Category Archives: Pony

Kingston and Truly Yours Awarded Overall Grand and Reserve Green Hunter Pony Titles

Emma Kurtz and Truly Yours (Shawn McMillen Photography)

Lexington, Ky. – Another day of competition at the US Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans saw two more championship titles decided on Friday. Emma Kurtz and Truly Yours collected Medium Green Hunter Pony honors, while Augusta Iwasaki and Kingston were named the Large Green Hunter Pony Champions. Both championship divisions completed the Over Fences phase on Friday, earning the final 50% for their overall score, after receiving 25% from both the Model and Under Saddle phases on Thursday. Following the completion of the Green Pony divisions, Kingston was named Overall Green Hunter Pony Grand Champion, while Truly Yours was the Reserve Grand Champion.

Medium Green Hunter Pony Championship

Kurtz (Hudson, Ohio) and Truly Yours, an eight-year-old Welsh Pony mare owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, were in third place heading into the final phase after earning 249.20 in the Model phase and 253.20 in the Under Saddle phase. A strong performance in the Over Fences phase gave the pair a score of 263.00 to finish the phase in first place and propelled them to the Medium Green Hunter Pony Champion title with an overall score of 1028.40.

“It was a nice course because it was set in-stride,” Kurtz, a US Pony Finals veteran, said of the Over Fences course. “She peeked down a little bit at the one jump, but the rest was perfect. She was so brave.”

Dr. Parker was extremely complimentary of Kurtz. “It’s a pleasure to support youth like Emma,” she said. “Emma tries so hard; she rides all the time. She rides many horses and is a very serious student.”

Augusta Iwasaki (Calabasas, Calif.) rode Small Suggestion to Reserve Champion honors with an overall score of 1046.80. She and the seven-year-old gelding of unknown breeding owned by Iwasaki and Elizabeth Reilly scored 247.27, 248.52, and 261.00 in the Model, Under Saddle, and Over Fences phases, respectively, to come in second in the championship division. The pair also added the Champion Owner/Rider title to their accolades.

The third-place ribbon in the Medium Green Hunter Pony Championship went to Samantha Palermo (Merritt Island, Fla.) and Vienna. She and her own eight-year-Welsh Pony mare received 236.60 in the Model phase, 260.46 in the Under Saddle phase, and 258.50 in the Over Fences phase for a final total of 1014.06.

The Best Turned Out Pony in the Medium Green section was Serafina’s Millenium, ridden by Hana Bieling. The Best Presented Model Pony was awarded to Two for the Bunny, ridden by Alexis Bauman.

Large Green Hunter Pony Championship

Iwasaki rode Ava Peck’s Kingston to top honors in the Large Green Hunter Pony Championship, finishing on a score of 992.77. She and the 12-year-old German Riding Pony gelding garnered scores of 251.65 in the Model phase and 261.67 in the Under Saddle phase on Thursday. The pair sealed the deal Friday evening by earning 266.74 in the Over Fences phase, winning the title by an impressive margin of over 34 points. To top off their performance, Kingston was also named Overall Green Hunter Pony Grand Champion.

“I’m very excited and very lucky to get to ride him,” Iwasaki said. “He is always very sweet; he’s just perfect always; he never takes a foot out of line.”

Ellia Giuliani (Middleburg, Va.) and Brighton Decidedly received the Reserve Champion Large Green Hunter Pony title with a score of 1012.45. She and Kelly Tellier’s seven-year-old Welsh/Thoroughbred gelding had scores of 237.30, 250.03, and 262.56 in the Model, Under Saddle, and Over Fences phases, respectively.

Emma Seving (Newtown Square, Pa.) and her own Captivating came in third in the Large Green Hunter Pony Championship with an overall score of 998.96. Seving and the seven-year-old Welsh Pony Cross gelding scored 248.70, 250.00, and 250.13 in the Model, Under Saddle, and Over Fences phases, respectively. The pair also claimed the Champion Owner/Rider title for the division.

The Best Turned Out Pony in the Large Green section was O’Henry, ridden by Darian Topolski. The Best Presented Model Pony was awarded to Miss Penny Lane, ridden by Sydney Flashman.

Vanessa Mazzoli and Find the Love (Shawn McMillen Photography)
Vanessa Mazzoli and Find the Love (Shawn McMillen Photography)

Medium Regular Hunter Pony Championship

After two phases of competition, Vanessa Mazzoli and Find the Love have taken the lead in the Medium Regular Hunter Pony Championship. Mazzoli (Rockford, Mich.) and her own 11-year-old German Riding Pony gelding captured first place with a score of 257.88 in the Model phase and 254.91 in the Under Saddle Phase for a total of 512.79. Claire Campbell (Cochranville, Pa.) and Madeline Schaefer’s Leon, a nine-year-old Welsh Pony gelding, sit in second with a total of 505.91, while Devin Seek (Ocala, Fla.) and Heaven’s Sake, a 12-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Bibby Hill, are in third with 505.67.

The US Hunter Pony Championships presented by Sallee Horse Vans continue Saturday with ponies in the Medium Regular Hunter Pony Championship completing their Over Fences phase to determine who will receive the National title.

The USEF Network presented by SmartPak will live stream competition from the Walnut and Alltech Arenas, courtesy of the USHJA Foundation. Tune in to the USEF Network for a complete schedule.

For live scoring, results, schedule, and competitor and hospitality information, go to

To learn more about the 2014 US Pony Finals, visit

From the USEF Communications Department

Iwasaki Sweeps Large Green Pony Hunters, Claims Grand Green Pony Hunter Championship

Augusta Iwasaki and Kingston.

Lexington, KY – August 7, 2015 – Entering the final phase of competition with two blue ribbons already under her belt, Augusta Iwasaki, aboard her trusty mount Kingston, had a target on her back as the one to beat in the Large Green Pony Hunters. Already a weekly champion in Thursday’s Small Regular Pony Hunter division, Iwasaki was hoping to add another 2015 U.S. Pony Finals win to her list of accolades.

As the last to go, she and the chestnut Kingston were faced with the task of surpassing the 1,012.450 score set by competitor Ellia Giuliani and Brighton Decidedly, which the pair easily crushed with their cumulative score of 1,046.8 to sweep all three classes of the division and claim the lead spot in the victory gallop.

Called “Prince” in the barn, Kingston will surely be treated as royalty tonight, as he not only carried Iwasaki to her second champion tricolor of the week, but also the title of Grand Green Champion. Their overall score was the highest of the 208 Green ponies in the hunt for the Small, Medium, and Large size-based divisions throughout the Finals.

“He is never wild; he is always very sweet. He’s just perfect, always. He never puts a foot out of line,” Iwasaki sung the pony’s praises. “I’m very excited and very lucky to get to ride him. I want to thank Ava Peck for letting me ride this pony. He’s so perfect.”

The 11-year-old rider from Calabasas, California, opted to ride Kingston, owned by Peck of Topanga, California, instead of one of her own family’s horses, which ultimately proved to be a smart move. The pair has been together since January.

“This is definitely my favorite part of the week so far. I’m excited to hang up my ribbons and put up my trophies in my room when I go home. This was for sure worth the trip,” the young champion smiled. “The competition is one of my favorite things here; it’s much more competitive than at home. I think that the better competition makes me ride better.”

With one more pony still to ride this week, Iwasaki will try her hand at one more division, hoping to earn herself a third reason to celebrate in the Medium Regular Pony Hunters with Somekindawonderful.

Giuliani and Brighton Decidedly, owned by Morgan Munz out of Califon, New Jersey, maintained their reserve spot in the Large Green Pony Hunters as the only other pair to break the 1,000 point mark. Rider-owner Emma Seving and Captivating captured the third position, followed by Christina Judy’s Recess from Chesterland, Ohio, ridden by Camryn Halley, in the fourth spot. Rounding out the top six were Top That, owned by Emily Elik-Burtard of Ixonia, Wisconsin, and ridden by Giavanna Rinaldi, and San Francisco-based Pretty Penny Farm’s Splendid, with Ava Leraris in the saddle.

Emma Kurtz and Truly Yours
Emma Kurtz and Truly Yours

As the over fences portion of the Medium Green Hunter Pony division commenced, Emma Kurtz knew that she would have to navigate Truly Yours to a high-scoring ride to overcome her 21-point deficit behind Sophia Calamari and Unforgettable, the leaders after the model and hack portions of competition, and to jump from third position to the champion spot. Kurtz and Truly Yours ultimately did just that, impressing the judges to earning a 263-point score, the highest score of the over fences class, to secure the championship honors more than 10 points ahead of the next-closest finisher with 1,028.4 points.

“It is always such an amazing opportunity to get to ride the ponies I do. It is just so much fun. I love how family-friendly Pony Finals is – they make it really fun for everyone,” Kurtz commented.

Dr. Betsee Parker, out of Middleburg, Virginia, owns Truly Yours and has owned many ponies and supported numerous riders throughout the past years, but was quick to note Kurtz’s special place in her heart. Kurtz’s win marks a new milestone for Parker: her eighth consecutive year winning a division championship, an accomplishment no other owner has achieved.

“I have been very blessed to have Emma,” Dr. Parker said of the young talent. “She has had several champions with me. I feel very fortunate to have her and her mom. We brought her out to the George Morris clinic, and George really liked Emma. The first person who is going to hear about this win is George Morris.”

Dr. Parker added, “She is a very serious student. She tries so hard, and rides so many ponies and horses. I think she has a very bright future ahead of her. It has been really fun to see the children grow up.”

Regarding her future, at least for the next few years, the 15-year-old plans to continue working with green ponies and horses, hopefully racking up more accomplishments in the process.

“It is really fun to bring them along, see them excel and see them become the ponies they are today,” Kurtz said.

Clinching the reserve position was Iwasaki aboard her family’s Small Suggestion. Third place went to Vienna, piloted and owned by Samantha Palermo out of Merritt Island, Florida, followed by Calamari and Unforgettable, owned by Forget Me Not Farm in Wellington, Florida, in fourth position. Olivia Ferro in the irons aboard Anderin’s Momento for Linda Evans of South Hadley, Massachusetts, and Taylor St. Jacques with the ride for Danielle Roskens of South Lyon, Michigan, on Motown Mini swept the last two top six spots.

The Medium Pony Hunters kicked off their first day of competition Friday morning with over 150 ponies parading into the Walnut Ring for the model and under saddle classes. Vanessa Mazzoli of Rockford, Michigan, and her own Find the Love took the lead in the division with two top placings, concluding the opening day of competition with 512.79 points. She clinched the first place in the model, as well as the second place in the under saddle for a strong lead. Claire Campbell and Leon, owned by Madeline Schaefer of Westminster, Maryland, follow in the second place with 505.91 points, while Devin Seek and Heaven’s Sake, owned by Bibby Hill of Reddick, Florida, are only a hair shy with 505.67 points.

Zone 4 Pony Jumper Team Captures the Gold in Team Competition

Down the road in the Alltech Arena, 34 Pony Jumper riders took center stage, with nine teams facing off in the Pony Jumper Team Championship. Riding in championship format, competing over two rounds of courses, it was Zone 4 that came away with the 2015 Team Gold. Riders Charles Smith, Chloe Farmham, Hallie Rush and Anna Reisling left nothing to chance as they overtook the competition to end the two rounds of competition with only 20 faults to their team name.

“Every single one of these riders contributed to this championship equally,” said Katie Maxwell, Chef d’Equipe of Zone 4. “I watched them grow as riders from each round. It was just phenomenal to watch them learn and explore the process and achieve what they did.”

Zone 4 didn’t kick off the competition with a strong lead, earning a team total of 20 for the first round total, but they returned for round two with their eyes set firmly on the top finish.

Charles Smith, 17, and Venice rode to a faultless second round score to set a trend for his fellow teammates. Chloe Farnham, 15, and Cookies & Cream duplicated his effort, while the youngest rider of the team, Hallie Rush, 12, rode to a four-fault score. It was 17-year-old Anna Reisling’s clear effort that confirmed their winning point total as she laid down the third clean round aboard Blue Me Away.

“It’s a rush for sure; you feel it out there, and then when [your team members] go in, you feel it,” Smith said. “I think that competing as a team is more difficult than the individual competition. When you are on a team, you are rooting for everybody; you want to see every person do well. We each have to put in the rounds in order to win, and it makes it that much more exciting.”

As the second round came to a close, a hush fell over the Alltech Arena as it was announced that there would be a jump-off. Maxwell admitted that she had lost count of the points by that time, but when the announcer said that it was for the two 28-fault teams, the cheers erupted from the riders, trainers and parents as it dawned on them that Zone 4 won its third Team Gold in four years.

“What a big opportunity this is, and having such an amazing team to go through this with, it has been such a wonderful time and experience,” Rush smiled as she held her trophy.

2015 marks Rush’s second time competing in the Pony Jumpers; however, the young talent is going into the Individual Championship on Saturday as the top ranked rider of the team, with only four faults.

For teammate Farnham, the pony jumpers were a change of scenery from competing in the pony hunters at the USEF Pony Finals. After feeling the surge of adrenaline and the taste of victory, Farnham admitted that she is never looking back. With rescue pony Cookies & Cream, Farnham plans to compete in many more events in the future.

The gold medal proved extra special for one rider on the team, 17-year-old Reisling. With her birthday approaching in November, her days as a junior are limited; however, it was on her bucket list to make it to the Pony Finals and compete for Zone 4 before aging out of the division.

“I didn’t get to do the championship when I was 13, but now, in my last junior year, my trainer asked me what I wanted to do, and I had my heart set on making it to the championships,” Reisling explained. “It is so exciting going out there, and there is so much energy packed into a little body.”

She continued, “It is so different than showing in the hunters. You have pressure lifted off of your shoulders. It isn’t about how the pony looks, but rather the athleticism. You have to focus on lifting your pony off the ground.”

It worked out to be the perfect situation for Reisling and Blue Me Away, the spunky gelding whose trademark move is starting out the course with a few strong bucks and cow kicks. His antics do not bother Reisling, who refers to his quirks as “personality.”

Blue just recovered from colic surgery after being found only a few months prior in a field with no pulse. Thanks to an insurance policy, he was rushed into emergency colic surgery where he pulled off a remarkable recovery.

“They removed 10 feet of intestine and he just popped right off the table,” Reisling laughed. “A few months later we were jumping him around, and now he is here.”

Although Zone 4 rode cloud nine after the announcement of their gold medal win, the silver medal was tied between Zone 2 and the combined Zone 9/10, both with 28 points.

Zone 2 chose to send in Claire Jones and Proven Therapy, but four faults at the fifth obstacle would leave the door open. Stephanie Don and Joel followed consecutively, putting in their fourth clear ride of the competition, and earning Zone 9/10 the silver medal, while Zone 2 took the bronze.

Don is currently tied with Elizabeth McDougald and Knock My Sox Off going into Saturday’s Individual Championship, each with zero faults.

The 2015 USEF Pony Finals competition continues Saturday with the Medium Pony Hunter over fences classes beginning at 9 a.m. in the Walnut Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park. The Pony Jumpers will conclude Saturday evening in the Alltech Arena with the individual final round and the farewell class.

To learn more about the USEF Pony Finals, please visit For live results, please visit

Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

Augusta Iwasaki and Bit of Laughter Small Pony Hunter Champions at 2015 USEF Pony Finals

Augusta Iwasaki and Bit of Laughter.

Lexington, KY – August 6, 2015 – As the over fences phase of the Small Pony Hunters got underway Thursday, all eyes turned to Augusta Iwasaki and Bit of Laughter. They ousted the top competitors to move up the ranks and capture the championship with an outstanding over fences effort, earning the high scoring round to move from the 11th position to the pinnacle of the leader board.

Although Iwasaki and Bit of Laughter, owned by Iwasaki & Reilly of California, kicked off the competition with 10 contenders ahead of them, with 50 percent of the overall scores tabulated from the over fences class, the tricolor was in the air with the young competitors vying for the coveted honor.

Bit of Laughter donned the championship ribbon in 2011 with rider Lindsey Levine in the saddle for the Small Green Pony Hunters; however, this was Iwasaki’s first time showing the talented pony at the 2015 USEF Pony Finals. The young talent, hailing from Calabasas, Calif., has worked to form a partnership with ‘Ceto’ for two years, and it all culminated with their exemplary performance over fences.

“I’m very excited about this win,” Iwasaki expressed. “My favorite part of today was our jumping trip, and it was probably one of my best rounds with this pony.”

Iwasaki admitted that the chestnut can allude to a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality, but he was on his best behavior Thursday.

“He has two sides; he is either really nice or really grumpy, but he’s been really good lately,” Iwasaki laughed. “He doesn’t really like other ponies, but he likes me when I give him treats. I think he likes being at the horse show much more than he likes being at home.”

The 11-year-old rider made the trek east all the way from Calabasas, Calif. for her third consecutive U.S. Pony Finals, and she seems to always enjoy her time in Kentucky. While the majority of the riders and spectators were averse to the constant rain that plagued the day, Iwasaki contrarily welcomed the change to her usual climate. Taking home a few top honors certainly can’t hurt the experience, either.

“I live in California, but I like Kentucky a lot. It is a lot more green and wet,” the young winner laughed.

Iwasaki closed out the competition with 1033.29 points after earning the high scores of 90, 86.5 and 92 from the judging panel. Mimi Gochman followed 10 points behind, making a nostalgic run for the reserve championship with Love Me Tender, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, Virginia.

Love Me Tender has been a part of the Gochman family for nearly five years, and 10-year-old Mimi was the first to have the ride out of the sisters.

Mimi Gochman and Love Me Tender
Mimi Gochman and Love Me Tender

“When she was a baby, she jumped really hard and really high,” Mimi elaborated. “In the beginning, she was green, and throughout the years she has become better and better. By the time Betsee bought her, my sister Sophie was riding her. This year, Sophie wanted to ride Chester [Bit of Love] at Pony Finals, so Betsee asked me if I would ride her. I was thrilled! I knew it would be nice memories for when I used to ride her.”

What Mimi did not expect was that she would earn her first rosette at Pony Finals with one of the first ponies she ever showed.

“She was really great, and I think I know her better now than I did in the past,” Mimi patted ‘Princess,’ as she is known in the barn. “She has a big stride, a low head and a good jump, all in all it is the perfect combination, and it was so much fun to ride her. It is awesome to win the reserve championship; I have never had a tricolor at Pony Finals.”

Iwasaki did not stop at besting a field of 120 small ponies. Earlier in the day, Iwasaki took the early lead in the Large Green Pony Hunters with Kingston, owned by Ava Peck of Topanga, Calif., outshining 86 entrants to earn the top spot in both the model and under saddle portions during the first day of divisional competition. Their overall score of 513.320 points swept them into first position, securing the pair as the last to ride Friday during the over fences phase, the final fraction of competition.

“I am very excited. I really wanted to win this for Ava, his owner, I want to thank her because she is so sweet for letting me ride him; I love him. He is very quiet and sweet and calm,” Iwasaki said.

Although Iwasaki will have a slight advantage as the leader headed into Friday’s class, she has some stiff competition still in the hunt for the top prize. The second through sixth positions are all within a few points of each other, with sixth position less than 13 points behind Iwasaki and Kingston. Garavani, ridden by Devin Seek and owned by Ashley Vail Aycox of Jones Creek, Georgia, sits in second, while Emma Kurtz in the irons aboard Oliver Twist, owned by Sharrone Peters of Dearborn, Michigan, clinched the temporary third. Ava Leraris and Splendid, owned by San Francisco-based Pretty Penny Farm, hold the fourth spot, followed by owner-rider Michelle Haskins aboard Until Tomorrow, and New York City-based Juliette Mark’s Lead Story, ridden by Lizzy McCrady, taking the final two top six spots.

Iwasaki and Kingston were not the only double blue winners Thursday, as Unforgettable, modeled and hacked by Sophia Calamari and owned by Forget Me Not Farm in Wellington, Florida, also impressed the judges during both phases of competition to earn consecutive blue ribbons in the Medium Green Pony Hunters. The pair took a commanding lead with their cumulative score of 523.560 points, nearly 20 points ahead of the next-closest competitor, with the over fences portion still to take place Friday.

Currently sitting in second position is Jenna Field and Apricot Brandy, owned by Victoria Redman of Ocala, Fla., trailed by Emma Kurtz and Truly Yours, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, in third place. Samantha Palermo and her own Vienna, Iwasaki and her family’s Small Suggestion, and Devin Seek and Dance with Me, owned by Bibby Hill of Reddick, Fla., hold the current fourth through sixth spots, respectively.

The Regular Pony Hunters continue Friday, with the Medium Regular Pony Model beginning at 7 a.m., followed by the under saddle. The Medium Green and Large Green Pony Hunters will commence their over fences as they compete for the division championships. The Pony Jumpers will conclude the day with the Individual Phase II and Team Championships getting underway in the Alltech Arena beginning at 4:30 p.m.

To learn more about the USEF Pony Finals, please visit For live results, please visit

Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

Taylor St. Jacques & Glynhafan Red Kestral Take Large Regular Pony Hunter Tricolor

Taylor St. Jacques and Glynhafan Red Kestral.

Lexington, KY – August 6, 2014 – For 16-year-old Taylor St. Jacques, competing at the 2015 USEF Pony Finals is bittersweet. After four years of showing in the prestigious event, St. Jacques has decided to turn the reins over to a new team of riders, but first she closed out the competition with a strong finish in the Large Regular Pony Hunters, standing poised in the winner’s circle to accept the division’s championship with the Welsh gelding Glynhafan Red Kestral, owned by Peacock Ridge.

“I am so excited!” St. Jacques smiled. “We all teamed up with this pony at the beginning of Wellington this year and kept saying that he has such great potential, and we kept working with him and figuring him out. Every time we went in the ring it got better and better and better. He is really a special pony.”

St. Jacques worked with the Rizvi family during her winter-stay in Wellington, Florida, riding the pony, affectionately referred to as ‘KP,’ every week. Since the end of the winter circuit, she has only had the opportunity to ride him twice, since he is stabled in Connecticut and St. Jacques lives in Virginia.

Knowing the pressure that rested on her shoulders, ranked as the sixth rider overall prior to the over fences, St. Jacques knew she had to stay unruffled in order to earn the top call.

“The thing that I keep in my head during Pony Finals is that the over fences part is the most important, so you still have a great chance if you’re in the top 20,” she explained. “Going in I was thinking to myself, ‘OK, I know how to ride this pony, and we are a great team. We can figure this out. As long as I stay smooth, we got this.'”

And so they did. The pair took the top award in the over fences phase to take the lead with 260.61 points. Their cumulative score of 1,025.39 points put them 2.76 points ahead of first-day leader, Morgan Ward with Dr. Betsee Parker’s Enjoy the Laughter. The grey gelding placed as the bridesmaid for the second consecutive year, falling just shy of the championship that seems just out of reach. Third place overall was awarded to Abigail Brayman and Dreamland, for their over fences score of 253.10 points to boost them from the 11th position with a final cumulative score of 999.93 points.

St. Jacques laughed about Glynhafan Red Kestral’s disposition. “He likes to over-exaggerate and be like ‘Look at me; look how great I am!’ He tries his hardest over the jumps. He has such an incredible personality, and he is so beautiful overall. He always wants to be told how great he is. If you tell him he’s bad, he gets mad at you.”

Glynhafan Red Kestral will now pass to Farrah Rizvi, the daughter of Peacock Ridge’s PJ Rizvi.

“I think they have everything it takes,” St. Jacques said. “He is a great pony and she is a wonderful rider-they have all the makings to be the next pony superstars.”

Although Pony Finals are over after this year for the 16-year-old, St. Jacques plans to continue competing in the big equitation classes, as well as the jumpers, which she has recently become involved with. She was nothing but one large smile and two dimples as she patted KP and posed with the array of ribbons.

“I just love it here, being around all the horses and ponies and the people. Everyone is so kind in the horse world,” she concluded.

Devin Seek and Woodlands Polar Bear
Devin Seek and Woodlands Polar Bear

Taking home the rosette in the Small Green Pony Hunter division was Bibby Hill’s Woodlands Polar Bear, ridden to victory by Devin Seek of Ocala, Florida. Seek and the little grey gelding began the day in sixth position, but they put up the strongest over fences scores of the division to overtake the early leaders and claim the championship title with their cumulative marks of 990.550 points.

Champion last year in the Large Regular Pony Hunter division with Hudson, Seek was visibly excited to have repeated her efforts to the tune of another tricolor.

“Coming back after a win last year with Hudson, I knew that it helped my chances. Bibby [Hill] has helped me a lot and has awesome ponies for me to be able to ride, so I knew that if I did what I did last year and had a good ride, that I would have a good chance. It all worked out,” Seek commented.

The 15-year-old was quick to praise ‘Polar Bear’ and attributed his cool, calm and collected nature as a notable factor contributing to their place atop the leader board.

“He is the barn favorite. All the little kids love him because he is so social and couldn’t care less. He’ll do anything. The short stirrup kids ride him, and he will walk through the water in the cross country course,” Seek said. “He is so simple-minded, especially for a green pony. He’s only 7 or 8 years old. All he cares about is doing his job.”

Reserve champion in the Small Green Pony Hunter was Jessie Spade’s entry With Applause, with Sophia Calamari in the irons. The runner-up pair put up a good fight and finished less than a point behind the leader with a score of 989.660 points.

The Regular Small Pony division got underway Wednesday, and leading the standings going into Thursday’s over fences rounds is Maple Leaf Opulence, ridden by Hunter Champey and owned by MDHT Equestrian LLC out of Far Hills, New Jersey. The leading pair finished the day with two top placings under their belt, having earned the second place ribbon in the model, followed by the sixth place in the under saddle, to accumulate a total of 510.03 points.

Less than half a point behind with a score of 509.70 points in the current reserve rank is New York City-based Mimi Gochman with Love Me Tender, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, Virginia.

It was Ashley Schneider and Falling Moon Huckleberry that captured the blue ribbon in the model. It was an emotional win for the 10-year-old as she stroked her pony’s blaze. Tears came to her eyes as she smiled and spoke of the chestnut, and their first experience competing at the U.S. Pony Finals.

“I have been riding him since last April, and we have gotten to know each other pretty well,” Schneider said. “I think it is his markings that really make him stand out. He also has such a strong personality; he is very playful.

“Winning a ribbon at my first Pony Finals means so much, and I never expected it. I am in shock right now. This pony means so much to me; to be here with him and win, it’s so exciting.”

Chicago’s Olivia Markman and Benlea Mizzou or ‘Mazzy’ took the top call in the Small Regular Pony Under Saddle, finishing just ahead of Gochman and Love Me Tender. Markman received Benlea Mizzou as a birthday present last November, and the 10-year-old could not stop smiling as she talked about his standout qualities.

Mazzy is known for nuzzling Markman, as well as drinking the occasional Gatorade in the barn. His mischievous personality stems from his love for his rider, even whinnying for her the moment she walks through the barn door.

“I know he’s really cute, and he is a really good jumper, so we are looking forward to tomorrow,” Markman said. “This is my first year competing, and it is really exciting to do so well. I qualified and thought that I would go; I had no idea how I would do. It would be crazy to get a championship, but we are having fun!”

The Small Pony Hunters kick off Thursday, with the Medium Green Pony Model beginning at 7 a.m., followed by the Large Green Pony Model. The under saddle classes for each division are slated to run from 8 a.m. until shortly after noon, when the Small Regular Pony Hunters will commence their over fences.

To learn more about the USEF Pony Finals, please visit For live results, please visit

Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

Enjoy the Laughter and With Applause Kick Off Opening Day of 2015 USEF Pony Finals

Morgan Ward and Enjoy the Laughter took the first day lead in Large Pony division at the 2015 USEF Pony Finals.

Lexington, KY – August 4, 2015 – Morgan Ward is no newcomer to the USEF Pony Finals, and although she had not planned to attend the 2015 edition of the competition, she was recently presented with an offer she could not refuse. Dr. Betsee Parker asked Ward to ride Enjoy the Laughter, and on the opening day of the competition, the duo did not disappoint, winning first place in the Large Pony Model, and racking up enough points to lead the way on opening day.

“I just started riding him a couple of times at home, and shortly after they asked me to show him,” Ward explained. “I was told that he always wins the model, so it was my good point. He is a beautiful pony overall.”

Ward continued, “There were a lot of ponies out there, so it felt great to be able to win. I was a little bit nervous because Dr. Parker has a lot of ponies on hand, and having her ask me is a great opportunity. I had a good feeling going in. Hopefully we keep it up for the over fences phase.”

At 17 years old, Ward is bittersweet about her eighteenth birthday next week, knowing that she will be closing a successful chapter in her life to begin her career as a professional rider.

“It’s sad in a way because I have so many junior rides, but I am going professional next year and I cannot wait to start that life,” Ward elaborated. “I was not going to come at all this year, but then Scott [Stewart] asked me to show for Dr. Parker and my sister [Lindsey Ward] asked me because she has a Large Green Pony. It is still a good time being here.”

Ward currently sits atop the leader board in the first position, just ahead of Emma Kurtz and All My Love, also owned by Dr. Betsee Parker. Ward leads with 519.35 points, with Kurtz hot on her heels with 513.36 points. The final division standings for the large ponies boils down to tomorrow’s over fences classes, which kick off beginning at 11 a.m. in the Walnut Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Ward explained, “I feel confident going into the over fences because he rides a lot like my junior hunters. He goes slow, has a big step, jumps great and has expression, so now it is on me.”

Kurtz captured the third place in the Large Pony Model, as well as the eighth place in the under saddle to earn enough points to return as the penultimate rider tomorrow afternoon.

It was first-time U.S. Pony Finals competitor Katherine Kemps, of Austin, Texas, who captured the blue ribbon during the under saddle with Occhio. Kemps is making her first appearance as an exhibitor, and she exuded confidence as she gushed over Occhio, the bay pony who clinched the first place during the Large Pony Under Saddle.

“He is probably my favorite pony that I have every ridden,” Kemps said. “He is super sweet and is probably one of the most loving animals I have ever met. He hugs my groom, Manny, every morning.”

Kemps continued, “I am really excited right now. It hasn’t set in yet; to win at Pony Finals is very exciting. It has been a year and a half now of working with Occhio, but he really stands out. I think he just has his own way of moving. He is so calm every time I am on him. He is so well put together.”

Currently, Katie Ray and Rockaway, owned by Ramble On Farm of Malvern, Pennsylvania, sit in the third position going into Wednesday’s over fences and division championship, while New York’s Lily Ezrow and Empire’s Victory are fourth. Whitney McKinley of Macon, Georgia, and Just My Style sit in the fifth place, and Taylor St. Jacques with Glynhafan Re Kestral, owned by Peacock Ridge LLC of Greenwich, Connecticut, round out the top six.

Sophia Calamari Duplicates Efforts to Return to Winner’s Circle in Small Green Pony Hunters

In the Small Green Pony division, Sophia Calamari, no stranger to the U.S. Pony Finals winner’s circle, rode With Applause, owned by Jessie Spade of Terrell, North Carolina, to two high-ranking finishes in the model and hack portions of the division. The pair earned the first place in the under saddle and the red ribbon in the model to secure the spot at the top of the leader board headed into the second day of competition, a situation with which Calamari is all too familiar.

Sophia Calamari and With Applause
Sophia Calamari and With Applause

Last year, 14-year-old Calamari, of New Milford, Pennsylvania, rode her own pony, Smitten, to near identical placings in the Small Green Pony classes, and eventually took the overall prize. Now, her seventh trip to Lexington for the Finals, the young rider has picked up a new ride in With Applause, but as of yesterday, that was not the case.

‘Colby,’ as he is known in the barn, was pegged to be ridden by his owner in the Finals this year, but an unfortunate injury prior to the start of competition led to the need for a replacement rider, and luckily Calamari was available. Although she picked up the ride last minute, Calamari had seen the pony go before and came into the day with some knowledge on his way of going.

“I met him in Florida this year, and watched him go a lot in the Greens. He seemed like a really, really sweet pony. I was attracted to his movement and the easy way he goes around, he just looks happy all the time,” Calamari commented.

Regardless of the rider, it is clear that Colby is a once-in-a-lifetime pony, and his owner does not take that for granted.

Spade said, “He is such a good pony, and if you ever get the chance to own him, keep him for as long as you can. I can always count on him. Even though I’m not riding, it’s great to see him win with someone else. My parents are hilarious; they fight over him all the time, saying ‘I wanted him’ and ‘No, I wanted him first.’ It’s so funny.”

As Small Green Pony Champion last year, Calamari was visibly excited to have another shot at the tricolors for the second year in a row.

“It feels amazing, and I hope we can duplicate our results again. I’m definitely feeling confident and excited, and am so glad to have the opportunity to ride this pony here – it means a lot to me,” Calamari said.

Taking the blue ribbon ahead of Calamari and With Applause in the model phase was Caroline Passarelli, of High Falls, New York, in the irons aboard Morgan Ward’s Cabana Boy. The 14-year-old Passarelli rode to a top six finish last year in the Smalls, and is hoping to improve upon her performance this year with her new mount.

“I’ve only ever ridden him one other time, last week at HITS Saugerties, so I’m new to him, but he is really fun and tries his hardest. He is amazing, thinks very highly of himself, and knows that when the judge comes by that he needs to stand and look pretty,” Passarelli said of the pony.

Passarelli was asked just a few short weeks ago by the Ward family, who had a winner of their own earlier in the day, to ride the pony, and she eagerly said yes. Only 5 years old, the small pony certainly acts his age outside the ring, according to Passarelli, but turns on his game once inside the ring.

“It is like playing with a little kid – he licks your face, he bites the reins, bites me, in a playful way! He is so fun and has a huge personality,” the young champion noted, “but once we are in the ring he is very excited and brave, especially for just turning 5.”

Currently sitting in first and fifth overall, respectively, Calamari and Passarelli will ride their ponies against more than 40 other competitors in the over fences section of the Small Green Pony division Wednesday to try and claim the top honor. Libbie Gordon and Glenhaven Astoria, owned by Parker Peacock of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, currently sit in second place, followed by Augusta Iwasaki and Calabasas, owned by California-based Iwasaki & Reilly’s Small Addition, in third position. Maddie Stiles and her own Royal Moment earned enough points to put them in fourth ahead of Passarelli, with Devin Seek aboard Woodlands Polar Bear, owned by Bibby Hill of Reddick, Florida, finishing in the top six. The class is scheduled to take place at approximately 4:45 in the afternoon, following the conclusion of the Large Regular Pony division.

The Small Pony Hunters kick off tomorrow, with the Small Pony Model beginning at 7 a.m., followed by the under saddle portion around 8 a.m.

To learn more about the USEF Pony Finals, please visit

Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

Hannah Dodd and Blink of an Eye Capture Pony Jumper Championship

Hannah Dodd and Blink of an Eye.

Hannah Dodd will be going home from the Devon Horse Show with much more than prize from the country fair and the famous Devon fudge. Competing at the historic event for the first time at just 13 years old, Dodd piloted her talented mount Blink of an Eye to the Pony Jumper Championship after winning the $2,500 Pony Jumper Classic.

Sixteen ponies competed in the Dixon Oval during Sunday night’s highlight event, and five advanced to the jump-off with clear efforts over the first course. Maya Lovdal was the first to return with Miracles Happen, but a rail at one of the tall verticals incurred four faults in 35.389 seconds, which would only be good enough for fifth place.

Elizabeth McDougald was the pathfinder during the tiebreaker, clearing the short course in a time of 34.143 seconds with Knock My Sox Off. Emily Schnebel tried to catch McDougald with Suspicious Minds, but as she raced to the last fence it hit the ground for a four-fault effort in 33.673 seconds for fourth place.

Prima Rose Bonaventura also tried to beat McDougald aboard Just One Look, and while the pair had the time, a rail at the double combination cost them four faults. Their time of 33.122 seconds would be good enough for the third place award.

It was the last in the class that would prove to be the best of the night. Hannah Dodd picked up a quick gallop to the first fence with Blink of an Eye and never held back. Slicing the fences and sharply cutting the turns, the duo raced over the final obstacle in a time of 33.792 seconds to take home the victory over McDougald.

“I think a lot of my time gets shaved off because I land and I try to go out as fast as I possibly can,” said Dodd. “I try to keep my momentum through the turns too. I work a lot on trying to control him while still going quickly. I thought the courses were really nice here.”

With Sunday night’s victory and a sixth place ribbon earlier in the day, Dodd and Blink of an Eye captured the division’s championship award, while McDougald and Knock My Sox Off’s second place finish paired with a win on Saturday earned them the reserve championship.

Dodd’s skillful ride with Blink of an Eye not only helped them win the Pony Jumper Championship, but they were also presented with the Pony Jumper Style Award sponsored by Kathryn Lily Equestrian, given to the pony jumper rider who exhibits the best classic jumper style of riding.

“This is my first time at Devon,” expressed Dodd. “I thought the show is really nice. I love the footing. I love everything about it like the location and all of the people here. Everyone’s been very nice.”

Dodd has been riding Blink of an Eye for two years and hopes to compete with him at the U.S. Pony Finals later this year at the Kentucky Horse Park. “He’s very funny,” she laughed. “We call him a drama pony, because he likes to throw little dramas all the time. He likes to flick his head overdramatically a lot.”

Dodd concluded, “I’ve always been really into my horses and try to give them lots of love and support for how much they’ve done for me.”

The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair will continue on Monday with the NAL Adult Jumper Classic taking center stage in the evening. For more information about the show and complete results, visit

Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

D.C.’s “Cutest Sport” Is on the Road to the Washington International Horse Show

WASHINGTON – May 20, 2015 – The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) is pleased to announce the wildly popular WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series, presented by Charles Owen, will be off and running again in 2015. The entertaining event features pint-sized jockeys in colorful silks racing the cutest, fluffiest Shetland Ponies to the cheers of spectators of all ages.

The first stop in the series will be the historic Devon Horse Show and Country Fair in Devon, Pa., May 24 and May 25, and it will conclude with the finals at WIHS in October at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Introduced in 2013 and expanded last year, the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase races, dubbed “D.C.’s newest — and cutest — sport” by Gillian Brockell of the Washington Post, are run like professional racing events with a bugler, race caller and photo finish, but in miniature — the jockeys are youngsters from seven to 14 mounted on traditional Shetland Ponies racing over a course of mini-hurdles.

For those unable to attend in person, the Devon races will be streamed live by EQSportsNet ( and archived on

“We’ve had an overwhelming response to the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Series,” said WIHS Executive Director Bridget Love Meehan. “It’s been so much fun to create and build a fresh, fun and exciting event for spectators of all ages. Pony racing is also a great way for kids to get into equestrian sports. Not too many people know that Kent Farrington, one of the world’s top-ranked show jumpers and a frequent competitor at Washington, used to race ponies!”

Well-established in the United Kingdom, pony racing is growing in popularity in the U.S., thanks in part to Maryland-based U.S. Pony Racing, LLC (USPR), organizer of the WIHS exhibition series, which runs flat and jumping pony races at events throughout the region, including at Pimlico.

Before entering the USPR program, ponies are evaluated for their suitability and every child is fully prepared for race day. “We don’t want [the ponies] to be little race horses, we want them to be good ponies that kids can ride,” said Regina Welsh, USPR founder and director. “We want well-rounded kids and well-rounded ponies.”

Ongoing sponsor Charles Owen is no newcomer to pony racing. The Wrexham-based helmet maker has been a significant supporter of pony racing in the U.K. since 2005.

“Charles Owen is delighted to continue its support of the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series,” said Roy Burek, Managing Director of Charles Owen. “With our long association with pony racing in the U.K., we’re especially excited to be a part of its growth in the U.S. Devon and Washington offer an ideal showcase for this sport and we encourage equestrians and non-equestrians alike to come out to experience and enjoy it.”

The 57th annual Washington International Horse Show will be held October 20-25, 2015, at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit

About the Washington International Horse Show (

Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show attracts more than 26,000 spectators to the six-day show, which includes Olympic-level competition along with community and charity events. More than 500 top horses and riders come to D.C. from all over the globe to jump for more than a half a million dollars in prize money. Event highlights include the Puissance high jump competition on Military Night (Friday), the $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, a World Cup qualifier (Saturday night) and Kids’ Day (Saturday), a free, fun and educational community event. The Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition and is recognized as a Top 25 Horse Show by the North American Riders Group. WIHS is rated CSI4*-W by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the international governing body for horse sports.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Dermott Lennon Leaps to Victory on Last Day of Royal Windsor 2015

Dermott Lennon.

May 17 2015 – The fifth and final day of Royal Windsor Horse Show 2015 saw an unprecedented number of people walk through the Windsor gates for their last chance to watch the equestrian extravaganza in the private grounds of Windsor Castle. The crowds were treated to a thrilling finale in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix with last year’s champion Chester Weber retaining his title while Ireland’s Dermott Lennon also made a victorious return to the show to claim the CS13* Alltech Grand Prix in front of pack.


Having not competed at Royal Windsor Horse Show for 10 years, Irishman Dermott Lennon’s return resulted in him etching his name in the prestigious event’s history books by winning the Alltech Grand Prix for the Kingdom of Bahrain Trophy. Partnering the consistent Loughview Lou-Lou, he thrilled the crowd with the kind of performance expected of a former World Champion.

“I’d watched [Britain’s] Yazmin Pinchen go and she rode a great round,” said Dermott. “My main concern was getting over the planks, but once I’d done that I was able to go.”

His tactics paid off and he was able to pinch back three seconds, holding on to the lead over eventual second placed Robert Whitaker [Catwalk IV] for Britain.

“I always love to come to Britain and win,” Dermott joked. “It’s a great and famous show with classes for every type and shape of horse I think.”

Home rider Laura Renwick secured her second win of the week by claiming the remaining three-star international competition of the show. Riding Rembrandt Blue, Laura set such a pace that, despite collecting eight seconds in penalties, she still managed to hold a lead over France’s Michel Hecart [Toupie de la Roque].

The USA’s Emma Heise rounded off a week of strong results with a win in the Royal Windsor one-star international Grand Prix riding Viper Vrombautshoeve Z. Based in Warwickshire with Olympic Gold Medallists Laura Kraut (USA) and Nick Skelton (GBR), Emma, who bettered seven rivals in the jump-off, has enjoyed her time at the iconic venue.

“I really like it here,” she said. “It’s been so interesting seeing so many disciplines and competitions we just don’t get in the US.”

Chester Weber
Chester Weber


In a dramatic finale to the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, last year’s horse four-in-hand winner, Chester Weber from the USA – in second place overnight – coupled professional nerve with outstanding driving skill to retain his title with a back-to-back win.

Second last to go in the cones phase, it looked for all the world as if he would produce the first double clear; however, going just over the allowed time, he picked up 0.18 penalty. In the winning position and ready to take up the challenge, Boyd Exell from Australia drove smoothly and steadily to just past the halfway point on the course. Here his left wheeler slipped on a tight turn, temporarily affecting the steering and losing time. When a ball dropped further on he had to push hard for home; the penalties he accrued dropped him 2.5 penalties behind Weber.

“I’m elated,” Weber remarked. “It’s such a privilege to drive at Royal Windsor and my horses have been outstanding. The course designer here [Christian Iseli from Austria] is the hardest in the world but I have a good record with his courses. I knew if I could go clear the pressure would be on.”

In the pony four-in-hand, Bram Chardon proved himself a champion right to the end. The only competitor to drive the cones course within the allowed time, he had just one ball down to add a win in this phase to his first places in dressage and cross-country, finishing 20 penalties ahead of Tinne Bax from Belgium. Two times gold medallist with this team of grey Welsh ponies, two of which were bred in this country, this is his second time competing – and winning – at Royal Windsor.

“My aim was to finish with a double clear,” he smiled. “But we have had a wonderful event.” His father, Ijsbrand Chardon, finished third in the horse four-in-hands.


Kinvara Garner
Kinvara Garner

It was ponies all the way on the final leg of the prestigious Royal Windsor Horse Show.

North-Wales based Kinvara Garner, 12, who was unable to compete last year because her father, Chief Steward Sebastian Garner, was taken ill, came back with vengeance. She took the coveted novice show pony title with the family’s home-produced 4-year-old Alonby Dauphin.

The show hunter pony went to another young lady on the verge of an exciting equestrian career. Alice Homer from Banbury, Oxon is only 11 but is already following in the footsteps of her famous showing family – her mother is Loraine Homer and her grandfather is the legendary showman David Tatlow. Having won her working hunter pony class aboard nursery stakes contender Lemington Nougat, she hot-footed it to another arena to win the 133cm class on Annandale Maria. Then she produced an electrifying performance in the Castle Arena to take her first Windsor Championship.


A fantastic fast-paced finale in the Daks Pony Club Mounted Games saw Wales vault to victory with England, who they had been battling it out at the top of the table all week, coming in a close second. As ever, the mounted games wowed the crowd with the five nations impressing the applauding audiences all week with their pace, agility and incredible skill in all of the races.

For more information and to view results, please visit

For more information, please contact Hollie Bostock, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E:, T: +44 207 592 1207.

Royal Windsor Horse Show takes place on 13-17 May 2015. Over 50,000 visitors are expected to attend the 72nd year of the Royal Windsor Horse Show which offers its audience astounding displays in the main Castle Arena, such as The Musical Ride from the Household Calvary and The King’s Troop Musical Drive, the DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games and The Shetland Pony Grand National. As well as the equestrian competitions and activities, there are over 230 shops in the Shopping Village, with a wide range of goods for sale, from jewellery and fashion, to food and drink. HM The Queen has attended every year since it started in 1943 and it is the only time of the year that the private grounds of Windsor Castle are open to the public. Royal Windsor Horse Show is organised by HPower Group, also organisers of Olympia, The London International Horse Show

Royal Windsor Horse Show’s official charity is the ABF Soldiers Charity. The show was first set up in 1943 by King George VI in order to raise funds for the war effort and has ever since continued to donate thousands of pounds to veterans and serving soldiers in need of help.

Super Saturday at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Laura Kraut.

May 16 2015 – The sun shone on super Saturday as more than 10,000 spectators were wowed by another fantastic day of competition and equestrian displays. World-class showjumpers, including Ben Maher, Laura Kraut and Peter Charles, battled it out in CS13* classes. The marathon phase of the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix proved to be popular as ever as it drew in hordes of fans ready to witness the drivers masterfully steer their course through a combination of obstacles.


Despite winning two national classes earlier this week, and having been a regular visitor for many years, an international win at Royal Windsor Horse Show had eluded Laura Kraut. But, in front of a packed crown, the former Olympic Gold Medallist changed that today by taking top place in the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for the King’s Cup.

With a midway draw in the 10-strong jump-off, Laura produced a superbly quick round and held the lead by a huge margin of over five seconds from Britain’s Robert Smith [Bavi].

“It was a fun round to ride,” said Laura. “She [Nouvelle] has been unlucky with injuries and sickness – and after investigation, she was found to have cysts on her ovaries [which have now been treated].

“She’s now much happier and I am so pleased for her owners [Evita Group]. It’s also really nice to give [my other top horse] Cedric a bit of a break.”

France’s Adeline Hécart also secured her first Royal Windsor Horse Show win during her first visit to the event. She did it in fine style in the Falcon Stakes riding Question d’Orval.

“The show is amazing,” she said. “Everything is organised with the horse in mind and the ground and atmosphere are so good. I really hope I can come here again.”

The USA’s Emily Moffitt and HHS Fafa continued their run of good form at Windsor by securing a second win of the week, this time in the Martin Collins Enterprises Speed Stakes.

Boyd Exell
Boyd Exell


The battle for the lead in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix was a dramatically contested one through the second phase – the cross-country marathon. With less than 1.5 penalties separating the top three competitors at this stage – 2014 winner Chester Weber from the USA, six times winner Boyd Exell from Australia, and five times winner Ijsbrand Chardon from the Netherlands – meant they pushed their horses and themselves to the limit, mindful that fractions of a second in an obstacle could make a difference. New obstacle timings were constantly being recorded, only to be replaced by the next driver storming through.

Going in reverse order of placing, Chardon threw down the gauntlet with a blistering, fluently driven round that certainly ensured he kept his third place at this stage. Exell, however, gave no quarter – driving cleanly and with breathtaking precision he recorded the fastest time in six of the obstacles. Chardon drove with exemplary skill and care but was unable, in the main, to match the times of the other two.

The results as they go into the final cone driving phase tomorrow are Exell in first place, 4 penalties ahead of Weber. Chardon is in third place, less than 2 penalties behind Weber. Exell will be hoping to clinch his seventh win in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix tomorrow, which will put him just one behind Great Britain’s legendary driver, George Bowman, who is still competing here.

The smaller field of pony four-in-hands saw the overnight winner, Holland’s Bram Chardon – son of Ijsbrand – increase his lead with a stunning win in the marathon. Impressing the crowd with his immaculate rein-handling, he has a 20-penalty lead over his closest challenger Tinne Bax from Belgium. Sara Howe from Great Britain drove a good marathon to put her in sixth place overall.


ponyBrother and sister Charlie and Tori Oakes from Uttoxeter, Staffordshire pulled off a remarkable feat with one taking the mountain and moorland working hunter pony championship and the other being awarded the reserve. Tori, 23, claimed the top spot riding her 7-year-old highland gelding, Cairns Fergus, while younger brother Charlie, 13, won his class and was reserve with the Countess of Shrewsbury’s homebred welsh section B gelding, Chetwynd Caspar.

The show pony championship, one of the most prestigious on the circuit, took place in front of a capacity crowd who clearly enjoyed the sight of Britain’s finest animals. The title went to North Somerset based Lucile Bywater with Broadgrove Only You, an 8-year-old 138cm campaigner, bred and owned by her grandmother Ann Fowler.

Sunday Highlights

Tomorrow promises to be an action-packed finals day which will ensure the Royal Windsor Horse Show 2015 will go out on a high. The hotly anticipated CSI3* Alltech Grand Prix will feature a number of the top British riders hoping for victory on home soil and the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix will no doubt draw to a climax with the top drivers in the world battling it out for first place.

Once again there will be a feast of equine entertainment taking place throughout Sunday with performances carrying on into the early evening, including the Musical Ride of The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and the Musical Drive of The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit

For more information, please contact Hollie Bostock, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E:, T: +44 207 592 1207.

Royal Windsor Horse Show takes place on 13-17 May 2015. Over 50,000 visitors are expected to attend the 72nd year of the Royal Windsor Horse Show which offers its audience astounding displays in the main Castle Arena, such as The Musical Ride from the Household Calvary and The King’s Troop Musical Drive, the DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games and The Shetland Pony Grand National. As well as the equestrian competitions and activities, there are over 230 shops in the Shopping Village, with a wide range of goods for sale, from jewellery and fashion, to food and drink. HM The Queen has attended every year since it started in 1943 and it is the only time of the year that the private grounds of Windsor Castle are open to the public. Royal Windsor Horse Show is organised by HPower Group, also organisers of Olympia, The London International Horse Show

Royal Windsor Horse Show’s official charity is the ABF Soldiers Charity. The show was first set up in 1943 by King George VI in order to raise funds for the war effort and has ever since continued to donate thousands of pounds to veterans and serving soldiers in need of help.

Emma Kurtz and Valor Win Grand Pony Hunter Championship at Capital Challenge Horse Show

Emma Kurtz and Valor. Photos © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Kelli Cruciotti Victorious in $10,000 Junior/A-O Jumper Challenge; Gochman, Passarelli, Yowan, Petersen, and Humphries Earn Tricolors

Upper Marlboro, MD – October 4, 2014 – Ponies ruled today at The Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by The Gochman Family. The Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, concludes on Sunday, October 5. Emma Kurtz piloted David Gochman’s Valor to the Grand Pony Hunter Championship and Best Pony Rider honors. Six pony and junior hunter divisions awarded championships. In the evening session, Kelli Cruciotti and Zidante won the $10,000 North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup Final Round.

Kurtz (14) of Hudson, OH rode to the top of the Pony Hunters today on David Gochman’s Valor. They were the Large Pony Hunter champions, and with two firsts, two seconds, and a fourth under saddle, and received the Grand Pony Hunter Championship, sponsored by Ali Sweetnam and Sweet Oak Farm. They were awarded the VanderMoore Designs Trophy, donated by VanderMoore Designs. Kurtz was named the Best Pony Rider, an award sponsored by Archibald Cox and Brookway Stables. They were presented with the Kitty Borisoff Memorial Trophy donated by her many friends. The reserve champions were All My Love and Kirklen Petersen, who rode for Dr. Betsee Park. They placed first and second over fences and were first under saddle. Petersen won the EMO Trip of the Show with a score of 91.5 on All My Love.

This was only the second time that Kurtz has shown Valor after their initial outing this summer in Kentucky. Valor shows in the Green Pony Hunters as well. “He’s a little bit green, but he always jumps a good jump. He’s really smooth, and he has a huge stride. For the first class trotting in, he was a little nervous, but then he was fine after that. He’s green, but he’s not really green. I didn’t really have any expectations because he was kind of new to me,” Kurtz admitted. But after placed first and second in the opening day of competition, she added, “After the first day, I had expectations!”

This is the third time Kurtz has shown at CCHS, and she was champion in the same division two years ago with Aladdin. This is her first Grand Championship at CCHS. She said of showing at Capital Challenge, “I like how they have one day outdoors so if your pony doesn’t like it inside, you get another day.”

Kurtz acknowledged the great opportunity to ride Valor for the Gochman family. “I’m really grateful. They were so nice to let me ride him. He’s an amazing pony,” she expressed.

Kurtz trains with Amanda Lyerly and Mike Rheinheimer and often catch-rides. “It’s never boring. You’re always on your toes,” she said. Lyerly said that she tells Kurtz to trust her instincts. “She’s pretty good at what she does, if she believes in herself. She is a pleasure to teach. Every time she walks in the ring, she tries her hardest and she’s super focused. She can pretty much ride anything you put her on. She has a lot to ride, but whether it’s good or bad, she tries to get the best out of it.”

Winning stayed in the Gochman family in the Medium Pony Hunter division with the championship going to Sophie Gochman on Truly Noble. They won two classes and were second and sixth in the division over fences. The reserve championship went to Show Me Love, ridden by Natalie Jayne for Scott Stewart. They placed first over fences and first under saddle.

Gochman has ridden “Noble” for two years. “I know him pretty well,” she said. “He’s kind of a quirky pony. He talks a lot and flaps his lips. He loves giving kisses and love. You have to leg him a bit around the ring. He has a good canter to him; he feels a little bit like a small horse. He’s easy to see the distances on.”

For the 11-year-old from New York, NY, winning a championship at Capital Challenge is “a big deal.” “It really feels good because this is the first indoor show that I’ve been champion at. It’s a good accomplishment,” she said with a smile.

Thirteen-year-old Caroline Passarelli of High Falls, NY won the Small Pony Hunter championship, sponsored by Spring Mill Farm/Jenny Yandell, riding Dr. Betsee Parker’s Bit Of Love. The Harper Taskier Wright Memorial Trophy, given in memory of Harper by her loving parents Michael and Alexandra Borissoff Wright, friends, and family whose lives she touched, was given to Passarelli for winning the Small Pony Hunter championship. Passarelli and Bit of Love were first, first, and second over fences and fourth under saddle. The reserve champion was Rollingwood’s Knee Deep, ridden by Zayna Rizvi for Peacock Ridge LLC. They placed first and third over fences.

Passarelli has ridden Bit Of Love for a year. While she acknowledged that when she first started riding him, she was “a little inexperienced” for him and he was still a bit green, things got better with every show. “Soon it finally clicked. He really wanted to win and so did I, and it was a really good match,” she said. “He wants to win just as badly as you do. You can tell he’s sad when you let him down, which I’ve done before. He’s so amazing and so smooth. He’s not spooky. He’ll jump whatever from wherever; he doesn’t mind. The best thing is that he wants to win too.”

Moving into the indoor Show Place Arena today for the handy hunter class, Passarelli said she had to remember some adjustments with “Chester.” She explained, “With Chester, in the handies you try not to look where you are going so much and lay on the leads so much; he’ll get a little bit confused. You have to ride it almost more like it’s a regular hunter course and then work your turns in, yet you still have to be handy so that if you’re really going for it, you can win.”

She added, “I just can’t thank Betsee Parker enough for letting me show him and Elation and the other ponies I show for her, and Scott and Ken for training me.”

The Children’s/Pony Hunter championship went to Simply Magical, ridden by Hensley Humphries and owned by First Blue LLC. This was the first time that Humphries, an 11-year-old from New York, NY, has competed at Capital Challenge. Having started riding at camp from a pony ride, she has progressed through riding to her first indoor championship. “I’m really excited, and it’s amazing to be champion,” she said.

She has ridden Simply Magical for 10 months. “I tried him, and I really liked him. He’s really fun to jump, and he has a really comfortable canter,” Humphries described. “He can be sweet, and he really likes peppermints. We give him one every time we go to the ring.

Humphries and Simply Magical won an over fences class, as did reserve champions, Ellia Giuliani and Bill Schaub’s Tuxedo Park. It came down to a hack-off for the championship. Since Humphries had ridden her other pony in the under saddle, rider Arabella McFarland stayed on Simply Magical to ride him to the top tricolor in the hack-off. “I was really nervous because I’ve never seen a hack-off before,” Humphries said. “I didn’t really know what it was, but it was really exciting.”

Adam Edgar of Leesburg, VA was awarded the Stewart Warner Cup for pony riders, given in memory of Laurie Gilbert Stewart & Mary Warner Brown by Donald E. Stewart, Jr. and Louise W. Serio. It is awarded to up-and-coming junior riders, who, in the opinion of the panel of judges, exhibit the best hunter style and show potential as a young hunter rider.

First Junior Hunter Championships Awarded

The older age sections of the Small and Large Junior Hunters finished their divisions outside today, with the Small Junior 16-17 Hunter championship going to Taken, ridden by Kirklen Petersen for Jessica Stitt. They also won the High Point Junior Hunter 16-17, sponsored by The Clothes Horse, by winning two over fences and placing third in another jumping class. Vivian Yowan and Saddle Ridge LLC’s Ransom were the reserve champions with two seconds and a third over fences and a second under saddle.

Petersen is 17 years old and from Great Falls, VA, just 45 minutes away from CCHS. Riding since the age of six, Petersen has shown for six years at Capital Challenge, since she was on small ponies. Her ride on Taken has been “on and off” for three years; they have only shown together approximately six times. “I don’t really show him regularly. He just comes out for the big shows, and he never lets me down,” she explained. “He is definitely my favorite. It was a lot of pressure the first time, especially to not let him down because he’s such an amazing horse. There’s nothing that horse hasn’t won. He’s so much fun, and he makes it so easy. He’s always really fun to ride.”

Taken and Petersen are a good combination, as she lets him pick up the gallop and hunt around to the jumps, suiting his classic style. “There’s nothing he can’t do. You can be right next to it; you can leave from five feet away. He has a huge stride and jumps amazing,” she said.

Petersen acknowledged that Taken is a favorite in the barn too. “He’s probably one of our most personable horses in the barn. He loves his carrots. He definitely has an attitude; he knows he’s good, which is what makes him so special I think. Debbie Buchanan is his groom, but he’s such a special horse that everyone helps out. We have Julio, Marcos, Pancho, and Gus. He has a whole crew. They were all up here to watch him this morning.”

Yowan moved up to the championship presentation in the Large Junior 16-17 Hunters, sponsored by Beacon Hill Show Stables – her first championship at Capital Challenge. She accomplished this feat on Alliy Moyer’s Libretto in only their second show together. “I showed him last year here, and I was lucky enough for the Moyers to ask me to show him again this year. Last year was good. It was my first time riding him. This year I understood his ride a little more. He’s got a huge stride, and he’s really slow off the floor.”

Yowan and Libretto were first and fourth over fences – winning the handy hunter class – and placed second under saddle for the top tricolor ribbon. The reserve champion was Cayero, ridden by Martha Ingram for John and Stephanie Ingram LLC. They placed first, second, and sixth over fences.

“I’ve never been champion. It’s finally nice!” she remarked. “I’ve been so close so many times, so to finally get it is really exciting.”

The 16-year-old rider from Lexington, KY had the added bonus of watching Libretto compete in the handy round in last night’s WCHR Professional Finals with Hunt Tosh. “He got him all ready for me today!” Yowan laughed. “I’ve watched Libretto a lot because I’ve watched Alliy show him all the time. I’ve known the horse for a long time. Last night, he was really handy. Hunt did all the inside turns. I felt pretty comfortable today with a handy that wasn’t as intense!”

For her handy round, Yowan was happy that the class was outside. “There is a lot more space outdoors, so for him, he’s a big horse and he’s got a lot of stride, so it’s nice. In the bigger ring, you can show it off more. He’s really handy, so it was awesome.”

The winner of the Junior World Champion Hunter Under Saddle class, sponsored by Cynthia Williams and New England Farm, was Anna Claire Smith and Celebration.

Cruciotti Fast for Jumper Challenge Victory

In the $10,000 North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Challenge Cup Final Round, 23 entries competed in the final round, which was held in jump-off format. Four riders advanced to the jump-off, and while all of them had faults, it was a race to the finish to see who could be fastest.

As the last to go, Kelli Cruciotti (16) of Elizabeth, CO rode her own Zidante, a 10-year-old mare, as the last in the jump-off. She knew that the three before her had faults and a clear round would seal the win. But with an early rail, Cruciotti had to put the speed on for victory. Landing from the final jump and finishing in 33.314 seconds, that’s exactly what she did.

Kelli Cruciotti and Zidante
Kelli Cruciotti and Zidante

Cruciotti said of her jump-off plan, “I had in my head that I wanted to go fast and even if I had one down, I still wanted to be fast. I was lucky that it happened so early in the course so I could stick with my plan and go really neat everywhere. She really came through for me. I knew it would be fast. I didn’t know if it would between four faulters or clear, but I knew it would be fast.”

In second place was Kristen Blomstrom on Zeros, who had four faults in 33.539 seconds. Vivian Yowan and Vornado van den Hoendrik were third with four faults in 39.887 seconds.

Cruciotti trains with her mother Cindy and has worked with Olympic gold medalist Peter Wylde for the past nine months as well. “It is a really great balance. My mom and I work at home and practice. We get to the shows and he has amazing tips about riding the course and the jump-off strategies. That experience really helps when you’re riding a course that I haven’t ridden that much and he obviously has.”

She has ridden Zidante for a year and a half, and Cruciotti was very happy with her mare’s performance over the past two days. “I was a little worried that she’d be too tired because I don’t usually do two days in a row with her. I thought yesterday she jumped really, really well and fast, and today she tried her heart out. She was a little tired, but she jumped great. Tonight she really proved herself that she can be reliable. I feel like the partnership is coming along very nicely,” she said.

Cruciotti has been coming to Capital Challenge since her mother started showing here 14 years ago. “Ever since I can remember I would come along. This is my favorite horse show,” she expressed. “They really make a big deal with the ribbons and sponsors and presentations. The course was great tonight, and it is such a pleasure to show here. It’s really special to win here.”

For their win in the final round, Patton was presented with the Remy Martin Perpetual Trophy, donated by Rolling Acres and Melanie Wright. Cruciotti was the overall winner of the North American Junior/Amateur Jumper Challenge and was awarded the Ariat Congressional Cup. The Best Junior Jumper Rider Award, sponsored by Courtney Calcagnini/CSC/Fleur Di Lis Farm, was given to Cruciotti, while Darby Toben won the Best Amateur Jumper Rider Award sponsored by Lyman T. Whitehead and Eight Fences, LLC.

The Capital Challenge Horse Show concludes tomorrow with championships for the 15 & Under sections of the junior hunters, the new Junior Hunter 3’3” division, both sections of the Children’s Hunter Horses, WCHR Junior Challenge, and the WCHR Children’s Hunter Finals.

For full results, more information, or to watch the live webcast, please visit Like the Capital Challenge Horse Show page on Facebook and on Twitter @capchallenge and Instagram @capitalchallengehorseshow.

In its 21st year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, this year’s show will take place on September 27 – October 5.

Top competitions include the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals and the THIS National Children’s Medal Finals, along with the Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend, presented by In addition to these prestigious equitation events, the Capital Challenge Horse Show will once again host the World Champion Hunter Rider Finals and will assemble the country’s best horses and riders to compete in junior, amateur, and professional hunter classes.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.