Lexington, KY -The final day of the 2013 US Pony Finals was dedicated to equitation and the US Pony Medal Final. A total of 193 riders headed into the Kentucky Horse Park's Alltech Arena to demonstrate their skill and proficiency in front of the judging panel of Bill Moroney and Julie Winkel.
In round one Bobby Murphy tested riders over an intricate course which featured a two-stride combination as well as a trot jump and called for riders to halt before continuing on in the canter over a vertical. Twenty-five riders were called back for a second round which again tested their equitation abilities. This time riders were asked to once again trot a single vertical, negotiate a one-stride line as well as perform a change of lead in the middle of a line. Following the second round, four riders; three from the Medium section and one from the Large section, were called back for a test on the flat.
Olivia Woodson, Emma Kurtz, Emma Lemke and Charlise Casas would return to the Alltech Arena for a third time in order to determine the outcome of the 2013 US Pony Medal Final.
In the test, riders were asked to show sitting and rising trot, canter and a hand gallop. However, the deciding factor of the 2013 championship was when the judges called for riders to turn-on-the-haunches.
Woodson (Wellington, FL) was declared the winner of the 2013 US Pony Medal Final after displaying two stylish jumping rounds and an acute understanding and accuracy on the flat; especially, when it came to turn-on-the-haunches. "I just wanted to go in and do my best, I love flatting," said the 13-year-old of her mindset heading into the test. "So when they said turn-on-the-haunches, 'I just thought well here we go; walk to turn-on-the-haunches to walk."
It was especially meaningful for Woodson to top Sunday's class as it is likely it will be the last time she rides at the US Pony Finals. "This is my last year at Pony Finals. Next year I'm moving up to the big Eq., so I was really happy to win," said Woodson. "It still doesn't feel real."
Collecting second place and the Silver medal was Kurtz (Hudson, OH). Sunday's Medal Final closed out an unbelievable 2013 US Pony Finals for the 13-year-old. Over the course of the week she rode to the Reserve Grand Champion Hunter Pony, Reserve Grand Champion Green Hunter Pony, Large Regular Pony Hunter Championship, Medium Green Pony Hunter Championship, and the Small Green Pony Hunter Championship titles.
The Bronze medal was awarded to Lemke of Franklin, Tennessee.
Earning fourth place was Casas, the only rider in the final four test to ride a Large Pony.
The following riders rounded out the top 10 placings:
5th- Annalise Reed
6th- Alexandra Pielet
7th- Coco Fath
8th- Isabel Ryan
9th- Madeline Schaefer
10th- Theresa Tolar