Wellington, FL -The competitive Large Pony Hunter division came to a close Sunday morning in Ring 12 at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival with Mimi Gochman and Storyteller crowned this week's champions. Rain clouds gave way to the sunshine as Gochman and Storyteller rode to wins in both over fences classes on Sunday morning.
The pair also earned a first and sixth place finishes over fences on Saturday, and took home second in the under saddle. Storyteller is a 13-year-old German Sport Pony gelding owned by Fair Play Farm. Mimi's sister Sophie Gochman and Scott Stewart's Westside settled for the reserve title. Westside, a 13-year-old Warmblood gelding, placed second in the under saddle and earned two seconds, a third, and a sixth over fences.
While Sophie and Mimi often compete against each other in the Large Pony Hunter division, the siblings support each other more than they rival against each other. "We're pretty civil about competing with each other," Mimi Gochman explained.
Eleven-year-old Mimi Gochman trains with the teams at Baxter Hill and Rivers Edge. Her primary trainers are Scott Stewart, Ken Berkley, and Amanda Derbyshire, all of whom Gochman credits for her success. She is remarkably poised and well spoken for such a young rider, likely due to the great deal of success she has already enjoyed during her young career. "I've been riding since I was 18 months old," Gochman proudly stated. Her mother Becky Gochman is a highly successful amateur rider, whose love of the sport influenced her daughters' desire to show.
Mimi Gochman, who recently moved to Wellington, FL, with her family full-time, has been riding Storyteller for two years. The pair has enjoyed a great deal of success during that time together, notably winning the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals at the Washington International Horse Show this past October.
"Storyteller is a very sweet pony. He's very easy to ride and very adjustable," Gochman remarked. "He's strong and he's sturdy, and I can always trust him to get me around the ring safely. "Storyteller is just easy in general to steer and to get going" Gochman continued. "He's a good listener; he listens to my hand and my leg which is really nice."
Storyteller performs especially well in the handy hunter classes, which the pair earned a blue ribbon in this week. "His nickname is 'Handy King' because he's very good at turning," Gochman laughed. "That really comes in handy when we have to take the tight turns in the handy classes!"
Along with Storyteller, Gochman also competes with Lululemon, who is a green pony owned by Rivers Edge. They compete together in the Large/Medium Green Pony Hunter division. Outside of the show ring Gochman enjoys playing tennis, counting it as one of her favorite hobbies. "I also like to read a lot," she added. Gochman and Storyteller will continue to show in the Large Pony Hunter division for the remainder of the WEF circuit.
The 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival continues with its eleventh week of competition, sponsored by Artisan Farms, on March 23-27, 2016. The week highlights the $130,000 Engel & Völkers Grand Prix CSI 4* on Saturday, March 26. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.