HARRISBURG, Pa.--Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds of Unionville, Pa., won or placed in every class at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show's Hunt Night on Monday, Oct, 16, topping off the evening with a win in the Hunt Team class to take the Championship with 40 points over Bull Run Hunt of Orange, Va.
Two of Cheshire's winners, fresh off competing successfully at the Fair Hill International Event the previous four days, had never competed in Hunt Night before, but that didn't stop them from each contributing a win to help Cheshire to the championship.
Boyd Martin of Cochranville, Pa., who had just finished third in the CCI three-star at Fair Hill on Tsetserleg, won the Gentleman's Hunter Under Saddle, and Erike Nesler, also of Cochranville, who placed in the top 20, finishing 17th, in the CCI two-star on Right Above It, was a member of the winning Hunt Team and placed fifth in Field Hunters - Riders 35 and under. a class that had 34 competitors.
The winning Hunt Team, Joy Slater, Skylar McKenna and Nesler, defeated 20 teams from 13 hunts.
"Neither Skylar nor I had ever ridden on a hunt team before, and we never even got to practice before competing at Harrisburg," said Nesler, who rode another of her event horses, No Doubt DSF, a 7-year-old who has competed successfully at intermediate in eventing.
"WE HAD A ball," said Nesler. "It was such fun."
Slater almost missed the event altogether, though, when her truck broke down about 40 miles from the show.
"Our truck lost radiator fluid and we almost didn't make it here," said Slater. "Fortunately, we were able to work it out and get another truck and trailer. It's such a great horse show I would have hated to miss it. I love this show and I love Hunt Night. It is so much fun."
Olympic veteran Boyd Martin who competed in and won the Gentlemen's Hunter Under Saddle on a borrowed horse that he'd never ridden before, Right On Que, owned by Tanya Emslie of Unionville, Pa.
He had decided to drive up at the suggestion of one of his fellow members from Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds.
"In November and December I pretend to be a foxhunter with Cheshire, and somehow I got roped into competing in the Hack," said Martin. "I had no idea what it involved, but it was brilliant! I've never been to anything like this before. I got lent a horse and had a bit of training in the collecting ring and went in there and had a crack at the class. It was great fun."
Right On Que also won the Ladies' Hunter Under Saddle, this time ridden by his owner, Emslie, who of course also represented Cheshire Foxhounds.
Emslie said that she has ridden in Hunt Night many times, but this was her first win.
"It's very exciting. I am so proud of my horse," said Emslie. "It's a great honor because there are so many beautiful horses and great riders. It's so amazing to win and to have an Olympian ride your horse is pretty phenomenal. I am overwhelmed."
Eight riders competed for Cheshire, and each one placed in the top in the five Hunt Night classes.
McKenna, riding Sovereign Funds, along with her Hunt Team win, was second in Field Hunter, 35 and under, and Slater, on Matchbook 90, was sixth in Field Hunters, 36 and over.
Cindy Buchanan rode The Lone Spy to place third in Field Hunter, 36 and over, and her daughters Maggie, on Penn Dragon, and Audrey, on the Red Fox were third and fourth respectively in Field Hunter, 35 and under.
Nancy Roberts of Sparks, Md., on Bermuda, riding for Green Spring Valley Hounds of Baltimore, won Field Hunters, 36 and over, and 17-year-old Autumn Rogers of Orange, Va., on JT, riding for Bull Run Hunt, won Field Hunter, 35 and under.
Emslie, Roberts and Rogers shared the Leading Lady Rider award.