2011 Alltech National Horse Show Wrap Up

November 8, 2011--Here's a summary of all the exciting action at the Alltech National Horse Show including the Grand Prix and the ASPCA Maclay National Championship.
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November 8, 2011--Here's a summary of all the exciting action at the Alltech National Horse Show including the Grand Prix and the ASPCA Maclay National Championship.

November 8, 2011 - Open Jumper action at the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition, wrapped up on Saturday night with a fast-paced jump-off during the Alltech National Horse Show $250,000 Grand Prix CSI-W. Richard Spooner and Cristallo set the pace with tidy inside turns and a clear effort, beating Great Britain's Nick Skelton aboard Carlo 273 by just three-tenths of a second. Jessica Springsteen and Cincinatti Le Silla rounded out the three as the fastest four-fault combination during the short course.

Spooner and Cristallo, owned by Show Jumping Syndicates of Agua Dulce, CA, were the first to master the technical course and qualify for the speed phase. The "Master of Faster" did not disappoint when he returned to the ring with his veteran mount. He made a very nice inside turn to the first wide oxer, and followed it with another very tight turn to the wall before galloping home over the double combination and final oxer. Although it almost seemed that the turn to the wall would be too much, Cristallo leapt over it without a rub and the pair broke the beam at 37.970 seconds with all the rails intact. The pair set a pace that no other horse and rider combinations would be able to catch, and eventually led the night's victory gallop.

Skelton was the last to challenge the short course with Carlo 273, and the speedy duo produced the only other fault-free round. They also managed to catch all the inside turns, and although they had a fast gallop through the end of the course, a slow start proved costly when they tripped the timers at 38.33 to place second.

Young rider Jessica Springsteen of Colts Neck, NJ, had the fastest four-fault round after committing to the sharper turns with Cincinatti Le Silla. They had an error at the same oxer, but stopped the clock at 40.660 to garner the third place award. Springsteen was also the winner of the Leading Lady Rider Award presented by Martha Jolicoeur, while Skelton earned the Audi Leading Rider Award and a one-year lease of an Audi Q-7 for his efforts during the week.

This marked the first year that the Alltech National Horse Show has been held at the Kentucky Horse Park, and the first year that Alltech has joined forces with the prestigious event. "I love the National Horse Show, I was lucky enough to do it one year at the Garden, my last junior year, when I was doing the equitation," commented Spooner. "I have a kind of fondness for it. There is a lot of prize money. I heard that the facility was phenomenal, the management was going to be excellent, and obviously the prize money is a big factor. Whenever you are planning a trip you have to think of the risk-reward, and there's a lot of reward coming here and that makes the decision a heck of a lot easier."

For more information on the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition, please visit www.nhs.org.

ASPCA Maclay National Championship

Sunday marked the final day of competition at the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition. The highlight event at the Alltech Arena in Lexington, KY, was the 2011 Maclay National Championship for the ASCPA Alfred B. Maclay Horsemanship Classes - Presented by Hadfield's Saddlery. Riders worked all year to qualify for this event and after three phases of competition and a final test it was 17-year-old Sarah Milliren of Sapula, OK, leading the victory gallop and taking home the championship honors.

The riders who rode the first course smoothly, out-of-stride, and with style were the ones called back in the top 36 to test on the flat. Three groups of 12 were tested, and from there the judges called back the top 18 riders for a second round over fences. The top 18 returned with Michael Hughes called back on top and Milliren in second.

Michael Hughes of Ocala, FL had a difficult time with a lead change after the triple bar, which proved costly and eventually earned him sixth. Chase Boggio of Canton, GA, and Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL, each produced smooth trips with a good hand gallop to move up in the ranking and place fourth and fifth, respectively.

The judges asked Milliren, Demi Stiegler of Landera Ranch, CA, and Elizabeth Benson of Whitehouse Station, NJ, to return to the ring for further testing, as just a point separated the top three. They were asked to switch mounts, with Milliren riding Stiegler's Vigo, Stiegler riding Benson's Calito 7, and Benson riding Milliren's Terrapin Station. The three finalists then had to show over the course once more aboard the new mount without any warm-up or advice from their coaches.

Returning in reverse order, Benson led the way but had a slight bobble at the first vertical causing her to lose her stirrup. She regained her balance despite a previously broken wrist, but had a late change after the triple and eventually placed third.

Stiegler was next and kept a conservative pace at the beginning resulting in light rubs, and a slower hand gallop. The pair quickly became more in sync, and finished the round nicely to earn the reserve championship.

"Milliren was the last to go and she quickly proved that she came to win. She picked up a nice pace from the beginning and was very smooth through all of the turns and options. The talented young rider showcased an exemplary hand gallop and her wonderful horsemanship garnered her the judges' top call and the ASPCA Maclay National Championship title."It's so exciting, I'm so happy," beamed Milliren after leading the victory gallop. "I was surprisingly not nervous about the course, I was excited because I knew that it was a good course for the horse I was on. For the second round I had moved down, so I knew I had to give it my all. I was a little nervous with my horse at first because he was a little spooky, but he did great. After switching onto Demi's horse, I think I used a little too much hand, he wasn't very happy with me, but I really liked riding her horse and he was a lot of fun."

The ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship class has been held since 1933, and it is one of the most prestigious competitions for junior riders in the United States. Its winners are some of the biggest names in equestrian sport. Previous winners include: William Steinkraus in 1941, Frank Chapot (1948), George Morris (1952), Leslie Burr Howard (1972), Stacia Klein Madden in 1987, and Nicole Shahinian Simpson in 1992. The 2009 ASPCA Maclay National Championship winner was Zazou Hoffman, of Santa Monica, CA, and in 2010 Hayley Barnhill was named the winner.

Jumper Highlights Wednesday - Saturday

It was a thrilling night of competition Wednesday in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park as the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition, made its debut at its new home. The top horses and riders from around the world showed up to compete during the Sasco Creek Farm International Open Jumpers $50,000 Welcome Stake, benefiting the Alltech Sustainable Haiti Project. Riders raced over the technical track set by Richard Jeffery, and with a blazing pace of 57.93 seconds the winning honors went to Todd Minikus riding Sweetheart, owned by Candy Tribble and the Windsor Show Stables of East Windsor, CT.

Wednesday night's riders set the time to beat from the start, with each entry trying to catch the top honors. As only the second horse and rider combination of 44 to compete, Great Britain's Nick Skelton and Unique, owned by Beverly Widdowson, set a masterful example with quick, neat turns. With each rail in place they tripped the timers at 60.65 seconds, but it would only be good enough for fourth. Kraut stepped in to better the time with Teirra, and with an excellent effort over each obstacle they broke the beam in 60.56 seconds, sneaking into the third place honors.

The duo's time was quickly bested by 2011 Pan American Team Gold Medalist McLain Ward riding Pjotter Van De Zonnehoeve. They picked up a quick pace from the start and managed to leave a stride out in the first line, allowing for a clear round in 58.02 seconds, eventually earning the red ribbon.

Todd Minikus was 13th i n the order with Sweetheart, and they also managed to do five strides in the first line, and add an incredible sliced turn to the seventh obstacle. Without touching a rail they blazed across the finish line in 57.93 seconds, setting a pace that the 33 remaining horses would not be able to best, and leading the night's victory gallop.

The exciting jumper action continued Thursday at the Alltech National Horse Show as the best Junior and Amateur-Owner riders gathered at the Alltech Arena to compete in the evening's Welcome Stakes. Kaitlin Campbell and Rocky W took the winning honors during the Chansonette Farm $10,000 Amateur-Owner Jumper Welcome, and Lillie Keenan earned the top call during the Sleepy P Ranch $10,000 Junior Jumper Welcome.

It was Kaitlin Campbell of Brooksville, MD, and Rocky W who blazed around the course in only 53.110 seconds leaving all the rails in place. Their time pushed the pair to the top of the leaderboard and stayed intact for the remainder of the class.

Although Meagan Nusz and Banana D'ive Z, owned by TNT Equine Partners, LLC of The Woodlands, TX, raced against the clock in an attempt to master Campbell's time, they claimed the second place award after stopping the timer at 54.146 seconds. Caitlin Hope of Barrington, IL, and Total Touch also posted a clear effort, but their time of 56.862 seconds secured the third place honors.

Lillie Keenan and Vanhattan, owned by Chansonette Farm LLC of New York, NY, dominated the Sleepy P Ranch $10,000 Junior Jumper Welcome Time First Round earlier in the evening. The duo set a speedy pace from the start, easily taking each jump and using Vanhattan's long stride to their advantage. Although Keenan opted not to take a popular inside turn to save time, the pair stopped the clock at 53.047 seconds, proving untouchable.

Although last in the ring, Meg O'Mara and Sinatra IV, owned by Walstib Stables LLC of Rumson, NJ, cleared the course in 53.276 seconds, garnering the second place award behind Keenan. Charlotte Jacobs and Karonda V. Schl'hof Ch, owned by North Star Ventures of East Aurora, NY, were the first to post a clear round in the class, and finished with a time of 54.611 seconds, but she bested herself aboard Promised Land, owned by Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables of East Windsor, CT, later in the class. Her speedy and consistent efforts eventually earned the junior rider the third and fourth place awards respectively.

It was an incredible night of competition at the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition, as 14 of 35 entries qualified for the jump-off during the $75,000 Double H Farm International Open Jumper class on Thursday. There was one quick round after another, but at the end of the night it was McLain Ward and Rothchild, owned by Sagamore Farm of Oyster Bay, NY, who posted a double clear effort in 36.10 seconds and led the victory gallop. Pan American Individual and Team Gold Medalist Christine McCrea of East Windsor, CT, followed in second aboard Avenir with a fault-free effort in 37.72 seconds, while Lauren Hough and Quick Study, owned by Laura Mateo, were third after setting the pace at a clean 37.73 seconds.

With three fantastic efforts starting the short course, it became a game of catch-up for the riders that followed, but they were not able to master the plan. Hough and Quick Study were the first horse and rider combination to qualify for the jump-off. The duo managed to leave all the rails untouched and crossed the finish line at 37.73 seconds, setting a pace that eventually earned them third. McCrea and Avenir were next and they just barely edged Hough out of the lead, breaking the beam at 37.72 seconds and garnering the second place award. Ward was hungry for a victory following a second place finish last night, and with his veteran partner Rothchild he quickly took over the lead. Using a tight inside turn after the double combination, and leaving out a stride across the middle, the successful combination quickly jumped to the top of the leaderboard. Each fence remained intact and they blazed across the finish line in 36.10 seconds, an unmatchable effort that scored the lion share of the final prize.

The jumper action continued Friday evening at the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition, and speed was the name of the game as riders competed in the $60,000 Spy Coast Farm Open Jumper Speed Stake. The speedy veteran pair of Kent Farrington and Up Chiqui dominated the class with blazing time, beating second place finishers Nicholas Dello Joio and Notre Star De La Nutria by almost four seconds. Great Britain's Scott Brash and Bon Ami rounded out the top three with a quick and clear effort.

Although he was fifth in the order, Farrington of Chicago, IL, and Up Chiqui, owned by Boone, Dobbs and Farrington, entered the ring ready to win during the speed competition. The duo has always been known for their quick rounds, and they lived up to the hype. They raced around the technical course with ease, never touching a rail. The pair broke the beam at an incredible 57.35 seconds, setting a pace that would not be caught and eventually leading the victory gallop.

Nicholas Dello Joio was next to tackle the track riding Notre Star De La Nutria, owned by Thelma Romero-Cloud of Wellington, FL. The pair made a good effort to better Farrington's time, but after tripping the timers at 61.25 seconds with all the fences intact they garnered the second place prize.

Great Britain's Scott Brash entered the ring just one round later and came very close to overtaking Dello Joio with Bon Ami, owned by Mrs. Liz McTaggart. The duo completed a clear round in 61.50 seconds, scoring the third place honors. Fellow British rider Nick Skelton had one of the night's fastest rounds with Unique, owned by Beverley Widdowson, but after they brought down the back rail of oxer four seconds was added to their time. They finished with a score of 62.03 seconds for the fourth place honors.

Earlier in the evening the Chansonette Farm $15,000 Amateur-Owner Jumper Stake got underway. Last night's reserve champions, Meagan Nusz of The Woodlands, TX, and Banana D'ive Z, took the championship honors during the Chansonette Farm $15,000 Amateur-Owner Jumper Stake. The duo was one of eight to successfully go clear during the first round, and with a blazing fast time of 34.478 seconds, Nusz rode to the top of the leaderboard during the jump-off. Kaitlin Campbell of Brooksville, MD, and Rocky W took the second place honors for their time of 35.075 seconds.

Later in the day during the Sleepy P Ranch $15,000 Junior Jumper Stake, 12 of 23 entries posted clean efforts and moved into the enticing short course. Charlotte Jacobs of East Aurora, NY, set the pace by posting a clear round as the first rider to challenge the short course with Karonda V. Schl'Hof CH, eventually earning the third place honors in a time of 35.873 seconds.

It was Lillie Keenan of New York, NY, and Vanhattan, for a second night, which emerged victorious in the High Junior Jumper class with their double-clear effort. The duo picked up a speedy pace from the beginning and made all the inside turns necessary during the jump-off to stop the clock at 35.106 seconds. Chase Boggio and his mount Hennessey used a long stride and naturally fast pace to their advantage as the duo secured the second place honors with their second clear effort of the evening, ending with a time of 35.742 seconds.

Saturday evening hosted an array of talented Junior and Amateur-Owner Jumper riders as they vied for the top honors at the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition. The $50,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Championship put riders and horses to the test as the qualifying riders competed for the coveted winning honors. This was the first time in the history of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame series that such a large purse was offered. It was Lillie Keenan who rode Vanhattan to the top of the leaderboard for the third consecutive night and led the victory gallop.

Charlotte Jacobs and her mount Promised Land, owned by Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables of East Windsor, CT, began their turn around the short track with the plan to give her competitors something to chase. Her tight and neat turns cut time easily, ending with a time of 36.776 seconds, but an unfortunate rail over the Keeneland vertical proved detrimental, earning them the third place prize.

The first double-clear effort of the evening occurred when Robert Lee of Old Saybrook, CT, guided El Grecco over the short course and stopped the clock at 41.492 seconds, eventually garnering the second place honors.

Lillie Keenan and Vanhattan, owned by Chansonette Farm LLC of New York, NY, knew what had to be done in order to ride to the top honors. They took every inside turn available, shaving off the seconds and leaving all rails intact. The talented duo tripped the beam at 39.663 seconds, greeted by the applause of the spectators and fellow exhibitors.

Hunter Highlights: Wednesday - Saturday

It was a historic day in on Wednesday Lexington, KY, as the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition got underway at its new home in the Alltech Arena of the Kentucky Horse Park. The top horses and riders from around the world gathered to take part in this exciting event. The professional hunter divisions were the first to take place, and it proved to be Scott Stewart's day as he won over half of the blue ribbons with his talented mounts.

The 14 Hands Winery Regular Conformation Hunters kicked off the first day of competition at the Alltech Arena. The winner of the first class over fences was Sambalino, ridden by Scott Stewart and owned by Becky Gochman of New York, NY. Taking home the blue ribbon honors in the handy round was Elizabeth Boyd and Casallo, owned by Erin McGuire of Cornelius, NC.

The Mr. & Mrs. Douglas Wheeler Green Conformation Hunters were next and it was Scott Stewart receiving the top call once again. He piloted Empire to the win in the first over fences class, and followed it with third place finish in the handy class. Stewart reversed order in the handy class, claiming the blue ribbon aboard Touchdown, after placing third during the first over fences class with the talented mount. Empire and Touchdown are both owned by Gochman.

Stewart continued his winning ways in the First Year Green Working Hunter class. He showed Dedication, owned by Fashion Farms of New York, NY, to the first place honors during both classes, to sweep the opening day. Hunt Tosh and Triton Z, owned by Mr. & Mrs. Douglas Wheeler of Keswick, VA, claimed the red ribbon during the first class, while Tammy Provost and Libretto, owned by Alliy Moyer of Carmel, IN, placed second during the handy class.

The McNeil-Oare Second Year Green Working Hunters were up in the Alltech Arena, and the first blue ribbon was presented to Haylie Jayne for her ride aboard Humor Me, owned by Pony Lane Farm of Bluffdale, UT. During the handy round, it was Holly Orlando and Sailor's Valentine, owned by Westerly Farm of Unionville, PA. The duo also placed third during the first over fences class.

The Pony Lane Farm High Performance Working Hunters wrapped up the day's hunter events. Elizabeth Boyd of Camden, SC, and Brunello led in the first class to earn the blue ribbon prize, but in a fitting fashion it was Stewart who ended the day in the winner's circle. An excellent score in the handy round riding Garfield, owned by Alexandra Crown of New York, NY, earned him the top call to finish the day.

Thursday marked the second day of competition at the Alltech National Horse, 128th Edition, and it was the professional hunter divisions that took center stage this afternoon as they completed their under saddle and stake classes. Scott Stewart earned the highest honor of the day with his First Year Green Working Hunter mount, Dedication, owned by Fashion Farm of New York, NY. After scoring three blue ribbons, the duo took home the division's tricolor and were eventually honored with the Grand Champion Hunter Award.

The First Year Green Working Hunters were the first to complete their stake class and wrapped up their second day of competition. Stewart and Dedication showed brilliantly over Richard Jeffery's courses to earn three first place ribbons and a second place ribbon, which included a win in the stake class with a score of 88. They picked up the championship award, while Tammy Provost and Libretto, owned by Alliy Moyer of Carmel, IN, earned the reserve championship honors. With their impressive effort in all four classes, Stewart and Dedication returned to the ring at the end of the day to receive the prestigious Grand Champion Hunter title.

The Mr. & Mrs. Douglas Wheeler Green Conformation Hunters competed next and it was the beautiful Cold Harbor, owned by Mr. & Mrs. Douglas Wheeler of Keswick, VA, and ridden by Hunt Tosh, that claimed the championship prize. The pair won the model and under saddle phases, and also earned a second and third place ribbon over fences. After winning the stake class with a score of 86 and the handy class, the reserve championship tricolor was presented to Scott Stewart and Touchdown, owned by Becky Gochman of New York, NY.

The blue ribbon prize and score of 88 during the McNeil-Oare Second Year Green Working Hunter Stake class Thursday went to Jennifer Alfano for her ride aboard Miss Lucy, owned by Helen Lenahan of Buffalo, NY, but it was second place finishers Holly Orlando and Sailors Valentine, owned by Westerly Farm of Unionville, PA, who claimed the division's championship honors. The pair also won Wednesday's handy class to earn the tricolor prize, while Haylie Jayne and Humor Me, owned by Pony Lane Farm of Bluffdale, UT, took home the reserve championship honors with a first, second, and third place ribbon.

The 14 Hands Winery Regular Conformation Hunters were next to compete in the Alltech Arena, and once again it was Scott Stewart that earned the championship honors. The talented rider piloted Becky Gochman's mount to two first place ribbons and a third place ribbon to earn the championship rosette. Picking up the reserve championship prize was Elizabeth Boyd and Casallo, owned by Erin McGuire of Cornelius, NC, after the duo won Wednesday's handy class and earned two third place ribbons.

Boyd took home her own championship prize at the end of the day in the Pony Lane Farm High Performance Hunters, riding her long-time partner Brunello, owned by Boyd and Janet Peterson of Camden, SC. They won the stake class with a score 88 as well as Wednesday's first over fences classes for the tricolor award. The reserve championship honors went to Wednesday's handy winner, Garfield, owned by Alexandra Crown of New York, NY, and ridden by Stewart.

The Amateur-Owner Hunters took center stage Friday in the Alltech Arena during the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition. Laura Sexton and her talented mount Zoom captured the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters Championship with three blue ribbons over the last two days. The duo was also awarded the Grand Champion Amateur Owner Hunter title for their excellent efforts in the ring.

The Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunters were the first to compete, and during the final stake class Debbie Perkins of New Canaan, CT, showed Whispering to a score 83 to win the blue ribbon. Their win Friday and third place finish in Thursday's over fences class garnered them the division's reserve championship prize. Tracy Scheriff-Muser of Wellington, FL, and Macallan were the day's big winners, taking home the Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunter Championship. They placed first in Thursday's over fences class and also earned two second place ribbons and third place ribbons.

Next to complete their stake rounds were the Amateur-Owner 36 and Over Hunters. Becky Gochman, of New York, NY, and Sambalino laid down a beautiful flowing trip, and the judges award their effort with a score 87, which would earn the top honors. Their win was coupled with a second place ribbon and third place ribbon for the division's reserve championship honors. Katie Robinson of Bronxsville, NY, and Rock Stea dy proved to be the most consistent pair, winning the under saddle and handy class. Their top finishes were recognized with the tricolor for the Amateur-Owner 36 and Over Hunter Championship.

The final division of the day was the Amateur-Owner 18 and Under Hunters. Jamie Auletto of Blackwood, NJ, and Winnetoe picked up the reserve championship honors after earning three second place ribbons, but it was Laura Sexton of Greenwich, CT, and Zoom that dominated the competition. The talented pair earned three blue ribbons, winning the first over fences class, the handy class, and the under saddle class. Sexton and Zoom were honors with the division championship, and then returned to the ring to receive the Grand Champion Amateur Owner Hunter title.

Saturday the Junior Hunters showcased their talent during the stake classes this afternoon in the Alltech Arena during the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition. Olivia Esse and her talented mount Illusion garnered the Small Junior 16-17 Championship award for their efforts throughout the division. The duo also was presented with the Junior Hunter Grand Champion award for their excellent placings over the last two days.

Illusion with Olivia Esse of Pasadena, CA, in the irons earned the top call for their score of 83.00 points in the Moyer Family $7,500 Small Junior 16-17 Hunter Stake Saturday afternoon. Coupled with their top honors Friday, they scored the division's championship tricolor. Esse also earned the reserve championship honors aboard her younger and more recent mount, Clooney.

Vivian Yowan and Whatever, owned by Boggs Hill of Wellington, FL, rode to the top honors during the $7,500 Small Junior 15 and Under Hunter Stake with the score of 86.00 points. Friday, the duo earned the blue ribbon during the first over fences class as well as the fourth place award for their efforts in the under saddle. With their high scores, the talented horse and rider easily earned the division's championship honors. Ailish Cunnife and Good Times, owned by Whipstick Farm of South Salem, NY, took the reserve championship tricolor after earning three second place ribbons.

Saturday's Gochman Family Large Junior 15 and Under Champion was decided after a hack-off between Lillie Keenan and Victoria Colvin, two of the sport's foremost Junior Hunter riders. It was Keenan of New York, NY, and C Coast Z who took the championship honors at the end of the judges' decision, while Colvin and Touchdown, owned by Becky Gochman of New York, NY, scored the reserve championship prize.

Meg O'Mara and Walk The Line, owned by O'Mara and Don Stewart of Ocala, FL, posted the highest stake score of the afternoon, executing a beautiful round during the Greentree South $7,5000 Large Junior 16-17 Stake. Their top score combined with their second and third place ribbons from Friday earned them the championship honors. Perfectionist, owned by Richard Prant of Flemington, NJ, and ridden by Heather Hooker, took the reserve championship honors for their efforts throughout the division.

At the end of the show, Mason Phelps Jr., President of the National Horse Show concluded, "All of the riders performed beautifully this week. I am glad to say that the Alltech National Horse Show has a new home and a new beginning, I am really pleased that we are here at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park."

For more information on the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition, please visit www.nhs.org.