What is the ASPCA Maclay?

What is the Maclay National Championship?The ASPCA Maclay National Championship, will be held on October 31-November 4, 2009, at the Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament in Syracuse, NY.

The ASPCA Maclay, a championship class at the National Horse Show, was initiated in 1933 by Alfred B. Maclay, an ASPCA board member, accomplished horseman and president of the National Horse Show. Maclay conceived of a trophy that would inspire young riders to develop the best horsemanship skills and instill in them respect and compassion for their equine partners.

This hunt seat equitation class requires that all contestants jump a minimum of eight fences of at least 3'6 feet in height. In between, the horse must walk, trot and canter with style and poise. The ASPCA Maclay class is an equitation class open to any rider who has not reached their 18th birthday.  The rider and their trainer must be members of the ASPCA  and NHSAA.

How does a rider qualify for the National Maclay Finals:

ASPCA Maclay classes are held nationwide at the larger hunter/jumper shows and count as qualifiers for the ASPCA Maclay Regionals and the ASPCA Maclay National Championship. Riders enter and compete at these single qualifying classes throughout the show year  to earn enough points to  qualify to ride in their respective Region's Finals.

Each region has a specified number of points a rider must accumulate in order to qualify for their Regional Finals.  A rider from our Region needs 13 points.  Points are awarded for 1st through 4th placings only.  Depending on the number of entries,  the point system varies for each class.  The more riders,  the more points.

Their are eight Regions in the United States.  We fall into Region 7, or the Northwest Region.  This region includes AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY.  Riders who qualify (earn enough points) by placing in this class throughout the show year can declare that they will be riding in the Regional Finals, held at the Northwest Autumn Finals in Monroe Washington the 2nd week of September.  This class consists of a jumping course and a flat phase.  Sometimes the judges will bring in the top 4 to test a final time.

The NHS then accepts the top finishers from each Region's Finals to compete in the National Maclay Finals, held in Syracuse New York.  Again, each Region will differ slightly in the number of riders who become eligible from their Region's Finals.  Sometimes it is the top 3 riders who are invited,  sometimes it is more, depending on the percentage across the U.S. who accepts.

The National Horse Show invites 150 riders to enter the Maclay Finals. This class is  incredably difficult, both in the technical aspects of the course, as well as the emotional/physical aspects of how the class is held.

The riders are not allowed to ride in the arena until the night before the class.  Riders are assigned a time slot when they are allowed to school (no course is set at this time - just three plain warm-up fences).  The times range from 8pm through 1am the night/morning before the class.

For example, last year Amanda was assigned the 1am schooling time slot.  She napped in the hotel room before the schooling,  then rode for her 1/2 hour, went back to the room for a few hours of sleep and arrived at the show at 5am to walk the course.   The class began at 6:30am and went all day.  Whew!

For more information on the National Horse Show and the Maclay Finals go to www.nhs.org

For a bit of insight on last years course,  I have attached a picture of it and a link to an article that was written about it. (Jessica Springsteen won in 2008).

The Syracuse Sporthorse Invitationalhttp://www.hunterjumpernews.com/?p=5979