Devon, PA - July 1, 2012 - The sun was shining as the Pony Hunters took center stage in the Gold Ring at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series horse show, presented by the Tayor Harris Insurance Services (THIS). The ponies and riders of Heritage Farm could not be beat, bringing home all four championship titles as well as the two Grand Championships.
Francesca Dildabanian piloted the Small Pony Hunter Sports Talk and Medium Pony Hunter Sportster to championship honors in their respective divisions. Large Pony Hunter Championship and Grand Pony Hunter Championship titles went to Madison Goetzmann and Happily Ever Laughter for their flawless efforts this weekend. In the Green Pony Hunter division, it was Daisy Farish and Charming who claimed the Grand Green Pony Hunter Championship at the end of the day.
The morning kicked off with the Small Pony Hunters going first in the Gold Ring, where Francesca Dildabanian of New York, NY, piloted her own Sports Talk to the championship. The duo received two firsts and a second over fences, in addition to winning the under saddle. Garnering reserve honors with two firsts and a second over fences was Daisy Farish aboard Hillcrest Blue Halo, a Bill Schaub entry from Sanford, FL.
"Sports Talk is my new Small Green Pony. We got him as a project pony. The first day, I was riding my more experienced small, and my green came in and won it," commented Dildabanian. "Yesterday he was great. Today, I thought parts of my handy were really good since he is a baby. This is my first year showing in the Pony Hunters. I like that Brandywine is smaller, so it's easy to get around."
Next to show were the Medium Pony Hunters, with Francesca Dildabanian earning another championship award, this time aboard Sportster, an entry owned by Madison Goetzmann of Skaneatles, NY. The pair took home a first and two seconds over fences and won the under saddle class. Daisy Farish rode Sassafras Creek, owned by Bibby Hill of Reddick FL, to two first place finishes over fences, good for the Reserve Championship.
"Sportster is the best Medium Pony ever. I just got him at WEF and it took me awhile to figure him out and be consistent. You just need to stay on one pace and then the distances come up," smiled Dildabanian. "I think my trips were pretty good. I was consistent this weekend on him. In my handy, I had good turns and the trot jump was nice. I thought in the first trip everything was even and steady."
In the Large Pony Hunter division, it was Madison Goetzmann riding her own Happily Ever Laughter to the Large Pony Hunter Champion honors. The pair earned two blues, a second, and a third over fences in addition to their second in the hack. Happily Ever Laughter was also the recipient of the Grand Pony Hunter Championship for earning the most points out of all of the ponies in the regular pony hunter divisions.
"My trips were really smooth, Happily Ever Laughter has been really good lately. He was jumping really nicely and we had a great handy round. We bought him at the end of last year. You have to ride him with confidence and he needs a lot of leg," explained Goetzmann.
To round out the pony divisions, the Green Pony Hunter competitors took their turn in front of the judge. Coming out on top was Daisy Farish and Charming, also owned by Bill Schaub. Their clean sweep of the division earned them the championship award, as well as the Grand Green Pony Hunter Championship title. Taking home reserve honors was Enchanted, a pony owned by Claire Campbell of Cochester, PA, with Lexi Dreisbach in the irons. The pair earned two seconds and a third over fences, with a second under saddle.
"I was really proud of Charming. I had never ridden her before and it was her first show in a long time. She's really fun to ride, she's really easy and nice. She just needs a confident ride. I think it's really cool that Brandywine is held at the Devon Show Grounds," said Farish.
The Children's Hunter exhibitors had a chance to showcase their skills in the Dixon Oval earlier today. Madison Goetzmann took home top honors in the THIS Children's Medal with a solid first round and an impressive test. She was also awarded champion in the Children's Hunter 14 and Under division and Grand Children's Hunter Champion on Sirius Black, owned by Christina Gellos of Greenwich, CT. In addition, the duo won the NAL/WIHS Children's Hunter Classic. The Children's Hunter 15 - 17 Champion was awarded to Llanos, owned by Beatrice Fritsche of Clinton, NJ and shown by Holley Mihok.
The first week of the Brandywine Valley Summer Series concluded today with the $10,000 Johnson Horse Transportation USHJA International Hunter Derby. Competition will resume next Wednesday, July 4, 2012, with exciting hunter/jumper action at Devon Show Grounds. The feature class will be Saturday night's $5,000 Get Real Get RAW USHJA National Hunter Derby.
For more information about the Brandywine Valley Summer Series, please visit http://brandywinevalleysummerseries.com.
Photo Credit: Madison Goetzmann and Happily Ever Laughter won the Grand Pony Hunter Championship at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series. Photo By: AnLi Kelly-Durham/PMG.