By Randolph PR for Pennsylvania National Horse Show
Olympic gold medalist and Pennsylvania National Horse Show crowd-favorite McLain Ward topped the leaderboard in the $30,000 Beyaert Farm 1.45m Grand Prix aboard Lezaro on Thursday, October 20, in Harrisburg, PA.
Ward and the 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding came to the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex fresh off a victory in the CSI3* Grand Prix of Greenwich (Connecticut) two weeks ago, and they replicated their winning ways to top the 33-horse field on Thursday night at the PNHS.
Following the first round, Ward and Lezaro were one of 13 entries qualified to come back for the Anderson Lima designed jump-off track, and they made short work of the course, stopping the clock in 37.78 seconds. Finishing exactly one second behind for second place were Laura Chapot and Calafornia, owned by Mary Chapot, and Mattias Tromp and Beyaert Farm Inc’s Infuria P&P rounded out the top three.
“I think the course designer, Anderson Lima, did a nice job here. It was a nice strong 1.45m with a couple 1.50ms, I thought it rode well, so that’s a good sign for the class on Saturday,” said Ward, referencing Saturday night’s $100,000 Grand Prix de Penn National.
“[This is] an incredible facility with obviously multiple rings and a lot of room for everybody, and it has a lot of history so it’s always nice to be here,” continued Ward.
Lezaro was sold by Ward to young rider Stella Wasserman early in the year, but after realizing it was not the perfect match, Ward and Susan Heller recently purchased him back.
“He’s a little bit of a finicky character – good quality but very sensitive,” explained Ward, who will compete next at with Lezaro at the Washington International Horse Show, October 24-30.
Also earning a victory on Thursday evening were Laura Chapot and Gideon, owned by Mary Chapot. The pair bested a 30-horse field and 15 total clear entries to win the $15,000 1.30m Welcome.
“I’ve had this horse since he was 6 years old, and it’s been a lot of fun bringing him along,” said Chapot of the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. “He’s really my type of horse because he’s got a lot of energy, and he’s very careful at the jumps. I’m very excited for him to win this class today because it’s been a long partnership now, and we really know each other well.
“I went early with a 7-year-old who was fantastic, and she got beat twice, so I knew the jump-off was getting faster and faster,” continued Chapot, who is a frequent winner at the PNHS. “So, with [Gideon} I just figured I’d take a shot and see where the chips fell. I think they’ve done a great job at this show; it’s really nice to have the two divisions – whether it be a young horse, or maybe a horse that’s not quite up to the caliber of the bigger division – to have an opportunity to come and show here. This is the only indoor show we come to, and it’s the best one, that’s why we come!”
Finishing in second place behind Chapot and Gideon were Canada’s Kelly Soleau-Millar and Favoriet U, and rounding out the top three were Wednesday night’s winners, Christian Coyle and Locato van het Kapelhof.