Foxhunters from Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds (PA) dominated Hunt Night at the Pennsylvania Horse Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on October 16, 2017. Cheshire riders won three classes and received ribbons in all five events on Monday night to claim the overall hunt championship title over the thirteen competing foxhunts. This was the eighth hunt championship won by Cheshire since the inception of Hunt Night. Riders from the Bull Run Hunt (VA) and the Green Spring Valley Hounds (MD) were also class winners.
One surprising contributor to Cheshire's Championship team was Olympic veteran Boyd Martin who competed in and won the Gentlemen's Hunter Under Saddle class with Right On Que, owned by Tanya Emslie of Unionville, Pennsylvania. Martin had just placed third in the Fair Hill International Three-Day Event CCI*** this past weekend and decided to drive up at the suggestion of one of his fellow Cheshire members.
"In November and December I pretend to be a foxhunter with the Cheshire and somehow I got roped into competing in the Hack," said Martin. "I had no idea what it involved, but it was brilliant! I've never been to anything like this before. I got lent a horse and had a bit of training in the collecting ring and went in there and had a crack at the class. It was great fun."
Right On Que also won the Ladies' Hunter Under Saddle class. This time owner Emslie was in the saddle. Emslie represented Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds and has participated in Hunt Night many times, though this was her first win.
"It's very exciting. I am so proud of my horse," said Emslie. "It's a great honor because there are so many beautiful horses and great riders. It's so amazing to win and to have an Olympian ride your horse is pretty phenomenal. I am overwhelmed."
Twenty teams from thirteen foxhunting clubs participated in the Hunt Team competition, the highlight of the evening. Each team consisted of three riders riding together as a team. The course featured a series of fences with the riders following each other mimicking a hunt. Uniformity of pace, evenness of spacing, and team uniformity are elements in the judging. The final obstacle is jumped in unison. The trick is for the three horses to meet the last fence abreast precisely at the same time.
Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds Team Two won the event with members Joy Slater, Skylar McKenna, and Erika Nesler. They almost missed the event altogether, though, when their truck broke down about forty miles from the show.
"Our truck lost radiator fluid and we almost didn't make it here," said Slater. "Fortunately, we were able to work it out and get another truck and trailer. It's such a great horse show I would have hated to miss it. I love this show and I love Hunt Night. It is so much fun."
Other classes held on Hunt Night included Field Hunters for Riders 35 Years of Age and Under. The event was won by 17-year-old Autumn Rogers of the Bull Run Hunt Team Two, riding JT. Rogers has been hunting for nine years, but this was the first time the Orange, Virginia resident competed at Harrisburg.
"It was a little nerve-racking, but I'm really happy," said Rogers. "Winning means a lot. It shows that all of the hard work will pay off in the end if you work hard enough."
Nancy Roberts and Bermunda took top honors in the class for Field Hunters for Riders 36 Years of Age and Over. Roberts, of Sparks, Maryland, represented the Green Spring Valley Hounds, where her father, Duck Martin, has served as MFH for forty years. Roberts has competed in Hunt Night three times, but this was her first victory.
"I'm very happy; I'm very proud of my horse," said Roberts. "I can't really believe it. I usually just foxhunt, I don't show, so this was a nice surprise."
There was a three-way tie for the Hunt Night Leading Lady Rider Award. Rogers, Roberts and Emslie all shared the honor.
The Pennsylvania National Horse Show
More than four hundred qualified Junior and Adult competitors from the U.S. and abroad vie for more than $500,000 in prize money and eight national championships, including the prestigious USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final, and USEF National Junior Jumper Individual and Team Championships. "Junior Weekend" will take place October 12-15, followed by "Senior Week," October 16-21 which includes the Open Jumper and FEI competitions. This year's show will again host three internationally sanctioned FEI CSI3* rated jumper classes including the $35,000 Keystone Classic, $40,000 Big Jump, and the $100,000 Prix de Penn National Grand Prix presented by the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund, the culminating event which will be held on Saturday evening, October 21 and will feature over forty top riders from seven countries, including six Olympic veterans.
The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund is a private, charitable fund. It accepts grant proposals for the benefit of charitable, educational, or scientific purposes, exclusively from tax-exempt, charitable organizations. The issues where the Fund focuses its resources reflect Lindsay's personal priorities and values: improving the lives of children with special needs; enabling access opportunities to education; and providing care, compassion, and protection to animals.
The Pennsylvania National Horse Show Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit organization, provides support for therapeutic riding and equine rescue programs. The Foundation makes grants exclusively for charitable and educational purposes to acquaint, teach, and train the public in therapeutic equestrian endeavors and to support equine rescue efforts. Proceeds from the show benefit the Foundation. Click for more information about the Penn National Horse Show.
Posted October 23, 2017