The wait is over, and so is the Pennsylvania Horse World Expo. Hooves were polished, manes were braided, and tack was cleaned. Fans cast their votes, and judges tallied their scores. A standing-room-only crowd of about 2,500 cheered them on. Here are the results of the 100 Day Thoroughbred Challenge:
Best suited for dressage: Declan's Moon
Best suited for foxhunter and trail: Suave Jazz
Best suited for show hunter: Gunport
Best suited for show jumper: Alluring Punch
Best suited for eventer: Alluring Punch
The horse you'd most like to own: Alluring Punch
In an attempt to cover some of the excitement of the weekend, here is a photo gallery of he horses and some of the humans who played a part in the success of the weekend in Harrisburg:
Suave Jazz showed intelligence, trainability, and nerves of steel all weekend long. He negotiated the "hockey rink" Large Arena and noisy Equine Arena, navigated the maze of corridors and stalls behind the scenes, handled the large crowd on Saturday, and also played the role of lead pony in all the sessions.
More than once, I heard riders say, "Where's Suave Jazz?" and "Bring him over to Suave Jazz," and "Suave Jazz will help them settle." Gunport, Alluring Punch, and Declan's Moon all settled in the company of their cool, calm, collected friend, Suave Jazz. But when it was time to perform, he was all heart, nimbly cantering through grids and showing off his lovely flatwork. Rider Katie Klenk handled her role as leader with style, and they were always the first to enter an arena, jump a line, or meet a new challenge.
Gunport got my vote for her suitability as an eventer. With a trainer like Warro, she will learn how to handle her jitters and slow down her feet, and I really like how she jumps. She is a generous horse, and her catlike agility could easily get her out of a tight spot to a fence.
In his braids and white polo wraps, Declan's Moon looked every bit the part of a dressage horse. As he warmed up and listened to his rider, Steuart Pittman, he lost the nervous edge and began to show off a little of his spectacular gaits for the audience. Pittman also rode with calculated brilliance, and was able to engage the crowd with insightful training details while handling a powerful and opinionated horse at the same time.
- Sarah Andrew