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Harrisburg Hosts A Horse Lover’s Dream



by Leeann Mione

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Harrisburg, Pa., near Philadelphia, drew horse lovers from around the country for the 58th annual Pennsylvania National Horse Show. The 10-day event featured the country’s best Hunters and Jumpers as well as draft horses of various breeds. Saddlebreds, Hackneys and Roadsters from throughout Pennsylvania and the East were also in attendance to compete at the Farm Show Complex Oct. 15-18.

This horse show is a huge production and draws a large crowd for the weekend performances, which is always a thrill for competitors who get to receive their applause. For the Saddlebred exhibitors one of the highlights is the NHS Good Hands Final, the first leg of saddle seat equitation’s triple crown. This year was the second year for the Penn National to host the event which was held for many years at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Twenty-two polished, experienced riders started competition Thursday for phase I. Nelson Green made the trip from Kentucky to judge the event and he selected 12 riders to return for phase II on Saturday. After all 12 riders completed their workout, the top 10 were called back and results were announced in reverse order until only two riders remained. Clinton Jury, instructed by Suzanne Hubbard of Hill View Stables, was named the Good Hands Reserve Grand Champion after a polished performance. It was at that moment that reigning Senior Saddle Seat Equitation World’s Grand Champion Betty Cox knew she had won and was one step closer to possibly attaining this year’s equitation triple crown.

Eight other riders went home with the top 10 ribbons after riding hard in both phases of competition in the following order: Jessica Saft claimed the top three finish under the direction of Bill and Lisa Waller; Jessica Harrison, instructed by DeLovely, was fourth; Devon Garone, riding under the Fairfield South banner, was fifth; Alexandra Flynn, from DeLovely, was sixth; Tasha Rose Sandler was seventh under the direction of Bill and Nancy Becker; Jessica Moctezuma, instructed by her mother Nealia McCracken, was eighth; Whitney Irwin, instructed by Kim and Fran Crumpler, was ninth; and Shana Jo Brown, instructed by Tom Sworm, rounded out the top 10 ribbon count.

In addition to the competition, the horse show also hosted two unique exhibitions that had people talking on the rail and in the seats. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride performed during each weekend session and had people coming back again and again to see it. The highly choreographed routine showcased 32 black or nearly-black horses and their police officer riders performing intricate and difficult moves that originated when horses were used in battle. Penn National was only one of three stops in North America by the Musical Ride, and the group had a big fan club back at their stalls at the conclusion of each performance.

The Budweiser Clydesdale eight-horse hitch was also a crowd favorite each day. The perfectly matched Clydesdales were the focus of much attention by the big crowd.

Saddlebreds, Hackneys and Roadsters began their competition Wednesday evening with Paul Boone in charge of marking the cards. The competition culminated on Saturday night with the Amateur Five-Gaited Stake. Although many classes in-between were somewhat light on entries, the loyal group of exhibitors who attended and are committed to keeping their classes part of the Penn National schedule, worked hard for the judge and the crowd and kept things interesting.

Kim Crumpler took the top prize in the Five-Gaited Stake Friday evening when Got The Ticket was named the winner for owner Dr. Jeri Irwin after a powerful performance. Open Five-Gaited class winners Kaitlyn Grom and Diamond Flight were right there knocking on the door but had to settle for reserve honors for Robert Grom and Revelation Farm. Revelation Farm was named the winner of the Tack Room Award Thursday evening.

George Nash directed Lori Boyd Van Gordon and Macaroon to a sweep of the amateur division. The pair topped the Mike Spencer-trained team of Minna Hankin Mintz and A New Kid In Town in the stake. Melissa Moore rode to the winner's circle with Zara's Spook in the Junior/Novice class for owners Strathmore Saddlebreds. Dr. Geraldine Meanor's three-year-old Tornaado's Tempest topped the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic with Nealia McCracken on board for the victory pass.

Bob Lilley's entries scored several victories at Penn National including the Three-Gaited Stake win by junior/novice winner Royal Messenger. Melissa Moore was up for the victory. Fran Crumpler rode Steel In Love to the reserve grand championship for Katherine Cramer. Steel In Love came into the stake as the winner of the open qualifier with Crumpler. CH Mr. Snuffleupagus turned it on for the big crowd in the Amateur Three-Gaited Stake with Doreen Weston of Smoke Hollow Farm. Roger Kearney directed the pair to the win in the qualifier as well. A Design To Remember, with Betty Reeves up for Lynn Schweickert, claimed the reserve in the amateur stake. Heir Popper and Tara Grom moved up in the ribbons to claim the tricolor in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Stake under the direction of Terry Stephensen. Tahiti Petey and Brittany Davis, winners of the qualifier, were reserve in the stake for Julie Davis.

Sunrise Stables added two more top ribbons to the tack room wall with a sweep of the park division by Heirogant Rose. Melissa Moore and the Liberty Saddlebreds entry faced a top group of eight strong entries on their way to the winner's circle. Gary Guz directed his group to a great horse show including his reserve grand championship title in the park stake with Mondi. Guz rode for owner Mary Ann Byers.

With Authority and Elaine Earlywine were met by Ronnie Graham in the winner's circle after they claimed the title in the Fine Harness Stake. Stradivari was reserve in the stake with owner Rhonda Black in the buggy. Manhattan Madness was the winner of the open class with Larry McKemy driving for Virginia Grunewald. Joan Adler and I'm An Early Riser topped the amateur qualifier group before returning as the solo entry in the Amateur Fine Harness Stake. Adler's pair of victories added two more to the Sunrise Stables count. Hawkwing brought the blue back to Jan Lukens Stables after Lukens drove to the solo win in the UPHA Fine Harness Classic for owner Katrina Wood.

Saturday night's Roadster To Bike Stake featured current world's champion Power Ranger with Raymond Shively in an uncontested performance. Power Ranger and Shively also won the open qualifier. The Intimidator was also alone on the way to the winner's circle after entertaining the crowd in the Amateur Roadster To Bike class with owner L.D. Boyd.

Daniel Lieberman's diminutive size was overshadowed by the huge smile on his face after he scored the tricolor and his third win of the show with Mastercraft's Gambler in the Open Roadster Pony Stake. Gambler and Lieberman also won the amateur stake and the amateur qualifier under the direction of Gary Guz. American's Dark Dream was the Roadster Pony Reserve Grand Champion with Bud Butler driving for Fay Hildebrandt. Whims and Wishes carried Chelsea Simon to the top of the class in the open qualifier to add another win to the Revelation Farm total and returned in the amateur stake to claim reserve honors.

Mary Sokolowski and Steal The Show took top honors in both Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony classes. After topping five other teams in the pleasure pony qualifier, Steal The Show returned to take the number one slot in the pleasure pony driving stake for owner Chris Sokolowski. Molly Ryan teamed Truly So Lovely to the reserve grand championship for owner Mika Ryan under the direction of Gary Guz.

The Ryan family wasn't done yet. CH Rastafarian moved up in the ribbons with Megan Ryan to claim the tricolor in the Five-Gaited Pleasure Stake to put yet another winning ribbon on the Gary Guz Stables tack room. She's A Rockefeller and Sarah White were the reserve grand champions after winning the qualifier.

The Three-Gaited Pleasure Stake was a nice big class with 10 entries and Kate Ryan rode CH Simbara's Samba Jamba to the top of the class for Daniel Lieberman after having won the adult qualifier. Owner Cherie Ort piloted Killian to reserve honors in the stake. Callaway's Royal Request and Jessica Moctezuma won the three-gaited pleasure class. Zackary Adams and Callaway's All That Jazz swept the juvenile pleasure division for owner Erric Adams. All That Jazz topped the seven-entry stake after winning the six-entry qualifier.

Shamanic Dream was the Show Pleasure Driving Grand Champion after Lisa Gumenick drove to the win in the six-entry stake. CH L.A. Wing Victory and Kate Ryan won the qualifier before returning in the stake to claim the reserve title for owner Richard Hunderfund.

John Whalen directed Amy Roberts and CH Java Sea to the winning effort in the Country Pleasure Stake. The win gave the pair from Chestnut Lane a clean sweep in the adult division. Rockin' The Blues was the reserve grand champion with Jean Heiney at the whip. Nealia McCracken directed daughter Jessica Moctezuma to two more wins and a sweep of the junior exhibitor division. Itchy Foot Moe and Moctezuma won the seven-entry Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure Stake and six-entry qualifier under the North Wind Stables banner. SS Inner Vision and Kirby Tapper claimed the reserve tie in the stake for owner and trainer Tom Wentz.

Revelation's Daryl Eden won the dual-entry Country Pleasure Driving Stake with owner Anne Butler handling the drive. They also won the three-entry qualifier. Genius Poetic Justice was reserve in the stake with Megan Adams driving for owner Diane Greenberg.

A Magic Surprise, with Jason Molback riding for owner Pat Johnson, was the big winner of the six-entry Country Western Pleasure Stake after having topped the six-entry qualifier. Tiana Tapper rode Key Largo's Magic to the reserve grand championship under the direction of trainer Tara Wentz.

Penn National, with its fabulous facility, hardworking show staff and long list of venders selling everything a horse owner needs, has kept the Saddlebred, Hackney and Roadster classes an important part of the weekend schedule and has also served as a fitting host of one of equitation's most important finals. It is certainly the place to go if you enjoy seeing different events and meeting new people in the show horse world. It has maintained a loyal following for years now and the expanded Farm Show Complex is a big hit with exhibitors.

This highlights the 2003 Pennsylvania National Horse Show. Complete results follow and they can also be seen, searched and printed out from our web site at www.saddlehorsereport.com.

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