With his family next to the ring and a good luck charm in his pocket, nine-year-old JJ Torano piloted H.G. Mud Puddles through a successful final round in the Small Pony Hunter division Saturday at the 2019 Pennsylvania National Horse Show (PNHS). The duo earned a score of 87.00 to secure the Small Pony Hunter Championship and the Knick Knack Challenge Trophy at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA.
For his first year at the PNHS, Torano was joined by his parents and, in a way, his grandfather. Torano kept a photo of him and a blue ribbon, along with a good-luck letter from John Roper, in his pocket during his rides as a connection to his late grandfather. His father, Jimmy Torano, added that the good luck charm would stay with them for other horse shows.
“I wasn’t nervous,” said Torano, who has had H.G. Mud Puddles for a year and a half. “I’m not usually nervous. She always jumps the jumps, and I like that I can really trust her. The first day we tried her, there was something that flew in the ring, and she just trotted right over it.”
Torano also earned the Francis E. Armstrong Memorial Challenge Trophy as the Grand Champion Pony Hunter with a total of 26 points in the Small Pony Hunter division.
While hunters of all sizes competed for Championships and High Point Awards, Family Fun Day was in full swing at the PNHS as children and their parents enjoyed story hour, carriage rides, craft activities and the show itself. Starting the day’s opening ceremonies, the William C. Steinkraus Style Award was given to Madison Goetzmann for best exemplifying the American style of equitation and sportsmanship in the 2019 Neue Schule/USEF Prix des States.
Stella Wasserman accepted the High Point Small 3’6″ Junior Hunter award for her performances in the 15 & Under division with Boss, which earned them the Huntland Derby Perpetual Cup with a total of 27 points.
With 32 points in the Large Junior 3’6″ Hunter 16-17 division, Maggie Hill and Cassanto received honors as both the High Point Large 3’6″ Junior Hunter and Grand 3’6″ Junior Hunter Champion and walked away with the Ovation Perpetual Trophy. Alberto Riverez accepted the Grand 3’6″ Junior Hunter Champion Groom’s Award for his care of Cassanto. The Grand Junior Hunter Trainer’s Award and the Michael Rheinheimer Memorial Perpetual Trophy went to Hill’s trainer, Jack Towell.
High Point Large 3’6″ Junior Hunter and Grand 3’6″ Junior Hunter Champion Maggie Hill and Cassanto (c) Al Cook Photography
Two Best Junior Rider awards are given to riders showing in the Junior Hunters who are the best riders in the opinion of the judges. Tanner Korotkin was named the Best Junior Hunter Rider on a Horse and received the Maxine Best Memorial Perpetual Trophy. Caroline Passarelli walked away with the Sunnyside Up Challenge Trophy as the Best Junior Rider on a Pony.
Riding the green Baroness of Locheil, Maddie Tosh earned the Swamp Girl Challenge Trophy and her second Championship at the PNHS this year in the Medium Pony Hunter division with a total of 20 points.
“This was her (Baroness of Locheil) first time here, and she was super nervous yesterday and today in the Handy,” said Tosh. “She was definitely way more relaxed going into the Stake, and then she was amazing. I knew we were going to get a high score, because when she goes well, she’s so pretty.” The pair earned a score of 90.00 in their final round.
Medium Pony Hunter Champion Maddie Tosh and Baroness of Locheil (c) Al Cook Photography
Closing out Saturday’s events, Caroline Passarelli and So Dapper were awarded the Large Pony Hunter Championship and the For the Laughter Perpetual Cup with a total of 24 points.
A sportsmanship award is given to each horse and pony rider who exhibits the highest degree of exemplary personal conduct with respect to good sportsmanship. This year the PNHS Junior Hunter Rider Sportsmanship Award went to Payton Potter; JJ Torano was given the PNHS Pony Rider Sportsmanship Award.
The EMO Agency Pony Hunter High Five Award, sponsored by EMO Agency, is awarded to the pony and rider who have the highest score in their division. Both with scores of 90.00 in their divisions, Caroline Passarelli and Maddie Tosh rode away with this award.