Devon, PA - July 8, 2012 - The Pony Hunter competitors were glad to see an end to the heat wave as they took center stage in the Gold Ring today at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series, presented by Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS). The Large Pony Hunter Champion award went Barbara Ann Merryman and For the Love. Daisy Farish took home division championship honors with Sassafras Creek in the Medium Pony Hunters, and Prada in the Green Pony Hunters. Coco Faith and Red Robin were presented with the championship award in the Small Pony Hunters, and were eventually named Grand Pony Hunter Champion.
The morning kicked off with the Large Pony Hunter division, where Barbara Ann Merryman and For the Love just could not be beat. The duo swept the division, bringing home blues in all four over fences classes as well as the flat. They were also awarded with the Circuit Championship for their impressive performances this week. For the Love is a pony owned by Alexandra Crown out of New York, NY. Mia Latran of Newtown Square, PA piloted Major League to reserve honors with four second places over fences and a third in the hack.
“For the Love was really good. He’s a quiet pony and very brave so all the jumps come up,” commented Merryman. “For my handy, I made sure to do tight turns. Since he’s still green, he’s getting used to doing the tighter turns because they don’t have them in the Green Pony Hunter division, but he jumps pretty well, and he’s very smart.”
Merryman continued, “He’s eight years old and this is his first year in the regular ponies, so he’s still getting used to it. He’s a little pokey so you have to ride him forward. This is my first year at Brandywine. The footing is great and the jumps look really good, and the whole set up is nice.”
Next to show in the Gold Ring were the medium ponies. Garnering the Medium Pony Hunter Champion and Circuit Champion honors was Sassafras Creek, a Bibby Hill entry with Daisy Farish in the irons. Their three wins over fences this weekend secured them both championship awards for week two of Brandywine. Farish and Sassafras Creek also found success in the Pony Hunter Classic, where they earned a first round score of 85 and a second round score of 82 for a total of 167, good enough for the blue. Not far behind them was Coco Fath and Highlands Heaven Sent, an entry owned by Peakewood Pharm, Inc. of Marshall, VA. The pair earned a first, second, and third over fences in addition to a second in the under saddle, good for reserve honors.
“My first round on Sassafrass Creek was good, I was really proud of her. I had a couple mistakes in the second round but then she came back in the classic and was really good. I wasn’t sure how well I was going to do in the classic since I didn’t do very well in the handy, but we ended up doing really well,” explained Farish. “This is my first real time showing her. I showed her one day last week and I don’t know her very well but she was very good this weekend. She likes an easy confident ride with a loose rein.”
Rounding out the regular pony hunter divisions were the small ponies, where Coco Fath and Red Robin, a Heritage Farm, Inc. of Katonah, NY entry, were victorious. The duo earned three first place ribbons and a third place ribbon over fences, plus a blue in the under saddle, good for division champion. Red Robin was also awarded the Circuit Champion title, as well as Grand Pony Hunter Champion. Ava Leraris rode Star Command to a reserve finish for Pretty Penny Farm with a first, second, and third over fences and a third in the under saddle.
“My handy hunter was my best round, I landed all of my leads and got an 84. My plan for the handy was to all the short turns and land on all the leads. He’s really slow in the beginning and then as he goes around the course he gets a lot faster, so I have to make sure I stay at the same pace all the way around the course. I got Red Robin a couple months ago and he’s been really good since. I’ve won a couple of reserve champions at other shows, but this is my first champion on him,” smiled Fath.
Finally, the Green Pony Hunters took their turn in front of the judge, and Farish once again found herself in the winner’s circle with both of her mounts. Taking championship honors with two wins and a second over fences, plus a second under saddle, was Prada, an entry owned by David Scheffenacker and ridden by Farish. Farish also piloted Charming, an entry owned by Bill Schaub of Sanford, FL, to two firsts and a second over fences, in addition to a first in the hack, good for reserve champion. Charming was also awarded with the Small Pony Hunter Circuit Champion cooler for their consistency over the two weeks of Brandywine.
“Prada was really good, I’ve never ridden her before, but she was really easy and fun. She just wanted a nice easy ride, you just kind of had to guide her. She’s really sweet and fun to ride, I really liked her,” said Farish.
A number of special presentations were made today at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series. Leah Toscano was presented with the Equitation Style Award for her outstanding performance in the USEF Pony Medal on Saturday. In addition to her many other accolades in the pony ring this weekend, Daisy Farish also earned the Best Child Rider on a Pony Award.
Today marked the conclusion of the Brandywine Valley Summer Series, but hunter competition will continue tomorrow at the Devon Show Grounds during the Local Day at Devon. The Brass Ring Horse Show will host the Hunter Championship for the EPPHA, and the event will feature multiple championship for all levels of equestrians.
Photo Credit: Coco Fath and Red Robin won the Grand Pony Hunter Championship at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series. Photo By: AnLi Kelly-Durham/PMG. Photo may only be used in relation to this PMG press release.