Harrisburg, PA – The riders of the Keswick Hunt Club were crowned the Hunt Night Champions on Monday, October 17, at the 76th Pennsylvania National Horse Show.
The show, held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA, features prestigious hunter, jumper and equitation competition, with exhibitors flocking in from across the country to claim championship titles.
The Hunt Night field was stacked with 18 different hunt team combinations from across Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia contesting the courses at Hunt Night, presented by Kinsley Construction and the Quaker City Foundation. Throughout the evening, more than 100 riders participated in the offered Field Hunter, Hunter Under Saddle and Hunt Team classes.
As the competition came to a close, it was the team from the Keswick Hunt Club One that accumulated the most points throughout the evening’s events. As part of their victory, the hunt was also presented with the Ralph A. Alfano Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by his family.
Representing the Keswick Hunt Club as two different teams on Monday evening were Sandy Rives, Joel Merle-Smith, Nicolette Merle-Smith, Catherine Wheeler, Jill Wilson Anderson, Shelly Payne and Carly Mayer.
“We love coming to Harrisburg every year; it’s a great time,” said Rives, of the Keswick Hunt Club. “We’ve now won [the championship] 10 times, and Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds have won it nine times, so we continue to compete over the years.”
The night kicked off with an impressive 36 horse-and-rider combinations in the Field Hunters, 35 Years of Age and Under, taking to the fresh track. Ultimately, the top finish went to Trisha Eckard and Crown Royal, representing the Huntingdon Valley Hunt. For the win, Eckard was presented with the Max C. Hempt Perpetual Trophy, donated in 1999 by the Pennsylvania National Horse Show.
The Field Hunters, 36 Years and Older, followed with a win for Jill Wilson Anderson of the Keswick Hunt Club who took the pinnacle position aboard Jewell Hill. The Chairmans Perpetual Trophy, donated by James Green and Irvin Naylor, was also awarded to Anderson for her performance.
Following both over-fences and flat phases, the anticipation built to see who would capture the Hunt Night Leading Lady Rider Award. Presented to the lady rider who acquired the most points over fences and in the under saddle, the honor also includes that rider’s name being added to the “Polly” Gingrich Caswell Perpetual Trophy. In a show of impressive talent, not two, but three, competitors tied for the title of Leading Lady Rider Award. Trisha Eckard, Jill Wilson Anderson, and Catherine Wheeler all produced top performances to ensure their names be added to the coveted trophy.
In addition to the competition, Hunt Night also featured the crowd-favorite Parade of Hounds, put on by the Radnor Hunt Club. Following the Parade of Hounds, gentlemen took to the arena for the Gentleman’s Hunter Under Saddle where Conrad Somers and Right on Que, representing Mr. Stewart’s Chesire Foxhounds, earned the blue ribbon and the Rose Tree Perpetual Trophy. Rounding out competition prior to the much-anticipated Hunt Teams class, Catherine Wheeler and Something Special, representing the Keswick Hunt Club, pinned at the top of the Ladies Hunter Under Saddle which earned them the Betty Baldwin Meister Memorial Perpetual Trophy.
Bringing the evening to a close, Mr. Stewart’s Chessire Foxhounds Team One topped the 18-team leaderboard in the finale of the Hunt Team Challenge, hoisting the Potomac Hunt Challenge Trophy.
For full results from Hunt Night, click here.
From October 13-22, the 76th-annual Pennsylvania National Horse Show hosts more than 1,200 of the best hunter, jumper, and equitation horses and riders from across the nation. The 10 days of competition will culminate in the $100,000 Grand Prix de Penn National on Saturday, October 23. To learn more, visit www.PAnational.org.