Katie Whaley (Paris, Ky.) drove her own and Barbara Sims’ Welsh geldings to win her first USEF Pair Pony Driving National Championship title, winning each of the phases along the way. She had a wonderful dressage test, scoring 49.67 to take the early lead. Whaley attacked the marathon course with her pair and had the fastest times in all of the obstacles, collecting 90.25 penalties. They delivered another quality performance in the cones phase with a single ball down at obstacle nine for 3.00 penalties, winning the championship with a final score of 142.92.
“They were amazing. These two [Tommy and Tanner] are full brothers and they do marathon and cones, but my newest one [Night Flyer] that I have borrowed from a friend, Barbara Sims, this was his first competition as a pair in the dressage and he was a machine,” Whaley said of her ponies. “The dressage is what I was really concentrating on and that was the best score I have gotten in a very long time, so that was really fun. The marathon I hit about three-quarters speed because I was trying stuff with them and I just wanted to keep them quiet, and they were great, and the cones phase was good.”
Jennifer Matheson (Aiken, S.C.) and Katrina Becker and Mary Anne Boyden’s mixed pair began the championship with a respectable dressage test for a score of 58.13. Matheson and the ponies had a solid marathon performance, collecting 102.42 penalties and finishing second in the phase. They closed out the competition with three balls down in the cones phase for 12.00 penalties, finishing second in the phase and obtaining Reserve Champion honors.
The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members.