Category Archives: Pony

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.”

About Eaton & Berube Equine and Farm Insurance
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HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
845.246.8833 Tel • Media_Info@HitsShows.comHitsShows.com

Morgan, Matheson and Stroud Earn National Titles at Southern Pines CDE

Tracey Morgan (Picsofyou.com)

Raeford, NC – The Southern Pines CDE came to a conclusion on Sunday at the picturesque Carolina Horse Park as three pony drivers were crowned 2013 National Champions. In the USEF National Combined Driving Single Pony Championship Tracey Morgan had the trip of day to claim the Single Pony Title for the first time. Jennifer Matheson claimed her third USEF National Combined Driving Pair Pony Championship, with a solid cones phase. The USEF National Combined Driving Pony Team Championship went to Lisa Stroud for the ninth time as she executed a near faultless trip.

USEF National Combined Driving Single Pony Championship

Morgan (Beallsville, MD) drove her own Fuego 88 flawlessly in the cones phase to post the only double clear in any of the Advanced divisions. The 12-year-old German Riding Pony completed on a three-day total of 130.59.

“I knew I needed to do that (drive double clear), to have a shot. That double clear is always so important; it was my first of the year,” said Morgan. “We kept fighting our way up from third after the dressage all weekend.”

Morgan is a former USEF National Combined Driving Pair Pony Championship but this is the first time topping the Single Pony Championship.

“It was fantastic to win the National Championship; it was good friends and good competition.”

Earning the Reserve Championship was the leader following the marathon, Paul Maye (Fairfield, VA) on a final score of 134.71. Maye drove Harmony Sport Horses’ Markus just a little too conservatively to incur 8.32 time faults but leave all the balls in place in the cones.

Jennifer Matheson (Picsofyou.com)
Jennifer Matheson (Picsofyou.com)

USEF National Combined Driving Pair Pony Championship

Matheson (Aiken, SC) drove the combination of Bax and Cees to a cones score of 8.90 after incurring six faults for two balls down and 2.90 time faults. The 2010 and 2011 National Champion earned her third title on a score of 145.15.

“It’s great to win (the National Championship); this makes three,” said Matheson. “It really solidifies to me that I can represent my country.”

The Southern Pines CDE proved to be a large step forward for Matheson and her ponies after a less than ideal spring campaign.

“We’re improving; I’m still trying to get my confidence back. I’ve been unsettled but I’m getting more confident.”

Finishing in second and earning Reserve Champion honors was Wendy O’Brien (Aiken, SC) on a score of 157.37. The 2012 National Champion incurred four balls down and 4.60 time faults for a cones total of 16.60.

USEF National Combined Driving Pony Team Championship

Stroud (West Grove, PA) drove with great precision to complete the weekend with a cones score of 4.24, one ball down and 1.24 time faults. She earned her record-tying eighth consecutive National Championship on a score of 170.11.

“It’s kind of cool,” said Stroud of her ninth National Title (2004 and 2006-2013).

Stroud was very pleased with her team on Sunday as they performed so well over the challenging cones course.

Lisa Stroud (Picsofyou.com)
Lisa Stroud (Picsofyou.com)

“That was a hard cones course. I felt lucky to get out of there alive,” said Stroud. “It (the time) was very tight. I’m very pleased with all these ponies.”

Heather Schneider (Palm City, FL) earned the Reserve Championship on a three-day total of 201.98, after scoring 14.74 on the cones (one ball down and 11.74 time faults).

For results, visit: http://drivingnews.us/results/results2013/SouthernPines/.

To learn more about the Southern Pines CDE, visit: http://southernpinescdedotcom.wordpress.com/.

Follow the 2013 U.S. Driving Team here.

By Helen Murray

Maye, Matheson and Stroud Dominate Marathon Phase at Southern Pines CDE as Sights Are Set on National Championships

Paul Maye (Picsofyou.com)

Raeford, NC – The marathon phase proved extremely influential at the Southern Pines CDE as the leaderboards across the competition saw great shake-ups. In the USEF National Combined Driving Single Pony Championship, Paul Maye drove a consistent and determined second phase to seize the two-day lead on a score of 126.39. While in the USEF National Combined Driving Pair Pony Championship, Jennifer Matheson will head into the cones as the leader with a score of 136.25. Lisa Stroud maintained her dressage lead in the USEF National Combined Driving Pony Team Championship and stands on a total of 165.87. All three current leaders were the marathon winners in their respective divisions.

USEF National Combined Driving Single Pony Championship

Maye (Fairfield, VA) drove like a man on a mission over the eight hazard course guiding Harmony Sport Horses’ Markus to a marathon score of 77.96. The 2012 National Championships won hazards one, four and seven to hold a four point lead going into the cones phase.

“He was wonderful, he did everything I asked him to do,” said Maye of his 12-year-old German Sport Pony stallion. “He got me out of trouble in a couple places and he finished very strong.”

Lying second heading into the cones are Tracey Morgan (Beallsville, MD) and Fuego 88 with a two-day total of 130.59.

Jennifer Matheson (Picsofyou.com)
Jennifer Matheson (Picsofyou.com)

USEF National Combined Driving Pair Pony Championship

Matheson (Aiken, SC) posted the quickest times in five of the hazards on Saturday. On the marathon the 2010 and 2011 National Champion drove Bax and Cees together for the first time with great success as she posted a score of 86.86 for the phase.

“I thought the marathon went well. It’s a new combination,” said Matheson.  “I’m really happy with how it went.”

Wendy O’Brien (Aiken, SC) the 2012 National Championship and Friday’s dressage leader currently lies second on a score of 140.77.

USEF National Combined Driving Pony Team Championship

Stroud (West Grove, PA) won the dressage phase of the USEF National Combined Driving Pony Team Championship on a score of 50.24 and lengthened her lead with a strong marathon phase. The reigning National Champion won five hazards (one, three, four, five and six) to earn a marathon score of 115.63.

“I like that there were eight hazards here; it’s very technically challenging and very tight for a Team. Overall it was very well built and so welcoming. The volunteers and committee make it a competitor friendly show. When you wake up and are excited there’s nothing better,” said Stroud of the Southern Pines CDE. “I was thrilled with the dressage; I was hoping to break 50 this spring and I did 50.24 (yesterday), so I’ll take the .24.”

Lisa Stroud (Picsofyou.com)
Lisa Stroud (Picsofyou.com)

Stroud heads into the cones phase with a nearly 22 point lead as she vies to earn her 10th National Title.

Sitting in second place overnight is Heather Schneider (Palm City, FL) with a score of 187.24.

Competition concludes for all divisions with the final cones phase on Sunday.

For Orders of Go and Results, visit: http://drivingnews.us/results/results2013/SouthernPines/.

To learn more about the Southern Pines CDE, visit: http://southernpinescdedotcom.wordpress.com/.

Follow the 2013 U.S. Driving Team here.

By Helen Murray

Stafford, O’Brien and Stroud Get the Early Jump on National Titles Following Dressage at the Southern Pines CDE

Suzy Stafford (Picsofyou.com)

Raeford, NC – The first day of competition at the Southern Pines CDE came to a close with pony drivers taking their first steps towards earning National Titles as they performed their dressage tests. National Championship competitors were fortunate to enjoy sunny skies, as CDE competitors following the lunch break were met with a deluge of rain. In the USEF National Combined Driving Single Pony Championship Suzy Stafford leads the field after scoring 45.23 in the first phase. Wendy O’Brien heads into Saturday’s marathon with a six point lead after scoring 43.31 in the USEF National Combined Driving Pair Pony Championship. The USEF National Combined Driving Pony Team Championship was the final division of the day and saw Lisa Stroud jump out to the first day lead on a score of 50.24.

USEF National Combined Driving Single Pony Championship

OBrien-dr1_1304
Wendy O’Brien (Picsofyou.com)

Stafford (Wilmington, DE) and Wendy O’Brien’s TTE Tea Time drove as the final competitors in the division and set the tone from the very start of the test. The Individual Silver medalist from the 2011 FEI World Driving Championships for Combined Ponies utilized her years of experience to produce a consistent and precise effort with the nine-year-old Morgan gelding.

Lying second are the 2012 USEF National Combined Driving Single Pony Champions, Paul Maye (Fairfield, VA) and Harmony Sport Horses’ Markus. The 12-year-old German Sport Pony stallion earned a score of 48.43.

USEF National Combined Driving Pair Pony Championship

O’Brien (Aiken, SC) drove her own Braakmoor Clowny Clark (a 15-year-old Welsh gelding) and Braakmoor Conan (a 14-year-old Welsh gelding) in the first phase as she looks to retain her National Title from 2012. The pair of ponies demonstrated powerful and expressive gaits but a few bobbles cost them valuable marks.

Heading to the marathon in second place is Jennifer Matheson on a score of 49.39. Matheson (Aiken, SC) drove Katrina Becker’s Bax and Danyloo in the first phase.

USEF National Combined Driving Pony Team Championship

In the dressage, Stroud (West Grove, PA) drove her own Sir Patrick (a 14-year-old Connemara gelding), With Flair (a 14-year-old Welsh gelding), Kilkerin Edward (a 16-year-old Welsh gelding) and Mystic (a 13-year-old New Forest Pony gelding). The nine-time National Champion had a consistent test, highlighted by relaxed walk work. She will head out onto the marathon with a six-point lead.

Lisa Stroud (Picsofyou.com)
Lisa Stroud (Picsofyou.com)

In second place in the USEF National Combined Driving Pony Team Championship is Heather Schneider (Palm City, FL) who drove her own Rambo, Patrick, Cloud 9 and Jazz to a score of 56.64.

Competition continues for all divisions with the marathon on Saturday.

For Orders of Go and Results, visit: http://drivingnews.us/results/results2013/SouthernPines/.

To learn more about the Southern Pines CDE, visit: http://southernpinescdedotcom.wordpress.com/.

Follow the 2013 U.S. Driving Team here.

By Helen Murray

US Pony Drivers Head to Southern Pines CDE with National Titles Up for Grabs

Suzy Stafford (Marie de Ronde)

Lexington, KY – U.S. pony drivers head to Raeford, North Carolina this weekend to vie for National Titles at the Southern Pines CDE. Bragging rights will be up for grabs in the USEF National Combined Driving Single Pony Championship, USEF National Combined Driving Pair Pony Championship and USEF National Combined Driving Pony Team Championship at the annual event held April 12-14.

USEF National Combined Driving Single Pony Championship

A vastly experienced field of five competitors line-up in the USEF National Combined Driving Single Pony Championship, including previous National Champions and World Championship medal winners. Suzy Stafford (Wilmington, DE) heads to Southern Pines on strong form in 2013. The three-time National Champion (2004, 2008, 2009) and the Individual Silver medalist from the 2011 FEI World Driving Championships for Combined Ponies most recently claimed victory three weeks ago at Live Oak International. Paul Maye (Fairfield, VA) finished second behind Stafford at Live Oak but will look to finish at the head of the field and retain his 2012 National Title.

Completing the field are three of the most experienced drivers in the United States; Miranda Cadwell, Bill Long and Tracey Morgan. Cadwell, the Individual Gold medalist from the 2007 World Pony Pairs Driving Championships, does not have to travel far from her base in Southern Pines, North Carolina and will look to add a National Title to her resume in front of hometown fans. Long (Southern Pines, NC), another local favorite, will use the experience gained driving at seven World Championships to try and add another National Championship (he has won the Four-in-Hand title seven times) to his name. Morgan (Beallsville, MD) also has years from practice driving at the highest level, including sweeping the Pair Pony title from 2003-2009.

Wendy O'Brien (Picsofyou.com)
Wendy O’Brien (Picsofyou.com)

USEF National Combined Driving Pair Pony Championship

A small but mighty field will vie for a National Title in the USEF National Combined Driving Pair Pony Championship. Wendy O’Brien (Aiken, SC) heads north to Southern Pines looking to repeat as National Champion after having claimed the title in 2012. O’Brien has been training diligently over the past months and saw her efforts rewarded at Live Oak where she broke the 40 mark for the first time on her way to winning the division.

Jennifer Matheson (Aiken, SC) who earned the National Championship crown in 2010 and 2011 will drive as a woman on a mission this weekend. Matheson stood on the podium in Lipica, Slovenia alongside Cadwell and O’Brien as the U.S. clinched Team Bronze at the 2011 FEI World Driving Championships for Combined Ponies. Meghan Benge (Windsor, SC) has been making a name for herself over the past few years as a proficient driver in the pair pony division. In 2013, she has placed third in the Intermediate section at Live Oak and won the Preliminary at Little Everglades.

USEF National Combined Driving Pony Team Championship

The USEF National Combined Driving Pony Team Championship also boasts a field of three. Lisa Stroud (West Grove, PA) aims to claim her ninth National Title in the division driving her trademark team of white ponies. Stroud is also no stranger to success on the world stage having represented the U.S. five times in World Championship competition, including winning Team Bronze in 2007 and 2011.

Lisa Stroud (Picsofyou.com)
Lisa Stroud (Picsofyou.com)

As the 2012 Reserve National Champion in this division, Katie Whaley (Paris, KY) will look to go one better in 2013. Whaley is known for her proficiency in the marathon and cones phases and will aim to drive clear, quick trips this weekend. Rounding out the division is Heather Schneider (Palm City, FL), who has been performing consistently on the Florida circuit in 2013.

Competition gets underway for all divisions with the dressage on Friday.

To learn more about the Southern Pines CDE, visit: http://southernpinescdedotcom.wordpress.com/.

Follow the 2013 U.S. Driving Team here.

By Helen Murray