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PNHS NAL Speed Finals- Laura Chapot

Finally, Laura Chapot – the Division’s top qualifier for the last three years, won the $25,000 North American League Open Jumper Speed Finals at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. Riding last in the field, the privilege of qualifying first, helped.

The leader was Anne Kursinski and Lorenzo with the solitary clean round and respectable if not fleet time of 63.385 second. Others had gone faster, but not without dropping or scattering rails. Chapot and speedster Bradbury knew what they needed to do and they did it! They came; they jumped; and, they chopped more than three seconds from Kursinski’s time.

“It was a perfect trip,” beamed Chapot, acknowledging that being second was getting annoying. “The course was tougher than I expected. There were bending lines and not many options. Turning inside to save time made the combination more difficult. You don’t see a vertical, oxer, oxer combination very often.

But, Bradbury was smooth; and, he’s so fast!” The winning time was 60.211.

For anyone who ponders the value of time, the three seconds between first and second places, were worth $2,000 of prize money. Kursinski placing second, squeaked ahead of Callan Solem on VDL Torlando by a time fault of one second. Although Solem’s round was clear, VDL Torlando was slow--earning a single time fault. That moment cost $1,250.

Olympic Team Gold Medalist McLain Ward was third. Unable to duplicate her double clean rounds from Thursday, Goldika 559 snagged a rail leaving the in and out. Their time was a blistering 54.533.

“That’s the sport of it,” said Ward. “She jumped beautifully and still had a rail. Show Jumping is a “what have you done recently” sport.” He will take on Chapot again in the $75,000 Budweiser Prix de Penn National tonight at the Farm Show Arena. It will be the same riders, different horses facing yet another exacting Michel Vaillancourt course.

The final day program offers different breeds and different disciplines—the hallmark of the Harrisburg Horse Show. There is something for all equine athlete fans, beginning with the Amateur Owner Hunter Grand Championship, the UPHA Saddlebred Walk Trot Equitation Championship, the “Good Hands” National Saddle Seat Championship, pleasure driving and the six draft horse hitches. The 63rd annual show closes with a performance of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police performing their musical drill.

Twenty-eight matching black horses with matching tack and riders armed with lances jog and canter intricate but precise figures to music. The Mounties audition for the special three year assignment to the drill team. About 90% have no previous riding experience. If selected, they spend a year learning to ride and master the drill. They last performed here in 2004. It is spectacular!


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