Large Regular, Small Green, and Large Green Hunter Pony Championship Titles Awarded at 2016 US Pony Finals
Mimi Gochman and Storyteller (Shawn McMilen Photograph)
The first championship titles of the US Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans were claimed Wednesday as the Large Regular Hunter Ponies and the Small Green Hunter Ponies completed their final phases of competition in the 2016 US Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm at the Kentucky Horse Park. Mimi Gochman and Storyteller earned top overall honors in the Large Regular Hunter Pony Championship, while Caroline Passarelli and So Enchanted received the Small Green Hunter Pony Championship title.
National titles are determined following three phases of competition, with Model and Under Saddle phases each counting towards 25% of the overall score, and the remaining 50% being determined by the Over Fences phase.
Large Regular Hunter Pony Championship
Gochman and Fair Play Farm’s Storyteller earned the Large Regular Hunter Pony Championship after a fantastic round in the Over Fences phase to score 259.50 for first place in the phase. On Tuesday, she and the 13-year-old German Sport Pony gelding won the Model phase with a score of 259.76 and were third in the Under Saddle phase with a score of 262.04, putting them in first place overall. Their strong over fences performance allowed them to remain at the top of the leaderboard to win the Champion ribbon with a final score of 1040.80.
“I was Reserve [Champion] last year. I was really happy with the Reserve [Champion title], but I’d never been champion and it is a great honor to be champion, especially with such a great pony. He’s always there and always helps me out,” Gochman said. Gochman is attending her fifth “Pony Finals” and the championship is one of her favorite competitions. She explained, “I like how it gives everyone a chance, and they put it in one of the best rings here. It’s definitely fun for the ponies. Pony Finals is Pony Finals. It’s a great show.”
The Reserve Champion title went to Devin Seek and Ashley Vail Aycox’s Garavani with a final score of 1003.25. She and the eight-year-old Dutch Riding Pony gelding scored 246.70 in the Over Fences phase, after earning 258.76 in the Model phase and 251.09 in the Under Saddle phase. Dakota Champey and MDHT Equestrian, LLC’s Tantallon Co-Captain finished third in the Large Regular Hunter Pony Championship with a total score of 997.90, and their over fences score putting them in second place in the phase. She and the 13-year-old Half Welsh gelding finished with scores of 257.37, 249.53, and 245.50 in the Model, Under Saddle, and Over Fences phases, respectively.
Caroline Passarelli and So Enchanted (Shawn McMillen Photography)
Small Green Hunter Pony Championship
Passarelli and Jessica and Michaila Catherine Yarr Zandri’s So Enchanted won the Small Green Hunter Pony Championship with a score of 1052.46 after winning each of the three phases. She and the eight-year-old Welsh Pony Cross mare received scores of 260.13 in the Model phase and 258.33 in the Under Saddle phase on the first day of competition. They maintained their commanding lead at the top of the leaderboard after claiming top honors in the Over Fences phase with a score of 267.00.“I just wanted to keep everything smooth and even and give her a confident ride, and not get too worked up finding every jump. I really just wanted to give her the solid ride that she deserved,” Passarelli said of her round.
Like Gochman, Passarelli is a “Pony Finals” veteran, making her sixth appearance at the championship and winning her first title. “It’s incredible. It took a few years, but this was an incredible pony to [win a title] on. I’m so thankful for the Zandris for allowing me to show this pony and to Patricia [Griffith], Dottie [Barnwell-Areson], and everyone at Heritage Farm for helping me with everything and continuing to doso.”
The Reserve Champion title went to Casey Oliver and Patti Foster’s Picturesque Bow Tie with a final score of 995.98. She and the 10-year-old Welsh Pony gelding had solid scores of 245.13, 244.85, and 253.00 in the Model, Under Saddle, and Over Fences phases, respectively. Luke Jensen and Bill Schaub’s Mustachio were in third in the Small Green Hunter Pony Championship after scoring 995.98 overall. He and the 10-year-old Welsh gelding received scores of 248.55, 244.04, and 251.25 for the Model, Under Saddle, and Over Fences phases, respectively.
Kyla Sullivan and A Dream Come True (Shawn McMillen Photography)
Small Regular Hunter Pony Championship
Claire Campbell and Roll Call took home the title in the Small Regular Hunter Pony Championship in the US Hunter Pony Championships presented by Collecting Gaits Farm at the Kentucky Horse Park. The pair garnered a total score of 1026.32 through two days of competition.
Campbell and her own Roll Call earned the Small Regular Hunter Pony Championship after a superb round in the Over Fences phase to score 254.23 for second place in the phase. On Wednesday, she and the 11-year-old German Riding Pony gelding received scores of 250.92 and 266.94 in the Model and Under Saddle phases, respectively. Campbell has been riding “Pleasure” for about six years, and the two very much enjoyed their ride today. “It was good. I think the last line was probably the hardest because they want to go home fast,” Campbell said of Roll Call. “My trainers told me they wanted me to do the outside track, get the canter in the beginning of the round, and for the last line, don’t go barreling out.”
The Reserve Champion title went to Kyla Sullivan and DK-USA Sporthorse, LLC’s A Dream Come True with a final score of 1010.58. She and the 19-year-old Welsh Pony gelding scored 256.63 in the Over Fences phase, after earning 242.62 in the Model phase and 254.70 in the Under Saddle phase. Mimi Gochman (Wellington, Fla.) and Dr. Betsee Parker’s Love Me Tender finished third with a total score of 997.88, with their Over Fences score putting them in third place in the phase. She and the 12-year-old Welsh Pony mare finished with scores of 234.29, 263.73, and 249.93 in the Model, Under Saddle, and Over Fences phases, respectively.
Q-2, with Libbie Gordon, was the Best Presented Model Pony in the Small Regular section. Land’s End Lady Slipper, with Clara Propp, was the Best Turned Out Pony in the Small Regular section.