June 7, 2006 -- The North American League (NAL) runs season-long series in six hunter-jumper divisions--Adult Hunter presented by Practical Horseman, Children's Hunter, Open Jumper Speed, Adult Jumper, Children's Jumper and Pony Jumper. Each division's series culminates with a championship final at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, Pa., in October. All horses competing in the NAL finals earn U.S. Equestrian Federation Horse-of-the-Year points.
The current NAL qualifying period runs from September 1, 2005, through August 31, 2006. Riders need not be members of the NAL to compete in any qualifying classes, but only current members earn points toward year-end finals.
Classes held through the spring generated plenty of excitement for competitors and spectators alike. Thousands of horses and riders continued their quest to qualify for the 2006 NAL finals as the summer began to heat up. Top spots become more difficult to maintain as the season progresses, and some impressive horse-and-rider combinations were holding the lead in each of the six divisions going into the summer months.
In the NAL Adult Hunter division presented by Practical Horseman, Lara McPherson of McLean, Va., and Tenerife led with 2,433 points. In second with 2,309 points was Parker Minchin of Vass, N.C., piloting Mandrake. Following Minchin in third place with 2,227 points was Meghan Rehman of Mechanicsburg, Pa., aboard Macallan.
With 2,540 points, Adele Norton of Falls Church, Va., and Just One Look led in the Children's Hunter division. Colleen Holton of Hilliard, Ohio, and Gatsby followed in the standings with 1,825 points. With 1,776 points, Madeline Baker of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, sat in third with Stonewashed.
In the Jumper divisions, U.S. equestrian team veteran Laura Chapot of Neshanic Station, N.J., maintained a decisive lead in the Open Speed division, which features this country's top riders competing for the right to ride in the NAL Finals. Chapot, with 9,595 points, had more than twice as many points as Brianne Goutal, who sat in second with 3,700. Goutal of New York, N.Y., show jumping's newest up-and-coming superstar, stayed less than 700 points ahead of Sydney Olympian Laura Kraut of Oconomowoc, Wisc., who has 3,025 points. Points in the Open Speed division are awarded for riders only, based on their best finish in a class regardless of the horse on which the finish was obtained.
Patty Van Housen of Mequon, Wisc., and Ima Good 1-2 led the Adult Jumper division with 3,249 points. Following Van Housen in second place with 3,200 points was Meghan Abbott of Coral Springs, Fla., riding Colleen, and in third was Kris Hoffman Kennedy of Newtown, Pa., on Quest D'Or with 2,682 points.
Topping the Children's Jumper division standings were Kaitlin Campbell of Upper Black Eddy, Pa., and Lucy in the Sky, with 5,121 points. In second place with a total of 3,727 points was Holly Cerasano of Stillwater, N.Y., with Koko. Rounding out the top three was Olivia Goossen of Howell, N.J., with 3,175 points riding Inca.
In the Pony Jumper division, Wilhelmina Horzepa of Englishtown, N.J., and Exhilaration sat atop the standings with 1,085 points, nearly 400 points ahead of second place rider Paige Coles. Coles of Wellington, Fla., had 686 points aboard Indigo. Lillie Ross of Wheaton, Ill., sat in third aboard TNT with 680 points.
For more information on the North American League and a list of qualifying competitions for the 2005-2006 season, visit the Ryegate Show Services website.