©ESI Photography. Abby Lefkowitz and Vermont Show Me The Gold jump their way to the overall Grand Championship in the Eaton & Berube Children’s Hunter Pony Finals.
SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (August 7, 2013) – When number 194 was called during the Grand Champion awards presentation this weekend, the look on Abby Lefkowitz’s face was one of sheer excitement, mixed with shades of surprise. After taking a few moments to realize that 194 was indeed her number, Lefkowitz, who hails from Scarsdale, New York, guided her own Vermont Show Me The Gold to be draped with top honors in the second annual Eaton & Berube Children’s Hunter Pony Finals, presented by Mona’s Monograms, at HITS Saugerties.
“I just kept thinking, ‘Is this really happening?’,” said Lefkowitz of her reaction to the win. “”I wouldn’t be here without the incredible support and hard work of several people, including my wonderful trainers Vanessa Roman and Audrey Feldman, our fantastic grooms, all my friends who supported me, and my loving parents. I’m still star struck.”
Lefkowitz and Vermont Show Me The Gold, who is affectionately called Derby around the barn, posted the top overall score of 82.7 to best all small, medium and large ponies in the Final. On their way to the overall title, the pair was consistently in the ribbons in the Large Pony division. They earned a score of 83 in the model for second, 82 under saddle for sixth and were second over fences with an 83.
“I have had him for two years and we just have a connection,” said Lefkowitz of the bond she has with her 10-year-old Thoroughbred/Welsh Pony Cross. “I always know that I am safe with him – he’s always a good boy for me. From here, I want to keep working hard and improving with him.”
Lefkowitz started riding at Boulder Brook in Scarsdale, New York with trainers Roman and Feldman when she was four years old.
“We couldn’t be happier,” said Feldman. “It can’t get much better than this. She has moved up from a small pony with us and when we found Derby, we couldn’t resist – he was wonderful today.”
Eaton & Berube Children’s Hunter Pony Finals competition got underway on Saturday with model and under saddle phases, concluding Sunday with an over fences phase. For overall Grand Champion, scores were calculated with the model worth 20%, the under saddle worth 30% and the over fences score worth 50%. The class took place on the popular Outside Course at HITS-on-the-Hudson with courses designed by Rian Beals of Saugerties, New York.
“This Final replicates the big pony finals and is such a nice start for kids who have ponies that aren’t ready to show at that level yet,” said Feldman of the Eaton & Berube Children’s Hunter Pony Finals. “This environment prepares them well for the next level and gives them the opportunity to show off their ponies in all three phases.”
Aside from exciting competition in the ring, the weekend’s festivities included an ice cream and cupcake social, as well as an exhibitor’s party at Puttin’ Plus, presented by Horse Flight, Friday night. In its second year, the Eaton & Berube Children’s Hunter Pony Finals, presented by Mona’s Monograms, is gaining momentum as a popular opportunity for children’s hunter pony riders and trainers alike. HITS and class sponsors are looking forward to a bright future for the event.
“This event is just one example of the HITS organization doing a great job promoting the development of young riders,” said Sue Berube, CFO of Eaton & Berube Insurance Agency. “It is an excellent opportunity for young pony riders, whether it is the largest-scale Finals event they will compete in, or helps them prepare for the future at the USEF National Pony Finals in Kentucky. We are honored to be involved with the HITS organization, and their promotion of the future generation of riders.”
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