The 2015 US National Pony Jumper Championship, held as part of the US Pony Finals, came to an exciting conclusion on Saturday night with Individual titles up for grabs. Fifteen competitors came back to jump a fourth round over Marc Donovan's challenging course, with combinations producing their best performances of the week.
Stephanie Don and Elizabeth McDougald entered the Alltech Arena on Saturday tied with zero faults coming forward into the final phase of competition. They both finished with four faults, resulting in a jump-off. McDougald (Lawton, Okla.) of Zone 7/8, riding her own 10-year-old Pony of the Americas gelding, Knock My Sox Off, produced a beautiful clear round in 49.627 seconds, making easy work of the track. The effort earned her the Gold medal as Don finished the jump-off with four faults.
"That was amazing. I was not expecting to go in there and do that well. It made my day," 18-year-old McDougald said. "This is my third year (at the US Pony Finals) and this is my best result. It's always been on him, and we've never done that well, so it's amazing."
Don (San Marino, Calif.) of Zone 9/10, riding Avery Kim's German Riding Pony gelding, Joel, completed the jump-off with one rail down in 41.267 seconds, putting her in the Silver medal position.
A jump-off for Bronze saw four competitors come back who ended the third round on an overall total of four faults.
The second rider in the jump-off, Sarah Davis (Union, Ky.) of Zone 5, and her own National Treasure, a Welsh Pony Cross mare, was the only pair to finish with zero faults and posted the fastest time of 41.827 seconds to clinch the Individual Bronze medal.
The evening concluded with Charles Smith (Mount Pleasant, S.C.) of Zone 4 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.
Earlier in the day, Catherine Wilson (Hampton, N.J.) of Zone 2, riding Ponies Unlimited, LLC's EZ To Spot, a 14-year-old Pony of the Americas gelding, came out on top in the farewell competition.
The US Pony Finals will conclude Sunday with the Marshall & Sterling/US Pony Medal Finals on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. ET in Alltech Arena. The USEF Network presented by SmartPak will live stream the coveted championship, courtesy of the USHJA Foundation.
For live scoring, results, schedule, and competitor and hospitality information, go to www.usefconnect.com.
Find out more information about the US Pony Finals.