
Frances Biggs, decided to take the summer off. Vance was grateful for
her season with Coatails and thrilled to have qualified with him in the
"I always wanted to ride at Harrisburg," said Vance. "To do
it with such a wonderful horse that belongs to such a good friend makes
it really special."
With any luck, Coatails may be back at the NAL Finals in
2004, but in a different division. Ingram's 14-year-old daughter,
Alexa, is going to start campaigning Coatails in the Childrens Division
McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, received a terrific present for
his 28th birthday when he won the $25,000 NAL Open Jumper Speed Final.
Ward became the first rider to capture the title three
consecutive times with a blistering clear round in a time of 56.337
riding Labelle, owned by Sarah Willeman and Turnabout Farm. Second
place went to Laura Chapot of Neshanic Station, NJ, riding her
8-year-old mare Sprite, to a clear round in a time of 59.555. Kimberly
Frey took third, also going clear on River, owned by Overlook Farm,
Inc., in a time of 63.831.
Out of field of 19, only four riders were able to negotiate
a clear round due to some tricky parts on the course. "The course was a
little harder then it walked," said Ward. "There were a couple of
bogies that caused some problems. It helped to be able to go at the
end; you watched the others go and then you understood what you had to
do. I knew I had a fast horse and a chance to win if the time wasn't too
The first horse to go clear was not one that Ward rode, but
one that he owned. Kartousche, ridden by Mary Lisa Leffler set the tone
and the time to beat. Five rides later, Frey shaved nearly two seconds
off Leffler's round and jumped to the top of the leader board. It began
to look like Frey had it won, until Chapot. At the conclusion of her
ride, the large crowd cheered wildly for what they thought was the
"That was really nice," said Chapot of the appreciative
crowd. "I had seen Kim go and knew what I had to do to beat her, but I
knew McLain and Margie had fast horses, so I just wanted to put in a
smooth clear and make the last two riders try to beat me."
Unfortunately for Chapot, Ward did, leaving only Margie
Engle and Hidden Creek's Charlie Brown to dethrone the defending
champion. Engle had a rail and Ward had his third consecutive title.
Less than two seconds determined the top three places in the
last NAL event of the 2003 season, the $10,000 NAL Adult Jumper Final.
The top three riders negotiated the only double clears among
the starting field of 29, and Natasha Sirjusingh of Brookville, MD, and
Kentucky IV went the fastest, in a time of 28.041 seconds. Second place
went to Lousiana, owned and ridden by Lauren Tisbo of Barrington, IL,
who was just a tick slower in a time of 28.072. The third spot went to
Rochee 7 and Aime Rosenthal of Chagrin Falls, OH, in 29.446 seconds.
Although Kentucky IV needed some encouragement to get around
the first time, Sirjusingh could not find fault with him. "He's
perfect," Sirjusingh beamed. "I owe everything to him."
The pair has only been campaigning together since April, but
Sirjusingh has complete faith in Kentucky IV's abilities. "I know what
he is capable of," said Sirjusingh of her 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood.
"I just trust him to take care of me. There's always an element of luck
and today was my lucky day".
Sirjusingh, 24, is a working student at Rolling Acres Farm
with Mary Lisa Leffler, as well as an accounting major at the University
of Maryland. Her goal is to become a grand prix rider full time, but it
might take a while. Sirjusingh can only work in the US six months each
year and then must return to her home country of Bermuda, where her
parents were anxiously awaiting to hear the results of the NAL
"I am going to call my parents right away," she said.
The North American League (NAL) runs season long series in six
hunter-jumper divisions - Children's Hunter, Children's Jumper, Adult
Hunter, Adult Jumper, Pony Jumper and Open Jumper Speed. Each series
culminates with a championship final at the Pennsylvania National Horse
Show in Harrisburg, PA in October. The 2004 NAL qualifying period runs
from September 1, 2003 through August 31, 2004. Riders need not be
members of the NAL to compete in any qualifying classes, but only
current members earn points toward year-end finals.
For more information and a list of qualifying competitions for 2004,
please see the Ryegate Show Services website at