Downey and Anisette Take Home the Win in the Medium Regular Hunter Pony Championship Presented by Sallee Horse Vans at 2018 USEF Pony Finals Presented by Collecting Gaits Farm
In the last pony hunter class at the 2018 USEF Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm (Pony Finals), it was 12-year-old Tessa Downey (Houston, Texas) and Anisette, her 12-year-old Welsh Pony cross mare, that brought home the championship title in the Medium Regular Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans.
“It was always my goal to be in the top three at Pony Finals and I never thought it was going to happen,” said Downey. “But when I heard [I had won], it was like a sigh of relief. I have done so much prep and it was worth it!”
The combination placed seventh in the Model phase on Friday with a score of 250.81 and fourth in the Under Saddle phase with a 266.33, putting them in third overall with a score of 517.14 heading into Saturday’s Over Fences phase.
“I was really, really nervous going in because I have been here for the last four years,” continued Downey. “I was going and going, and I was like, ‘Okay, I can do this. I’m good. Okay, calm down.’ I was so nervous. I am going to the last line and over the last line, I am like, ‘Thank God!’”
Finding the distances, Downey and Anisette would go on to win the Over Fences phase with a score of 264.00, guaranteeing them a Pony Finals overall win with a total score of 1045.14.
- Tessa Downey and Anisette
- Maddie Tosh and Smallwood Mystic
- Skye Kania and Falling Moon Front Page
Fuqua and Brighton Crowned Overall Grand Regular Hunter Pony Champion; Downey and Anisette Overall Reserve Grand Regular Hunter Champion at 2018 USEF Pony Finals Presented by Collecting Gaits Farm
Kat Fuqua (Atlanta, Ga.) and Brighton, her nine-year-old Deutches Reitpony gelding, were crowned as the Overall Grand Regular Hunter Pony Champions today for their performance throughout the week at the 2018 Pony Finals. Maddie Tosh (Milton, Ga.) and Bit of Love, Betsee Parker’s 12-year-old Welsh Pony cross gelding, were the Overall Reserve Grand Regular Hunter Champions.
“I was just so thrilled that I could even get close to winning a grand champion title,” said Fuqua. “It was amazing; I never even thought I could win a class, let alone a grand champion title.”
Fuqua and Brighton were named the winners in the Large Regular Hunter Pony Championship presented by Charles Ancona on Wednesday, while Tosh and Bit of Love were the top finishers in the Small Regular Hunter Pony Championship presented by Noelle Wolf Stables, LLC on Thursday.
Fuqua’s trainer, Michael Newman, was the recipient of the 2018 Emerson Burr Trophy.
Hardin and The Girl Next Door Claim Gold in USEF Pony Jumper Individual National Championship
The USEF Pony Jumper National Championship came to a close on Saturday evening with Phase III of the Individual Championship. Fifteen combinations returned to the Alltech Arena to take on Jasen Shelley’s course in hopes of winning an individual medal. Zacko Hardin and Sydney Flashman, Zone 10 teammates who had won team gold the previous night, were tied on zero faults. Hardin and The Girl Next Door delivered their fourth clear round of the championship to clinch the individual gold medal. Flashman and Focalize Dew Drop took home the individual silver medal after incurring two time faults. Taylor Brinsfield and Sprite of the United States Pony Club team earned the individual bronze medal after having aclear round tonight and finishing on four faults overall.
Hardin (New Cuyama, Calif.) and Patty Arnett’s 15-year-old Thoroughbred mare made an impressive Pony Finals debut by claiming double gold. Hardin was feeling the pressure of his first major championship, but he and his mount quickly became at home at the Kentucky Horse Park.
“We got in and had our first clean round on the first day and all the pressure went away,” Hardin explained. “I knew she was going to do really well here, and [the pressure] all went away on the first day.”
The duo delivered an excellent round on Saturday that was clean and fast to take home top honors. “Everything just felt great,” Hardin said. “I didn’t have a doubt about any distance to any jump, anything at all. I felt like it was the best round I have ever had on her.”
Flashman (Pasadena, Calif.) was thrilled with her finish aboard Finley Hamilton’s seven-year-old Belgian Sport Pony mare. She had struggled in her two previous Pony Finals appearances, but her hard work paid off this year. “It is an amazing feeling to have gone around and to have a pony who is so wonderful,” Flashman shared. “I am so lucky and overwhelmed right now.”
Brinsfield (White Hall, Md.) has enjoyed leasing Kathleen Anderson’s 15-year-old Connemara/Thoroughbred mare for the past year, and their bronze medal was a highlight for the partnership. She was thrilled with her experience and highly recommends it to others. “If there are kids who are interested in riding, they should definitely come join.”
The Style Award went to Elizabeth Cram (Aiken, S.C.) of Zone 4 riding Venice, Wendy Arndt’s Welsh Pony cross mare.
Live coverage of the 2018 USEF Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm will continue on the USEF Network beginning at 7:00 a.m. EST on Sunday.
Find out more information about the 2018 USEF Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm at www.ponyfinals.org.
Keep up with the 2018 USEF Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm on Facebook (@USequestrian, @USEFNetwork, and @USEFPonyFinals), Instagram, and Twitter (@USequestrian and @USEFNetwork) for all the latest from the ring and behind the scenes.