Lexington, Ky. - August Iwasaki and Bit of Laughter took home the title in the Small Regular Hunter Pony Championship in the US Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans at the Kentucky Horse Park. The pair garnered a total score of 1033.29 through two days of competition. National titles are determined in the US Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans following three phases of competition, with Model and Under Saddle phases each counting towards 25% of the overall score, and the remaining 50% being determined by the Over Fences phase.
Iwasaki (Calabasas, Calif.) and Chris Iwasaki, Elizabeth Reilly, and her own Bit of Laughter earned the Small Regular Hunter Pony Championship after a superb round in the Over Fences phase to score 268.50 and finished first place in the phase. On Wednesday, she and the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding received scores of 238.650 and 257.64 in the Model and Under Saddle phases, respectively. Iwasaki has been riding Bit of Laughter for two years, but this is the pair's first trip to the US Pony Finals together.
"He has two sides; he's either really nice or really grumpy." Iwasaki said of Bit of Laughter. "But he's been really great lately, and really fun. He was nice today. He always tries his hardest, and he's not spooky. He likes being at the horse show better than being at home."
The Reserve Champion title went to Mimi Gochman (New York, N.Y.) and Dr. Betsee Parker's Love Me Tender with a final score of 1023.70. She and the 11-year-old Welsh Pony mare scored 257.00 in the Over Fences phase, after earning 251.58 in the Model phase and 258.12 in the Under Saddle phase. Kathryn McCarthy and her own Canterbrook Prince Charming finished third with a total score of 1005.180, with their Over Fences score putting them in second place in the phase. She and the 10-year-old Welsh Pony Cross gelding finished with scores of 231.950, 253.51, and 259.86 in the Model, Under Saddle, and Over Fences phases, respectively.
Iwasaki and Bit of Love were also Champion Owner/Rider in the Small Regular section. Party Crasher, with Lauren Reid, was the Best Presented Model Pony in the Small Regular section. Quicksilver Butterfly, with Emily Aitken, was the Best Turned Out Pony in the Small Regular section.
Medium and Large Green Hunter Pony Championship
After two phases of competition, Sophia Calamari and Unforgettable have taken the lead in the Medium Green Pony Hunter Championship. Calamari (New Milford, Pa.) and Forget Me Not Farm's six-year-old Welsh Pony gelding captured first place with a score of 259.60 in the Model phase and 263.96 in the Under Saddle phase for a total of 523.56. Jenna Field (Parkton, Md.) and Victoria Redmon's Apricot Brandy, a six-year-old Welsh Pony Cross mare, sit in second with a total of 503.93, while Emma Kurtz (Hudson, Ohio) and Truly Yours, an eight-year-old Welsh Pony mare owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, are in third with 502.40.
In the Large Green Hunter Pony competition, Iwasaki and Ava Peck's 12-year-old German Riding Pony gelding, Kingston, captured first place with a score of 251.65 in the Model phase and 261.67 in the Under Saddle phase. The pair finished the day with an overall total of 513.32. Devon Seek (Ocala, Fla.) and Ashley Vail Aycox's Garavani, a seven-year-old Dutch Riding Pony gelding, sit in second with a total of 504.59, while Kurtz and Oliver Twist, a seven-year-old Welsh Pony Cross gelding owned by Sharrone Peters, are in third with 503.71.
For live scoring, results, schedule, and competitor and hospitality information go to www.usefconnect.com.
Find out more information about the US Pony Finals.