Harrisburg, PA – The 2023 Pennsylvania National Horse Show came to a close on Sunday, October 22, with the Penn National Jumper Championships marking the conclusion of 11 days of top-caliber hunter, jumper and equitation competition in Harrisburg, PA.
Throughout the day on Saturday, October 21, and Sunday, October 22, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, five new champions and five $10,000 Penn National Jumper Classic winners were named in the Low Junior, Low Amateur, Children’s, Adult and Amateur Jumpers.
Taking home the first Classic win of the weekend were Mary Rose Canterbury and Danna RJ in the $10,000 Penn National Low Junior Jumper Classic, sponsored by Joyride EQ Showjumping and Messenger Hill Farm.
Canterbury, of Houston, TX, and Danna RJ were one of 25 entries to take on the finale class of the division, and they stopped the jump-off clock in 23.845 seconds to take the win. Second place with a time of 24.207 seconds went to Allison Orth on Chabada d’Ysieux. Canterbury also took third place with a time of 24.610 seconds aboard her second mount, Vivolta de Gree.
After taking on the short course with Vivolta de Gree, Canterbury knew what she had to do to get the job done with Danna RJ, and the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare’s size played to her advantage.
“She’s super tiny so she’s good for these types of rings,” said Canterbury of the mare that she began riding in April. “I had never shown in [the Harrisburg Coliseum] before, but it was super fun. Each time I went in there I had a lot of fun.”
For Orth, the second-place finish in the Classic was enough to help her clinch the Low Junior Jumper division championship. She and her own Chabada d’Ysieux also earned a first and a third in the division.
In the Penn National Children’s Jumpers, both the division championship and the win in the $10,000 Penn National Children’s Jumper Classic, sponsored by J. Michael Halbleib and Blackjack Farms, went to Ella Norman and Just A Dream
In total, 32 entries contested the Children’s Classic, with 13 advancing to the jump-off. With her veteran mount, Just A Dream, on her side, Norman blazed through the timers in 30.518 seconds. Second place went to Agatha Lignelli, who stopped the clock in 30.609 seconds aboard N-Ambassador, and third place with a time of 31.005 seconds went to Caroline Hoover and Elinea VDL.
No matter their results, all of the Children’s Jumper competitors received rider backpacks and gifts, courtesy of J. Michael Halbleib and Blackjack Farms.
“[Just A Dream] is 20 years old, and he’s been doing this a long time, so he’s really helpful,” said Norman of the Thoroughbred gelding. “He really enjoys doing this. He was so excited to be here. I definitely was a little nervous, so I wasn’t riding my best, but my horse really helped me out. He’s just so quick and careful across the jumps, so that made it a lot easier than it could’ve been.”
Finishing as the reserve champions in the Children’s Jumpers were Lignelli and N-Ambassador.
Also earning both a championship and a Classic win was Lisa Butzer who clinched the Penn National Low Amateur Jumper Championship, sponsored by Geraldine Nesbitt, with Milan IV.
In addition to the win in the $10,000 Penn National Low Amateur Jumper Classic, Butzer and Milan IV earned an additional win and a second place before securing the tricolor.
“This is actually my first time here [at the PNHS] with a jumper,” explained Butzer, who trains for the jumper ring with Donald Cheska. “I have done [the show] in my previous years as an amateur-owner hunter, but I love this show. It’s beautiful; I love the venue. I think they do a really amazing job, and I’d love to come back next year if I have the opportunity again.”
Butzer began riding Milan IV last season, after he made the step down from the grand prix ring where the 18-year-old Holsteiner gelding had been competing with Delaney Flynn.
“He’s insanely catty,” said Butzer of the horse that she began competing in the Low Amateurs at the beginning of the year. “I usually don’t like smaller horses; he’s probably just over 15.2 hands if that, but he’s super-fast and super game. Literally, you just turn him to the jump. He locks on the jump, takes you right to the jump and doesn’t care if it’s long or short, whatever decision you tell him to do, he’s game.”
Butzer concluded, “A huge shoutout to Delaney Flynn for the opportunity to have this amazing horse and create a partnership with such an amazing animal that’s definitely going to be one of my heart horses for sure. Also, a big thanks to Bobby Braswell who has helped me this week, standing in for Donald [Cheska].”
The reserve championship in the Low Amateur Jumpers, sponsored by Geraldine Nesbitt, came down to tie between Alexis Mierzwa on Gone Country and Jean McLaren on Pearl of Grey VHL.
In the Penn National Adult Jumpers, the championship, sponsored by Alorian Saddlery, went to Rachel Boggus aboard Amitie des Douces. The duo topped two out of the three classes to earn the top honor. The reserve championship, and the win in the $10,000 Penn National Adult Jumpers, went to Alexis C Di Pasqua riding Copain.
“I was 21st on the waitlist [to come to the PNHS], but I got an email two weeks ago saying I got in, so we changed plans around and came here!” said Pasqua, who has previously competed at the PNHS in the sidesaddle division. “I was clean and slow in the first class for 12th and then the same in the second class. For the Classic, I knew this horse is jumping amazing, and I just needed to go for the gusto!”
Pasqua purchased the 12-year-old Warmblood gelding from Kent Farrington and Rowan Willis earlier this year, and the pair meshed quickly.
“It’s a short partnership, but I trust this horse more than anything,” continued Pasqua, who trains with Beth Wicas. “He can jump the moon, and he has. He’s just amazing. Going in [to the Classic], the first round I just wanted to go clean to show myself, ‘You can be in this competition and hold your own here!’”
Second place in the Classic went to Caroline Lloyd and Centurio, and Barbara Rochford and Kilimanjaro SMH rounded out the top three.
Closing out the show in dramatic fashion were Anne Berg and Darcy 22. Berg fell off, but not before she and Darcy 22 crossed the finish to win the $10,000 Amateur Jumper Classic, sponsored by Segal McCambridge.
“I turned to the last jump, and he jumped huge,” said Berg. “I underestimated the fact that we were turning right after the last; I might have been exhausted at the end of the course as well! He lost me, but I tried to hang on until I was through the timers!”
Berg only began riding as an adult, but she has quickly climbed up the ranks under the tutelage of Laura Gaither – all while also balancing a demanding full-time career.
“I’m a chemical engineer by training, and I have responsibility over various manufacturing sites in a chemical company,” explained Berg. “So I have a full-time job, but I spend as much time as I can at Fox View Farm riding with Laura.”
Berg’s Classic victory helped her secure the reserve championship, while the championship went to Melissa Strawser and Darwin de Mars. For full results of the Penn National Jumper Championships at the PNHS, visit pnhs.showmanagementsystem.com.