Lexington, KY – June 9, 2017 – The CP National Horse Show, scheduled for October 31- November 5, 2017, has announced the judges for the prestigious ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Championship. Ralph Caristo and Bernie Traurig will occupy the judging booth during the competitive two-day class that is the culmination of Maclay equitation competition, and will honor one rider with the prestigious championship title. For 84 years, the National Horse Show has hosted the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Championship, the most important event in equitation. These finals consistently highlight the country’s top junior equestrian athletes, many of whom go on to be professional American equestrians.
On Saturday, all qualified junior riders will have the opportunity to compete in the initial over fences phase. On Sunday, a smaller group of riders selected by Caristo and Traurig after Saturday’s competition will be invited back for a flat phase, where their skills will be tested under saddle. After the completion of the flat phase, the riders will be narrowed down yet again for a final over fences test. Following the final over fences phase, the judges may have a small group of riders return for final testing, or they will announce the new ASPCA Alfred. B Maclay Horsemanship Champion.
Both Caristo and Traurig, bring with them a unique perspective on what makes an effective and qualified equitation rider and the combination of their perspectives will ultimately determine the 2017 champion.
Ralph Caristo not only judges at all of the most important horse shows in the country, including the Devon Horse Show and County Fair, the National Horse Show, and the Washington International Horse Show but he also owns and operates Glenview Stables full time with his wife and daughters. A longtime Chef d’Equipe of the Zone 2 show jumping teams, his legacy as a trainer is well demonstrated by the fact that six horses under his instruction have earned the title of USEF Horse of the Year. Equally as impressive, in the Zone 2 North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC), seven of his students have earned gold medals. Overall, his teams have earned twelve NAJYRC gold medals.
Caristo’s expertise and contributions has been acknowledged through awards such as the Jane Marshall Dillon Perpetual Trophy awarded to him in 2013, being named to the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame in 2015, and through “The Caristo Cup”, which is a trophy named after him given each year to North American Champions who display sportsmanship and perseverance.
Bernie Traurig is a living legend in horse sport in the United States and renowned for not only his riding talents but for his gift of being an effective teacher. As a professional rider, Traurig has represented the United States Equestrian Team on many occasions and reached the top of the sport in all three of the international equestrian Olympic disciplines: Show Jumping, Dressage, and Eventing. In 2009, he was inducted into the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame. In 2010 the California Professional Horsemen’s Association honored him with their Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2012, he was awarded the USHJA President’s Distinguished Service Award.
Not only has Traurig had his hand in all aspects of equestrian sport, he has also judged numerous prestigious events including the $10,000 Bernie Traurig Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby held in 2009, the 2010 $25,000 Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby, and the National Horse Show. Most recently, Traurig judged the College Preparatory International Horse Show.
“The National Horse Show is honored to have such well-respected and qualified judges presiding over the ASPCA Maclay Championships during out 2017 event,” commented Mason Phelps, President of the National Horse Show Association. “Mr. Caristo and Mr. Traurig have valuable insight to offer to the riders in this year’s event and we are looking forward to watching their selection process to determine this year’s champion.”
With $810,000 in prize money offered, this year’s show has been designated a CSI-W 4* show by the FEI and the International Open Jumpers will compete for almost a half a million dollars in prize money. For the sixth year in a row, The National Show Hunter Hall of Fame has named the CP National Horse Show the ‘Horse Show of the Year’. In 2017, the top-rated hunter sections have a total purse of $195,000.