US Hunter Pony and US Pony Jumper Championships Conclude at 2016 US Pony Finals

(Shawn McMillen Photography)

The US Hunter Pony Championships presented by Sallee Horse Vans and US Pony Jumper National Championships came to a close on Sunday at the Kentucky Horse Park.


Medium Regular Hunter Pony Championship
Natalie Jayne and Woodlands Stevie Ray scored the Medium Regular Hunter Pony title with an overall score of 1003.07, winning “Stevie” his second consecutive title in the championship. After earning 236.02 in the Model phase and 253.55 in the Under Saddle phase, she and Hannah Bernstein’s 12-year-old Welsh Pony Cross gelding climbed from 20th place to the top of the leaderboard with a win in the Over Fences phase with a score of 256.75.

The Reserve Champion title went to Hunter Champey and News Flash with an overall score of 998.14. She and 11-year-old Welsh Pony gelding received scores of 245.49 and 262.65 in the Model and Under Saddle phases, respectively. The pair’s Over Fences phase garnered a score of 245.00 on Saturday.

(Shawn McMillen Photography)

Medium Green Hunter Pony Championship
Kyla Sullivan and Not So Secret, a 10-year-old Crossbred Pony gelding owned by Jill Shulman were in fourth place heading into the final phase after earning 247.88 in the Model phase and 250.00 in the Under Saddle phase. A great performance in the Over Fences phase gave the pair a score of 243.75 to finish first in the phase. This strong ride propelled them to the Medium Green Hunter Pony Championship title with an overall score of 985.38.

Augusta Iwasaki rode Editor’s Note to Reserve Champion honors with an overall score of 971.36. She and the six-year-old Pony gelding owned by Quartet Farm LLC scored 262.98, 251.00, and 228.69 in the Model, Under Saddle, and Over Fences phases, respectively, to come in second in the championship division.

The Best Turned Out Pony in the Medium Green section was Highlands Polaris ridden by Claire Campbell. The Best Presented Model Pony was awarded to Woodland’s Kennedy, presented by Kierstin Antoniadis.

(Shawn McMillen Photography)

Large Green Hunter Pony Championship
Madeline Schaefer rode her and Catherine Nicholas’ Minted to top honors in the Large Green Hunter Pony Championship, finishing on a score of 1001.51. She and the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding garnered scores of 253.16 in the Model phase and 248.35 in the Under Saddle phase on Thursday. The combination stole the title on Friday evening by earning 250.00 in the Over Fences phase, barely edging out the Reserve Champions Ella Reinauer and Baby Blue with an overall score of 999.70. Patricia LaFoe’s nine-year-old Welsh Pony Cross gelding had scores of 236.93, 248.77, and 257.00 in the Model, Under Saddle, and Over Fences phases, respectively. 

The Best Turned Out Pony in the Large Green section was Timeless, ridden by Erica Felder. The Best Presented Model Pony was awarded to Bracewood’s Foxfire presented by Annalyn Hoffpauir.

(Shawn McMillen Photography)

Grand Champion Hunter Pony
Mimi Gochman and Fair Play Farm’s Storyteller earned an excellent score of 1040.80 to win the Large Regular Hunter Pony Championship on Wednesday. As the highest scoring Regular Hunter pony, she and the 13-year-old German Sport Pony gelding claimed the Grand Champion Hunter Pony title.

Claire Campbell and her own Roll Call, an 11-year-old German Riding Pony gelding, received a score of the 1026.32 to claim top honors in the Small Regular Hunter Pony Championship, thus earning them the Reserve Grand Champion Hunter Pony title.

Following the completion of the Green Pony divisions, So Enchanted was named Overall Green Hunter Pony Grand Champion, while Minted was the Reserve Grand Champion.

(Shawn McMillen Photography)

Marshall & Sterling/US Pony Medal Finals
In round one of the Marshall & Sterling/US Pony Medal Finals the riders were tested over an inviting but solid course designed by Jasen Shelley. 20 of the 182 riders were called back for round two over a more difficult track to test their equitation skills, with three riders from the Small section, eight for the Large section, and nine from the Medium section. After round two, two riders were asked to return to the ring to be tested on the flat. Caroline Passarelli and Augusta Iwasaki entered the Alltech Arena to determine the top placings of the Marshall & Sterling/US Pony Medal Finals.

Fifteen-year-old Passarelli displayed her proficient equitation to be named the winner and receive the Gold medal in the 2016 Marshall & Sterling/US Pony Medal Finals. It was her first time making the top 20 in the Medal Final in the six years she has competed at “Pony Finals”, making the win even more special. “I feel incredible, but first, I have to start by thanking the Champey family who lent me [News Flash] at the very last minute because without them this would not have been possible.” Passarelli said after her intended mount was unable to compete. “When I got on I felt that he was a good match; he was really willing, brave, had a great change, really everything you would want in a medal pony, especially at the last minute. I was just thinking of giving him the best ride I possibly could with the limited experience I had on him, and lay it down the first time so I didn’t leave any doors open.”

Twelve-year-old Iwasaki received the Silver medal after great performances in the two rounds and the work-off. The Bronze medal went to 15-year-old Christina Rogalny following her smooth jumping rounds.

(Shawn McMillen Photography)

Pony Jumper Team Championships
The Team Championship of the US Pony Jumper National Championships took place Friday evening in the Alltech Arena. Following the first round, the top teams came back to jump the same Jasen Shelley-designed course in round two, with a total of 32 combinations jumping for individual classification. For the 2016 US Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, the Zones 5/6 team stood atop the podium. The team, comprised of Natalie Hinz and Rumor Has It, Anna Spitzer and Silver Charm, Isaiah Wiseman and Midnight Heart, and Maya Lovdal and Miracles Happen, finished with a total of 20 faults to claim the Team Gold medal.

“It was set up pretty well. There were a couple of tricky fences like the combinations and the liverpool, and remembering to go right instead of left [after seven],” Lovdal said of the tough course. Spitzer is attending her first “Pony Finals” and explained, “I was super nervous the first day, especially for the warm-up [class], but ‘Grady’ loves the arena. He has been so good and so willing that I haven’t been as near as nervous, and it just made it really fun.”

A jump-off was required to determine the Silver medal with both the Zones 4/9 and Zone 1 combined teams finishing on 32 faults. Zones 4/9’s Isabella Durnell and Carlton Diva went first, having a rail at four, but Zone 1’s Elise Albertini and Suspicious Minds had two unlucky rails. The Zones 4/9 team of Nadia Rosenbaum and Broadway’s Puzzle Piece, Kayla Long and Khall Me Luna, Durnall and Carlton Diva, and Rachel Long and Zumba earned the Silver medal, while the Zone 1 combined team of Sydney Berube and National Treasure, Bobby Bolger and Coral Misty Ciara, Riley Kram and Picasso, and Albertini and Suspicious Minds received Bronze.

(Shawn McMillen Photography)

Pony Jumper Individual Championships
Four combinations entered the Alltech Arena on Saturday tied with four faults coming forward into the final phase of competition. Three of the combinations, Bailey Doloff and Wishlea Star Dasher of Zone 3, Isabella Durnell and Carlton Diva of Zone 4, and Maya Lovdal and Miracles Happen of Zone 6, finished the final phase with four faults, requiring a jump-off to determine the medals. Durnell and her own 12-year-old Connemara mare went first and jumped clear with a time of 35.775. Lovdal  and her own 11-year-old Welsh Pony gelding were up next and tallied eight faults in a time of 36.244. With the pressure on as the last to go, Doloff and Bridgid McMurtrie’s 11-year-old Welsh Pony gelding delivered a clear round in a time of 33.327 to take the Individiual Gold medal. Durnell and Carlton Diva earned Silver and Lovdal and Miracles Happen received the Bronze.

The evening concluded with Doloff being awarded the US Pony Jumper Style Award as the competitor that the judges believed to display the best jumping style of riding throughout the week, and his mount Wishlea Star Dasher received the Welsh Pony and Cob Society of America’s High Score Award for the Pony Jumper division.


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