NAL Sunday in Vegas
Competitors hit the jackpot at the inaugural North American League (NAL) West Coast Finals and none of the nearly one hundred exhibitors went home empty-handed. Every NAL member who competed in one of the five classics on “NAL Sunday” at the Las Vegas National Horse Show received a gift bag and an NAL embroidered saddle pad.
The group who earned a trip to the victory circle garnered an array of awards. In addition to a ribbon and prize money, winners of each NAL class took home a silver trophy, a coolerette, a pendant, plus an NAL backpack filled with other goodies including a necklace designed exclusively for the NAL by Herschel Bonchek, a prize package from Equine Matrix, and a Clothes Horse Certificate for an NAL scrim sheet.
“The riders were thrilled with our inaugural event,” said President of Ryegate Show Services, Lloyd Longenecker, who was present to handout the gifts and awards to each competitor. He heard one young member exclaim, “There’s a saddle pad in this bag… I am so excited!”
Five Divisions of Glory on NAL Sunday
Five champions in five divisions found the experience worth the trip. “I love doing big classes indoors and thought it would be fun to enter the NAL Finals here at the Las Vegas National. It was also a good prep for the upcoming medal finals – it is a special place,” said 13-year-old Melanie Selleck after winning the NAL Children’s Hunter Classic aboard her Foreign Escape.
Chelsea Samuels, 21, of La Canada, CA won the NAL Adult Amateur Classic on Brooklyn, a 12-year-old chestnut warmblood, with scores of 81 in the first round and 85 in the second. “If I dreamed a horse into life, it would be Brooklyn. He is like a wind-up toy… He always rises to the occasion and was jumping out of his skin here,” she explained.
A student at U.C. Santa Barbara, Chelsea rides with Archie Cox and Teddi Mellencamp. “It is difficult to balance school with riding and I haven’t jumped or shown since September. It is really nice to have a big finals for amateurs and not have to go east to compete.”
Barthez and Calgary University student Jaclyn Jarrell won the NAL Low Junior-Amateur Jumper Classic, topping a 20-horse field and a seven-hocrse jump-off in 30.42 seconds.
“We have done lots of shows in Calgary, but decided to come to Las Vegas to skip the snow—it is below zero there now and this is my first time here. I love this venue!”
Caroline Underwood of Bonsall, CA, and her 12-year-old Holsteiner mare, Reina, are on a winning streak. Prior to the NAL Adult Amateur Jumper Classic, they won the $25,000 PCHA Adult Amateur Jumper Championship at Del Mar, and the week before that they won a $5,000 Classic in Del Mar. So she wasn’t surprised when her clean jump-off in 34.44 was a second and a half faster than anyone in the 10-horse jump-off.
Dinnia Digennaro, 16, didn’t know much about the North American League before winning the NAL Children’s Jumper Classic. But after collecting a wealth of prizes, it is a victory she will remember. Digennaro rode her Volturi, to the win in a 23-horse field with only four clean rounds. She went first in the jump-off clocking a clean 36.294 round that couldn’t be beat. “He’s my three-ring horse. We bought him as a hunter and he also does equitation as well as the jumpers. This is my first year in the children’s jumpers.”
For more information regarding the NAL series, including series specifications, membership information and a list of upcoming events, please call (717) 867-5643, email[email protected] or visit www.ryegate.com.