HARRISBURG, Pa. — The 2017 Pennsylvania National Horse Show wrapped up on Oct. 21 and riders from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania came home with top prizes.

Amy Jo Magee of Coatesville, Pa., and Little Lady were named Reserve Champions in the Sidesaddle Division, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Richard L. Hornberger.

Magee and Little Lady were consistent, placing second in all three classes for the reserve championship. The pair also participated in Hunt Night on Monday, representing the Kimberton Hunt.

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Neato Is Just Neat at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show

Stephanie Fabiano, of Mechanicsville, Pa., and her horse Neato, took home the Grand Amateur Owner 3'3" Hunter Championship and the Art Dunphy Perpetual Trophy.

Fabiano and Neato, an 8-year-old gelding, won the Amateur Owner 3'3" Hunter Championship for Riders 18-35 Years of Age on their way to the Grand Championship. The pair, who have only been together since January, and did not start showing in the Amateur Owner divisions until May, won or placed in every class they showed in for the title.

"We have had an amazing year," said Fabiano. "He is an amazing horse. He has an amazing jump and is just wonderful to ride. I have been coming to this show since I was about seven. I used to watch the pony hunters with my Mom. I have been riding and showing for a long time, but I have never been Champion here. It is like an amazing fairy tale come true.

"I could not do this without a lot of support. My husband is super supportive, and my Mom and my Aunt have the kids today. I have a two and a three-year-old, and they came here today, and watched my last trip. Jill Shull has been my trainer for 20 years, and her assistant Ashley Barnhill does so much for me. Chad Keenum found Neato for us. He knew he would be an amazing fit for me. He is the key to the whole thing.

"We only did six horse shows to qualify for this show," said Fabaino. "I was on the wait list and only got notified that we were coming here on Tuesday night at 6:00, and we rallied on Wednesday, got Neato body clipped and everything packed up and showed Thursday. This kind of thing just doesn't happen to me!"

Hunt Night

Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds of Coatesville, Pa., dominated Hunt Night,

Riders of the Cheshire Foxhounds won three classes and received ribbons in all five events on the night of Oct. 16 to claim the championship title for the eighth time since the inception of Hunt Night.

One surprising championship contributor was Olympic eventing veteran Boyd Martin who competed in and won the Gentlemen's Hunter Under Saddle, sponsored by Roundtop Mountain Resort with Right On Que, owned by Tanya Emslie of Unionville, Pa.

Martin just placed third in the Dutta Corp./Fair Hill International Three-Day Event CCI*** a weekend earlier and decided to drive up at the suggestion of one of his fellow members from Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds.

"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."

A total of 20 teams from 13 Hunt Clubs participated in the Hunt Team competition, the highlight of the evening. Each team consisted of three riders who rode in the arena at the same time. The course featured a series of fences with the riders following each other mimicking a hunt and at the final obstacle they jumped in unison.

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 40 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."

Right On Que also won the Ladies' Hunter Under Saddle, sponsored by Carol Copeland. 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."

Back in the Saddle

Professional hunter rider Jennifer Alfano, who had fractured her left knee in a fall while competing at the Devon Horse Show the previous year, returned to the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, presented by the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund, in winning form as she and her Candid took the High Performance Hunter Championship title.

Based out of Buffalo, N.Y. but originally from Harrisburg, Alfano and Candid won three of the over fences classes in the division and placed second in the other. They took fourth place in the hack and second in the model, giving them the points needed to be named Champion.

Alfano runs SBS Farms with Susie Schoellkopf, one of the foremost show hunter training operations in the country, and compete in the country's most prestigious horse shows.

"He was so good, I am so excited," said Alfano. "I was a little nervous, Kristy [Herrera] has still been showing him quite a bit because I love watching her ride him. I have actually only shown him twice this summer. Which just dawned on me the night before, and I got nervous about it. Because he is my own horse it makes it more special, but I also get nervous because he is my own. But he was so, so good. I have always loved coming to this horse show, it is my hometown. When I was little, this horse show was such a big deal. It is always fun to come home. Candid was actually Grand Hunter Champion here when he was a First Year horse. He loves it here."

Thursday at the PNHS was "Pony Up For Pink" day, in support of Breast Cancer Awareness with many of the riders, including Alfano, sporting pink armbands to show their support of for the PA Breast Cancer Coalition.

Scott Stewart and Dr. Betsee Parker's Wonderly were awarded the Grand Green Hunter Championship and the Kimberton Hills Challenge Trophy for their performances in the 3'6" Green Hunter division.

Wonderly, an 8-year-old gelding, and Stewart were awarded the 3'6" Green Hunter division Championship and the Frances Newbill Rowe Challenge Trophy, with four wins out of the five classes contested. The only class that they did not win went to Parker's other horse in the division, Luster, who was named Reserve Champion.

Stewart later returned to center ring with yet another of Dr. Parker's horses, Cameo, a 10-year-old gelding, to be presented with the High Performance Working Hunter Championship for the Cismont Manor Farm Challenge Trophy, which they retired, as Cameo was the third of Dr. Parker's horses to win it. Cameo won two classes in the division, and was second, third and fourth in the remainder of the classes. Rock Harbor with Louise Serio of Kennett Square, Pa. riding for owner Jennifer Burger, was Reserve Champion.

"Are there any more trophies for me to get?" joked Stewart as he exited the ring after the win. "This is only his second show since Devon He doesn't need to do a lot. He is such an easy horse he doesn't need a lot of miles."

Green Conformation Hunter Champion and recipient of the Wild Air Farms Challenge Trophy was Private Life, owned by Dr. Parker and ridden by Stewart. This was a hard-fought battle for Stewart, as the pair won the first over fences class then had trouble in the second and only scored a 45. The second day of competition was a return to form as they were fourth and then won the final class with a score of 92.

"The Championship came down to the last class," said Stewart. "I knew I had to win it. I made a few mistakes in the other classes, myself not the horse, and I knew it going in. Sometimes the pressure is good for me. Private Life is only a six-year-old, and he has had a light schedule but has been very successful. He was awesome today. He is the easiest horse to ride. It is so easy it is hard. He is always pretty right-on, they are usually my mistakes."

Stewart received the Elizabeth M. Solter Memorial Perpetual Trophy as Leading Hunter Rider. This is the third time in a row that Stewart has won the award. Stewart also won the EMO High Five Award for receiving the highest score in the Professional Hunter divisions, a 92, given in the last class with Private Life.

Wonderly was awarded the Pennsylvania National Grand Hunter Championship and the Beaufort Hunt Perpetual Trophy.

The Amateur Owner Jumpers were featured in the final class of the division, in the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Amateur Owner Jumper Classic, sponsored by the Doubleday Foundation. Jazz Johnson Merton took the fastest track on Corona SB to top the four horse jump-off and win the class as well as the Amateur Owner Jumper Championship and the Leading Amateur Owner Jumper Rider title. It was an emotional win for the Oldwick, N.J., resident.

"I'm so excited," said Johnson Merton. "I just turned 40 a few days ago, so it's so great to win. I remember watching the Amateur Owner Jumpers while doing the A/O Hunters and thinking that I'll never be good enough to do that. I just can't say thank you enough to the people who have helped me."

Half the field of eight moved forward from the first round into the jump-off with two riders going clear. Kelly Tropin of New York City, set the mark on Don't Stop O, owned by Libertas Farm LLC, going clear in a respectable time of 28.550 seconds for the runner-up spot.

"I thought my time was beatable," said Tropin. "There was one place where I could have done one less stride, but my goal was to ride an efficient round. The jump-off course was hard, so I was hoping that my clear was enough, but I'm really happy with my horse."

Johnson Merton left out a stride going into the third fence, which seemed to make the difference, stopping the timers in 27.307 seconds.

"In the jump-off I just went for it and I trusted my horse and she saved the day," Johnson Merton. "I trust her so much. I have been showing her now for three years and I just thought I should probably add a stride, but I didn't and she completely saved my butt. She's such an amazing animal and I'm just incredibly lucky to have found her and be able to do this. I wasn't thinking about placing, the less that I think about the ribbon, the better I am able to show my horse a good ride and then the winning and success follows."

Johnson Merton received the Hunterdon Challenge Trophy as the Amateur Owner Jumper Champion, sponsored by the James V. Tanzola Family. She also was named Leading Amateur Owner Jumper Rider, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wolf, and was presented with the E. Corbett Rider Memorial Perpetual Trophy.

Pennsylvania National Horse Show Announces Commitment to Major Investment in Preparation for 2018 Show

In preparation for the future of the Pennsylvania National Horse Show (PNHS), the PNHS Foundation Board of Directors has unanimously voted to make significant investments to the PNHS. Specifically, the Board has committed to purchasing and installing FEI level footing for the large practice arena (Equine Arena) of the PA Farm Show Complex.

 The PNHS Board of Directors adopted the following:

"The PA National Horse Show Foundation Board of Directors is committed to replacing the footing in the schooling area (Equine Arena) during the year 2018 and beyond. The footing quality will be equal to or exceed the quality of material in the current competition arena (Large Arena). A press release will go out to the equestrian community prior to October 21, 2017. A method of financing will be established and relayed to the United States Equestrian Federation within the next 60 days."

"We remain committed to providing our exhibitors with the best possible experience in every regard," said Susie Webb, Executive Director. "We are beginning to explore funding options and are hopeful friends of the PA National Horse Show will also join us in contributing to this project. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to Harrisburg in 2018."

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