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McLain Ward Wins the $25,000 NAL Open Jumper Speed Final for the Third Consecutive Year

Harrisburg, PA—October 17, 2003—McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, received a terrific present for his 28th birthday when he won the $25,000 North American League Open Jumper Speed Finals at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show.

Ward became the first rider to capture the title three consecutive times with a blistering clear round in a time of 56.337 riding Labelle, owned by Sarah Willeman and Turnabout Farm. Second place went to Laura Chapot of Neshanic Station, NJ, riding her 8-year-old mare Sprite, to a clear round in a time of 59.555. Kimberly Frey took third also going clear on River, owned by Overlook Farm, Inc, in a time of 63.831.

Out of field of 19, only four riders were able to negotiate a clear round due to some tricky parts on the course.

“The course was a little harder then it walked,” said Ward. There were a couple of bogies that caused some problems. It helped to be able to go at the end, you watched the others go and then you understood what you had to do. I knew I had a fast horse and a chance to win if the time wasn’t too crazy.”

The first horse to go clear was not one that Ward rode, but one that he owned. Kartousche, ridden by Mary Lisa Leffler set the tone and the time to beat. Five rides later, Frey shaved nearly two seconds off Leffler’s round and jumped to the top of the leader board. It began to look like Frey had it won, until Chapot. At the conclusion of her ride, the large crowd cheered wildly for what they thought was the winning round.

“That was really nice,” said Chapot of the appreciative crowd. “I had seen Kim go and knew what I had to do to beat her, but I knew McLain and Margie had fast horses, so I just wanted to put in a smooth clear and make the last two riders try to beat me.”

Unfortunately for Chapot, Ward did, leaving only Margie Engle and Hidden Creek’s Charlie Brown to dethrone the defending Champion. Engle had a rail and Ward had his third consecutive title.

“This NAL is great,” said Ward. “It’s an exciting speed series with a lot of top riders and great finishes.”

The North American League (NAL) 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 finals. For more information and a list of qualifying competitions for 2004, please see the Ryegate Show Services website at


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