Category Archives: Pony

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

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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/.

Zone Four Faultless to Earn 2013 Team Championship at the US National Pony Jumper Championships

Team Medalists (Shawn McMillen Photography)

Lexington, KY – Clear rounds were the order of the day in the Alltech Arena on Thursday evening as 11 teams went to task over Marc Donovan’s 12-obstacle track. Team medals in the US National Pony Jumper Championship were at stake as competition was held in the two-round Nations Cup format. Following the first round the top six teams came back to jump the same course in round two, in addition to 12 combinations that were jumping for individual classification.

For a second consecutive year, the team from Zone Four proved unbeatable as they cruised to the Gold medal on a score of zero faults. All four riders, Morgan Gravely, Micaela Smith, Cooper Dean, and Heather Vaxer, jumped double clear for Zone Four on Thursday.

“Our whole team rode it really well and it worked out great,” said Gravely (High Springs, FL) of the course, of which her own and Celia Evan’s Dragon’s Lair Banner made light work in the lead-off position for the team. “Last year, Zone Four won too, and it was all new riders this year and to come and win is awesome.”

Echoing her teammate’s thoughts on how meaningful it was to win, Smith (Clover, SC) was ecstatic with her pony Blue Me Away’s performance and that of the Zone Four spirit.

“I’ve never won anything this big before in my life,” said Smith. “We were pretty pumped up when one of us went clear.”

Dean (Fayette, AL) has only been riding his pony American Hero for a year, but has quickly forged a relationship with the gelding.

“He’s the best pony I could ever have.  I’ve only had him a year but it has been the best year of my life and to come and do this (win), it’s just unbelievable.”

Riding in the anchor position for Zone Four, Vaxer (Del Ray Beach, FL) did not have to jump her own Cha Cha Cha in the second round as her team had already clinched Gold, but did so to maintain her Individual standing. She also felt it was important to continue to contribute alongside her teammates.

“I’m really excited; there’s a lot of adrenaline. We have a really strong team; they’re all so supportive. We all knew how we wanted to plan this. It was a lot of pressure but it all worked out.”

Collecting the Silver medal was the Zone Five Combined Team with eight total faults. Jumping in the anchor position, Caitlyn Conors (Glen Mills, PA) added her name to the double-clear list with two immaculate trips on her own Break Away. Carson Ruff (Maple Park, IL) was the lead-off rider for her team, producing four- and zero-fault rounds with Sarah Ruff’s Jet Pilot, while Emma Ellis (Annapolis, MD) was clear in round one and had a single rail in round two to collect four faults with her own Tangled Up in Blue. Rounding out the Zone Five Combined Team was Emma Bach (Cincinnati, OH) and Maria Kneipp’s Lucky Charm.

Zone Seven earned the Bronze medal after completing the two rounds of jumping on a score of 27. Their team was composed of Caroline Zaunbrecher (Lafayette, LA) with her own Fire Van Battenbroek, Madison Massey (Pelham , AL) and Picasso, Sedona Chamblee (Keller, TX) with her own Lucky Star and double-clear combination Elizabeth McDougald (Lawton, OK), and her own Knock My Sox Off.

A total of nine combinations jumped double clear on Thursday night including Zone Four’s Gravely, Smith, Dean and Vaxer, along with Zone Five Combined Team’s Connors, Zone Seven’s McDougald and Christina Rodriguez (Dade City, FL) and her own A Lotta Moxie of Team Blue as well as Camilla Siekmann (Washington Crossing, PA) with her own Mist of a Champion from Zone Two and Team Red’s Elena Stoltzfus (Gap, PA) with Hugh Cann’s Swears Like a Sailor.

In Individual standings, Gravely, Dean, Vaxer, Connors, McDougald, Rodriguez, Siekmann, and Stoltzfus all lead on a three round total of zero faults.

The Individual Champion for the 2013 US National Pony Jumper Championship will crowned following the conclusion of Friday’s Individual Final.

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/.

Northwind Marin, Show Me Love, and Yes It’s True Receive Green Pony Hunter Championship Titles

Emma Kurtz and Yes It’s True (Shawn McMillen Photography)

Lexington, KY – The first championship titles of the US Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans were claimed Wednesday as the Green Hunter ponies completed their final phase of competition in the 2013 US Pony Finals. The judging panel of Chance Arakelian, William Sparks, and Jeff Wirthman assessed the hunter ponies in the Kentucky Horse Park’s Walnut Arena until weather caused the Under Saddle phase of the Medium Regular Pony Hunters to be moved to the Covered Arena.

Emma Kurtz’s success continued as she claimed the Medium Green Pony Hunter Championship, Small Green Pony Hunter Championship, and finally the Overall Green Pony Hunter Championship. Daisy Farish gave her mount a seasoned ride to earn the Large Green Pony Hunter Championship title.

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.

Large Green Pony Hunter

Farish (Versailles, KY) and Prue Richardson’s Northwind Marin took top honors in the Large Green Pony Hunter Championship. After a smooth round in the Over Fences phase to score 248.75 and finish in third place, she and the seven-year-old cross-bred gelding completed the competition with a total score of 1005.50.

“It feels really good,” Farish said of her win. “I have never won the Greens before.”

“When we were schooling, he was good but we got to the ring and he wasn’t so sure,” explained Farish. “Once he started going he was really good.”

The Reserve Champion title went to Aleece Jarman (Pace, FL) and Britney Jarman’s Casanova with a total score of 990.00. Jarman and the five-year-old German Riding Pony gelding scored 246.50 in the Over Fences phase to receive the fourth place ribbon.

Morgan Ward (Milford, NJ) and Redfield Farm’s Isport finished in third place in the Large Green Pony Hunter Championship with a total score of 980.00. She and the 11-year-old German Riding Pony mare won the Over Fences phase with a score of 250.50.

Medium Green Pony Hunter

After finishing with a total score of 1007.00, Kurtz (Hudson, OH) and Scott Stewart’s Show Me Love claimed the winning title in the Medium Green Pony Hunter Championship. Kurtz had notable performances with the six-year-old Bavarian Warmblood gelding, including a second-place finish in Wednesday’s Over Fences phase with a score of 247.50.

“He was really quiet and liked the jumps,” Kurtz said of her ride. The pair’s flowing round made an impression on the judges, helping them clinch the championship title.

Kirklen Petersen (Great Valls, VA) and David Glefke’s Foot Steps were named the Reserve Champions with a total score of 994.50. She and the flashy eight-year-old palomino German Riding Pony mare scored a 245.50 to finish in fourth place in the Over Fences phase.

Only 0.5 points behind Petersen was Coco Fath (Fairfield, CT) and Katherine Arliss’ seven-year-old Welsh Pony mare Rosmel’s Fairy Steps, to finish in third in the championship with an overall score of 994.00. The pair also received the third place ribbon in the Over Fences phase.

Small Green Pony Hunter

Kurtz continued her dominance by winning the Small Green Pony Hunter Championship with Sofia Roberts, LLC’s Yes It’s True, completing the competition with a phenomenal overall score of 1018.00. She and the eight-year-old cross-bred mare produced a near perfect round in the Over Fences phase to win with a score of 256.00.

“It feels great,” Kurtz said of her Small Green Pony Hunter Championship win. With the highest score of the Green Pony Hunters, beating herself on her Medium Green Pony Hunter mount by 11 points, Kurtz and Yes It’s True were crowned with the Overall Green Pony Hunter Champion title. “It feels really awesome,” she said of the title, all in her first year of being a champion at the US Pony Finals. When asked if she expected to have the results that she has had so far, Kurtz replied, “No, I didn’t expect it at all.”

The Reserve Champion title went to Augusta Iwasaki (Calabasas, CA) and Iwasaki and Reilly’s Small Introduction with a total score of 998.00. She and the seven-year-old Welsh Pony mare were boosted into the Reserve Champion position on the strength of a third-place finish in the Over Fences phase with a score of 254.50.

Alexandra Pielet (Highland Park, IL) and Mia Green’s seven-year-old Welsh Pony mare GF Forget Me Not took home the third place ribbon with a total score of 985.50. With a score of 248.25, the pair finished fourth in the Over Fences phase.

Medium Regular Pony Hunter

Competition ended late Wednesday evening with the Medium Regular Pony Hunters performing their Under Saddle phase. Elizabeth Shelbred (Greenwich, CT) and Autumn Farms’ 12-year-old German Riding Pony mare Dream Girl won the Under Saddle phase with a score of 256.00. Farish and Redfield Farm’s 14-year-old Welsh Pony Cross mare Sassafras Creek currently lead the Medium Regular Pony Hunter division with a score of 511.00.

Thursday begins with Small Regular Pony Hunter division’s Model phase followed by their Under Saddle phase. In the afternoon, the Medium Regular Pony Hunter division will perform their Over Fences phase to conclude their competition and crown a champion.

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/.

Emma Kurtz Dominates Green Pony Hunters at 2013 USEF Pony Finals

Emma Kurtz and Yes It’s True.

Lexington, KY – August 7, 2013 – The 2013 United States Equestrian Federation Pony Finals continued today at the picturesque Kentucky Horse Park with the conclusion of the Green Pony Hunter divisions. Ponies and riders from each division completed their over fences phases, competing for the top honors as well as the championship and reserve championship titles. At the end of the day, 13-year-old Emma Kurtz sat atop the leader board, claiming the Grand Green Pony Hunter Championship title with Yes It’s True and the Reserve Grand Green Pony Hunter Championship aboard Show Me Love.

In the Small Green Pony Hunters, it was Yes It’s True’s stunning performance over fences that helped her win all the top awards with Emma Kurtz in the irons. The duo took home the blue ribbon prize in the over fences class with scores of 86, 85, and 85, which would be good enough to claim the Small Green Pony Hunter Championship for new owner Sofia Roberts of Wilmington, OH. Their overall total came to 1018 after winning the under saddle and placing second in the model, and that helped the pair earn the Grand Green Pony Hunter Championship.

“Yes It’s True is really fun,” smiled Kurtz. “Her jump’s really fun. You have to keep the leg and keep going, but she does carry her own canter. She doesn’t require that much work. She’s not that green; she’s not spooky.”

This year marked the first blue ribbon at Pony Finals for Kurtz, and she topped it with the Grand and Reserve Grand Green Pony Hunter titles. “It’s been amazing,” commented the Hudson, OH, native. “It’s been an awesome day with great ponies.”

Robin Greenwood bred and raised Yes It’s True, an eight-year-old mare by Empire’s Power out of Yes I Will. “She’s such a good pony and she’s always been such a trier,” she noted. “The pony gives you goosebumps when she jumps around. She always over jumps, but does it so perfectly. It’s very exciting. She was filly or mare champion as a yearling at Devon. You know she’s a superstar; she’s always been a show pony.”

Kurtz led the Medium Green Pony Hunter division from start to finish, winning the under saddle yesterday and placing second in the model with Show Me Love, owned by Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL. Today, they showcased their skills over fences, earning scores of 78.5, 81, and 88, for third place to bring their grand total to 1007 and capture the Medium Green Pony Hunter Championship. Their impressive performance also helped the pair capture the Reserve Grand Green Pony Hunter Championship.

“Show Me Love was awesome today,” said Kurtz. “He was really quiet and he liked the jumps. He’s really easy; he’s just really lazy so you have to use a lot of leg.  It’s so nice when they’re easy and fancy.”

Owner Scott Stewart noted, “He’s 6 years old and he just showed in the Greens once, at the beginning of Florida, and since then we have been doing the Regular Mediums. He’s really simple. He’s quiet, he’s not spooky – he’s really one of the easiest ones we’ve had.”

“Emma rode him all through Florida and he won quite a bit,” continued Stewart. “Because we’ve been at different shows, she hasn’t ridden him for a month – she just jumped him yesterday for the first time. But he’s that easy. After this he will probably go to the Hampton Classic and then Indoors, where he’ll do the Regular Mediums; this is his last show in the Greens.”

The Medium Green Pony Hunter Reserve Championship went to Kirklen Petersen and Foot Steps, owned by David Glefke of Keswick, VA, for their total of 994.5. They also placed fourth over fences. The winner of the class was Taylor St. Jacques riding Pink Ice for Danielle Boyle of Melville, NY, and receiving scores of 82, 84, and 82.24. Coco Fath and Rosmel’s Fairy Steps, owned by Katherine Arliss of Red Bank, NJ, picked up the second place award in the class after earning an 83, 80.5, and 83.

In the Small Green Pony Hunters, Augusta Iwasaki of Calabasas, CA, and Small Introduction took home the reserve championship with total score of 998, placing third over fences with scores of 83, 86, and 85.5. Taylor St. Jacques scored the red ribbon over fences with Hershey’s Kiss, owned by Danielle Roskens of South Lyon, MI. St. Jacques and Hershey’s Kiss earned scores of 85, 83.5, and 86.

The Large Green Pony Hunters were the first to compete over fences in the Walnut Ring today. Morgan Ward and Isport, owned by Refield Farm of Califon, NJ, jumped to the top of the leader board with scores of 83, 83, and 84.5 that earned them the blue ribbon. Lilly Mack of Cincinnati, OH, and Blue A Kiss followed in the second place position after earning an 81, an 84, and an 85. The third place ribbon went to Daisy Farish and Northwind Marin, owned by Prue Richardson of Palgrave, Ontario, who received scores of 80.25, 84.5, and 84.

At the end of the class, the overall points were tabulated and Farish was named the Large Green Pony Hunter Champion aboard Northwind Marin, topping the competition by 15 points with an overall score of 1005.5. The reserve championship honors were presented to Aleece Jarmin and Casanova, owned by Tracy Howe of Frenchtown, NJ, who placed fourth over fences and had a total of 990 points.

Daisy Farish and Northwind Marin
Daisy Farish and Northwind Marin

“I’ve never won the Large Greens before, so this feels really good,” expressed Farish. “We schooled this morning and he was very good, but when we went in for our Over Fences, he wasn’t so sure. Once he started going though, he was really great. He’s very easy. He has a really good rhythm and you just have to sit there and keep him together and the jumps come up.”

Before coming to Pony Finals, Farish and Northwind Marin competed at Capital Challenge, where they were Grand Champion, and also won all of their classes at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series last month.

Trainer Bill Shaub explained, “Prue Richardson bred and raised him and sent him to me as a 5-year-old. We’ve just taken our time with him because we saw his talent and started him this year back as a 7-year-old. The secret is that we took two and a half years making him. When he wasn’t ready, we let him grow. We go to Virginia and we do hillwork and that’s where we spend our summers. We’re a little bit old horsemen that way.

“What’s really exciting is that Prue is fading out of the breeding, so this is really a big moment for her,” added Shaub. “Northwind Marin is just a winner. He wants to be a winner. He’s that kind of pony. He has so much presence that he certainly catches your eye. He and Daisy are a great match.”

The Regular Medium Pony Hunter Under Saddle took place next in the Covered Arena as the day came to a close. The top call went to Elizabeth Shelbred and Dream Girl, owned by Autumn Farms of North Salem, NY, while Daisy Farish and Sassafras Creek, owned by Redfield Farm of Claifon, NJ, followed in second. Bernadette Chungunco and Steal The Crowd, owned by Donald Stewart, Ocala, FL, took home the day’s third place honors. With an overall total of 511 after placing fifth in the model, Farish and Sassafras Creek will lead the division going into tomorrow’s Over Fences phase.

The 2013 USEF Pony Finals will continue tomorrow with the Medium Pony Hunters’ over fences phase as well as the Small Pony Hunters’ model and under saddle phases. In the Alltech Arena, the Pony Jumper competition will be getting underway in the evening as they compete for top prizes.

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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Abby Lefkowitz Takes Home Grand Champion Honors in Children’s Hunter Pony Finals at HITS Saugerties

©ESI Photography. Abby Lefkowitz and Vermont Show Me The Gold jump their way to the overall Grand Championship in the Eaton & Berube Children’s Hunter Pony Finals.

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (August 7, 2013) – When number 194 was called during the Grand Champion awards presentation this weekend, the look on Abby Lefkowitz’s face was one of sheer excitement, mixed with shades of surprise. After taking a few moments to realize that 194 was indeed her number, Lefkowitz, who hails from Scarsdale, New York, guided her own Vermont Show Me The Gold to be draped with top honors in the second annual Eaton & Berube Children’s Hunter Pony Finals, presented by Mona’s Monograms, at HITS Saugerties.

“I just kept thinking, ‘Is this really happening?’,” said Lefkowitz of her reaction to the win. “”I wouldn’t be here without the incredible support and hard work of several people, including my wonderful trainers Vanessa Roman and Audrey Feldman, our fantastic grooms, all my friends who supported me, and my loving parents. I’m still star struck.”

Lefkowitz and Vermont Show Me The Gold, who is affectionately called Derby around the barn, posted the top overall score of 82.7 to best all small, medium and large ponies in the Final. On their way to the overall title, the pair was consistently in the ribbons in the Large Pony division.  They earned a score of 83 in the model for second, 82 under saddle for sixth and were second over fences with an 83.

“I have had him for two years and we just have a connection,” said Lefkowitz of the bond she has with her 10-year-old Thoroughbred/Welsh Pony Cross. “I always know that I am safe with him – he’s always a good boy for me. From here, I want to keep working hard and improving with him.”

Lefkowitz started riding at Boulder Brook in Scarsdale, New York with trainers Roman and Feldman when she was four years old.

“We couldn’t be happier,” said Feldman. “It can’t get much better than this. She has moved up from a small pony with us and when we found Derby, we couldn’t resist – he was wonderful today.”

Eaton & Berube Children’s Hunter Pony Finals competition got underway on Saturday with model and under saddle phases, concluding Sunday with an over fences phase. For overall Grand Champion, scores were calculated with the model worth 20%, the under saddle worth 30% and the over fences score worth 50%. The class took place on the popular Outside Course at HITS-on-the-Hudson with courses designed by Rian Beals of Saugerties, New York.

“This Final replicates the big pony finals and is such a nice start for kids who have ponies that aren’t ready to show at that level yet,” said Feldman of the Eaton & Berube Children’s Hunter Pony Finals. “This environment prepares them well for the next level and gives them the opportunity to show off their ponies in all three phases.”

Aside from exciting competition in the ring, the weekend’s festivities included an ice cream and cupcake social, as well as an exhibitor’s party at Puttin’ Plus, presented by Horse Flight, Friday night. In its second year, the Eaton & Berube Children’s Hunter Pony Finals, presented by Mona’s Monograms, is gaining momentum as a popular opportunity for children’s hunter pony riders and trainers alike. HITS and class sponsors are looking forward to a bright future for the event.

“This event is just one example of the HITS organization doing a great job promoting the development of young riders,” said Sue Berube, CFO of Eaton & Berube Insurance Agency.  “It is an excellent opportunity for young pony riders, whether it is the largest-scale Finals event they will compete in, or helps them prepare for the future at the USEF National Pony Finals in Kentucky.  We are honored to be involved with the HITS organization, and their promotion of the future generation of riders.”

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