November 19, 2015–Qualified riders and horses from across the West Coast made their way to the Las Vegas National Horse Show to compete in the North American League (NAL) West Coast Finals held at the South Point Arena & Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, N.V., November 14-15.
The winners of this year’s five Finals received an NAL coolerette, and gift certificates from SmartPak, EquiFit, Pony Pizza Company and The Clothes Horse along with a trophy from the Las Vegas National Horse Show. Every rider competing in the NAL Finals received a gift bag with an assortment of gifts from the NAL including a commemorative NAL Finals stall plaque.
“We are delighted that so many competitors took part in this year’s NAL West Coast Finals at the Las Vegas National Horse Show,” said Annette Longenecker of Ryegate Show Services, which administers the North American League. “The NAL Finals are a great way for riders across the nation to compete in a Championship Final, and we are thrilled that the West Coast Finals are gaining in popularity and becoming a meaningful year-end championship.”
Sydney Denham of Portland, OR, riding Kerri Grosslight’s horse Quidam Van De Kapel, won the $5,000 NAL West Coast Children’s Jumper Final Presented by EquiFit. Lauren James of Los Gatos, CA, riding her own horse, Madison Avenue, took home second place while Sydney Matteson of Boulder, CO, took home third place honors riding Galina 177.
“Quimby is such a good boy,” smiled Denham. “He is so careful so when he is on, he is on. Almost any distance I give him he’ll jump it.”
Emily Straw of Overland Park, KS, and Washington, owned by Manor Bridge Farm won the $5,000 NAL West Coast Adult Jumper Final Presented by SmarkPak, topping a field of 21 starters with 7 finalists. Straw also took home second place riding Filabuster owned by Manor Bridge Farm and Dakoda Mower of Springville, UT took home third place with his horse Acco Leth.
“I knew my second horse would be super clean because he is careful; tends to be a little bit slower,” stated Straw. “So I was hopeful that Washington would be able to hold on.”
The winner of the $5,000 NAL West Coast Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Final Presented by UltrOZ was Alexandra Ozymy of Coppell, TX aboard her own horse, Curtis 57. She took the win over a field of 25 starters. Chandler Meadows of Newport Beach, CA, finished in second place riding Petit Prince De Laume, while Cristobal Callado of San Diego, CA took home third place riding Cassena.
“Going into the jump-off I really had to discipline myself to ride my track and not worry about what everyone else was going to ride, just go in and ride my plan and if that was good enough to win then that was going to be great,” stated Ozymy.
Twenty-five starters took part in the $5,000 NAL West Coast Adult Hunter Final, and it was Samantha Sommers of Thousand Oaks, CA, who came out on top, riding Small Adventure owned by Reilly Iwasaki. Second place went to Polly Sweeney of San Marino, CA riding Archibald Cox’s horse Velours and third place went to Nancy Butano of Bend, OR, riding Sideswipe owned by Copper Lane Farm.
“It was kind of nice coming back in second because it’s like you have something to work for,” said Sommers. “It’s exciting that the NAL west coast finals are here. I like that not only do they have finals on the East coast but they also have finals on the West coast which is really nice.”
Amy Coretz, of Tulsa, OK, won the $5,000 NAL West Coast Children’s Hunter Final for the second year in a row aboard her own horse, Don Ramiro and also took second place on Sweet Potato Pie. Lauren Burke of Las Vegas, NV, and Basic Instinct earned the third place finish.
“My horses were awesome!” said Coretz. “This is my last year as a junior, so this was my last class ever as a junior rider.”
The NAL offers a great opportunity for competitors across the country to compete in five divisions including Adult Jumper Presented by SmartPak; Children’s Jumper Presented by EquiFit; Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Presented by UltrOZ; Adult Hunter and Children’s Hunter. The NAL qualifying season runs from September 1 through August 31. Anyone can compete in NAL qualifying classes, but only current members are awarded points. Joining the NAL is the best way for riders to get the points necessary to make it to the Finals held at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg and the Las Vegas National Horse Show. Annual memberships are only $40 per rider.
The NAL would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of the 2015 Finals: Eighteen Acres Farm, EquiFit, Janet Vanderslice, Maria Moore & Stealaway, Inc., Peacock Ridge, Pony Pizza Company, SmartPak, The Clothes Horse and UltrOZ.