Lexington, KY— With 618 large, medium and small ponies entered in the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) 2008 Pony Finals National Championships, the competition is challenging with more ponies than the previous year. With a total of 414 riders ranging in age from six to seventeen, this five-day championship has young riders competing for the title of four championships— Wild Horsefeathers/USEF Pony Hunter Finals, Wild Horsefeathers/USEF Green Hunter Pony Finals, USEF Pony Medal and the Adequan®/USEF Pony Jumper Final.
“As one of the biggest and most popular USEF championships, Pony Finals consistently draws some of the best ponies in the country,” Marion Maybank, USEF’s Director of Hunter Disciplines. “The show itself is a crowning moment for all the young riders who qualified. In addition to competing in a National Championship, the kids can enjoy themselves in an atmosphere that is unlike most shows by offering fun activities for them to enjoy outside of the show ring.”
The first championship is for the title of Wild Horsefeathers/USEF National Green Hunter Pony Championship. This is a three-phase competition where the ponies are judged on their conformation, way of moving under saddle and jumping ability. The championship also judges young riders on their equitation and ability to compete over a challenging course of fences.
Yesterday’s classes included the model and under saddle portion of the Green Hunter Pony (large, medium and small) division. The championship will conclude today with the over fences portion of the competition. Leading the large green pony division is ten-year-old Victoria Colvin and her mount All the Best, a chestnut Welsh/Thoroughbred/Oldenburg gelding owned by Scott Stewart, with a combined (model and under saddle) score of 512.5. Colvin is back to defend her title after winning the Green Hunter Pony Championship last year aboard Cortina.
In first place in the medium green pony division is thirteen-year-old Sydney Shulman and Broadway Star, a bay Welsh Pony cross mare owned by Back Country Far, with a combined score of 518.5. For the small green pony division, eleven-year-old Lillie Keenan and Sparkle Plenty had a combined score of 535, which was the highest score out of the three divisions. In 2007, Keenan made history by sweeping the small, medium and large division of the 2007 Wild Horsefeathers/USEF National Hunter Pony Championship and repeated this feat this year at the Devon Horse Show and Pennsylvania National Horse Show. Sparkle Plenty is a grey Welsh Pony gelding owned by Double G Stables.
Just in time for Pony Finals, the Kentucky Horse Park installed a new state-of-the-art footing system in the Walnut Ring. The system provides a shock-absorbing cushion and also allows water to drain away immediately, making the surface comfortable and very safe for horses and riders, and has greater durability than many traditional surfaces.
After the completion of the first two portions of the Green Hunter Pony Championship yesterday, a pony auction was conducted in the indoor arena at the Horse Park by American Hunter Pony Classic in conjunction with Professional Auction Services, Inc. A total of 103 ponies were up for auction.
For more information about Pony Finals, please contact Marion Maybank, USEF’s Director of Hunter Disciplines at (859) 225-2033 or via email at [email protected]