Leslie Schillat Wins $10,000 NAL Adult Jumper Final, Presented by SmartPak At Pennsylvania National Horse Show

Schillat was one of eight entries to reach the jump-off by riding fault-free over the first-round course designed by Michel Vaillancourt. Izabelle Quadracci of Hartland, WI took an early lead in the jump-off with a clean ride in 36.547 seconds on Tipperary Hill. Her lead held up until Schillat, the second-to-last entry, mastered the course on her 12-year-old Hanoverian mare.

The final entry, Stephanie King of Saint Augustine, FL on Co-Starr, actually beat Schillat’s time, finishing in 34.119 seconds, but a rail down gave her four faults and a fifth-place finish. Quadracci wound up second with third going to Anna Lerch of Wilton, CT on Carany and fourth to Hope Batchelor DVM of Chester Springs, PA on Ciola.

“This is my first time at this show, so we were both nervous,” said a jubilant Schillat. ” I expected none of this. I thought if I have a nice round, I’ll be happy with it and see what happens after that. This is beyond what was expected.

“My mare was wonderful, but a little like, ‘What is this, where are we’ and then she was a champ all the way around. She’s the best and when I’m nervous, she just takes care of me. We watched a whole bunch of the children’s class and then a few of the adults. It was helpful for me to watch and talk with Missy about our plan; really helpful for us to watch, for sure. The whole experience was really fun, it goes by so fast, I wish I could do it all again in slow motion.”

Schillat said that this was her first year competing in the NAL. “The NAL is a great program,” she said. “I think the way they calculate the points is really fair, it allows for the best people to qualify coming from the best horse shows. I think it’s great. At the same time, we don’t go to Florida, we stay up North in the winter and we were still able to qualify, which I think is great. It’s kind of like an equal opportunity league, which I really like.”