First Light Shines at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show

This was the third time Danhakl, Pacific Palisades, CA, has won the award for Amateur Owner 3’6” Hunter, earning it in 2014 and 2015, and the second time she has won the Grand Amateur Owner title, with her mount Golden Rule, but this time it was First Light’s turn to shine.  The pair garnered a win, two second place finishes and two fourth place finishes to claim the title. The win in the last class of the division was the highest score of the day, a 91.

“The way the points worked, there was a lot riding on the last round,” said Danhakl.  “Whoever won that class was going to be Champion.  The rider before me got an 89, and she was one of the riders in the running, so I needed to get a 90 to be Champion. Which is no easy feat especially at a horse show like this.  I was just really relieved after the last fence when I thought we had laid down a winning trip, and as it turns out we did.  I was just very happy with my horse and very excited to be champion here.

Golden Rule lost a shoe and couldn’t come to Harrisburg this year, so it all fell to First Light, and he was phenomenal. I got injured and took most of the year off, but we had started to feel very in sync with him in the ring. He has been better than I ever could have imagined.”

Call Me Maybe and Mark Miness, Tiburon, CA, took the Amateur Owner Hunter 3’6” Championship for Riders 36 Years of Age and Over and the Carlos F. Bodwell Memorial Perpetual Trophy.  Miness and the lovely 8-year-old mare were consistent throughout the competition, placing second twice and third three times to take the title.

 “I imported her from Germany when she was five and took her over her first jump, so she is my baby,” said Miness.  “This is her first time coming back east to do indoors.  She was a little green at Capital Challenge but here she just sort of figured it out.  She has just been solid all week.  No wins, but she has been just so consistent. I did not expect this.  The last time I was here at Harrisburg was 1999, I took some time off from riding to work.  The bank of Mom and Dad closed, so I had to go out and earn.  And when I came back I got into the hunters and really enjoy it.”