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Pennsylvania National Horse Show

Thirty-two horses took the $25,000 PA Big Jump challenge – 16 jumps of more than 5 feet -- at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Thursday night, October 25. Surprisingly, 15 put in clear rounds to qualify for the seven obstacle timed jump-off. Todd Minikus aboard Pavarotti led the way both rounds. In the jump-off, they appeared to have squeezed out every last second with a final time of 29.32 seconds. Four horses tried to match Pavarotti’s performance before Quick Study, ridden by Lauren Hough raised the stakes.

The 8-year-old French-bred bay gelding took Pavarotti’s high note and dropped it along with a single stride going into the final fence to cut three-tenths of a seconds off their round. That tiny change made the difference. Only the final contestant, Raimond with Leslie Howard up broke the 30 second, despite the audience’s enthusiastic urging.

Quick Study, at 8, is young to this discipline, but Hough has very high hopes for Lauren Mateo’s horse. "This is his biggest win to date," she said. "He’s growing up quickly. He could not have gone better tonight. Todd got seven strides into the last fence and we took six.

"The first round was a little soft, perhaps, though I was happy with it. Usually there are fewer horses going clean in the first round, but this is a strong group of horses and the size didn’t seem to faze them. Course Designer Guilherme Jorge is a good designer. I expect the Grand Prix Saturday will be a lot more difficult," she said.

This was Hough’s second time winning the PA Big Jump at Harrisburg, though it’s been more than 10 years.

In winning she defeated Olympians from both the United States and Canada, the top American Grand Prix Association rider as well as several upstart just-out-of-juniors jumper riders.

Many of them, including Minikus, will return for Saturday’s rematch in the $65,000 Budweiser Prix de Penn National. Friday evening features the North American League (NAL) Open Jumper Speed Final at 7 pm.


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