SAUGERTIES, NY (August 8, 2012) – The inaugural HITS Children’s Hunter Pony Final at HITS-on-the-Hudson was a resounding success and great addition to the thriving summer series. Lena Rae Reeb of Weston, Connecticut and Leslie Kogos’ large pony Patriot were crowned the overall champions of the two-day spectacular.
Reeb showed as part of a tremendous performance by riders and ponies of all sizes to earn this impressive victory. On Saturday, Reeb and Patriot received the seventh-place ribbon in the Model Phase and the twelfth-place ribbon in the Under-Saddle Phase. Then on Sunday, their blue ribbon in the Over Fences sky-rocketed them to the Championship of the Large section and the Overall Championship of the Final.
The Children’s Hunter Pony Final was designed to give children’s pony riders an unprecedented opportunity to compete, prepare and gain experience in a true Pony Finals platform. The two-day, three-phase event included a Model and Under Saddle phase on Saturday, with the scores counting 20% and 30% towards the overall respectively. The second day featured an Over Fences phase with scores counting 50% of the overall score. A panel of three judges was selected to determine the ribbons amongst a pool of over 60 talented pony-rider combinations.
“I had a truly amazing last day at HITS,” said Reeb, who showed much gratitude on her path to victory. “First, I would love and be honored to thank my excellent trainers – Michele West and my mother Leslie Kogos. She is the best mom ever and a wonderful person and trainer. Michele is like family and the best trainer in the universe! I would sincerely like to thank my grooms, especially Elspeth Roake and Dana Polomski, they are so hardworking and really kept me and my pony clean, organized, and on time. I would also like to thank the entire HITS staff, my friend Jamie Ringel, as well Wendy Brayman, Abigail Brayman, and Jen Hinman for teaching me to model and being the most fantastic modeling teachers. Last, but certainly not least, I need and want to thank my pony Patriot. I owe half, if not more of my total success to him!”
Reeb’s mother and trainer Leslie Kogos was ecstatic with the victory. “I am so proud of my daughter,” said Kogos. “She is very focused and hardworking. Every day after the show is over she’s always back in the barn, putting away horses, wrapping legs and doing whatever else needs to be done. She works just as hard in school and is a straight A student. As a 13-year-old kid, she just amazes me with how selfless, sincere and thoughtful she is.”
Trainer Michele West added, “I’m very proud of her. I’ve been training her since she was six-years-old and to see how far she and this pony have come along just amazes me. I knew when we went into the final phase that she could win this.”
“Michele has been there from day one with Lena when we started her on her first pony Cotton Candy,” said Kogos. “I know it touches her heart to watch her show and see her success. This pony was not a fancy pony when we got it and it has taken a lot of hard work and some difficult decisions to get them both where they are today and we have to thank Michele for that, hands down. To see how much she’s learned with Michele over the years it’s really special to me. Without Michele, none of this would have been possible.”
The Children’s Hunter Pony Final took place in the all-new Outside Course at HITS-on-the-Hudson and provided a new setting for the development of riders at all levels.
“I thought it was absolutely brilliant,” said Kogos of the event. “The Outdoor Course venue is totally unique and upscale. It was so much more dynamic than your basic pony hunter course, it was difficult for them, which they needed and I think it taught them all so much. Where else can you find that? Let alone for this group of kids at this level. This is exactly what these kids need to take them to the next level when they grow out of showing ponies. I don’t see how this event cannot grow and continue to be successful over the next few years. I think this will become an even bigger event in the future and I would personally like to thank the entire HITS staff for such an amazing and impressive presentation. It was one of the most memorable days of my life and especially one of the most memorable days of my daughter’s life.”
Anna Feldman of Scarsdale, New York and Danielle Holliday’s Cassius Clay were crowned second in the Overall Championship. It was all about the third place ribbons for Feldman, who was third in the Model, and Under Saddle on Saturday and third Over Fences on Sunday, which ultimately earned them the second place Overall in both the Large section and Championship.
Emma Hess and Streett Moore’s Sand Castle received the third place in the Overall Championship. Their second place ribbon in the Over Fences earned them the third Overall in the Large section and the Championship.
Sponsor Éce Equestrian Co., the creator of fashion forward equestrian apparel, awarded the first place winner of every class for each section a shirt from their all-new children’s line of equestrian clothing.
Mona’s Monograms was the proud sponsor of the trophies and awards for the Overall Section awards as well as the Overall Championship awards. Their custom embroidered prizes included a cooler for the first place winner, scrim sheets to second and third place and saddle pads to fourth through twelfth place.