October 15, 2013--It was a special evening in the Harrisburg Farm Show Complex as foxhunting - hounds and all - were the main attraction of Hunt Night, sponsored by Kinsley Construction, at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. Nine hunts from various states participated in the fun, as did the many cheering enthusiasts.
The Field Hunters 35 & Under class, sponsored by Hempt Bros., Inc. and Mr. & Mrs. Gerald Hempt, started off the evening. Jill Wilson of the Keswick Hunt rode APPLE into the winner's circle beating her 32 competitors in the over fences class, and winning the Max C. Hempt Perpetual Trophy. Jill also won the Leading Lady Rider Award, sponsored by the Directors of the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, and awarding her the "Polly" Gingrich Caswell Perpetual Trophy.
Rebekah Robinson and the massive Irish chestnut BALLAGHMORE SUITE from the Radnor Hunt took the top ribbon and the Chairman's Perpetual Trophy in the Field Hunters 36 & Over class, sponsored by Roundtop Mountain Resorts.
The Parade of Hounds, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Norman I. White, was unique this year, in that the featured pack was a french breed called the Petit Bassett - a long haired and short-legged type of hound that is used for hunting hares and rabbits on foot.
The Terrier Races were a big hit as usual and the crowds cheered them on as they chased the 'fake fox' down a little lane of jumps so fast that they were just a blur!
Neil Amatt demonstrated his horn blowing skills as winner of the North American Fox Hunting Blowing Championship, sanctioned by the Pennsylvania National Horse Show and The Masters of Foxhounds Association, and sponsored by Upland Farm. Originally from Newmarket, England, Neil learned to horn blow as a child and has been a professional at this trade for 14 years. He came to the U.S. In 2007 and now lives in Middleburg, VA where he is an active member of the Piedmont Hunt.
Competition resumed with the Gentleman's Hunter Under Saddle, sponsored by Jayne and Norman White. The Rose Tree Perpetual Trophy was won by Stevie Hayes and THE LONE SPY from Mr Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds.
Holly White and CZELDA FITZGERALD from the Windy Hollow Hunt won the Ladies Hunter Under Saddle class, sponsored by LSC Design, and was awarded the Betty Baldwin Meister Memorial Perpetual Trophy.
The Hunt Team class, sponsored by Kinsley Construction, was very exciting as teams of three horses and riders had to jump around the course in single file at a safe distance apart until the last obstacle, which they had to jump over side by side. The crowds went wild as some horses and riders executed this beautifully and others needed some encouragement - there was much 'clicking' to be heard from the stands! The Potomac Hunt Challenge Trophy, was awarded to Mr Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds.
The Hunt Night Championship, sponsored by Kinsley Construction, closed the evening, and it was the Keswick Hunt that took the Championship title and the Ralph A. Alfano Memorial Perpetual Trophy. Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds were Reserve Champions.
Sandy Rives, Whipper-In for the Keswick Hunt for 40 years, rode TECHNICIAN in the competition tonight, his 20 year old OTTB that has been his hunting partner for the past 15 years. He and TECHNICIAN have been coming to Hunt Night at the Pennsylvania Horse Show for the past 10 years, but tonight was his last before the horse's impending retirement to pasture. "He's always loved coming to the PA National Horse Show, so I had to bring him tonight", said Sandy, who's written an article about his hunting partner of 15 years, which was featured in Kenwick Life magazine. "He's truly an amazing horse - I'll never have another one like him".
The Pennsylvania National Horse Show, the 2011 National Show Hunter Hall of Fame Horse Show of the Year and the sixth ranked horse show in North America in the 2012 North American Riders Group (NARG) annual rankings, is one of the largest indoor horse shows in the U.S. It hosts horses and competitors from across the country with 10,000 spectators attending from the Mid-Atlantic region.
With over 1,400 qualified horses competing for $450,000 in prize money, the show features Hunter and Jumper competition and is the site of the Pessoa/US National Hunter Seat Medal Final Presented by Randolph College, the Randolph College/USEF National Junior Jumper Championships, North American League (NAL) National Finals and the $85,000 Grand Prix de Penn National.
In addition to world-class equestrian competition, the horse show offers a unique shopping environment with boutique vendors that offer everything from fine art to custom jewelry, clothing, accessories and horse show memorabilia.
Proceeds from the event benefit community equine and youth programs. Since its inception in 1945, the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Foundation has donated over $1.5 million to charitable entities.
For more details on show events, competitors and vendors, please visit the show's website, www.PAnational.org or contact the Pennsylvania National Horse Show at 717-236-1600 or by email, eventinfo@PAnational.org.