SMALL WONDER TAKES LARGE GREEN HUNTER PONY CHAMPIONSHIP AND OVERALL GRAND CHAMPION GREEN HUNTER PONY TITLE
It was another exciting day of competition at the 2017 USEF Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm as two more championship titles in the USEF Hunter Pony Championship were decided on Friday. Madeline Jordan and Shamrock collected the Medium Green Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans, while Libbie Gordon and Small Wonder were named the Large Green Hunter Pony Champions as well as the Overall Grand Champion Green Hunter Pony. Augusta Iwasaki and Butterscotch took the honors the Overall Grand Reserve Champion Green Hunter Pony.
Both championship divisions completed the Over Fences phase on Friday, earning the final 50% for their overall score. They earned 25% each for the Model and Under Saddle phases on Thursday.
Jordan (Tallahassee, Fla.) and her own Shamrock claimed the Medium Green Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans title with a total score of 1015.01. Jordan and the 10-year-old Welsh Pony-cross gelding were sitting in 13th heading into the Over Fences phase after finishing in 29th position in the Model phase with a 240.51 and in fourth in the Under Saddle phase with a 256.50. The pair won the Over Fences phase with a score of 259.00.
Jordan’s blue ribbon was not the average win, but a dream come true. After being struck by an impaired driver in October of 2015, Jordan battled back, first re-learning how to walk before riding. Her success at Pony Finals and this championship title was something she began dreaming about during her recovery.
“When I came back to the house after all the hospital stuff and I got to see my other pony – it was awesome because I realized that I was going to eventually get back and start riding again and hopefully win Pony Finals someday,” said Jordan. “It’s so surreal that I actually won. ... It’s probably one of the best trips I’ve had in my life. I gave a big hug to ‘Louie,’ my pony.”
Alexa Lignelli (New York, N.Y.) rode iApprove to Reserve Champion honors with an overall score of 1002.30. She and her own 2009 Weser-EMS Pony gelding scored 249.80 for the 11th position in the Model phase, won the Under Saddle phase with a 259.00, and scored 246.750 for the second-place position in the Over Fences phase.
The third-place ribbon in the Medium Green Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans went to Gordon (Statesville, N.C.) and All Yours. She and Jessie Spade’s 11-year-old Warmblood gelding received 253.05 in the Model phase for fifth place, 256.00 in the Under Saddle phase for fifth place, and 240.05 in the Over Fences phase for sixth place and a total score of 989.15.
Gordon also rode Small Wonder and took top honors in the Large Green Hunter Pony Championship, finishing on a score of 1028.05. She and Elsa Batalden’s eight-year-old Warmblood gelding garnered scores of 249.91 in the Model phase for the 20th position and 256.14 in the Under Saddle phase for 10th place on Thursday. The combination earned the title on Friday evening by earning 261.00 and winning the Over Fences phase. The pair was also named the Overall Grand Champion Green Hunter Pony.
“It’s really exciting when you’ve worked so hard and waited so long,” said Gordon. “[Small Wonder] tries his best and gives me his all.”
Iwasaki (Calabasas, Calif.) and Butterscotch, Quartet Farm LLC’s 2005 gelding, earned Reserve Championship honors with a score of 1025.11. Scoring a 260.05 for third place in the Model phase and a 250.06 for the 21st position in the Under Saddle phase on Thursday, the pair came into the Over Fences phase in sixth place. Their second-place score of 257.50 in the Over Fences phase earned them the Reserve Champion ribbon.
Adam Edgar (Leesburg, Va.) and D’Artagnan came in third with an overall score of 1024.88. Edgar and Graciela Robert’s seven-year-old German Riding Pony gelding scored 258.21 for fifth, 268.17 for first place, and 249.25 for sixth place in the Model, Under Saddle, and Over Fences phases, respectively.
After two phases of competition, Caroline Signorio (Hickam AFB, Hawaii.) and Anisette lead in the Medium Regular Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans with a score of 517.66. Signorio and Hannah Hoch’s 11-year-old Welsh Pony-cross gelding earned 257.23 in the Model phase for third place. They then went on to win the Under Saddle phase with a score of 260.43.
Iwasaki and Tessa Downey’s 2005 Welsh Pony gelding News Flash are in second place with a total score of 513.33 after winning the Model phase with a score of 258.16 and taking fourth in the Under Saddle phase with a 255.17.
Claire Campbell (Cochranville, P.A.) and Leon, the 2006 Welsh Pony gelding she owns with Maher Family LLC and Rose Campbell, are in third with a score of 510.61. The pair placed second in the Model phase with a score of 257.66 and earned 252.95 in the Under Saddle phase, placing 11th.
USEF Network will continue its coverage of USEF Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm on Saturday beginning at 7:00 a.m. EST with the Medium Regular Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans. The live stream is only available to US Equestrian members.
Find out more information about the USEF Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm at http://www.ponyfinals.org.
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Photo by Shawn McMillen