Harrisburg, PA – Olivia Sweetnam opened the 77th-annual Pennsylvania National Horse Show with a win aboard Ina in the $5,000 USEF Junior Jumper National Championship Welcome, on Thursday, October 12, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA.
Sweetnam was the second entry to take on the speed track set in the Harrisburg Coliseum by course designer Nicholas Granat, but none of the remaining 31 entries would catch her time of 58.601 seconds. Second place with a time of 59.144 seconds went to the 2022 winner of the same class, Hunter Champey, this time aboard High Hopes SFN, owned by MDHT Equestrian, LLC. Rounding out the top three with a time of 59.713 seconds were Carlee McCutcheon and Coco Mercedes, owned by Purple Rein Investments.
“I went second, which I was quite nervous for, but it turned out to be kind of good,” explained Sweetnam, who was presented with the Helvetia Stables Perpetual Trophy for the win. “I didn’t get in my head about anything, and I just went with it. [The course] was quite technical; there were a couple turns that were hard, but [Ina] handled them really well.”
Sweetnam’s winning mount, Ina, was previously ridden by her dad, Irish Olympian Shane Sweetnam, before she took over the ride four or five months ago. In the short time since then, Olivia Sweetnam and the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, owned by Triple S Group, have rapidly climbed the ranks.
“We started in the [Low Junior Jumpers], and I was really comfortable with her, so we moved up quite quickly,” said Olivia Sweetnam. “It’s been really cool to ride something that my dad had before.”
With the win in Thursday’s class under her belt, Olivia Sweetnam will look toward the $15,000 USEF Prix des States Team Championship, presented by Turnham Green, and the Individual Championship Phase II on Friday, October 13, beginning at 4:45 p.m.
Following the conclusion of Friday’s modified Nations Cup format class, the top 60 percent of riders will advance to the Individual Championship Phase III on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. There, the rider with the lowest number of combined penalties after all three phases will be crowned the 2023 individual champion.
“Going into the second day on top will be really nerve-wracking!” said Olivia Sweetnam, who rides for Zone 4. “The pressure of being the only person going in on [a score of zero] is a little scary, but it’s ok; I’ll have to deal with it! My teammates are Amy Krebs, Ellie Aronson and Mustafa Shah, and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. I think we have a good shot.”
For full results of the $5,000 USEF Junior Jumper National Championship Welcome, click here.