Kathryn Kranking of New Market, Maryland, and Mahalo were crowned the winners of the $10,000 North American League (NAL) Adult Hunter Finals on Tuesday, October 5, at the 2021 Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
Riders qualified for this year-end final by accumulating points in the NAL Adult Hunter competitions throughout the year. In the first round, Kranking and Mahalo led the pack of 28 horse-and-rider combinations with a high score of 87. They followed up in the second round with an 84 for a total of 171 for the win.
Second place went to Traci Baldwin and her own Verdi. They scored 81.5 in round one and had the high score of 86 in round two for a total of 167.50. With a total of 165 from scores of 80 and 85, Heather Bamford and Wyatt, owned by Kirsten Pollin, finished third.
While Mahalo, a 21-year-old Warmblood gelding, is a hunter ring veteran with major wins, including victory in the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix with Samantha Schaefer in 2011, Kranking has only been riding him for a year. The win was extra special for Kranking, as Mahalo is the first horse she has ever had to herself.
“He is my first horse that I’ve ever had in my life,” confirmed the 29-year-old Kranking. “I’ve been riding my whole life. I’ve been with Rolling Acres for the past 10 or 11 years, and I’ve basically been catch riding for them for 10 years. I’ve just ridden whatever I can, so it was really special to have a horse for a whole year and have that relationship with him because I’ve never really had that before. It shows that consistency really builds a great relationship. I’m extremely lucky to have him; he’s incredible. I’d never thought I’d ever get here!”
As the leader coming into the second round, Kranking was nervous and wanted to avoid major mistakes.
“My goal was to go in and ride like I did the first round and have fun,” she said. “Mahalo does his job, so if I rode like I have all year, I knew we would be fine.”
In the first round, said Kranking, “I did get some pace because sometimes we can be a little slow. Mahalo walks in there like he’s done this a million times, which he has, so he really just carried me around. My goal was to use my corners, use my turns, ride up the lines, and find the jumps.”
While Mahalo has “been there, done that,” he still is able to throw a curveball occasionally. “He can definitely have some spice every once in a while,” laughed Kranking.
Competition on Tuesday at Capital Challenge also included championships for 10 professional hunter divisions.
High Performance Conformation Hunter
Sponsored by New Vintage Farm & RPW Show Horses LLC
Champion: For Always, ridden by Scott Stewart and owned by Dr. Betsee Parker
Reserve Champion: Gabriel, ridden by Victoria Colvin and owned by JT Farm
Green Conformation Hunter
Champion: Gratitude, ridden by Christopher Payne and owned by Still Water Farm LLC
Reserve Champion: Caristo, ridden by Samantha Schaefer and owned by R & R Hunter Horses LLC
High Performance Hunter
Sponsored by Michael Britt-León & Windsor Stables and Kelly Sims
Champion: Lafitte De Muze, ridden by Amanda Steege and owned by Cheryl Olsten
Reserve Champion: S & L Exxon Hedonist, ridden by Patricia Griffith and owned by S & L Farms
Green Hunter 3’9”
Sponsored by Lannie Lipson
Champion: Cabrio, ridden by Scott Stewart and owned by Bikoff Equestrian LLC
Reserve Champion: Autograph, ridden by Hunt Tosh and owned by Ceil Wheeler
Green Hunter 3’6” Section A
Sponsored by Peter Pletcher & PJP Farm
Champion: Babylon, ridden by John French and owned by Marnell Sport Horses
Reserve Champion: Laskano, ridden by Jimmy Torano and owned by Isalou, Inc.
Green Hunter 3’6” Section B
Sponsored by Lee Sadrian & the Kellogg Family
Champion: Reign, ridden by Christopher Payne and owned by Still Water Farm LLC
Reserve Champion: Blink, ridden by Jennifer Bauersachs and owned by Lee Kellogg Sadrian
Green Hunter Colts & Geldings
Sponsored by Boggs Hill/Mr. and Mrs. Tim Goguen
Champion: Varsity, ridden by Jennifer Hannan and owned by Jane Olson Fisher
Reserve Champion: Good Vibes, ridden by Havens Schatt and owned by Leanne McMenamin
Green Hunter 3’ 7 & Over
Sponsored by David Belford and Christopher Payne, New Hope LLC
Champion: Gilded, ridden by Daniel Geitner and owned by Sandra Bierman
Reserve Champion: MTM Last Word, ridden by Tracy Fenney and owned by MTM Farm
Green Hunter 3’ 6 & Under
Sponsored by Roger and Jennifer Smith
Champion: So Cool, ridden by Scott Stewart and owned by Dr. Betsee Parker
Reserve Champion: Axel, ridden by Christopher Payne and owned by New Hope LLC
Green Hunter Mares 3’ & 3’3”
Sponsored by Penelope Ayers
Champion: Waverly, ridden by Holly Orlando and owned by R&R Hunter Horses LLC
Reserve Champion: Arosa B, ridden by Amanda Steege and owned by Samantha Kramig
Green Hunter 3’3” Section A
Sponsored by Hunt Tosh, Inc.
Champion: Doctor’s Orders, ridden by Victoria Colvin and owned by Brad Wolf
Reserve Champion: Augustine, ridden by Jennifer Bauersachs and owned by Lee Kellogg Sadrian
Green Hunter 3’3” Section B
Sponsored by Hunt Tosh, Inc.
Champion: Corragio, ridden by Cassandra Kahle and owned by Redfield Farm
Reserve Champion: Dialouet, ridden by Scott Stewart and owned by Rivers Edge
Click here for full results of the NAL Adult Hunter Finals.
The North American League Finals are the culmination of the NAL’s year-long Series that includes classes at hundreds of horse shows across the United States and Canada. The NAL offers year-long series in five divisions: Children’s Hunter, Adult Hunter, Children’s Jumper, presented by EquiFit; Adult Jumper, presented by SmartPak; and Low Junior/Amateur Jumper, presented by HorseFlight. The NAL series concludes with year-end finals for those who accumulated the most points in their divisions over the course of the season.
Competition will continue at the 2021 Capital Challenge Horse Show on Wednesday with the conclusion of the Performance Hunter 3’6” in both the Show Place Arena and Outdoor Ring at 7:30 a.m., followed by competition for Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” and 3’3” divisions. The highlight classes of the day include the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Professional Challenge and WCHR Developing Pro Challenge.