2011 USEF Pony Finals Wrap-Up

August 15, 2011--Here are the Hunter and Jumper highlights for the 2011 USEF Pony Finals held August 10-14.
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August 15, 2011--Here are the Hunter and Jumper highlights for the 2011 USEF Pony Finals held August 10-14.

August 15, 2011--Sunday was the last day of the 2011 United States Equestrian Federation Pony Finals National Championships, and it began bright and early with exciting competition in the Covered Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. The EquiSport Insurance/USEF Pony Medal Finals brought the 2011 Pony Finals to an end. Leading the class from beginning to end with a solid two rounds over fences was Madison Goetzmann and Denmark to garner the championship prize.

Madison Goetzmann and Denmark. Photo Heather Bellock

The top 20 riders returned for the second round including nine medium ponies, four small ponies, and seven large ponies. Today's courses were designed by Bobby Murphy and consisted of short lines, rollbacks, a halt, and a trot jump. Goetzmann was at the top of the order for today's second round and executed another flawless trip making the lines look easy. Goetzmann of Skaneateles, NY, and Denmark proved to be unbeatable, eventually earning them the Easter Sunday Memorial Trophy donated by Ms. Catherine A. Kaiser and Ms. Jennifer T. Pesko. Katherine Strauss of Southampton, NY, and Sumerland were originally ranked tenth during their first course; however, with an exceptional second round they earned the reserve championship honors. Lucy Deslauriers of New York, NY, and Macy Grey were ranked eighth coming into the second round and earned the third place honors after an impressive round.

The judges were confident with their decision after the second round and the riders were not asked to return for a test phase. At the end of the day, Goetzman was named the 2011 EquiSport Insurance/USEF Pony Medal Winner aboard Denmark, while Strauss and Sumerland earned the reserve championship honors. Taking home third place honors was Deslauriers and Macy Grey, who performed excellent rounds during both phases of Sunday's event.

Hunter Highlights: August 10-14

It was beautiful and sunny for the first day of the 2011 United States Equestrian Federation Pony Finals National Championship at the Kentucky Horse Park. Tuesday, the top ponies and riders from across the nation gathered at the Walnut Ring for the Green Pony Hunters Model and Under Saddle, as well as the Regular Medium Pony Hunter Model. Throughout the year riders have worked diligently to qualify for this prestigious event and compete for the winning honors.

The Small Green Pony Model went to Isabel Ryan of Locust Valley, NY; she claimed the blue ribbon prize with Roll Call. The second place honors went to Parker Wright and Shenandoah Sirocco, owned by Sarah Berkowitz of Nottingham, PA. Lindsay Levine and Bit of Laughter, owned by Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL, rounded out Tuesday's top three.

The Small Green Pony Under Saddle class was next, and this time the top call went to Lauren Ginsburg and China, owned by John Skinner of Westminster, MD. Levine and Bit of Laughter were the second place finishers, while Ryan and Roll Call earned the third place award.

The Walnut Ring welcomed the Medium Green Ponies to the ring next for their model and under saddle portions. The model victory went to Alexandra Crown and Find the Love, owned by Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL. Taking home the second place honors was Lucy Nyland of New Hope, PA and The Batchelor, while Emma Mandarino and Crystal Acres Spotlight, owned by Kelly Ward-Creagh of Pine Bush, NY, picked up the third place award.

Barbara Ann Merryman scored her first blue ribbon at the USEF Pony Finals Tuesday aboard Aerosmith, owned by Peter Pletcher of Magnolia, TX, during the Medium Green Pony Hunter Under Saddle. The second place prize was presented to Meredith Darst and Easter Monday, owned by Carol Dornish of Delaware, OH. Picking up the third place honors was Kirklen Petersen riding Magical Diamond, owned by Elizabeth Foster of Dover, MA.

The Large Green Pony Hunters were next in the ring, where Victoria Press of New York, NY, handled Chatsworth to garner the winning title. Darst took home another second place ribbon, this time with Faunti, owned by Meredith Maroonie of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The third place award was presented to Alexandra Crown of New York, NY, and For The Love.

During the Large Green Pony Hunter Under Saddle, Crown and For The Love stepped up to the first place position and won the blue ribbon prize. Once again, Darst was presented with the second place honors for her ride aboard Faunti, while Quinn Larimer and Samaritan, owned by Nestledown Equine of Smyma, GA, received the third place award.

The final event in the Walnut Ring was the Regular Medium Pony Hunter Model. Out of 12 sections, it was Emmalee Funk and Lakeview Pick Pocket, owned by Daryl Stout of Front Royal, VA, which was Tuesday's winning combination. Picking up the second place award was Lucy Nyland of New Hope, PA, and Salvandi Coronet, while Daisy Farish and Cleverist, owned by Lanes End Farm of Versailles, KY, took home the third place prize.

The 2011 United States Equestrian Federation Pony Finals continued Wednesday at the picturesque Kentucky Horse Park with the conclusion of the Green Pony Hunter divisions. Ponies and riders from each division completed their over fences phases, competing for the top honors as well as the championship and reserve championship titles. At the end of the day, Kirklen Petersen and Magical Diamond claimed the Green Pony Hunter Grand Championship title after winning the Medium Green Pony Hunter Over Fences and the Medium Green Pony Hunter Championship.

The first class of the day for the USEF National Hunter Pony Championships, presented by Sallee Horse Vans, was the Small Green Pony Over Fences. Emma Lemke and Chatterbox, owned by Frank Hernandez of Cordova, TN, jumped to the top of the leaderboard with scores of 85, 82, and 85, taking home the blue ribbon prize. Lindsay Levine and Bit of Laughter, owned by Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL, followed in the second place position after earning an 83, an 83, and an 81. The third place ribbon went to Emma Kurtz and Quicksilver Butterfly, owned by Kate Taylor of Pittsford, NY, who received scores of 84, 79, and 80. At the end of the class, the overall points were tabulated and Levine was named with Overall Small Green Pony Hunter Champion aboard Bit of Laughter. The reserve championship honors were presented to Kurtz and Quicksilver Butterfly.

The Medium Green Pony Hunters were next, and it was Magical Diamond's stunning performance over fences that helped him win all the top awards with Kirklen Petersen in the irons. The duo took home the blue ribbon prize in the over fences class with scores of 85, 88, and 83.75, which would be good enough to claim the Overall Medium Green Pony Hunter Championship. Elizabeth Foster and Born Free Farm of Dover, MA own Magical Diamond. The pair's excellent performance over the last two days was good enough to earn them the Overall Green Grand Hunter Pony Championship as well.

The Overall Medium Green Pony Hunter Reserve Championship went to Meredith Darst and Easter Monday, owned by Carol Dornish of Delaware, OH, who were ranked third going into the final phase and placed fifth over fences. The second place prize in the over fences was presented to Isabella Hendrickson of Shaker Heights, OH, and Woodland's Stevie Ray, who had scores of 86, 82, and 83.5. Sierra Lesny of New Cumberland, PA, and Gidget picked up the third place honors after receiving scores of 82, 83, and 84.

In the Large Green Pony Hunter division, Darst stepped up to win the Overall Large Green Pony Hunter Championship aboard Faunti, owned by Meredith Maroonie of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, after placing second in the over fences with scores of 84.5, 81, and 83.75. The duo also received the Overall Green Grand Pony Reserve Championship title.

The Large Green Pony Hunter Reserve Championship went to Wednesday's Large Green Over Fences winner, Savannah Talcott and Someday Came, owned by Madelyn Porter of St. Louis, MO. The duo received scores of 82, 86, and 86 to earn the class's blue ribbon prize. Morgan Ward of Milford, NJ, and Romeo took home the third place honors after earning scores of 79, 79, and 84.5.

The next presentation was for the Welsh High Score Green Pony, and the winning prize was awarded to Darst for her ride aboard Easter Sunday. Taking home the reserve title was Madeline Schaefer and Bieber, owned by Bibby Farmer Hill of Reddick, FL.

The Regular Medium Pony Hunter Under Saddle took place next in the Walnut Ring. The top call went to Meredith Darst and Enchanted Forest, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, while Kirklen Petersen and Heart's Desire, owned by Stone Ridge of Calgary, CAN, followed in second. Carly Alder and Nemo, owned by Tammy Provost and Wind Haven Farm of Zionsville, IN, took home the day's third place honors.

It was sunny and warm at the Kentucky Horse Park for the third day of the 2011 United States Equestrian Federation Pony Finals. The day began in the Walnut Ring with the Small Pony Hunter Model and Under Saddle phases. The Medium Pony Hunter Over Fences were up next, and after three days of competition the Overall Medium Pony Hunter Grand Championship was awarded to Meredith Darst for her ride aboard Enchanted Forest.

Meredith Darst and Enchanted Forest, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, have had a fantastic week in the Medium Pony Hunter division. They held the lead going into the final phase, and with scores of 86.9, 87 and 87, the duo garnered the top call over fences. Darst and Enchanted Forest's efforts eventually earned them the Overall Medium Pony Hunter Grand Championship and the Beagle Brook Farm Perpetual Trophy, donated by Jennifer Miller and Beagle Brook Farm in honor of "Special Effects." All of this week's USEF National Hunter Pony Championships are presented by Sallee Horse Vans.

The Medium Pony Hunter Reserve Grand Championship title was presented to Bergen Sanderford of Santa Rosa Beach, FL, and Swingtown, who were ranked third going into Thursday's final event and placed sixth over fences. The second place finisher over fences was Devin Ashley Seek and Toblerone, owned by Jodie Camberg of Calabasas, CA, who earned scores of 87, 86, and 86. Samantha Cohen and Kodak, owned by Kate Considine of Sherman Oaks, CA, took home the third place prize after receiving scores of 81, 88, and 85.

Earlier in the day, the Small Pony Hunter Model was held in the Walnut Ring, and the winning prize was presented to Hana Bieling and Anakin, owned by Richard Cunkle of Wellington, FL. Emma Ubriaco of Blue Ridge Summit, PA, and Picante took home the second place honors, while Lilli Hymowitz and Rafael, owned by Bridlebourne Stables LLC of Elkton, FL, scored the third place award.

The Small Pony Hunter Under Saddle was next, and it was Madeline Schaefer of Westminster, MD, aboard Flashback who received the day's top call and blue ribbon. Lucy Deslauriers showed Carolina's Shenanigans, owned by RHR Partnership of Wellington, FL, to the second place award, while Hymowitz and Rafael once again placed third.

The Large Pony Hunters took center stage in the Walnut Ring Friday morning as they completed their Model and Under Saddle phases where Meredith Darst and For the Laughter took home both blue ribbons. The Small Pony Hunter Over Fences were next, and at the end of the day Daisy Farish and Ballou earned the Overall Small Pony Hunter Grand Championship with their consistency throughout the division.

"Third time is the charm," proved to be the lucky phrase for Friday's winning combination in the Small Pony Hunters. This is Daisy Farish's third year competing at Pony Finals and it proved to be the best. Farish and Ballou, owned by Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL, took home the Overall Small Pony Hunter Championship, presented by Sallee Horse Vans, and the Professional Horseman's Association of America Perpetual Trophy. The duo was ranked eighth going into Friday's over fences phase, and with scores of 84.7, 83.25, and 87 they scored the third place award, jumping to the top of the leaderboard and earning the coveted title.

The winner of Friday's Small Pony Hunter Over Fences phase was also the division's reserve champion. Bergen Sanderford and First Edition, owned by Katie Dinan LLC of New York, NY, received scores of 87, 85.25, and 85.25 to take home the blue ribbon prize as well as the Overall Small Pony Hunter Reserve Grand Champion title. The second place finisher during the Over Fences was last year's champion mount, Elation, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, who was ridden by McKayla Langmeier. The pair earned scores of 86, 83, and 86 for their beautiful round.

Earlier in the day, the Large Pony Hunter Model and Under Saddle were the main highlight in the Walnut Ring. Meredith Darst and For The Laughter, owned by Dr. Betsee Park of Middleburg, VA, earned the top call in both phases to take home the winning prize. In 2009 and 2010, For The Laughter earned the Overall Pony Hunter Grand Championship with Victoria Colvin. Darst has already earned two championship awards during the 2011 USEF Pony Finals, so this new horse and rider combination seem to be the perfect fit.

The second place prize in the Large Pony Hunter Model was presented to Laura Baginski and Mapleside Denzel, owned by Nancy Baginski of Wildwood, MD, while Won Up and Kate Ross of New York, NY, received the third place honors. In the Large Pony Hunter Under Saddle, it was Kirklen Petersen and Chakko, owned by Lynn Colston of Glyndon, MD, that placed second, while Jorden Ayers of Knoxville, TN, and Eddie Bauer took home the third place award during Friday's competition.

The fifth day of the 2011 United States Equestrian Federation Pony Finals was warm and sunny as the Large Pony Hunter Over Fences kicked off the day in the Walnut Ring. For the third year in a row, For The Laughter claimed the Overall Large Pony Hunter Championship, this time with Meredith Darst in the irons. As the USEF National Hunter Pony Championships presented by Sallee Horse Vans came to a close, the Grand Hunter Pony Championship title was awarded to Darst and Enchanted Forest for their efforts in the Medium Pony Hunter division earlier in the week.

Earlier this week, Meredith Darst and Enchanted Forest, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, had an incredible performance in the Medium Pony Hunter division. They were in the lead going into the over fences phase and with a beautiful trip they scored the blue ribbon prize and were eventually presented with the Overall Medium Pony Hunter Championship. The Large Pony Hunters were the last to compete this week, but Darst and Enchanted Forest's excellent effort prevailed and they scored the Grand Hunter Pony Championship. The duo was awarded the International Jumping Derby Perpetual Trophy, and also has the "Trip of the Show."

The main highlight in the Walnut Ring Saturday was the Large Pony Hunters. Darst and For The Laughter, also owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, were the winners of yesterday's Model and Under Saddle phases, and held the lead going into Saturday's competition. The pair had an unlucky rub at the first fence but still received good scores to place tenth in the final phase. Their consistent performance over the last two days earned them the Overall Large Pony Hunter Championship and the Pony Cross Perpetual Trophy, donated by Stephanie Abronson and Pony Cross Farm. This is For The Laughter's third consecutive year to earn the prestigious title, having won it in 2009 and 2010 with Victoria Colvin in the irons. Darst and For The Laughter were also the winners of the Overall Grand Pony Hunter Reserve Championship.

The winner of Saturday's Large Pony Hunter Over Fences was Daisy Farish and All The Best, owned by Katherine Strauss of Southampton, NY, who earned scores of 87, 85.5, and 87. Their solid performance also earned them the division's reserve championship honors. Maria Yzerman of Bloomfield Hills, MI, and Center Ice took home the second place prize with scores of 86, 87, and 85, while Madison Maners riding Love and Laughter, owned by Victoria Pres of New York, NY, received scores of 84, 82, and 84. 25 to earn the third place award.

The next events in the Walnut Ring were the Model Championship and the Under Saddle Championship classes where the top three finishers from each division were invited to display their talented ponies once again. Darst and For The Laughter claimed another blue ribbon after earning the top call in the Model Championship, while Kirklen Petersen and Chakko, owned by Lynn Colston of Glyndon, MD, won 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. Dr. Betsee Parker's Elation was the High Score Purebred Welsh, while the High Score Half Welsh was Hands Up, owned by Jordyn Rose Freedman.

Saturday evening, participants gathered at the Covered Arena for the Awards Ceremony where the week's top finishers were honored once again. The awards included the Best Turned Out Regular Pony, which went to Little Black Dress and the Highest Scoring Auction Pony, Salvandi Coronet. The Buttons N' Bows Sportsmanship Trophy went to Emily Regan, while Scott Stewart 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 Virginia and they received the International Challenge Trophy. All three ponies were entries of Dr. Betsee Parker and included Elation, Enchanted Forest, and For The Laughter.

Jumper Highlights: August 11-13

The Pony Jumpers Welcome Stake started Thursday evening in the Covered Arena. Seventeen-year-old Nicole Kehrli of Glenmore, PA, managed to conquer the competition with the fastest clear round aboard her pony Northwind's Opus. The duo stopped the clock in 68.603 seconds and led the final victory gallop. Claire Salopek of Lafayette, LA, and Sir Lance-A-Lot took home the second place honors finishing just a quarter of a second behind Kehrli. Brooke Gunther of Chester Springs, PA, earned the third place ribbon aboard Fire Van Battenbroek with a fault free round, breaking the beam at 70.756 seconds.

The final event of the day on Friday was the USEF National Pony Jumper Team Championship in the Covered Arena. At the end of the night, it was the team from Region 7 that claimed the Gold Medal award and the USEF National Pony Jumper Team Championship. The group included Brianna Butler of Leawood, KS, and her mount Al Capony, Claire Salopek of Lafayatte, LA, riding Sir Lance-A-Lot, Kaitlin Miller-Roberts of Dallas, TX, with her mount Game On, and Sarah Walker also from Dallas, TX, aboard La-Ti-Da. With Salopek completing double clear rounds and only four faults scored for Butler, Miller-Roberts, and Walker the team had a total 12 fault score to catch their victory. Following the competition, the riders were awarded the Willow Grove Farm Perpetual Trophy, donated by William J. Moroney in honor of his parents, Edward and Lorraine Moroney.

The Silver Medal went to the team from Region 2 who also had a total of 12-faults, but a slower time determined the difference. The team featured Elizabeth Shaffer of Layton, NJ, aboard Styled With Perfection, Noah Buehler of Wall, NJ, with Porsche, Amanda Shaffer also from Layton, NJ, riding Little Miss Sunshine, and Brooke Gunther of Chester Springs, PA, aboard Fire Van Battenbroek. With a 16-fault total, the Bronze Medal was awarded to the team from Region 4. The riders included Lindsey Toothman of Carrollton, GA, aboard Jean Claude, Caroline Hudon of Auburn, AL, with National Treasure, Peter Droogmans of Palmetto, GA, riding Sky Miles, and Julia Curtis of Villa Rica, GA, with The Waterboy.

Nicole Kehrli and Northwind's Opus managed to retain the lead in the Individual Competition after completing two clear rounds. Claire Salopek was close on her heels after completing two fault-free efforts aboard Sir Lance-A-Lot. Brooke Gunther and her mount Fire Van Battenbroek earned the third place position also ending with two fault-free efforts. The Gold Medal winner will be determined tomorrow evening during the Individual Pony Jumper Final.

The last event Saturday was the Pony Jumper Individual Finals where Julia Curtis of Villa Rica, GA, managed to conquer the competition with her third clear round aboard The Waterboy. The pair earned the USEF Individual Pony Jumper Gold Medal and led the final victory gallop. With the only fault free score after all three rounds of competition Curtis was also awarded the Swan Creek Farm Perpetual Trophy donated by William J. Moroney in honor of Alvin and Patsy Topping. After advancing to the jump off with just four faults from the weekend Noah Buehler of Wall, NJ, and Porsche won the Silver Medal with a clear round in a time of 33.508 seconds. The Bronze Medal went to Sarah Walker of Dallas, TX and La-Ti-Da, who had four faults going into tonight's Finals and laid down a clear trip in the jump off breaking the beam at 32.928 seconds.

For more information on the 2011 USEF Pony Finals, visit the
U.S. Equestrian Federation.

Watch videos of four outstanding jumping rounds.