WINS NAL $25,000 OPEN JUMPER SPEED FINALS
19, 2001-McLain Ward of Brewster, NY and his Dutch Warmblood Fior clinched
the North American League $25,000 Open Jumper Speed Finals in a winning
time of 64.179 seconds at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show on Friday
evening. Ward was the last to go in the field of 23 riders, which proved
to be the key to victory.
"I think the order helped me win the class," said Ward. "I
was able to see where I could make up time, because to be honest, Aaron
Ward earned his valuable position by coming into the competition as the
leader in the 2001 NAL Open Speed Point Standings. The order of go was
determined by reverse order of merit with the highest in the standings
Aaron Vale of Camden, SC, went fifth in the order riding the Australian
Thoroughbred Nonixleparc, owned by Millstream, setting an incredibly fast
mark of 65.400 seconds. Vale was feeling pretty confident as rider after
rider failed to beat his time -- until Ward.
"I went early and put in a good trip, but got beat at the end,"
said Vale. "I couldn't take all the chances that McLain could by
going last, so all I could do was put in a good trip and see if it held
up. It almost did. I got beat at the end, but that's what makes it exciting."
There North American League (NAL) Finals conclude on Saturday with the
$10,000 NAL Adult Jumper Finals featuring the top 30 horse/rider combinations
that have qualified throughout the previous year.
The North American League runs season long series in six hunter jumper
divisions - Children's Hunter, Children's Jumper, Adult Hunter, Adult
Jumper, Pony Jumper and Open Jumper Speed. Each series culminates with
a championship final at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg,
PA in October. Riders need not be members of the NAL to compete in any
qualifying classes, but only current members earn points toward year-end
For more information
and a list of qualifying competitions for 2002, please see the Ryegate
Show Services website at www.Ryegate.com.