Category Archives: Pony

2014 Devon Horse Show & Country Fair Hosts First Day of Competition

Orchard Hills Dragonflyy in his winning “Best Young Pony” presentation. Photos © The Book LLC.

Devon, PA – May 22, 2014 – The 2014 Devon Horse Show & Country Fair kicked off on Thursday with junior equitation and young pony competition at the renowned showgrounds in beautiful Devon, PA. Showcasing the best horses and riders in the country, the Devon Horse Show hosts 11 days of top-tier competition across multiple breeds and disciplines through Sunday, June 1.

While junior competitors showed their equitation in Devon’s famous Dixon Oval, the young hunter ponies competed in-hand in the Gold Ring on Thursday. The ponies showed in their respective age groups divided by gender, and the top ponies of all ages were then judged together for championship honors. The Best Young Pony was ultimately crowned overall.

The Hunter Pony Championship for Fillies and Mares was awarded to Denise Hankinson’s Three Royal Cheers with handler Emily Anne Belin. Jody Vesty’s Bryn Taran Miss Riley placed in reserve with handler Jay Raach.

The Hunter Pony Championship for Colts and Geldings went to Orchard Hills Dragonflyy, owned by Orchard Hill Farm Ponies, with handler Oliver Brown. Jamie Sindell’s Secretive and handler Dowell Johnson placed in reserve.

Orchard Hills Dragonflyy then earned the Best Young Pony award and was presented The Violet Haines Memorial Challenge Trophy. Handler Oliver Brown was awarded The Magic Hill Farm LLC Challenge Trophy as the Leading Pony Breeder Handler. A special Pennsylvania Pony Breeders Association Perpetual Trophy was also presented to Denise Hankinson’s Three Royal Cheers for the second year in a row.

Orchard Hills Dragonflyy (known in the barn as ‘Wesley’) is a two-year-old colt by Smoke Tree Dragon Tail out of Vanity Fair, owned by Sara McCormick’s Orchard Hill Farm Ponies in Aiken, SC. Former top junior rider Elizabeth Lubrano brought the pony along this year after turning professional and deciding to get involved in different aspects of the sport after college. Based out of her family’s Horizon Hill Farm in Glenmore, PA, Lubrano has enjoyed making a name for herself in a new way and becoming more well-rounded in the industry.

“I started doing pony handling this year, and Wesley has been living with me since February,” Lubrano explained. “I have been handling him until this horse show and then I handed him off to Oliver Brown because I am still learning and this is a huge venue. I knew that this pony could do something big, and I thought that for Devon we needed to put him in the hands of someone that could do that for him.”

“It was definitely a team effort to get him here,” Lubrano emphasized. “Cindy Diebert was a huge help as well as Jessica Forliano. Without Cindy putting all of the pieces together for today none of this would have happened. She had the connection with Oliver and she knows Jess, who helped handle him today. Stud colts can be difficult, so it is good to have someone who is proficient and Jess is very good. She is the one who made the magic happen today. I have just kind of been managing it from the beginning.”

Owner Sara McCormick plans to keep Orchard Hills Dragonflyy for breeding and can be proud of his top placing and development. Lubrano described the colt as “a bundle of personality,” noting, “He is a funny pony. He runs around in the field with this big jolly ball. He is the one where you go in the barn in the morning, and he is throwing his ball around the stall. He is a goof, but he is a two-year-old colt who is still trying to figure out who he is.”

“He has matured a lot this year,” she added. “He is really easy to live with, and it is just a pleasure to work with ponies like that because they keep you entertained. They have all of this personality and places like this are great venues where they can really show themselves. He likes to show off. He stands there and presents himself and I think that is what really makes a show pony.”

Lubrano thanked McCormick for the opportunity to work with a great young pony. “Sara has done a fantastic job with that breeding program,” she stated. “I can’t give her enough compliments. Orchard Hill ponies were represented more than any other line here in the hunter breeding. I think she had eight showing. There’s a lot to be said about her lines and her hard work. I am really happy that she has given me the opportunity, because not a lot of people would give a 24-year-old an opportunity to take a winning pony and get it ready for Devon and trust them. Trust is a big foundation for a lot of relationships, and I hope that this is one that will continue for a long time.”

Megan MacPherson and Class Action
Megan MacPherson and Class Action

While the young ponies were showing off in the Gold Ring, the junior exhibitors competed in their equitation classes in the Dixon Oval. The WIHS Equitation Classic Jumper Phase was held in a California Split and awarded four sets of prizes. Top honors went to Megan MacPherson of Boulder, CO, in Section A. Kelli Cruciotti of Elizabeth, CO, won Section B. Spencer Smith of Wellington, FL, topped Section C, and Michael Hughes of Allendale, NJ, was the winner in Section D.

The Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search was held next in the Dixon Oval with two sections and wins for Caitlin Boyle of Hampshire, IL, and Spencer Smith of Wellington, FL. Boyle was also presented the Honey Craven Perpetual Memorial Trophy for her top score.

The Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal, presented by Randolph College, was held in the Gold Ring with three sections to show. Ashton Alexander of Ocala, FL, won Section A; Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL, won Section B; and McKayla Langmeier of East Granby, CT, won Section C.

The 2014 Devon Horse Show & Country Fair will continue on Friday with junior equitation, hunter and jumper competition as well as the start of the pony hunter divisions. For full results, please visit www.devonhorseshow.com. For those unable to attend the Devon Horse Show in person, you can watch every single round of competition thanks to continuous live-streaming from the USEF Network at www.usefnetwork.com.

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

2014 WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series Debuts at the Devon Horse Show

Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Washington, D.C. – May 14, 2014 – The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) is pleased to announce the return of the wildly popular Shetland Pony racing exhibition and launch of the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series, presented by Charles Owen, which will include a stop at the historic Devon Horse Show in Devon, Pa., plus two nights of racing in Washington, D.C.

The WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase races are run like professional racing events with a bugler, race caller and photo finish, but the jockeys are youngsters from seven to 14, mounted on traditional Shetland Ponies racing over a course of miniature hurdles.

“Last year the audience went crazy for the super cute, fluffy Shetland Ponies and their tiny colorful jockeys racing around Verizon Center!” said WIHS President Vicki Lowell. “We started talking right away about how we could bring them back in a bigger way. Devon is a natural fit as it’s such a special show with great spectators of all ages.”

Well-established in England, 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 about a year ago started running flat and jumping races for Shetland Ponies at racetracks in Maryland, including Pimlico.

Before entering the USPR program, every pony is evaluated for suitability for its rider and every child is fully prepared for race day. “We don’t want them 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.”

Charles Owen, sponsor of the inaugural Shetland Pony Steeplechase at Washington last year, will return as sponsor for the expanded 2014 series. No newcomer to pony racing, the Wrexham, England-based helmet maker has been a significant supporter of pony racing in Great Britain since 2005.

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

WIHS Executive Director Bridget Love Meehan sees the growing series as a mutually beneficial for its partners. “We’re delighted Charles Owen, with its knowledge and appreciation of pony racing, has joined us to create a fresh, fun and exciting new event,” Love Meehan said. “Very few people know that Kent Farrington, the winner of the WIHS President’s Cup Grand Prix in 2013, used to race ponies! It’s a fun event for spectators and a great way for kids to get into equestrian sports!”

The first stop in the 2014 series will be Memorial Day, May 26, at the Devon Horse Show, and it culminates with the finals at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. with races on WIHS Barn Night, Thursday, October 23, and on Grand Prix Night, Saturday, October 25. Additional venues may be added.

The 56th annual Washington International Horse Show will be held October 21-26, 2014, at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.wihs.org.

For more information on U.S. Pony Racing LLC, please visit www.facebook.com/usponyracing.

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 nearly half a million dollars in prize money. Event highlights include the Puissance high jump competition, 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.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com
803.240.7488
jenniferwoodmedia.com

From Walk/Trot to USEF Horse of the Year: GF Forget Me Not Is a Pony to Remember

GF Forget Me Not with Jordan Katz. Photo © Mancini Photos.

Wellington, FL – February 22, 2014 – She may be small, but GF Forget Me Not has a huge heart. Whether she’s taking care of her seven-year-old owner, Mia Green, in the walk/trot and cross rail rings or showing against some of the top ponies in the country in the Small Pony Hunter division with 12-year-old Alexandra Pielet, GF Forget Me Not is the consummate professional.

GF Forget Me Not lives at Forget Me Not Farm in Wellington, FL, showing with her talented young riders under the guidance of trainer Stefanie Mazer. The farm has a brand new facility currently being built in Wellington and will continue to feature a fantastic program focused on quality training and care of horses and ponies. Mazer has horses for sale and lease and is accepting new clients to train and board.

GF Forget Me Not, a 12.1 7/8” hand pony, is a seven-year-old Welsh mare (by Kilvery Taran) known as ‘Kelly’ in the barn. Mazer got Kelly in 2012 as a five-year-old and started her in the Small Green Pony Hunters last fall. Mazer knew the pony was special right from the start and saw her blossom as the year went on. “She is just one of those special mares,” Mazer stated. “You would have to have one like her to understand. She is definitely a horse of a lifetime.”

Among many top finishes, GF Forget Me Not finished as 2013 USEF Horse of the Year Grand Champion Green Pony Hunter for the entire country as well as USEF Horse of the Year Champion Small Green Pony Hunter. She also placed third overall and was reserve champion Welsh pony for the Small Green Pony Hunter division at USEF Pony Finals in Lexington, KY, last summer.

GF Forget Me Not showed as a green pony under top young riders such as Alexandra Pielet, Samantha Palermo, Sophia Calamari, Ali Tritschler, Ava Stearns, Olivia Woodson, and Emma Kurtz. The pony was circuit champion in two divisions at the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF), showing in the Small Green Pony Hunters with various riders, and also topping the Walk/Trot division for the circuit with Mia Green, who had moved up from the leadline four months prior to the 2013 FTI WEF. She was champion every week of Equestrian Sport Production’s Spring Series and earned the green pony circuit championship there as well.

GF Forget Me Not has now moved up to the regular Small Pony Hunter Division and started off the 2014 horse show year with a very competitive championship ribbon against 17 of the country’s top small ponies at the Equestrian Sport Productions Holiday Series. GF Forget Me Not is already at the top of the national USEF standings in the Small Pony Hunter division and will continue to compete this winter at the FTI WEF in Wellington, FL. She will also continue to show in the cross-rails with her owner, Mia Green.

Green has goals to move up to the short-stirrup classes this year with GF Forget Me Not and her other pony, Deja Blue. She especially loves riding Kelly and looks forward to a successful winter showing in Wellington.

“I love Kelly because she loves to jump,” Green smiled. “She is so much fun to ride, and I love to give her treats and graze her.”

Green also enjoys working with trainer Stefanie Mazer, who is great with both children and ponies. “Stefanie is fun, and she gives me funny examples when she is teaching me. She is kind and nice,” Green stated.

For Mazer, it is important that GF Forget Me Not have the right training program. Mazer’s focus on flat work and ride-ability has enabled the pony to have success at all levels.

“I really focus on her flat work, on keeping her straight and balanced and being able to adjust her stride,” Mazer explained. “I flat her during the week and use ground poles and small gymnastics, which is how I prepare her for the ring for both Mia and her catch riders and keep her conditioned.”

Alexandra Pielet, of Highland Park, IL, started showing GF Forget Me Not during the last week of FTI WEF competition in 2013 and went on to ride the pony throughout the year. Pielet is now Kelly’s main rider in the Small Pony Hunters and will show her all winter in Wellington as well. Pielet explained that she does not ride Kelly during the week, but meets up with Mazer at the horse shows to compete.

“Kelly is a really easy, fun pony to ride,” Pielet noted. “She is really sweet and very cute. At the horse show she is really calm, and she loves treats.”

Pielet rides a lot of different ponies, and explained that her favorite thing about GF Forget Me Not is that the pony really carries her to the jumps. “She is one of the only ponies that starts to take me, and I like that feel the best,” Pielet said. “You have to start with a little bit of energy and then she knows to carry me through the course. Her jump feels like she is popping over a little jump, but her knees are always tight. She likes to jump, and she feels really good when she jumps.”

Pielet looks forward to showing GF Forget Me Not throughout the year and has goals to work on improving their partnership. “I want to work on the little mistakes that I have made and change them,” Pielet stated.

“I want to be able to place up high during WEF this year. I look forward to riding her and I really like working with Stefanie,” Pielet added. “I like when she talks to me. If I don’t understand a word I will ask and then she will go over it with me, and she will make everything so I can understand. I will school something and then we will talk about it, and that is what helps me in the ring.”

Pielet trains with Jill Shulman, who has enjoyed watching the young rider’s partnership with GF Forget Me Not. “It has been a great opportunity for Alex to ride such a lovely pony,” Shulman stated. “Stefanie has done a great job bringing the pony along in its green year.”

“The pony is sweet and kind and beautiful and just a complete pleasure,” Shulman said. “It is unusual that you see one that can do as well with its own little rider in the cross rail ring and then move up to the pony hunters, so that is kind of fun to watch as well.”

GF Forget Me Not lives at Forget Me Not Farm, which is owned by Stefanie Mazer and Mia’s family. Their program is currently located in the Saddle Trail across the street from the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, but there is a brand new, state-of-the-art facility being built on 10 acres from the ground up in Wellington. The new farm began development in May 2013.

Along with GF Forget Me Not, Forget Me Not Farm is home to many other great horses and ponies. Under Stefanie Mazer’s leadership, their program is focused on quality training and care of horses and ponies. Mazer has horses for sale and lease and is accepting new clients to train and board. Their show and training program features quality instruction in a friendly, family-oriented environment centered around showing at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center from September through June. In the Summer, they travel to the Kentucky summer horse shows and the USEF Pony Finals.

As a trainer, Mazer has a background in education that makes her a fantastic teacher. She has been a member of the International Honor Society for Educators since 2004 and earned a Doctorate in Psychology in 2009. She combines her education and extensive equestrian training and background with her love and knowledge of horses and children to offer a superior learning experience.

Mazer specializes in working with quality horses and ponies as well as working with any type of rider. She especially enjoys starting young children on their equestrian paths and working closely with their families.

For more information, visit www.forgetmenotfl.com or contact Stefanie Mazer at 561-346-4228 or mazerstefanie@gmail.com.

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

ASPC/AMHR Announces 2013 Youth Award Winners

Morton, IL (February 11, 2014) – The American Shetland Pony Club, Inc. (ASPC) congratulates the 2013 Youth Award Winners.

Sara Tennant Memorial AMHR Division A & B Youth Jumper
Area 5 – Kimberly Cotter

Lowell Boone Memorial Showmanship AMHR Division B
Area 5 – Kimberly Cotter

Lowell Boone Memorial Showmanship AMHR Division A
Area 5 – Julie Zander

Bob Roudebush Showmanship Modern
Area 5 – Julie Zander

Bob Roudebush Showmanship Classic
Area 5 – Kimberly Cotter

Michael C Wicke AMHR Lead Line Award
Area 1 – Andrew Lawrence
Area 3 – Amelia Shipman
Area 5 – Madalyn Tait
Area 6 – Emma Britcher

ASPC Lead Line Award
Area 6 – Emma Britcher
Area 8 – Aubrie Wheeler

ASPC Modern Lead Line Award
Area 8 – Aubrie Wheeler

ASPC Cool Youth Showmen of the Year
Area 6 – Justin Palas

AMHR Cool Youth Showmen of the Year
Area 6 – Ryan Palas

ASPC Classic Youth Award
Area 5 – Julie Zander
Area 6 – Justin Palas
Area 8 – Holly Tice

ASPC Classic Youth Pony of the Year
She’s Mint to be MGS – Julie Zander

RFP Modern National Youth Award
Area 5 – Julie Zander
Area 6 – Justin Palas
Area 8 – Tara Tice

AMHR Youth Costume
Area 4 – Josephine Navarre
Area 5 – Kimberly Cotter

AMHR Youth Horse of the Year – Division A
JVP Command Performance – Kimberly Cotter

AMHR Youth Horse of the Year – Division B
Blue Ribbon Lickety Split – Kimberly Cotter

For a listing of all our winners and for more information about the ASPC/AMHR, visit www.shetlandminiature.com or call 309-263-4044.

The American Shetland Pony Club, the American Show Pony Registry and The American Miniature Horse Registry are non-profit organizations established to preserve and refine the bloodlines of these small equines and promote the enjoyment of small equines. Recognized as the oldest and most versatile registry in the United States, the American Shetland Pony Club offer a variety of programs for Shetland Pony and Miniature Horse enthusiasts of all ages.  Visit their website at www.shetlandminiature.com or 81-B East Queenwood Road, Morton, IL 61550.

For more information:
The American Shetland Pony Club
Jill Gleason, Director of Marketing & Programs
Phone: 309-263-4044
jill@shetlandminiature.com

Old and New Talents Dominate Sixth FEI World Driving Championships for Combined Ponies

Ewoud Boom on his way to victory in the pairs category of the FEI World Driving Championships for Combined Ponies. © Marie de Ronde/FEI.

Pau (FRA), 5 November 2013 – The sixth edition of the FEI World Driving Championships for Combined Ponies in Pau, France, will be remembered a successful one. Young and talented drivers as well as experienced athletes took home the individual medals. Bram Chardon (NED) defended successfully his title and won individual gold for the second consecutive time in the four-in-hand class. His compatriot Ewoud Boom won gold for the first time in his career in the pairs category and reigning European Junior champion Martin Hölle (HUN) is the new world champion in the pony singles. The Netherlands won the team title for the first time in the 10-year history of the combined championships and broke the German dominance which had lasted throughout the first five editions of the event.

Singles

Young Hungarian driver Martin Hölle, 16, finished second in dressage driving his German riding pony Apache de la Licorne and lay the base for his gold medal. He was also second in the marathon behind Sebastien Pallen (BEL) whose pony he bought two years ago. Hölle was in gold medal position even before the cones competition began. Once on the cones course, he drove a steady round crossing the finish line with only 0,27 penalty points to his name and securing his first world title.

The 22-year-old Rosanna Walters-Symons (GBR) won the silver medal with her 16-year-old Welsh Cob Dabernon Tiger Woods, with which she won bronze at the European Driving Championships for Young Drivers 2012. Walters-Symons, who is a PhD student at Exeter University in the United Kingdom, finished in fifth place in the dressage and the marathon and moved up to the silver medal thanks to a wonderful cones round.

Just like Martin Hölle and Rosanna Walters-Symons, 47-year-old bronze medallist Els Broekman (NED) also drove her first World Championship in Pau with her 14-year-old New Forest gelding Aron. She won the dressage and was able to keep her leading position throughout the event.

Pairs

Dutch driver Ewoud Boom, 36, who has competed in every World Championship for Combined Ponies since the event was launched in 2003, succeeded in winning an individual medal. Boom won the dressage, finished third in the marathon and secured his first gold medal after an excellent performance in the cones, in which he scored the only double clear round. Marco Freund (GER), 17, who had finished in fourth place at the previous world championships in 2011, landed a much deserved slot on the podium this year. Marco, who is the son of double world champion four-in-hand driver Michael Freund, came third in the dressage and second in the marathon. He secured his silver medal by driving a clear round with only a few time penalties.

Great Britain’s experienced Anna Grayston, who has competed at many European four-in-hand and World Combined Championships, was delighted to take home the bronze medal. The 41-year-old former four-in-hand pony driver drove her pair of good-looking Welsh ponies to fourth place in dressage and moved up to third after a strong marathon performance. Anna had two knockdowns and some time penalties in the cones, but was able to secure the first individual medal in her career.

Four-in-hands

Defending World Champion Bram Chardon, the 20-year-old son of four-time world four-in-hand champion IJsbrand Chardon, won all three competition phases, leaving his opponents far behind him. With his experienced team of grey Welsh ponies, he drove a wonderful dressage test, set fast times in the marathon obstacles, designed by Swiss O-course designer Christian Iseli, and was the best driver in the cones. Even though Chardon had a big advantage before entering the cones arena, he still drove to win and secured his second individual gold medal with an amazing performance, much to the joy of the many orange-clad Dutch fans.

The silver medal went to Jozsef Dobrovitz Jr (HUN) who made up for his disappointing results in 2011. The 21-year-old driver, who is also one of the 10 drivers qualified for the FEI World Cup Driving, finished fourth in the dressage and in the marathon and was in bronze medal position before the cones. Dobrovitz drove an amazing double clear round and after Dutch driver Jan de Boer, who was in runner-up position going into the final phase, had too many penalty points in the cones, the Hungarian moved up to win the silver. Double world champion Tobias Bücker (GER) took home the bronze medal. The 38-year-old salesman by profession has competed in every World Combined Championships as well as the European four-in-hand pony championships.

Nations teams

The Dutch drivers got off to a flying start winning the dressage in each class. The Dutch team held on to their leading position throughout the event gradually widening the gap with their opponents. The final obstacle driving competition resulted in a Dutch winner in each class. The German team performed very well too but did not manage to successfully defend its title. The Hungarian team members, whose average age was 22, 22 finished on third place.

Quotes:

Martin Hölle (HUN), singles champion: “I’ve had this pony for two years now and I have been training very hard for this world championship, which is far more difficult than the youth championships. In the marathon I managed to drive according to plan. Before I went into the cones I knew I had an advantage of two balls, which gave me the confidence I needed. My pony went well in all three competition phases and I will for sure keep driving him for the next two years.”

Ewoud Boom (NED), pairs champion: “I am so happy with this medal, it finally all came together! My dressage went well and I know I can drive a better marathon than I did here, but my third place was good for my overall result. I started off at a good speed in the cones and managed to keep the speed up while making short turns. We trained extensively for the obstacle driving and it has all paid off now. I am not sure what the next two years hold for me. I have driven a pony from another owner the past one and a half years and the pony is going back next week, so I have to see what the future will bring me.”

Bram Chardon (NED), four-in-hand champion: “I am very proud of my second gold medal. My ponies did a fantastic job. My goal after Lipica 2011 was to improve my dressage by 10 points and I succeeded. The marathon went really well for me and so did the cones. I knew I had a big advantage but I also realised that the competition is over only after you’ve crossed the finishing line. I am not sure yet what I will do next. I would like to start driving a team of horses, but my father competes at the top and to have two horse teams is a lot of work. I would also very much like to defend my title at the next world championships at Breda in 2015, so I will see.”

More information: www.couleurs-automne.com/accueil.

By Cindy Timmer

Media Contacts:
Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Press Relations
Malina.gueorguiev@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 33

Woodson Wins US Pony Medal Final to Close Out 2013 US Pony Finals

Olivia Woodson (Shawn McMillen Photography)

Lexington, KY – The final day of the 2013 US Pony Finals was dedicated to equitation and the US Pony Medal Final. A total of 193 riders headed into the Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena to demonstrate their skill and proficiency in front of the judging panel of Bill Moroney and Julie Winkel.

In round one Bobby Murphy tested riders over an intricate course which featured a two-stride combination as well as a trot jump and called for riders to halt before continuing on in the canter over a vertical. Twenty-five riders were called back for a second round which again tested their equitation abilities. This time riders were asked to once again trot a single vertical, negotiate a one-stride line as well as perform a change of lead in the middle of a line. Following the second round, four riders, three from the Medium section and one from the Large section, were called back for a test on the flat.

Olivia Woodson, Emma Kurtz, Emma Lemke and Charlise Casas would return to the Alltech Arena for a third time in order to determine the outcome of the 2013 US Pony Medal Final.

In the test, riders were asked to show sitting and rising trot, canter and a hand gallop. However, the deciding factor of the 2013 championship was when the judges called for riders to turn-on-the-haunches.

Woodson (Wellington, FL) was declared the winner of the 2013 US Pony Medal Final after displaying two stylish jumping rounds and an acute understanding and accuracy on the flat, especially when it came to turn-on-the-haunches.

“I just wanted to go in and do my best; I love flatting,” said the 13-year-old of her mindset heading into the test. “So when they said turn-on-the-haunches, I just thought, ‘Well here we go; walk to turn-on-the-haunches to walk’.”

It was especially meaningful for Woodson to top Sunday’s class as it is likely it will be the last time she rides at the US Pony Finals.

“This is my last year at Pony Finals. Next year I’m moving up to the big Eq., so I was really happy to win,” said Woodson. “It still doesn’t feel real.”

Collecting second place and the Silver medal was Kurtz (Hudson, OH). Sunday’s Medal Final closed out an unbelievable 2013 US Pony Finals for the 13-year-old. Over the course of the week she rode to the Reserve Grand Champion Hunter Pony, Reserve Grand Champion Green Hunter Pony, Large Regular Pony Hunter Championship, Medium Green Pony Hunter Championship, and the Small Green Pony Hunter Championship titles.

The Bronze medal was awarded to Lemke of Franklin, Tennessee.

Earning fourth place was Casas, the only rider in the final four test to ride a Large Pony.

The following riders rounded out the top 10 placings:

5th – Annalise Reed
6th – Alexandra Pielet
7th – Coco Fath
8th – Isabel Ryan
9th – Madeline Schaefer
10th – Theresa Tolar

By Helen Murray

Grand Pony Hunter Championship Title Goes to Daisy Farish at 2013 USEF Pony Finals

Daisy Farish and Sassafras Creek.

Lexington, KY – August 10, 2013 – Daisy Farish capped an outstanding week at the 2013 United States Equestrian Federation Pony Finals by claiming the Grand Pony Hunter Championship with Sassafras Creek. Farish and Sassafras Creek, owned by Redfield Farm of Califon, NJ, were awarded the Medium Pony Hunter Championship on Thursday, and none of the small or large ponies could match their impressive total score of 1035.5, which earned them the Grand title and the International Jumping Derby Perpetual Trophy, donated by Mason Phelps, Jr.

Emma Kurtz and Westside came the closest to besting Farish and Sassafras Creek, as they took home the Large Pony Hunter Championship with a cumulative total of 1020.9 after collecting scores of 86.85, 83 and 80.85 in today’s Large Pony Hunter Over Fences class. Their division winning efforts also earned them the Reserve Grand Pony Hunter Championship.

“I have never been grand or reserve grand at Pony Finals, and before this week I had only been champion once,” Farish said. “So my second time being champion and being grand means a lot to me. It may be my last Pony Finals, so that makes it even better.”

Farish continued, “Sassy has her name for a reason. She is a princess. She likes everything to be her way. When it is, she is just a really great, easy pony. There are no tricks to her. She’s very simple.”

Farish worked with trainer Patricia Griffith of Heritage Farm to prepare for Pony Finals. “I think Heritage and Patricia really helped me because they helped my confidence,” Farish said. “I showed four ponies this week, and Patricia has helped me with every one of them.”

Griffith added, “We monopolized our main ring at home, which they never let us use for the ponies because it’s the biggest sand ring. We took all the horse jumps out and made it a pony explosion! I had our carpenter make us all these little jumps, and we saved them all so that when they walked in the ring they’d never seen any of those fences.”

Griffith’s efforts with Farish and Sassafras Creek, or simply “Sassy,” earned her the Emerson Burr Perpetual Trophy, donated by the 2000 Hunter Pony Committee, and presented to the trainer of the Overall Grand Pony Hunter Champion.

Emma Kurtz and Westside
Emma Kurtz and Westside

Reserve Grand Pony Hunter Champions Kurtz and Westside, who was recently purchased by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, took the third place ribbon in today’s over fences class, the final phase of the Large Pony Hunters. Their strong finish clinched their Large Pony Hunter Championship title and the Reserve Grand Champion award.

“He was really good,” Kurtz said after their round. “Going by the end, he got a little nervous, but he was awesome other than that. He’s really fun, and he’s pretty easy. His jump is so smooth.”

Kurtz, like Farish, has had a series of impressive results at Pony Finals this year, including winning both the Grand and Reserve Grand Green Pony Hunter Championship titles with Yes It’s True and Show Me Love, respectively. Westside, trained by Scott Stewart, is a relatively new ride for Kurtz, and the pair is working to develop a partnership in both the hunter and equitation rings.

“Scott and I are like a couple of Indian chiefs. We get to pow-wowing, and we kind of have fun because we come up with the best ideas when the two of us work together,” said Dr. Betsee Parker. “We didn’t have a medal pony at the national level for our two new young riders, Emma Kurtz and Taylor St Jacques, and we really wanted to support them with a real top-flight medal pony for the next year.”

With that idea in mind, Parker purchased Westside this week with the goal of providing a top equitation horse for Kurtz and St Jacques. The win in the Large Pony Hunters came as an unexpected bonus.

“He really surprised us,” Parker said. “Westside just really did his thing today. We were pretty excited.”

First place over fences, along with the Large Pony Hunter Reserve Championship, went to Aleece Jarman and her own Valentino. Jarman, of Pace, FL, earned scores of 87.2, 83.5 and 84.5. Isabel Ryan of Locust Valley, NY and her own Woodlands Misty Rain finished second over fences on scores of 86.5, 80.75 and 84.5.

Taylor St Jacques and Enjoy The Laughter
Taylor St Jacques and Enjoy The Laughter

This year’s Hunter Pony Championships, presented by Sallee Horse Vans, concluded with the Under Saddle Champion Class, which brought back top finishers from all of the week’s under saddle classes to square off for the title. Judges gradually narrowed down the field of 23 until the top 10 combinations remained in the ring. They began pinning the class, calling horses into the middle one by one until it was a head-to-head competition between Dr. Betsee Parker’s Enjoy the Laughter, ridden by Taylor St Jacques, and Addison Piper’s Goldfish, ridden by Isabella Di Benedetto. St Jacques was finally named the winner, making it two in a row for Enjoy the Laughter, who took last year’s title with Cloe Hymowitz aboard.

An afternoon awards ceremony was held in the Alltech Arena to recognize the week’s best performers in the hunter divisions. The High Score State Team Award went to the Florida team comprised of Kurtz and Westside, Jarman and Valentino, and Bernadette Chungunco and Donald Stewart’s Steal the Crowd. They received the International Challenge Trophy.

The Buttons ‘n’ Bows Sportsmanship Trophy, donated by Mr. R. Bates Newton in memory of Maxine Best, was awarded to 8-year-old Hagen Hall of Thompson Station, TN.  Blue on Blue, ridden by Sarah Boston and owned by Chloe D. Reid LLC, received the Betsy Fishback Memorial Trophy, given to the best turned out hunter pony. Kurtz was recognized for her achievements with the Mindy Darst Perpetual Trophy, awarded to the equestrian athlete with potential to become a top professional in the future.

The USEF Pony Finals conclude Sunday with a shift in focus to equitation, as the nation’s best pony riders face off in the Pony Medal Finals.

For more information about the 2013 USEF Pony Finals, please visit www.usef.org.

For more information about the Kentucky Summer Series, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Mary Adelaide Brakenridge and Emily Riden for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

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Hana Bieling and Canterbrook Prince Charming Awarded Small Pony Hunter Championship

Hana Bieling and Canterbrook Prince Charming.

Lexington, KY – August 9, 2013 – The rain started to pour as the day wound down at the 2013 United States Equestrian Federation Pony Finals, but it did not put a damper on the kids’ spirit as they showcased their skills. The Large Pony Hunters took center stage in the Walnut Ring this morning as they completed their Model and Under Saddle phases where Taylor St Jacques and Enjoy The Laughter took home both blue ribbons. The Small Pony Hunter Over Fences was next, and at the end of the day Hana Bieling and Canterbrook Prince Charming earned the Small Pony Hunter Championship with their consistency throughout the division. Finally in the Alltech Arena, Cooper Dean captured the USEF National Pony Jumper Individual Championship aboard American Hero.

This marked Bieling’s fifth year competing at Pony Finals and it proved to be the best. She and Canterbrook Prince Charming took home the Small Pony Hunter Championship. The duo was ranked third going into today’s over fences phase, and with scores of 87.15, 84.5, and 84.25 they scored the second place award. With an overall total of 1019.3, Bieling and Canterbrook Prince Charming jumped to the top of the leader board and earned the coveted title.

Bieling began riding the 6-year-old Welsh Cross gelding in January during the Winter Equestrian Festival. “When I started riding Canterbrook Prince Charming, he was really different,” the 12-year-old Naples, FL, native said. “His canter was a little strung out and he didn’t have all his steering and everything, but by the end of WEF, he was really good.”

The talented pony was purchased by Kathryn McCarthy, who began showing him in the Children’s Pony Hunters, but gave Bieling the ride for her last year in the Small Pony Hunters. “This was his first year at Pony Finals,” Bieling noted. “Kathryn has been showing him the rest of the year and has done a really great job with him. He’s pretty straightforward. You just start and he keeps going! It’s just so good to end things well and have a good day.”

Daisy Farish and Armani
Daisy Farish and Armani

The winner of today’s Small Pony Hunter Over Fences phase was also the division’s reserve champion. Daisy Farish and Armani, owned by Madeline Schaefer of Westminster, MD, received scores of 86.15, 87 and 84.55 to take home the blue ribbon prize as well as the Small Pony Hunter Reserve Champion title. The third place finisher during the Over Fences was Kyla Sullivan and Clovercroft Love Bunny, owned by Rabbit Hill Farm of Newtown, CT. The pair earned scores of 86.15, 84 and 83 for their beautiful round early in the day.

Earlier in the day, the Large Pony Hunter Model and Under Saddle were the main highlights in the Walnut Ring. Taylor St Jacques and Enjoy The Laughter, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, earned the top call in both phases to take home the winning prize. This is the 14-year-old’s second year at Pony Finals, and today’s two blue ribbons will give her the lead going into tomorrow’s over fences phase with a total of 525 points.

“Enjoy The Laughter is still really green, but he’s a lot of fun,” commented St Jacques. “I haven’t ridden him that long, but we just connected the first time. I started showing him in the end of June. He just needs support and to know that everything’s all right.”

St Jacques added, “He’s normally very good over fences. He’ll look a little, but if I’m there for support he knows that everything’s okay. Tomorrow, I’m just going to forget about today and just ride like I know I can.”

The second place prize in the Large Pony Hunter Model was presented to Emma Kurtz and Westside, owned by Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL, while Holland Nievergelt of Norfolk, VA, and Glynhafan Red Kestral received the third place honors. In the Large Pony Hunter Under Saddle, Kurtz and Westside once again claimed the red ribbon, while Aleece Jarman of Pace, FL, and Valentino took home the third place award during today’s competition.

Following the completion of today’s hunter events, the jumpers took center stage in the Alltech Arena for the 2013 USEF National Pony Jumper Individual Finals. At the end of the night Cooper Dean of Fayette, AL and his mount American Hero donned the Gold Medal and rode away with the title of Pony Jumper Individual Champions.

The individual jumper riders competed in two phases of competition over the past two nights, and tonight the top individuals returned to vie for the medals and positions on the podium. After tonight’s opening round, four riders sat tied with four faults each, while Dean and Christina Rodriguez riding A Lotta Moxie, each led the pack with zero faults. The four-way tied riders Carly Williams and High Hopes of Lexington, VA Morgan Gravely and Dragon’s Lair Banner of High Springs, FL, Heather Vaxer and Cha Cha Cha of Delray Beach, FL and Camilla Siekmann and Mist of a Champion of Washington Crossing, PA all returned to jump-off for their shot at the Bronze Medal, while Dean and Rodriguez of Dade City, FL came back to vie for the silver and gold awards.

Williams bested the other four faulters in the jump-off, going clear in a time of 36.927 seconds and clinching the Bronze Medal. Then it was up to Dean and Rodriguez to face off for the gold. Rodriguez was the first to return, and she sped through the course until a disappointing second to last fence unseated her. Her qualification for the jump-off guaranteed her no less than second, but her fall left the Gold Medal easily up for grabs by Dean and American Hero. Dean was also a key member of the Zone 4 team that clinched the Gold Medal in the team competition last night.

“I thought we would be really good in the teams, but this is just a miracle,” smiled 14-year-old Dean following his victory.

Dean has worked extremely hard to make the Gold Medal a reality, making the win tonight that much more meaningful.  “I live on a farm in Fayette, Alabama. I sort of live like a cowboy of the hunter jumper world. I take care of Hero and do a lot of things myself,” explained Dean.

His mother, Jill Dean, added, “He works for everything. He mucks stalls. He feeds horses. He rides horses. It’s part of what we have to do as a hunter/jumper family. It’s not all easy.”

But as Cooper Dean stood atop the podium, it was evident that it is definitely all worth it. “I’m just so happy right now. This is the best week of my life,” concluded Dean.

The 2013 USEF Pony Finals will continue tomorrow with the Large Pony Hunter Over Fences, naming the 2013 Large Pony Hunter Champion, as well as the 2013 Grand Pony Hunter Champion. On Sunday, riders will compete in the Equisport Insurance/USEF Pony Medal Finals.

For more information about the 2013 USEF Pony Finals, please visit www.usef.org.

For more information about the Kentucky Summer Series, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

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Individual Medals Awarded at 2013 US National Pony Jumper Championship

Cooper Dean and American Hero (Sean McMillan Photography)

Lexington, KY – The 2013 US National Pony Jumper Championship, held as part of the US Pony Finals, came to an exciting conclusion on Friday night with Individual titles up for grabs. Twenty-one competitors came back to jump a fourth round over Marc Donovan’s testing course. A single rail separated the top 11 riders heading into Friday’s final round and a fourth round would not be enough as competitors would need to jump off for all three medals.

Cooper Dean and Christina Rodriguez entered the Alltech Arena on Friday without incurring a single fault throughout the week and again rose to the occasion, producing their fourth clear efforts of the championships. Rodriguez (Dade City, FL) was first to go in the jump-off and set off determinedly with her own A Lotta Moxie. However, the pair met the second-to-last jump just a little bit too long, resulting in Rodriguez falling. A Lotta Moxie was unharmed and Rodriguez suffered an injury to her arm but was otherwise unharmed.

When Dean (Fayette, AL) entered the ring with his own American Hero, he just needed to complete the course to earn the Individual Gold medal. The pair steadily navigated the jump off course, faulting a single time in the double combination and collecting an additional four time faults. They finished the jump-off with a score of eight.

“It’s just been incredible my pony was awesome; I couldn’t have asked for a better week,” said Dean of his time at the 2013 US Pony Finals, which saw him win the Team Gold medal with Zone Four and capture Individual Gold on Friday.

Despite knowing that Rodriguez had fallen and been eliminated before him, Dean did not change his plan heading into the jump-off.

“I wasn’t really worried about it. I wish one of my competitors hadn’t fallen off but nothing changed; my plan stayed the same.”

Dean was also awarded the US Pony Jumper Style Award as the rider the judges believed to display the best jumping style of riding throughout the week.

Silver medalist Rodriguez was also very pleased with her time at the 2013 US Pony Finals and would not let her fall on Friday change her view of the championship or her pony’s performance.

“It was very exciting; this is one of the best shows I’ve ever been to and everyone was so nice,” said Rodriguez. “She was doing really well (in the jump off), but I took too big of a spot but I’m really proud of her and how she did.”

The jump-off for Bronze saw four competitors come back who all ended the fourth round on an overall total of four faults. As the second-to-last rider in the jump-off, Carly Williams (Lexington, KY) knew that if she could leave all the rails in the cups and post a competitive time with her own High Hopes, she would be in with a shot at the final medal.

The pair did just that, jumping faultlessly and stopping the timers at 36.927 seconds to clinch the Individual Bronze medal.

Early in the day Faith Cunningham (La Canada Flintridge, CA) and her own Barachute earned top honors in the Farewell Class.

By Helen Murray

To follow all the action from the US National Pony Jumper Championship and the 2013 US Pony Finals, visit: http://usefconnect.com/ponyfinals/.

Sassafras Creek Named Medium Regular Pony Hunter Champion at 2013 US Pony Finals

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.

Daisy Farish and Sassafras Creek (Shawn McMillen Photography)
Daisy Farish and Sassafras Creek (Shawn McMillen Photography)

“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/.