By: pnhs on Oct. 17th, 2015

Leslie Howard and Gentille Van Spieveld  Win $85,000 Grand Prix De Penn National - Al Cook - www.alcookphoto,com

Lutz returned first in the second round and luck was not with him as his mount had two rails down for an eight fault penalty in a time of 43.92.  Chapot, always a speed threat, was next in the rign and she did not take her foot off the gas, but her time of 40.79 came with four faults at the next to last fence.  MacPherson was the third to attempt the course and she turned in a clear, steady round, no penalties in a time of 44.31.  This left the door open for Howard, and she walked right through.  She broke the timers in 43.71 second to win the class.

Howard was thrilled to finally be able to add this Grand Prix to her list of wins.  “Finally I get to make the wall,” she said.  “I came to this show when I was 11 on a large pony, and I am 59 so I have been here a lot. The first year I rode in the Grand Prix would have been Chase The Clouds, so that would have been 1979.  I just kept on trying, so, finally!”

“I’m very excited about this horse.  He is very green,” continued Howard.  “I got the ride about a year ago and he’s done nothing but what I have asked him to do.  I have really high hopes for him.  He’s been learning the ropes.  I have always had a tremendous amount of confidence in the horse because he is so scopey.  He is like a big puppy dog, all big and cumbersome, but now he is getting quicker and more coordinated.  He wants to do the right thing.  I think he’s the horse for the future.”

By virtue of their win, Howard was named Open Jumper Champion.  Laura Chapot was named Leading Lady Jumper Rider as well as Leading Open Jumper Rider due to her top placings through the week.