Emma Kurtz and Bit of Love (Shawn McMillen Photography)
Bit of Love Leads Small Regular Division
Lexington, KY – The first Regular Pony Hunter Championship title was decided Thursday in the Kentucky Horse Park’s Walnut Arena. The judging panel of Chance Arakelian, William Sparks, and Jeff Wirthman evaluated the Small Regular Hunter ponies as they completed the Model and Under Saddle phases of the competition as well as the field of 130 Medium Regular Hunter ponies to declare the winner of the US Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans.
The US Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans are determined by calculating the scores from the three phases of competition, the highest scoring pony of each height section will be declared champion of its section. Additionally, the highest scoring pony overall will be declared the week’s Grand Champion. The Model and Under Saddle phases will each count towards 25% of the overall score with the remaining 50% to be determined by the Over Fences Phase.
Small Regular Pony Hunter
Emma Kurtz (Hudson, OH) remains in excellent form at the 2013 US Pony Finals, currently sitting atop the standings in the Small Regular Pony Hunter Championship with Dr. Betsee Parker’s Bit of Love. She and the seven-year-old Welsh Pony Cross gelding started the day off by winning the Model phase on a score of 256.00. The pair then returned to the show ring to claim the blue ribbon in the Under Saddle phase with a score of 262.00 for a combined score of 518.00.
Lying in second place are Mimi Gochman (New York, NY) and David Gochman’s Rafael with a combined score of 509.00 following the first two phases. She and the 10-year-old Welsh Pony gelding scored a 251.00 in the Model phase to finish in third place then received a score of 258.00 for second-place finish in the Under Saddle phase.
Hana Bieling (Wellington, FL) and Kathryn McCarthy’s Canterbrook Prince Charming have a combined score of 507.50, putting them in third place. She and the eight-year-old Welsh Pony Cross gelding were second in the Model phase with a score of 255.00 and 10th in the Under Saddle phase with a score of 252.50.
Medium Regular Pony Hunter
Daisy Farish (Versailles, KY) rode Redfield Farm’s Sassafras Creek in an impressive effort at the 2013 US Pony Finals to win the Medium Regular Pony Hunter Championship with the 14-year-old Welsh Pony Cross mare with a remarkable total score of 1035.50.
“She is very good for this competition; she is very quiet,” Farish said of her mount ‘Sassy.’ “I usually don’t get nervous but I actually was this time,” she responded when asked about the pressure going into the arena last for the Over Fences phase.
With Sassafras Creek’s smooth rhythm, the pair made the course looking easy earning a score of 262.25 to win the final phase of the championship.
“The last line people had trouble with since the last fence was heading toward the in gate,” Farish explained, but the pair finished the course well receiving high scores from the judges.
While Farish does have another ride in the Small Regular Pony Hunter division, this may be her last US Pony Finals as she has been spending more time riding horses for the Junior Hunter divisions. If that is the case, she had an impressive finish to her Pony Hunter career.
Taylor St Jacques (Glenallen, VA) and Amanda Pennington’s Elegance took the Reserve Champion title with a score of 1011.00. She and the eight-year-old Welsh/Thoroughbred mare scored 257.50 in the Over Fences phase to finish second in the class.
Competition continues Friday with the Large Regular Pony Hunter divisions completing the Model and Under Saddle phases in the morning with the Small Regular Pony Hunter being crowned in the afternoon following the Over Fences phase.
By Kathleen Landwehr
To learn more about the 2013 US Pony Finals, visit: http://usef.org/_IFrames/breedsdisciplines/discipline/pony/ponyFinals.aspx.
For Results, Schedules and more, visit: http://usefconnect.com/ponyfinals/.