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/.