Lexington, KY - August 14, 2012 - The Alltech Arena was alive with action as the morning fog began to settle over the Kentucky Horse Park. It was the conclusion of the US Pony Finals and US Pony Hunter Championships, and the EquiSport Insurance/US Pony Medal Finals brought the 2012 US Pony Finals to a bittersweet finale. It was Lucy Deslauriers and Center Field who rode to the top of the leaderboard and garnered the championship prize with two solid rounds and a fantastic final test.
The top 25 riders returned for the second round including 15 medium ponies, five small ponies, and five large ponies. Ava Stearns was at the top of the order for todays first round, holding a steady lead throughout all three sections—small, medium and large. Although she laid down a beautiful second round, she eventually earned the third place ribbon after her turn in the test. Samantha Cohen of New York, NY, also posted striking rounds, returning for the second round as the subsequent combination in the order, her test proved good enough for the fourth place honors.
The true nail biter came down to Daisy Farish of Versailles, KY, and Lucy Deslauriers of New York, NY. Both girls had astounding trips; however, it was Deslauriers who emerged on the top, moving from the ninth position into the top call. Farish emerged the reserve champion, graciously accepting her silver medal aboard Denmark.
Deslauriers and Center Field proved unstoppable as they executed a seemingly flawless second round and test phase. Deslauriers also rode to the third place finish last year, aboard Macy Gray, and this year she took the US National Pony Hunter Championships by storm with the third place finish overall.
“I thought the course for the Medal was really good, and it was really fun,” Deslauriers smiled. “I really like these types of rounds where there were lots of turns, it’s challenging but fun. This is my last year doing Pony Finals, and I am really happy with how it all went, especially since I have only been coming for two years.”
“The second trip I was a bit nervous just because I wanted to do really well, but I knew my pony was good, so I just went in and did what my trainer told me,” Deslauriers continued. “I was nervous because the others put in pretty good testing trips, too. I just knew I had to go in and lay down the best trip I could.”
It was apparent that the judges had nothing but confidence in their final decision after the test phase. The top 10 riders were asked to stand in the center of the ring, and as the names were called for the pinning, Deslauriers admitted that she felt her nerves creeping up on her.
Deslauriers gave advice for future competitors, “I have had a fantastic time at Pony Finals, but the important thing to remember is that we are all here to have fun. Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves, but don’t let it get to you. There are a lot of people who compete, but go in and do it like anything else. Just have fun and do the best you can.”
Hunter Highlights: Tuesday-Saturday
The Walnut Ring was alive with families and friends supporting young competitors and their pony mounts, as the 2012 US Pony Finals and the US Hunter Pony Championships presented by Sallee Horse Vans got underway with its first day at the Kentucky Horse Park. Tuesday, the top ponies and riders from across the nation amassed for the Green Pony Hunter Model and Under Saddle, as well as the Regular Medium Pony Hunter Model. Throughout the year, riders have worked persistently to qualify for this prominent event and vie for the winning honors.
The US Pony Finals offer three phases of competition for utilizing scores in conformation, movement under saddle, and jumping ability. The riders, clad in their best dress, are subject to scoring based on equitation and their skill upon navigating their talented mounts. Winners are declared in each division: small, small green, medium, medium green, large and large green pony hunters. Each year the points are calculated to declare the US Grand Hunter Pony Champion, as well as the USEF Regular Pony Hunter Champion.
The bows were bright and the sun was hot as ponies and their counterparts began the first event of the day, the Small Green Pony Model. Lindsey Ayres of Knoxville, TN, and her own In A Dream earned the top call in the model, claiming the blue ribbon. Julia Zug, of Elkton, MD, and Lorimars Signature were awarded the second place ribbon. Rounding out the top three was Sophie Gochman and Secret Love, owned by David Gochman of New York, NY.
Next in the scheduled order was the Small Green Pony Hunter Under Saddle. It was Lili Hymowitz and Bit of Love, owned by Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL, who nabbed the first place ribbon. Mimi Gochman and Love Me Tender, owned by David Gochman, rode to the second place honors. Daisy Farish and Helicon Penny Lane, owned by Linda Langmeier of East Granby, CT, were presented with the third place.
As the morning progressed, the Medium Green Ponies were welcomed to the ring for their chance to partake in the model and under saddle phases. The model victory was awarded to Madeline Schaefer of Westminster, MD, and Frosted. Taking home the second place ribbon was Lauren Curry and Prada, owned by David P. Scheffenacker of Lutherville, MD. Clovermeade Not Just Any Bunny, owned by Ellie Ferrigno of Newtown, CT, wore the third place ribbon with pride as rider Ali Trilschler guided her to the presentation.
The under saddle was filled with talented riders guiding their mounts around the Walnut Ring; however, it was Francesca Dildabanian and Real Steel, owned by Brass Ring Farm Sales of Wellington, FL, who rode to the top of the leaderboard. Parker Wright and Anisette, owned by Lionshare Farm of Greenwich, CT, took the second place award, while Catherine Droogmans of Palmetto, GA, and Hermione were awarded the third place.
Lili Hymowitz rode to her second blue ribbon of the day aboard Enjoy the Laughter, owned by Rose Hill Farm of Bridgehampton, NY. The duo was awarded the first place in the Large Green Hunter Pony Model, as well as the second place in the under saddle. Aleece Jarman of Pace, FL, and Valentino, were awarded the second place for the model, but took the first position in the under saddle. The third place in the model was awarded to Katherine Weisenmiller of Lutz, FL, and Blind Date. It was Emma Kurtz aboard David Gochman’s For the Laughter who snatched up the third place honors in the under saddle phase.
The last event to take place was the Medium Pony Hunter Model. Alexandra Pielet and Let’s Play Two, owned by Jill Shulman of Greenwich, CT, took the final blue ribbon of the day. Lindsey Ayres of Knoxville, TN, and Woodlands Pick Pocket earned the second place honors. Charlotte Curry and Bikini Beach, owned by Reid Patton of Nashville, TN, took home the third place award.
The fences were set as the second day of the Green Pony Hunter divisions entered the ring to showcase their talent over fences. The 2012 US National Hunter Pony Championships presented by Sallee Horse Vans, continued Wednesday at the Kentucky Horse Park, seeing ponies and riders navigate the nine-obstacle course with the hopes of taking the top honors over fences, as well as the prestigious championship and reserve championship titles. As the day came to a close, it was Aleece Jarman and Valentino who claimed the Green Pony Hunter Grand Championship title after winning the Large Green Pony Hunter Over Fences, and the Large Green Pony Hunter Championship.
The first to dare Bobby Murphy’s course was the Small Green Pony Hunters. Parker Wright and Benjamin Buttons, owned by Emmalee Virginia, entered the third phase of the competition with the highest overall score, and combined with their excellent round over fences, they climbed to the top of the leaderboard. The pair was awarded the scores of 83.50, 85.50, and 83.50 for a total of 252.50 points. Combined with their first day scores, Wright earned a total 1009.50 points to take the blue ribbon in the over-fences phase, as well as the Small Green Pony Hunter Championship.
Daisy Farish and Helicon Penny Lane, owned by Linda Langmeier, were awarded the second place ribbon in the over fences after earning scores of 80.5, 85 and 85. Farish also snatched up the Small Green Pony Hunter Reserve Championship for her overall total of 1001.50 points. It was Lindsey Ayres and In a Dream that were awarded the third place award in the over fences Wednesday morning, riding to scores of 83, 84 and 83.
The Medium Green Pony Hunters were next, and it was Frosted’s stellar performance over fences that helped him win the third place with Madeline Schaefer in the irons, and eventually the Medium Green Pony Hunter Championship. They earned scores of 86, 84.25 and 83.85. Schaefer was also presented with the High Scoring Rider/Owner Award aboard the 9-year-old grey gelding.
Although Schaefer took the Overall Medium Green Pony Hunter Championship, it was Carly Hoft and Wonderwall, owned by Megan Kelly D’Amico, who truly shined in the over fences portion of the championship finals. Hoft navigated Wonderwall to scores of 83, 85 and 87 for the high score of 255 points.
The Overall Medium Green Pony Hunter Reserve Championship went to Wright and Anisette, owned by Lionshare Farm, who were ranked fifteenth going into the final phase, and placed second over fences. The duo was awarded the high placing scores of 83.50, 87, and 84 points, just narrowly missing the blue with a score of 254.50, and just shy of the Overall Medium Green Pony Championship by 21 points.
In the Large Green Pony Hunter division, Aleece Jarman, yesterday’s leader, stepped up to win the Overall Large Green Pony Hunter Championship aboard Valentino after placing first in the over fences with scores of 83.5, 85 and 84.45. Jarman also took the prestigious Grand Green Pony Hunter Championship with 1030.09 points, with Schaefer taking the reserve championship with Frosted for their overall score.
The Large Green Pony Hunter Reserve Championship went to Daisy Farish and her talented EMC Fairy Tale, owned by EMC International. The duo received scores of 87, 84 and 81.65 to earn the class’ blue ribbon prize. Lekha Ramachandran and Feature Presentation took home the third place honors after earning scores of 83, 86 and 83.
The last event of the day was the Medium Pony Hunter Under Saddle where Madeline Schaefer once again rode to the blue ribbon, but this time aboard Swingtown. Picking up the second place honors was Trillville with Lili Hymowitz in the saddle. Madison Goetzmann and Rock the Boat took the third place finish.
The young riders and their miniature mounts lined the ramp leading to the Walnut Ring this morning at the Kentucky Horse Park. It was the third day of the 2012 US National Pony Hunter Championships presented by Sallee Horse Vans commenced with the Small Hunter Pony Models and the Under Saddle phases. The final day of competition had arrived for the Medium Pony Hunters, with riders full of anticipation as they walked the course with trepidation. The Overall Medium Pony Hunter Grand Championship was awarded to Yasmin Rizvi for her stunning efforts throughout the three days of competition aboard Roxbury.
A cool breeze greeted riders Thursday morning for the third day of the prestigious championships, and clouds awaited in the distance with the threat of afternoon storms; however, the riders were not deterred as they gathered their reins and showcased their mounts. It was Lili Hymowitz and Rafael, owned by David Gochman of New York, NY, who earned the judges’ compliments with the blue ribbon in the Small Pony Hunter Model, with Madeline Schaefer of Westminster, MD, and Hi Lite taking the second place. Hana Bieling and Bluetiful, owned by Aleece Jarman of Pace, FL, took the third place honors.
The under saddle took place soon after, seeing the top riders and ponies from across the nation attempt to impress the judges with their movement and form during the under saddle. Addison Piper and Goldfish rode to the top of the section, with Hymowitz and Rafael following in a close second. Schaefer rounded out the top three with Hi Lite, collecting the third place.
Roxbury, owned by Peacock Ridge LLC of Greenwich, CT, with Yasmin Rizvi in the irons, stole the show during the Medium Pony Hunters today. The pair rode to the overall score of 1,015.30 points, originally entering the competition in the third place spot. Their scores of 84, 84.25 and 84.90 pushed them to the top, and they led the day’s victory gallop as the Overall Medium Pony Hunter Champion. Hymowitz and Trillville, owned by Rose Hill Farm of Bridgehampton, NY, also posted an impressive round over fences, posting scores of 83, 82.40, and 83.80. Their overall total differed by only 1.10 points, proving good enough for the Overall Medium Pony Hunter Reserve Championship.
Although Rizvi and Roxbury claimed the Overall Medium Pony Hunter Championship, it was Mckayla Langmeier and Georgia, owned by Linda Langmeier of E. Granby, CT, who took the blue ribbon prize during the over fences. Langmeier guided the chestnut pony to scores of 83, 87 and 88 to earn the judges’ nod and ride to the top of the standings. Ali Trilschler and Chaconne, owned by Shell Point LLC of Chestertown, MD, took the second place finish, while Emma Kurtz and Grand All Over, owned by David Gochman of New York, NY, finished third.
The rain had dissipated, and a cool brisk day greeted young riders and their ponies for the fourth day of the 2012 US Pony Finals and US National Pony Hunter Championships presented by Sallee Horse Vans. The Large Pony Hunters took center stage in the Walnut ring early in the morning, completing their model and under saddle phases. It was a demanding day of competition for the Small Pony Hunters as they completed the final phase, the over fences. At the end of the day it was Madeline Schaefer and Hi Lite who claimed the Overall Small Pony Hunter Championship for their outstanding consistency throughout the division, and astounding round over fences.
It is Schaefer’s fifth year competing at the US National Pony Hunter Championships, and so far she has proven herself to be a dominating force in the irons of her talented mounts. Already having picked up the Medium Green Hunter Pony Championship on the second day of competition with her own Frosted, Schaefer continued her success with Hi Lite, riding to the blue ribbon in the over fences with the outstanding scores of 88, 90 and 88 for an overall total of 1047.20 points. The duo was ranked second going into today’s class, with the second and third place honors from the model and the under saddle, respectively.
The second place finish of today’s Small Pony Hunter Over Fences phase was also the division’s reserve champion. Lili Hymowitz and Rafael, owned by David Gochman of New York, NY, received scores of 87, 87.75, and 86 to take home the red ribbon, as well as the Overall Small Pony Hunter Reserve Champion title. The third place finisher overall was Rico Suave, owned by Suave Pony LLC of Greenwich, CT, who was ridden by Isabella Russekoff. The pair earned scores of 81.50, 87.5 and 85.30 for their Over Fences round.
Earlier in the day, the Large Pony Hunter Model and Under Saddle were the spotlight event in the Walnut Ring. It was Isabel Coleman and Footnote, owned by Sandy Creek Stable LLC of Kiln, MS, who were awarded the first place award for their beautiful movement and form in the under saddle phase of the competition. Reesa Hylton of Purchase, NY, aboard Love & Logic rode to the second place ribbon, while Emma Kurtz and Mapleside Denzel, owned by Nancy Baginski of Wildwood, MO, scored the third.
Meredith Darst and For The Laughter, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, earned the top call in the model. The pair earned the Overall Large Pony Hunter Championship with Darst last year, and goes into the over fences tomorrow with an overall score of 508.35 points, and as the leader. In 2009 and 2010, For The Laughter earned the Overall Pony Hunter Grand Championship with Victoria Colvin. Darst was awarded the Overall Pony Hunter Grand Championship with Enchanted Forest, also owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, during last year’s competition, and looks forward to what the over fences phase brings for her aboard For the Laughter.
The second place prize in the Large Pony Hunter Model was presented to Carly Coles of Wellington, FL, and Stardom. It was Ali Tritschler and Dreamland, owned by Linda Evans of South Hadley, MA, who were awarded the third place ribbon.
It was the crowning of the champions Saturday at the Kentucky Horse Park as the 2012 US Pony Finals and US National Pony Hunter Champions completed their fifth day of competition. It was the Large Pony Hunter Over Fences that dawned on the Walnut Arena early in the morning, and Meredith Darst aboard For The Laughter stole the show with their fantastic round, capturing the Overall Large Pony Hunter Championship for the second consecutive year. As the US National Hunter Pony Championships presented by Sallee Horse Vans came to a conclusion, the Grand Pony Championship title was presented to Madeline Schaefer and Hi Lite for their efforts in the Small Pony Hunter division.
Earlier in the week, Madeline Schaefer of Westminster, MD, and Hi Lite had an incredible performance in the Small Pony Hunter division. They were third in the rankings heading into the over fences phase, but with a beautiful trip, they scored the blue ribbon and were eventually presented with the Overall Small Pony Hunter Championship. Their phenomenal scores of 88, 90 and 88 gave them overall total of 1047.20 points. The pair was also awarded the International Jumping Derby Perpetual Trophy as Overall Grand Hunter Pony Champion.
The Large Pony Hunters took center stage in the Walnut Ring, with the last competitors hoping to catch the judges’ eyes over fences. Darst and For The Laughter, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, earned the top call in yesterday’s model, and entered the ring today as the leader. It was Beau Rivage with Daisy Farish in the irons who posted the target scores of 86, 87 and 86 points; however, Darst entered the ring with the blue in mind. She piloted For The Laughter to the beautiful scores of 87, 89 and 87 to rise to the top of the leaderboard and score the Overall Large Pony Hunter Championship tricolor. This is For The Laughter’s fourth consecutive year winning the prestigious championship title, and the second year with Darst in the saddle.
Farish and Beau Rivage were awarded the second place ribbon, while Lucy Deslauriers picked up the third place with Center Field, owned by GC Ponies of Southern Pines, NC. It was 14-year-old Ali Tritschler aboard Dreamland, owned by Linda Evans of South Hadley, MA, who posted scores of 80, 82.50 and 82.20 points to take the seventh place finish over fences. Combined with her scores in the previous phases, Tritschler and Dreamland were honored with the Overall Large Pony Hunter Reserve Championship.
Following the Large Pony Hunter presentations was the Model Championship and the Under Saddle Championship classes where the top three finishers from each division were invited to demonstrate their talented mounts again. Lili Hymowitz and Cloe Hymowitz both showed Enjoy The Laughter, owned by Rose Hill Farm of Bridgehampton, NY, in the model and the under saddle, respectively. Enjoy The Laughter proved to be a dominating force, earning the Overall Model Championship, as well as the Under Saddle Championship.
Saturday’s other prestigious awards included the High Scoring registered Purebred Welsh and the High Scoring registered Half Welsh in the Regular Pony Hunter divisions. It was Heart To Forget, ridden and owned by Rachael Paradise taking the High Score Purebred Welsh, and the High Score Half Welsh was claimed by Roxbury, ridden by Yasmin Rizvi and owned by Peacock Ridge LLC.
Saturday evening, participants gathered at the renowned Alltech Arena for the Awards Ceremony where the week’s top finishers were honored once again. The awards included the newly donated Mindy Darst Perpetual Trophy, which went to Meredith Darst. The trophy is awarded to the child that all judges decide is most likely to become a top professional rider based on fitness and athletic ability of the rider, the compassion and communication between the rider and the pony, and the understanding of track, pace, and ability to create a beautiful jump. Also featured was the Highest Scoring Regular Pony Hunter Pony Auction Graduate, Entourage. The Buttons N’ Bows Sportsmanship Trophy went to Aberle Rodgers, while Patricia Griffith received the Emerson Burr Perpetual Trophy, which is awarded to the trainer of the Overall Grand Hunter Pony Champion and was donated by the 2000 Hunter Pony Committee. The High Score State Team was Team Connecticut and they received the International Challenge Trophy.
Jumper Highlights: Wednesday-Friday
Riders have trained all year to prove their ponies possess the honed skill to jump in the US National Pony Jumper Championships at the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. With stadium seating and a lively audience, 30 competitors from around the country attempted a faultless finish and to set an unrivaled time to beat. Putting on an unparalleled performance, rider Taylor Cox and steed Midnight Heart secured the win. Coming in a brisk second, Ellyn Fritz and Sailor Moon cleared the course while making noteworthy time.
There were 11 riders to ride the course clear by the time the twenty-fourth to go, Taylor Cox and Midnight Heart, took to the course. Cassie Gaasch and Angel came out of the gate early, setting the intimidating score of 662.081 but it was the starry Cox and Midnight, owned by Jodi Cox of Stockton, NJ who burned bright, impressing the crowd. Leaving all polls in their cups, the duo whipped Gaasch and Angel’s time with no faults and a time of only 58.936 seconds to earn the blue ribbon.
Another star to burst out of the sky, Sailor Moon and rider Ellyn Fritz of Back Country Farm, Greenwich, CT, placed second with their stellar performance. The duo aimed their hopes high, shooting for the same faultless round and to best the score of Midnight and Cox. Fritz and Sailor Moon blazed through the jump course at an inspiring pace yet fell short with a score of 60.131.
Fifteen pony and rider combinations rode without time penalty or fault including Keely Laughlin upon Larger than Life owned by Pam Poulsen of Fresno, CA, who rode to a third place finish with a score of 60.574. Caroline Zaunbrecher and horse Fire Van Battenbroek of Layfayette, LA, received the fourth place for their strong efforts, followed by Emily Schnebel and mount Blue Suede Shoes of Goffstown, NH, for the difference of a fraction of a second, awarded fifth. Hayley Anderson and Trading Spaces of New Boston, NH, also left all fences intact and stopped the clock in respectable timing to receive a sixth place rank.
Thursday night, the determined mounted their ponies to take on the indoor jump course at the Alltech Arena for the 2012 United States Equestrian Federation Pony Finals at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park. Riders from all over the nation participated in the USEF National Pony Jumper Team Championship and also competing at the individual level in phase II, a continuation of yesterday. By the end of the night, team four united over an outstanding unit score to win the USEF National Pony Jumper Team Championship. In the second phase of the individual jumper with a score of 63.511, Caroline Zaunbrecher and Fire Van Battenbroek, were ranked in first place.
Eight teams of three or four pony riders vied for the top score with the least amount of faults and most efficient time. Four participant teams dropped the least beneficial contribution at the end of the round. In the end it was Zone Four, 15-year old, Lindsey Toothman and Jean Claude of Carrollton, GA, 13-year-old, Julia Curtis and The Waterboy of Carrollton, GA, 14-year-old, Breanna Holmes and American Hero of Guntersville, AL and 16-year-old, Barclay Powell and Cookies and Cream of Gainesville, FL who claimed the gold medal awards and the USEF National Pony Jumper Team Championship.
By Curtis and Holmes clearing their second rounds, Zone Seven needed their last rider to ride clear for best time to be the determining factor. Mattie Hatcher and Erin Meadows Silk Stockings of Milwaukee, WI, having zero faults, and Claire Salopek and Sir Lance-A-Lot of Lafayette, LA, and Elizabeth McDougald and Knock My Sox Off of Lawton, OK, each having four faults, team seven needed their last rider to deliver a faultless ride. Caroline Zaunbrecher and Fire Van Battenbroek of Lafayette, LA, dropped a pole, taking a four fault score and giving Zone Four the automatic victory.
Zone Four was awarded medals and the Willow Grove Farm Perpetual Trophy, donated by William J. Moroney in honor of his parents, Edward and Lorraine Moroney.
Caroline Zaunbrecher and Fire Van Battenbroek asserted the lead in the individual competition after completing yesterday and today’s clear rounds. Elizabeth McDougald and was close on her heels after completing two fault-free efforts aboard Knock My Sox Off. Keely Laughlin and her mount Larger Than Life of Fresno, CA, earned the third place position also ending with two fault-free rounds.
There was a sense of electricity as the wrap up of the US National Pony Jumper Championship got underway at the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park with the Individual Competition Finals. Riders from around the country spent the year training and qualifying for Friday night, but the intensity surrounded two young girls as they went head to head in the jump off. It was Keely Laughlin and Larger Than Life who emerged as 2012 Individual Jumper Champion.
Mastering the course and proving of top-notch skill, the jump off came down to two young riders. Keely Laughlin and Ellyn Fritz, both 12 years old, came into tonight’s event with zero faults from phase I and II, and rode clear in phase III, advancing them into the short course. Both girls rode to double-clear efforts; however, it was Laughlin aboard Larger Than Life of Fresno, CA, who achieved the better score of 31.227 seconds, and gained the gold medal and highly contended title championship.
Laughlin got Larger Than Life two years ago. Their relationship got off to a rough start with Laughlin unsure to whether she and the pony were the right match for one another. Inspired by her sister, who competed at the 2010 National Pony Jumper Championship, Laughlin gave Larger Than Life another go.
Fritz, of Bridgewater, CT, who rode Sailor Moon, owned by Back Country Farm of Greenwich, CT, cleared the course and stopped the clock at 31.634 seconds. Their fierce competitive efforts earned the pair a second place rank, the silver medal and the honor of reserve champion at the presentation ceremony.
Taking the bronze medal was Kady Abrahamson, of Loveland, OH, aboard Salsa. The pair had four faults and a time of 32.864 seconds. Elizabeth McDougald of Lawton, OK, and Knock My Sox Off also earned four faults, and a time of 33.632 placing the duo in fourth place. Amanda Pennington of Mequon, MI, and Res Q Me took fifth, followed by Breanna Holmes of Gunthersville, AL, and American Hero in sixth place.
For more information about the US Pony Finals, please visit www.usef.org.