August 20, 2008 -- The final leg of the three-day Adequan/U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) 2008 National Pony Jumper Individual Championship was fast-paced and competitive as 25 young riders came back the night of August 16 to compete in head-to-head competition. Over a more challenging course with larger fences than the team competition the night before, it was 10-year-old Jessica Pyfer and Sosha who went triple clear to win the title.
A jump-off was held for the silver medal for the young riders with a total of four faults. Eight riders were called back to determine the medal winners. The jump-off was so close that not even a full second separated the times between the silver and bronze medals. Cara Dodson, 12, from Christiana, Tenn., and Welsh/Dutch Warmblood bay gelding The Waterboy took the silver medal with a time of 30.283l. Gillian King, 16, from Phoenixville, Pa., and her 13-year-old Paint mare Crum Creek won the bronze with a final time of 30.286.
The pressure was on Pyfer with only five more riders to go in the third phase of the pony jumper competition. Pyfer, from Pasadena, Calif., and her eight-year-old Quarter Horse/Paint mare Sosha rode quickly but carefully over the 3'6" fences just under the 76 seconds allowed.
Pyfer was only three years old when she started riding Sosha. Sosha is one of 14 horses at the Pyfer family farm where Pyfer rides up to six horses a day preparing them for the show ring. Sosha is special to Pyfer since she is the only horse that she can show because the other horses in their stable are too green.
Pyfer said that she has a special relationship with Sosha, and she will continue to show her until her future mounts are ready for the show ring.