Articles: Press Release
56TH Annual Pennsylvania National Horse
Catch Me If You Can
Friday, October 19, 2001
Heidi Hill 230-8833
Follow the leader became king of the hill in the $25,000 North American
League (NAL) Open Jumper Speed Finals at the Pennsylvania National Horse
Show. McLain Ward on Fior, dominated the intricate course in 64.179 seconds,
toppling the early leader, Aaron Vale and Nonixleparc. Nonixleparc, fourth
on course, set a 'catch-me-if- you' can pace of 65.400 seconds that
electrified the audience.
Seventeen horses tried to duplicate the rangy chestnut's all out round,
but none could. Laura Kraut and Wet Paint actually had a faster time, but
had two rails down which, converted to time, meant fifth place.
The 15 fence-course offered more turns than a small intestine and, only
one combination. Unfortunately for many riders that combination proved their
"It's a short 2 (stride) or a long 1 (stride) in and out," said Richard
Jeffery, course designer of the 11th element. "There is more emphasis on the
rider than the horse. It is a continuation of the kind of equitation that
was shown in Sunday's Junior Hunt Seat Medal class."
"It was not an easy course, there were a lot of tricks," Ward said. "I
had a great position in the jumping order. I saw Aaron take two strides on
11, but realized it could be done in one. So I was committed to one. I
actually asked Richard to change it, but he said, 'No, I think it will be all
From Vale's vantage, he liked with the course. "A couple of things,
that we don't normally see, funny lines, but, if ridden properly, it should
not cause trouble. Going early was not an advantage. I just tried to go as
fast as I could without taking any rails. For my horse, who is a little
Tasmanian devil, it was a conservative trip." Doubt the audience would
describe it that way!
Riders qualify for the NAL Open Jumper Speed through the show year.
Their jumping order is in descending order. Ward qualified with the most
points and so earned the right to jump last. This makes it easier to catch
the leader and become the king of the hill.
Mark Leone on Ri-Arm Farm's Casino was third, five seconds behind Vale,
six behind Ward. Conawara ridden by Kimberly Frey finished fourth.
Grand Prix jumping continues tomorrow as these riders renew their
competition in the $50,000 Budweiser Prix de Penn National. Doors open at 6
p.m. at the farm show arena in Harrisburg.