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McLain Ward Wins NAL $25,000 Open Jumper Speed Finals

Source :  NAL

McLain Ward of Brewster, NY defended his North American League (NAL) championship title winning the North American League $25,000 Open Jumper Speed Finals riding Galant at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in a time of 51.971 seconds.

Over half the field of 19 riders had rails down trying to set an unbeatable time on the challenging course. For a while it looked like Nona Garson and Rhythmical would snag the victory setting a target time of 53.784. Ward was undaunted.

“I watched the first twelve riders to see how the course was riding,” said Ward. “I knew that I could win it if I went fast and neat and not go crazy, fast and neat was the key.”

Ward has competed in the NAL Open Jumper Speed Finals four times missing only one year. The 27 year-old USET veteran thinks the North American League is a worthwhile program.

“I think the North American League is great,” said Ward. “It promotes the speed division which is good for the sport because the crowd really likes it. More and more riders are starting to keep a speed horse now so that they can take part in programs like the NAL.”

The North American League (NAL) Finals conclude on Saturday with the $10,000 NAL Adult Jumper Finals featuring the top 30 horse/rider combinations that have qualified throughout the previous year.

The North American League 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 2003, please see the Ryegate Show Services website at www.Ryegate.com.

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