The Pennsylvania National will add a low junior hunter division to its 2015 schedule. The show responded to repeated requests to add the 3'3" division to their calendar in this year’s edition, held Oct. 8-17 in Harrisburg, Pa.
Beat Mändli is new to the American show jumping scene this year, but he's making a loud entrance. On the two-time Olympian's first trip to Harrisburg, he took the top call in the $85,000 Grand Prix de Penn National, the open jumper speed championship two days prior, scooping up the leading rider award to boot, with Antares F, competitor McLain Ward's 2012 Olympic Games mount.
The last time Stephanie Danhakl walked into the ring at an indoor final to receive a tricolor was when she was a junior. So when the 27-year-old piloted Golden Rule to three blue ribbons in the 3'6" amateur-owner, 18-35, hunter championship on her way to the amateur-owner grand hunter championship at the Pennsylvania National, she was beside herself.
"It's so exciting and I'm still kind of in disbelief," she said. "I'd never been champion [here], so it's just unbelievable to be here and be champion."
When Daryl Portela stepped into the ring at the Pennsylvania National she hoped that her trips on Winner could be consistent enough to give her a repeat of last year’s performance—one that earned her the 3’3” amateur-owner hunter, 36 and older, title.
After winning two over fences classes and taking second, third and fourth in the remaining classes, she did just that, edging out Ellen Toon and Mirror Image for the division title and 18-35 champion Stephanie Danhakl on Enough Said for the grand championship.
Top show jumper Kent Farrington had a choice to make when considering a mount for the $40,000 Pennsylvania Big Jump class at the Pennsylvania National. He'd had solid results on Blue Angel and Voyeur all summer, but as he counted down the weeks to Harrisburg, his choice of mount for the tight indoor arena was clear and simple: Willow.
And when they put in the fastest round on Michel Vaillancourt's technical track, his decision was validated.
“He just has an amazing jump,” Jen Alfano said of Candid. “As soon as I jumped him over a couple jumps, I knew I wanted him.”
That great jump won two of the over-fences classes in the green conformation hunter division, giving them enough points to take the championship and the grand hunter title at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show.