October 18, 2013--It was an exciting evening as some of the world's top riders competed in the $40,000 Pennsylvania 'Big Jump' competition. Ireland's Conor Swail and GAME READY, owned by Sue Grange, were last to go in the jump-off, and pulled out all the stops to clinch the win in 34.54 seconds at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show.
"It feels great to win", said Swail. "The horse is a very good horse, he's a fast horse and very careful. He has his own quirky ways - he can throw some funny jumps, but the great thing about him is he's a real winner and he gives you great confidence when you are riding a horse like that".
Out of twenty eight starters, only seven made it to the jump-off over the Alan Wade designed course. Second placed Kent Farrington and WILLOW, owned by Amalaya Investments, crossed the timers in 36.80 seconds, edging out Brianne Goutal and NICE DE PRISSEY, owned by Remarkable Farms LP, who finished in 38.01 seconds and third place.
"I think the reason I probably won by such a distance is because on the landing side he [GAME READY] is so quick to turn. I think that's where he makes so much time. You can see the tracks of the riders that have gone in front of you and everywhere I just stayed inside their tracks".
"Alan [Wade] is an Irish course designer and he's world renowned. He always builds good courses that are difficult to jump even if they don't look it - there's difficulties in them. I thought he did a good job with 7 clears out of 28 [starters] in the first round, and three clears in the jump-off is a good ratio".
Swail plans on competing GAME READY on Saturday night in the Grand Prix de Penn National.
"This is my first trip to Harrisburg so it's a good start for me", said Swail. "It's a beautiful place - it's a great arena, and the warm-up is fantastic".
In the $3,000 Amateur Owner Jumper class only six of the 27 starters made?it through to the jump-off. Wesley Newlands and WIEMINKA B, owned by Weslands Farm, were first to go and no one could catch their blazing time of 37.076 seconds. Kelsey Thatcher and Pony Lane Farm's ATHENA took second place, crossing the timers in 37.462 seconds.
Irish rider Darragh Kenny and TOP GUN IV, owned by Oakland Ventures LLC, picked up another win this afternoon in the $5,000 Open Jumper II class. The pair topped the field of 34 starters, jumping clear and in the fastest time of 63.926 seconds. Laura Chapot and ZEALOUS, owned by Mary Chapot, finished second in 64.154 seconds.
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.