Category Archives: Pony

Shetland Pony Grand National Returns to Olympia, The London International Horse Show

From 17-23 December 2018, Olympia, The London International Horse Show, will welcome the return of the much-loved Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National, a fast and furious race showcasing some of the UK’s young, talented, and up-and-coming jockeys.

This year’s line-up features some of the brightest young names in horse racing, including Olive Nicholls, daughter of 10-time British National Hunt Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls, who no doubt will be giving Olive a tip or two in her preparations for Olympia. Nicholls will compete against Alice Crowley, daughter of 2016 British Flat Racing Champion Jockey, Jim Crowley. The pair has the equestrian genes to contend, but how will they fare in Olympia’s Grand Hall?

Entrants are required to be aged 8-14 and must be under five feet tall. Riders race around a track, jumping obstacles mimicking those at the Aintree Grand National, only in miniature form. The event is the pinnacle of the Shetland Pony Grand National calendar and is set to attract hordes of spectators from the 90,000 attendees, who are due to visit Olympia over its seven days of competition.

Although undoubtedly a fun-filled event, there is also a real spirit of competitiveness among the riders. Many of them are aiming to emulate past competitors, who have graduated from the Shetland Pony Grand National to become professional equestrians, including Sam Twiston-Davies and Tom Garner, who are now established names on the racing circuit.

Following in the footsteps of the Twiston-Davies brothers, Gloucestershire has another Shetland Pony Grand National competitor tipped for the top: nine-year-old Lucas Murphy, whose father, Timmy Murphy, has ridden over 1,000 winners in the professional jump racing world. Joining Murphy and his pony Shelcroft Buttercup will be Lucy Aspell, daughter of back-to-back Grand National winner, Leighton Aspell. Aspell will be returning for her second successive year at Olympia and is likely to pull out all the stops to go the distance.

All proceeds from the Shetland Pony Grand National will go to the nominated charity, The Bob Champion Cancer Trust. Founded in 1983, the charity has raised an incredible £16 million for cancer research and will be the direct beneficiary of the money raised by the young jockeys, who last year managed to raise a terrific £42,500.

For more information on how to purchase tickets, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0844 995 0995.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gtelford@revolutionworld.com +44(0)7717 776928

Fuqua and Brighton Power to New Heights

Kat Fuqua and Brighton (Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillan)

Lexington, Kentucky (August 31, 2018) – A new gold standard set by a golden pony and his rider: the 2018 USEF Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm saw the birth of a new superstar partnership and a new era in Pony Hunter competition. Kat Fuqua and Brighton were a world apart: sweeping their division and leading the field by over 30 points was the beginning; being crowned Overall Grand Pony Hunter Champion for the entire Finals was the bridge. And to clinch their extraordinary effort, having just turned 11 years old, Fuqua may be the youngest and highest scoring USEF Pony Finals Champion in the event’s history.

Fuqua, who came to have the ride on Brighton just a few months ago, went into the USEF Pony Finals aboard the flaxen maned pony with an undefeated record. They were to quickly prove their mettle by sweeping all three classes, a rare achievement, and garnering an impressive 1063.65 points, the highest cumulative score for a USEF Pony Finals competitor. With over 30 points differentiation between Champion and Reserve, Fuqua galloped to Overall Grand Pony Hunter Champion and is one of the youngest, if not the youngest ever, Grand Pony Finals Champions. Her trainer, Michael Newman, was awarded the Emerson Burr Perpetual Trophy, which recognizes the trainer of the Overall Champion at USEF Pony Finals and their contribution to the advancement of youth riders.

“Michael doesn’t put a lot of pressure on me, and even when I’m nervous before a big show like USEF Pony Finals he always finds a way to make me laugh before I go in the arena,” said Fuqua. “It teaches me the importance of being relaxed in the saddle. Brighton is such an easy, happy pony; I think that is what has made us click so well even though I haven’t known him that long.” Channeling this happy attitude instilled by her trainer, Kat’s team, including her mom and a few friends, decided to have a dance off to Earth, Wind, and Fire’s classic “Let’s Groove,” while waiting for her ride. Despite some level of embarrassment, Kat admits that the positive, relaxed atmosphere has contributed to her high scores in the show ring.

With Brighton taking the blue in the 10 & Under Large Pony Hunter, the Owner/Rider Large Pony Hunter, the Large Pony Hunter Championship out of a field of 147 Large ponies, and Grand Pony Champion out of 417 ponies of all sizes, it would be fair to assume that Fuqua’s other ponies may have fallen by the wayside. That was not the case, however, as she piloted her medium gray pony mare, Sasha Fierce, to Reserve Champion Overall in the 10 & Under Medium Green Pony Hunter, 12th in the Model Medium Green Pony Hunter, and 17th Overall in the Medium Green Pony Hunter out of 72 entries. Her Medium pony, Finesse RF, a.k.a. Ladybug, was also well placed: 6th overall in the 10 & Under Medium Pony Hunter, 7th in the Under Saddle Medium Pony Hunter, and 25th in the Overall Medium Pony Hunter out of a field of 167.

Because the USEF Pony Finals restricts riders to only one pony per division, Fuqua passed the ride on her other large pony, Chic in Time, aka Spicey, to her friend and another prominent champion equestrian Caroline Passarelli. Spicey and Passarelli were 2nd in the Under Saddle Large Pony Hunter, 15th in the Model Large Pony Hunter, and 3rd in the Large Pony Hunter Combined Model & Under Saddle.

With the whirlwind of USEF Pony Finals behind her, Fuqua then stepped into the irons of her Junior Hunter, RS Levitation, a.k.a. Jett, to take home the Division Championship at the 2018 Atlanta Summerfest III, held August 16-19, 2018. The Junior Hunter division has been a natural next step for Fuqua as she expands her horizons beyond just ponies, and she states that her success in the show ring comes from the support of her family as well as the advice guidance of trainer Michael Newman.

She and Jett also placed 3rd in the country during July’s USEF National Junior Hunter Championships before setting her sights on USEF Pony Finals and the Atlanta Summerfest. Fuqua’s next outing will be September’s Brownland Fall Horse Show Series in preparation for indoors at Harrisburg and Washington Championship Shows in October.

Fuqua’s USHJA Zone 4 rankings, also as of August 27, 2018, currently sees Finesse RF as the #1 Medium Hunter Pony, Chic in Time as the #1 Large Hunter Pony, RS Levitation as the #1 Junior Hunter Small 15 & Under, and her other Junior Hunter mount, Calvaro, as the #3 Junior Hunter Small 15 & Under.

For more information on Kat Fuqua, visit her website at www.KatFuqua.com.

Media contact:
PR and Marketing
Holly Johnson
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
www.equinium.com
holly@equinium.com
+1 954 205 7992

Lots of Gold for Germany and Great Britain while Sweden Tops Individual Jumping

The British Eventing team of Ellie Healy, Hattie Grace, Saffron Osborne, and Daisy Proctor. (FEI/Adam Fanthorpe)

Germany claimed all gold in Dressage while Great Britain dominated Eventing and took the Jumping team title. However, the Swedish flag also flew high on the final day of the FEI European Pony Championships 2018 at Bishop Burton College in Yorkshire (GBR) when Ingemar Hammarstrom stood top of the individual Jumping podium.

Dressage

The German Dressage whitewash began in the Team event in which Moritz Treffinger (Top Queen), Jana Lang (NK Cyril), Julia Barbian (Der Kleine Konig) and Lucie-Anouk Baumgurtel (Massimiliano FH) joined forces to post the winning score of 226.286. Denmark took silver on 219.028 and The Netherlands finished close behind in bronze on a final tally of 218.715.

Treffinger was outstanding all week, taking triple gold when also topping the Individual and Kur to Music competitions with his 10-year-old mare. And Denmark’s Alexander Yde Helgstrand was also highly impressive when claiming triple silver with his 12-year-old gelding Adriano B. Jana Lang claimed Individual bronze, but it was her German team-mate Barbian who stood on the third step of the podium in the Kur.

Treffinger looks to have real star potential, judges Jacques Van Daele, Yuri Romanov, Isobel Wessels, Elke Ebert, and Maja Stukelj all placing him first for a big total of 81.875% in the Kur which he performed to David Guetta music.

Eventing

It was a story-book finish when Britain’s Saffron Osborne claimed Eventing Team and Individual gold with the extraordinary 13-year-old Little Indian Feather – a lucky pony who was given a second chance and never looked back.

In very poor condition when rescued from a pound as a two-year-old by the Hennessy family from Waterford in Ireland, the mare survived a near-fatal injury and then produced a surprise foal before beginning her Eventing career and eventually moving on across the Irish Sea. She took Team and Individual silver for Osborne at last summer’s Championships in Hungary, and this year the pair went one better when claiming double-gold.

In fifth place on a score of 28 after Dressage, they added nothing on cross-country day to move into the individual lead, and the 16-year-old daughter of trainer and former National Hunt jockey Jamie Osborne found herself with a fence in hand coming to the closing stages of yesterday’s final showjumping phase.

“I didn’t say to myself that I could have a fence down. I didn’t want to jinx anything and rode it like there was nothing in hand. I know that my pony’s a careful jumper but until you’ve gone over the finishing line you can’t be certain!” — Saffron Osborne (GBR)

Ireland’s Sophie Foyle claimed silver with Little Miss Fernhill while Osborne’s team-mate, Daisy Proctor, took bronze with Holiday Chase. And the British side that also included Hattie Grace riding Noble Superman and Ellie Healy partnering Midnight Dancer were crowned Team champions ahead of Ireland in silver and France who finished just one penalty point further adrift in bronze.

Jumping

The battle for the Jumping Team title was a thriller, with the hosts claiming gold ahead of Sweden and a fierce fight between France and Ireland for the bronze. Clare Whitaker, wife of Olympic legend John Whitaker and mother of Louise and Robert, who also compete at the very top end of the sport, was British Chef d’Equipe. “It meant a lot to win on home soil,” she said.

As other nations started to struggle during the second round the GB girls kept their cool. Shaunie Greig with Casino Royale and Claudia Moore riding Elando van de Roshoeve knew they had the gold medal in the bag after third rider Perdi Digby posted a clear with Kayleighs Star to leave them on eight faults. They had a nine-fault advantage over Sweden in silver, but the French and Irish were tied on 20 faults so all four riders from each team had to jump off once more for the bronze. And it went right to the wire, with France shaving a few precious seconds off the time to clinch it.

Although the gold was won, fourth British team member Nicole Lockhead Anderson still rode her final round with Gangham Style – yet another clear – to keep her very much in the running for the individual medals, but it was Moore who came off best for the home side on the final day. The winner was undisputed as 15-year-old Ingemar Hammarstrom and his bay gelding Ocean des As were just too good for the rest when not touching a pole all week to take the title for Sweden.

With just four faults on the board, Ireland’s Max Wachman and Cuffesgrange Cavalidam earned the silver but it took a two-way showdown with the French partnership of Romane Orhant and Quabar des Monceaux before Moore claimed the bronze with the quickest time in a third-round jump-off.

Full results here.

By Louise Parkes

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Shannon Gibbons
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shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Tessa Downey Captures USEF Pony Medal Finals Championship

Photo: Tessa Downey and Hallelujah.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 12, 2018 – The 2018 USEF Pony Finals drew to a close Sunday, but not before one more champion was crowned following the capstone event of the week, the 2018 Marshall & Sterling/USEF Pony Medal Finals. Nearly 200 young riders aboard small, medium, and large ponies took their turns around the equitation track inside the Alltech Arena, and ultimately it was Tessa Downey aboard Hallelujah who outshone the large pack to earn the coveted winning title. Downey added to an already outstanding week with her new accolade, as the 13-year-old rider also earned the tricolor just one day ago in the Medium Regular Pony Hunters.

Riding 112th in the original order of go, Downey set the bar high for those that would follow her performance with a first-rate display of equitation riding, surpassing almost the entire herd of pony riders that had already jumped the 11-fence track. Designer Jasen Shelley’s winding first round course offered exhibitors a number of chances to display their skills, with a handful of inside turn options in addition to a trot fence and a required halt following the final obstacle to conclude the test before exiting. After watching more than 190 pony-and-rider partners tackle the course, judges Jeffrey Ayers and William Ellis awarded Downey the second slot on the callback behind Alexandra Lynn Willner, who had the reins on a medium pony, to emerge as one of the early frontrunners headed into phase two thanks to her precise and quiet riding.

Whittled down to an elite 20 riders, the second portion of the 2018 Marshall & Sterling/USEF Pony Medal Finals brought back the remaining contenders, with riders aboard small ponies trying their hands around the abridged pattern first, followed by the larges and finally the mediums in order to allow the leading pair to ride last. Of the returning crew, four duos were smalls, 11 were mediums and five were larges. Slightly shortened to nine obstacles, the second sequence of fences asked riders to halt after fence two and then immediately canter to the subsequent vertical only a few strides away. Though Downey was ranked second in the standings, she returned as the ninth out of 20, due to the larger group of medium pony riders that would ride last. As noted by Judges Ayers and Ellis, Downey improved upon first round performance to put her at the top of the scorecard with 11 left to ride, and ultimately overthrew the initial leader and leapfrogged to the top to claim the championship honors.

Adding to her impressive performance is the fact that Downey first took up the reins on Hallelujah just four days ago, and this week was her first time competing on a large pony. Based in Texas, Downey is trained by Peter Pletcher and made her fourth appearance at the USEF Pony Finals this year. Though the young rider had never made it to the winner’s circle before, Sunday’s win gives her double the reasons to celebrate after her divisional win earlier in the week.

Though third-phase testing was a possibility should the judges panel opt for it, Ellis and Ayers chose not to ask for a final work-off, citing that the creme of the crop was easily distinguishable. Of the original top five, only two entrants retained their status, with three riders moving up the ranks with their second phase performances. Advancing from sixth place, Reilly Gogul nabbed the reserve championship behind Downey, followed by Alexa Lignelli and Maddie Tosh, up from seventh, in the third and fourth positions, respectively. Alexandra Miller finished in fifth place, making the move up from 12th after the first round.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Tessa Downey and Kat Fuqua Steal the Show at USEF Pony Finals

Photo: Tessa Downey and Anisette.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 11, 2018 – The final and largest division of the week concluded with the over fences phase Saturday at the Kentucky Horse Park, closing out 2018 USEF Pony Finals competition in the hunter ring. Tessa Downey and Anisette were awarded the championship in the Medium Regular Pony Hunters ahead of a massive field of 163 other contenders, moving up from third position to earn the coveted tricolor. Boasting the highest cumulative score of the six divisions, Kat Fuqua and Brighton reigned supreme to capture the Grand Regular Pony Hunter championship title, while Downey and Anisette rode to the Grand Reserve Regular Pony Hunter honors, in addition to the Best Turned Out Award.

Beginning bright and early in the Walnut Ring, the expansive collection of entries in the Medium Regular Pony Hunters were in the spotlight for the majority of the day, but ultimately it all came do the final few pairs to tackle the course. With one championship already under her belt for the week, Maddie Tosh aimed to add another to her list with the reins aboard Peacock Ridge, LLC’s Smallwood Mystic, navigating the pony to a top score of 264 over fences and 1,019.52 overall, bumping them from 20th position to the top of the leaderboard. Tosh would retain her position until Downey and her own Anisette entered the ring as the third-to-last duo to take their turn over the fences. The pony-and-rider partners executed a textbook performance to the tune of 87, 88 and 89 for a total score of 264 over fences and 1,045.14 from the judges, overthrowing the sitting leaders. The final two pairs to ride, Caroline Signorino aboard Newhaven’s Magnum and Ava Berman with Toblerone, tried their best to match the efforts of their peers, but were unable to surpass the lofty scores earned by Downey and Anisette.

Proving that everything is bigger in Texas, Houston-based Downey fittingly nabbed the win ahead of the largest division of the week and was accompanied by a horde of supporters including family, friends, and the team at PJP Farm. Trained by Peter Pletcher, the 13-year-old rider is attending her fourth USEF Pony Finals, but the 2018 event marks her first time in the winner’s circle. The Downey family had reason to celebrate last year as the owners of News Flash, the pony that won this same division and the Grand Regular Pony Hunter title in 2017 with Augusta Iwasaki in the saddle, but this year the division win is even sweeter as Downey both owns and rode Anisette.

Tosh and Smallwood Mystic earned the reserve spot in the Medium Regular Pony Hunters, followed by Skye Kania and Sammy Kania’s Falling Moon Front Page in third position, up from their 12th place spot after the first two phases of competition. Baylee McKeever and Heritage Farm, Inc.’s Dream Come Blue nabbed the fourth position, and owner-rider Calder Trotz navigated Not So Secret to fifth overall.

Exemplifying the highest level of talent and ability across the three size-based Regular Pony Hunter divisions, Fuqua and Brighton added another accolade to their names as the winners of the Grand Regular Pony Hunter title. The first divisional champions of the week, Fuqua and her own Brighton modeled, hacked, and jumped their way to a two-day total score of 1,063.65 in the Large Regular Pony Hunters, impressively putting them in a league all their own more than 30 points ahead of the next-closest competitor in their respective division. Downey and Anisette had double the reasons to celebrate Saturday as the Grand Reserve Regular Pony Hunter winners.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Samantha Takacs and Grace Debney Earn Green Hunter Tricolors at USEF Pony Finals

Photo: Samantha Takacs and Galianna.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 10, 2018 – The penultimate day of hunter competition concluded Friday at the Kentucky Horse Park with two new 2018 USEF Pony Finals champions hoisting their titles. In the Medium Green Pony Hunters, Samantha Takacs and Galianna extended their day one lead to secure the overall championship and the Grand Green Pony Hunter rosette, while Grace Debney and Lafayette Park led the victory gallop and took home the final green pony division championship in the Large Green Pony Hunters in addition to the Grand Reserve Green Pony Hunter title.

Beginning the day as the early leaders and the last to ride over fences out of 72 entries, Takacs and Kim Wolf’s Galianna needed 236 points to surpass Cecelia Jackson and Northwind Marwyn, the current leading pair, as they entered the ring for their over fences ride. A steady stream of solid performances throughout the class kept the top of the leaderboard close, but luckily Takacs and the dappled dark bay pony had finished the first two phases of competition with a 16-point lead, easing some of the pressure. Pulling in scores of 84, 85 and 87 from the judges’ panel for a total 256 points after a first-rate trip, the 13-year-old rider and Galianna earned the over fences blue ribbon and boosted their cumulative two-day score to 1,040.02, claiming the division title and Grand Green Hunter Pony championship as the highest scoring of the three size-based Green divisions.

Takacs and Galianna, affectionately known as “Adele” or “Deli Sandwich,” are newfound partners, with the young rider only just getting the reins on the mare one short week ago. When California-based Gabrielle Sokolow was not able to attend the 2018 USEF Pony Finals with trainer Corinne Bevins, New Jersey-based Takacs stepped in to take over the ride. Though their time together was scant, the combined talent of the rider and pony proved to be the perfect match, earning top marks in all three phases.

Jackson and Susan McDade’s Northwind Marwyn finished in the reserve position with 1,000.50 points, the only other pair to break the 1,000-point threshold, closely followed by owner-rider Lola Head and Goldhills As You Like It in third position overall. Kierstin Antoniadis and Elizabeth Garcia’s Blank Check finished fourth in the standings, while Alexa Lignelli and The Lignelli Family’s EMC Entourage rounded out the top five placings.

Concluding the afternoon was the Large Green Pony Hunters, comprised of a pack of 81 pony-and-rider combinations vying for the top spot. Riding fifth-to-last in the order of go, 14-year-old Debney and Temple Equestrian, LLC’s Lafayette Park executed a near flawless trip over the 10-fence track to usurp the sitting class leaders, Kierstin Antoniadis and Winter Tietjen’s Pokerface, who leapfrogged from 20th position to the top of the field with a 259-point over fences score. The remaining four contenders each navigated satisfactory rounds, but were unsuccessful at matching the finesse shown by Debney and “Jake,” who ultimately finished in the top spot overall with 1,018.85 points and second in the over fences portion of competition. With their composite score, Debney and Lafayette Park secured the Grand Reserve Green Pony Hunter tricolor.

Debney is hot off a standout performance at the Devon Horse Show with the famous pony, Storyteller, who she piloted to the Large Pony Hunter Championship, the Grand Pony Hunter title, and the Best Child Rider on a Pony title in May. With her win Friday, Debney can add another accolade to her mounting trophy case.

The only other duo to hit 1,000 points, Antoniadis and Pokerface finished in the reserve position with 1,005.03 points, trailed by Isabella Griffin and her own Heaven’s Gift with the bronze. Owner-rider Jessica West and Stoneledge Just My Style captured fourth place, while Takacs added another top placing to her repertoire with fifth position aboard Rendezvous Farm’s Small Romance.

In the Medium Regular Pony Hunters, the last hunter division of the week, Toblerone carried Ava Berman to the forefront of the standings after two strong showings in the model and the hack. Narrowly missing first place by less than half of a point in the model, Berman and Sofia Baiker’s Toblerone secured the divisional lead with a ninth place finish under saddle, propelling them to the top of the overall scorecard with total marks of 519.55.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Maddie Tosh Jumps to Small Regular Pony Hunter Championship at USEF Pony Finals

Photo: Maddie Tosh and Bit of Love.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 9, 2018 – The 2018 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, returned to the Kentucky Horse Park for the third day of competition , with Maddie Tosh and Bit Of Love proving to be the day’s big winners as the over fences and overall champions in the Small Regular Pony Hunters. The winning 12-year-old and Bit Of Love bested a lofty field of 101 entries to assert themselves as the 2018 titleholders. The remaining larger green pony divisions all had their time to shine Thursday, as well, with Samantha Takacs aboard Galianna and Josephine Rose with the ride on Cacique claiming the early leads in their respective divisions, the Medium Green and Large Green Pony Hunters.

Returning in sixth position for the Small Regular Pony Hunters, Tosh was not faced with the pressure of riding as the last to go with Dr. Betsee Parker’s seasoned pony, Bit Of Love, but was challenged to lay down a near-perfect showing in order to eclipse Finley Morgan and the five pairs sitting ahead of her after the model and hack phases. Tackling the expansive track with finesse, the young rider and Bit Of Love pulled in scores of 88, 90 and 92 for a composite score of 270 over fences, overtaking the early leaders Morgan and her own Howie Do It, who impressively jumped from 50th position to the initial lead after a textbook trip. Forced to watch five of her peers chase her down, Tosh was ultimately rewarded as each pair failed to accrue enough points to oust her from her spot atop the leaderboard. Though Helen Ryan and Smitten gave them a run for the title with individual scores of 87, 87.5 and 88, their effort would have to settle for second position in both the over fences and overall.

In addition to their class and division tricolors, Tosh and Bit Of Love also earned the High-Scoring Welsh Award for Small Regular Ponies as the top finisher for the breed. Tosh is trained by her father, acclaimed rider and trainer Hunt Tosh, out of Alpharetta, Georgia, and has been riding “Chester” for two years. This is her second appearance at Pony Finals, but the first win for Tosh, who also competes on the horses in the equitation and Children’s Hunter.

Combined with Wednesday’s score from the model and under saddle portions of divisional competition, Tosh and Bit Of Love concluded the Small Regular Pony Hunters with total marks of 1,050.54, a handful of points ahead of the reserve champions, Ryan and Town Line Equestrian, LLC’s Smitten. Not far behind, the day one leaders Carolyn Colter and So Enchanted, owned by Jessica Zandri, claimed third position, trailed by Lauren Gee and Ava Berman’s Farmore Charismatic in fourth place. Morgan and Howie Do It made the largest jump of the afternoon to round out the top five finishers.

Boasting two strong showings in the Medium Green Pony Hunters a few hours prior, four-time Pony Finals veteran Takacs modeled and rode Kim Wolf’s Galianna to the highest total marks of the day to emerge as the early pair to beat. The pony-and-rider combination commenced their morning with a third place finish out of 72 exhibitors in the model, and then secured the divisional lead with an eye-catching performance in the hack, riding to the blue ribbon more than 10 points ahead of the next-closest finisher.

Rose and Joey Rose, LLC’s Cacique concluded the initial phases of Large Green Pony Hunter competition as the frontrunners with a narrow 4-point lead headed into the over fences class. Now at her fifth Pony Finals, Rose showed off Cacique’s conformation expertly, warranting a fourth place ribbon and score of 255.59 from the judges’ panel. The pair soon improved upon their showing in the hack, displaying the walk, trot and canter to the reserve spot and a lofty score of 270.16, less than one point behind the class winner, Caroline Passarelli in the irons aboard So Dapper, owned by Jessica Zandri.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Kat Fuqua and Skylar Wireman Crowned First Two 2018 USEF Pony Finals Champions

Photo: Kat Fuqua and Brighton.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 8, 2018 – Bowties and braids returned to the Walnut Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park for the second day of the 2018 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, on Wednesday, with the day one leaders aiming to retain their top positions in the Large Regular and Small Green Pony Hunter divisions. In the end, Kat Fuqua and Brighton led from start to finish and were successful at fending off the large field of competition to emerge victorious in the Large Regular Pony Hunters, while Skylar Wireman, with the reins on Neon Moon, leapfrogged 20 places to the top of the leaderboard in the Small Green Pony Hunter division.

As the last to ride of more than 140 entries in the Large Regular Pony Hunters, 11-year-old Fuqua and her own Brighton overcame the pressure to lay down the highest scoring single trip of the day, easily sweeping all three phases of the division and claiming the championship tricolors. Displaying their prowess by maintaining an even rhythm around the lofty track, the winning duo raked in scores of 85.5, 87.5 and 88 from the judges’ panel to brandish top marks of 261 in the over fences class. Combined with Tuesday’s score, Fuqua and Brighton’s final tally was 1063.65, more than 30 points ahead of the reserve champion and a strong score to keep them in contention for the Grand Regular Pony Hunter title to be crowned Saturday following the conclusion of all the divisions.

The 2018 event is Fuqua’s fifth Pony Finals appearance, but her first championship win, fittingly on her mother’s birthday. Both of Fuqua’s parents are grand prix dressage riders, but their daughter has shown an aptitude for jumping and shows no signs of slowing down, recently earning a top placing at the USEF Junior Hunter National Championships – East. The young rider from Atlanta, Georgia will return later in the week to contest more pony divisions against her peers.

One of only five pony-and-rider combinations to break the 1,000-point benchmark, Chandler Wilks navigated Ashley Vail Aycox’s Valentino to the reserve championship with a cumulative score of 1029.86, followed by Propp and Aquitaine Equine’s News Day, who jumped from ninth at the beginning of the day to nab the final podium spot with marks of 1027.76. Clair Campbell and Eastside, owned by Maher Family, LLC, claimed fourth place, while Emma Rupinski and Lily Rupinski’s Stonewall Top Call pulled off one of the largest improvements of the day to finish in fifth position after jumping from the 30th spot.

Capping off the afternoon, the Small Green Pony Hunters took the spotlight and, with a smaller field of 40 contenders, movement among the top of the ranks was not out of the question. Riding 19th in the order of go as the 21st-ranked pair after day one, 13-year-old Wireman and Balmoral’s Neon Moon were not pegged as one of the frontrunners, but quickly attracted attention with their talented trip that earned them scores of 86, 87 and 90 from the watchful eyes of the judges. Forced to wait with nearly half of the class still to ride, Wireman looked on as her fellow riders took their shot at usurping her place atop the scorecard, but none were able to overtake her over fences marks of 263 or her cumulative 998.50 division points.

Alexa Lignelli and Agatha Lignelli’s Just Right rode to the second place ribbon both over fences and overall with 254 and 994.60 points, respectively, while Alexandra Miller aboard Pineapple, owned by Emily Elek-Burtard, likewise clinched third position over fences and in the final division rankings. Owner-rider Vanessa Mazzoli and Partly Cloudy earned the fourth spot, and Propp and Aquitaine Equine’s With Love, the day one leaders, rounded out the top five finishers.

Earlier in the day, Carolyn Colter and Jessica Zandri’s So Enchanted maneuvered their way to the early lead in the Small Regular Pony Hunters thanks to ribbon-worthy performances in both the model and under saddle phases.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Kat Fuqua and Clara Propp Ride to Early Lead at 2018 USEF Pony Finals

Photo: Kat Fuqua and Brighton.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 7, 2018 – Tuesday morning marked the highly-anticipated commencement of the 2018 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, at the Kentucky Horse Park, with nearly 200 ponies and their junior riders taking center stage in the first two divisions of the week. The most celebrated event of its kind for pony riders in the United States, the USEF Pony Finals is a three-phase competition judging the pony’s conformation, way of moving and jumping ability. After the first two rounds of competition for the Large Regular Pony Hunters, Kat Fuqua and Brighton emerged as the early leaders by impressively earning blue ribbons in both the model and hack ahead of 146 fellow contenders. Besting the field in the Small Green Pony Hunters, Clara Propp and With Love will ride last over fences as the initial frontrunners in their division.

Though Fuqua and her own Brighton have only been paired together for one short month, their short relationship did not detract from their performance in the Walnut Ring as the pair consistently impressed the judges’ panel in the Large Regular Pony Hunters. Under the tutelage of trainer Michael Newman of Aubrey Hill Equestrian in Pace, Florida, the 11-year-old rider and chestnut pony collected scores of 260.23 in the model and 281.42 in the hack to solidify their place atop the leaderboard headed into the final portion of competition. No stranger to the winner’s circle, Brighton carried Claire Campbell to a similar lead in the division after day one of the 2017 USEF Pony Finals with a cumulative score of 512.62, and this year the pony improved on his performance to stand an even better chance of sweeping the division with total marks of 541.65 headed into day two.

Chasing Fuqua and Brighton’s commanding early lead, Chandler Wilks and Ashley Vail Aycox’s Valentino currently sit in the reserve spot with 534.56 points, while Caroline Passarelli piloted another Fuqua-owned mount, Chic in Time, to third position overall. Sitting in fourth is Brynn Kuhnell and D’Artagnan, owned by Simply Ponies, LLC, trailed by Ava Aguilar and Sienna Gustafson’s Imagine That rounding out the top five slots.

In the Small Green Pony Hunters, Clara Propp began her day on a high note, winning the model with Aquitaine Equine’s With Love to the tune of 265.98 points from the judges. In the flat portion of the division, fellow bow-clad rider Omi Enkin and her own Happiness nabbed the first prize with a score of 258.00, but Propp and With Love’s third place marks of 254.50 were enough to propel the 11-year-old from Canada and her grey pony to the top of the overall scorecard. Boasting a composite score of 520.48, Propp and With Love currently sit 10 points ahead of the next-closest competitors, Enkin and Happiness with 510.20 points, headed into the over fences final phase.

Currently sitting in third place, Helen Ryan and Town Line Equestrian, LLC’s Charming will attempt to usurp the leaders, with owner-rider Jordan Gibbs and Show Off hot on their tails less than one point behind. Vanessa Mazzoli and her own Partly Cloudy clinched fifth place to close out the top contenders after day one.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Prize List Now Available Online for 60th Anniversary Washington International Horse Show

Washington, D.C. – The prize list for the 2018 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), which will celebrate its 60th anniversary from October 23-28 at Capital One Arena in downtown Washington, D.C., is now available online.

WIHS will continue a longstanding tradition as one of the world’s most cherished indoor horse shows in 2018 and again host the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Washington, presented by Events DC, with coveted qualifying points on offer for the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final taking place in Göteborg, Sweden in April. Additionally, WIHS will welcome qualified hunter, jumper, equitation, and pony riders from across the nation and celebrate year-end titles.

“Sixty years is a milestone that we at WIHS have been looking forward to celebrating for some time,” said Victoria Lowell, WIHS President. “Winning a ribbon at WIHS is a momentous event for any rider and we are excited to make it even more special this year as we celebrate this anniversary. We are proud to welcome more than 26,000 spectators, pay out over $500,000 in prize money, and encourage the equestrian community to experience urban horse showing at its best in the heart of our nation’s capital city.”

In addition to some of the world’s top riders and rising stars from within North America, WIHS management has prepared an A-list lineup of judges and officials for the 2018 event. Headlining the list is two-time U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Anne Kursinski, who will judge the coveted Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals.

“WIHS is a very exciting horse show because of its history, prestige, location in the heart of the city, and because of the fact that you have to earn your way to get to Washington by qualifying,” said Kursinski, a two-time U.S. Olympic team silver medalist who competed for her country as part of the United States Equestrian Team in Nations’ Cup competition at WIHS. “Specifically, the WIHS Equitation Finals is unlike any other in the country.

“It’s exciting to judge the class, but it also gives me an opportunity to look at the bigger picture,” continued Kursinski, who is the Chef d’Equipe for the U.S. Show Jumping Development program. “Seeing the development of riders from the junior level all the way through to the selection of our WEG team is a lot of fun. That’s where Washington plays a great role; there I can watch the next generation of riders who will likely go on to ride for the U.S. team.”

In memory of the 2017 Amateur-Owner Grand Champion, owned and ridden by Lindsay Maxwell, WIHS will introduce the Technicolor Award to be given to the horse who best exemplifies the classic hunter in aesthetic, jumping style, and presence in the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” division.

WIHS Prize List Now Available Online

Prize Money & Cash Bonuses

Total prize money of $518,000 will be awarded throughout the week, including the following special cash bonuses:

  • $10,000 to the Leading International Jumper rider
  • $10,000 to the Leading International Jumper rider 25 years of age or younger
  • $5,000 to the Leading Professional Hunter rider
  • $20,000 Young Jumper Championship Incentive Program

Judges and Officials

Technical Coordinator: Joseph Carnicom of Toledo, OH

Course Designers: Olaf Petersen Jr. (Jumper) of Munich, Germany and Alan Lohman (Hunter) Poolesville, MD

Hunter/Equitation Judges: Brian Lenehan of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, Mike Rosser of Southern Pines, NC, Steve Wall of Pinehurst, NC, and Anne Kursinski (Equitation) of Frenchtown, NJ

Jumper Ground Jury: Ralph Alfano, (President) of Wellington, FL, Neil O’Connor of Southampton, NY, and Foreign Member TBA

Footing Specialist: Karsten Koch (FEI, The Footing Firm) of Bremen, Germany

Stewards: Dan Reed (FEI Chief Steward) of Batavia, OH, Donna Rocchetti (USEF) of Falls, PA, Rich Herrera (PGEC) of Wellington, FL, and Glena Wirtanen (USEF) of Phoenix, MD

Schooling Supervisors/Assistant FEI Stewards: Maria Biancone of Roseland, NJ, Jean Bonsall of Saranac Lake, NY, Shawn Frazer of Huntersville, NC, Peter Lane of Wellington, FL, and Mary O’Connor of Southampton, NY

For more information on WIHS, please visit www.wihs.org.

Contact: Jennifer Wood
jwood@jumpmediallc.com