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Stacia Madden, Christina Schlusemeyer, and Andre Dignelli.

Bobby Murphy and Hugh Kincannon

Leo Conroy with Kathy and Gerry Newman

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ASPCA Maclay National Championship Trainers Meeting Held During Winter Equestrian Festival

Written by: Elizabeth Vieira
Client: National Horse Show
Release Date: 2012-02-15

Wellington, FL – February 15, 2012 – Tuesday afternoon brought forth interesting views as top trainers merged to put forward some new and improved ideas regarding the much-anticipated ASPCA Maclay National Championships. Taylor Harris Insurance Services sponsored the meeting, held on the newly established Graffito’s patio, adjacent to the WEF show grounds. This year’s Championship event will be held during the Alltech National Horse Show, 129th edition, at the Alltech Arena in Lexington, Kentucky on November 4, 2012.

Show managers, Leo Conroy and Hugh Kincannon, joined Alltech National Horse Show Association President, Mason Phelps on panel, as all three highly respected industry leaders participated in asking questions and providing feedback for any suggested upgrades. Prominent trainers such as Stacia Madden and Andre Dignelli extended concepts that were well received by the show committee and well noted.

This competition is eagerly awaited, but there was an overall consensus that certain aspects needed to be addressed. The first topic discussed was that of the substantial group of riders allotted a spot in the Finals, and consequently the length of the show day. The panel initiated the discussion, commenting that the number of qualifying slots would descend from last years, 200, to a smaller group of 150. This was implemented in the hope that it may grant more efficiency as well as a more competitive edge.

The next discussion was based around safety and the integrity of the show management as well as the exhibitors, to find a better way of working together through what tends to be a highly stressful day. Phelps, Conroy and Kincannon put emphasis on their desire to create a more suitable and placid environment, with the expectation that it would generate an equally productive atmosphere for all horses and riders. One such idea put forward was the use of the schooling rings and how better to mediate 150 horses and riders.

Dignelli put forth the idea that keeping the rings open for longer periods of time would certainly provide more flexibility in the schooling schedule. As well, all riders are given a chance to complete one un-judged round in the Alltech Arena, jumping a pattern of their choosing, however, there was speculation as to whether this could be made more efficient. If management were to provide a prescribed course it may eliminate traffic, allow a steadier flow through the in-gate, and still offer competitors the chance to school the jumps.

The afternoon meeting was rounded out by some interesting comments on the regional portion of the ASPCA Maclay. Questions were posed about the lack of standardized format from one zone to another, and the idea that some new locations and upgrade to the infrastructure may produce beneficial changes. The general agreement by the conclusion of the afternoon was that, while certainly easier said than done, certain features needed only basic revisions in order to make this years competition stand out.

The ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship class has been held since 1933, and it is one of the most prestigious competitions for junior riders in the United States. Its winners are some of the biggest names in equestrian sport. Previous winners include: William Steinkraus in 1941, Frank Chapot (1948), George Morris (1952), Leslie Burr Howard (1972), Stacia Klein Madden in 1987, and Nicole Shahinian Simpson in 1992. The 2010 ASPCA Maclay National Championship winner was Hayley Barnhill, and in 2011 Sarah Milliren was named the winner.

For more information on the ASPCA Maclay National Championships and its qualifiers as well as the Alltech National Horse Show, please visit

Photo Credit: (1) Stacia Madden, Christina Schlusemeyer, and Andre Dignelli. (2) Bobby Murphy and Hugh Kincannon. (3) Leo Conroy with Kathy and Gerry Newman. Photo By: Elizabeth Vieira. Photo may only be used in relation to this PMG press release.


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