By Nancy Jaffer
April 14, 2017
They saw the light.
The CP National Horse Show, where the ASPCA Maclay at 3-6 has been the industry standard for generations, just scrapped plans to use the Maclay name for a new 3-3 equitation competition.
In my column of last week, linked here, past Maclay winners polled were outraged that the name of their class was to be used for a less-demanding test. Confusion also was guaranteed by staging a 3-3 class, whose title included the word Maclay, a week before the ASPCA Maclay itself would be held at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena .
“We have taken into consideration the many comments that were received and have since removed the ‘Maclay’ designation from the title of the class,” said Geoff Teall, chairman of the National’s equitation committee.
CP National Horse Show President Mason Phelps had explained originally when questioned about the new class, “We think it has a lot more punch using the word Maclay in there, versus not. We want to keep it all sort of in the spirit of what we do.”
But there was just too much pushback for that reasoning to survive.
The new class has been renamed the National Horse Show 3’3″ Equitation Championship in honor of the USHJA Foundation. The class, which will be held in the Alltech Arena on October 28-29, before the 2017 CP National Horse Show gets under way, will be a stand-alone under USEF rules.
“It’s a long title, but I think it’s great. I really like that name because it makes it really important and it’s its own entity now, instead of something that is less than a big, important event,” said 1977 ASPCA Maclay winner Francie Steinwedell Carvin, one of many who had protested using the Maclay name for another class.
“I think they’re smart and I think a lot of people are a lot happier, including me,” she said when commenting about the change.
“The goal of the National Horse Show 3’3″ Equitation Championship is to offer a stepping stone to riders who aspire to compete in the ASPCA Maclay National Championships,” Geoff noted.
This also takes pressure off riders who aren’t ready for the difficulties of the Maclay to try an alternative and a more gradual approach that can educate them for a shot at the Maclay down the road.
As Geoff pointed out, “The fact that it is National Horse Show and is going to be in that ring gives it enough cachet that people will willingly give up” the idea of competing at 3-6 if they’re not really prepared.”
“We are certain that the addition of this class will allow more riders an opportunity to compete and prepare for the major ASPCA Maclay National Championship,” commented Geoff.
He added, “The creation of the National Horse Show 3’3″ Equitation Championship solidifies the National Horse Show Association’s commitment to elevating competitive hunter and equitation competition. We chose to host the class in honor of the USHJA Foundation because the organization’s goals of supporting riders in competition, especially juniors, aligns perfectly with our goals in the creation of the NHS 3’3″ Equitation Championship.”
For the first year of the class, riders don’t need to be a member of the National Horse Show Association and will not need to qualify. Qualifying for the championship at the 2018 show will begin Sept. 1.
However, those wishing to take part in the inaugural class must be under 18 and have not competed over the 3-6 fences in the ASPCA Maclay Finals, US Equestrian Federation Medal Finals, U.S. Equestrian Federation Talent Search, the Washington International Horse Show Equitation Classic Finals, the Jump Canada Medal Finals or the North American Equitation Championship.
While riders eligible for the 3-3 championship may participate in the Maclay regionals, they may not show in both the ASPCA Maclay Finals and the National Horse Show 3’3″ Equitation Championship in the same competition year.