Lexington, KY - The young riders and their miniature mounts lined the ramp leading to the Walnut Ring Thursday morning at the Kentucky Horse Park. The third day of the 2012 US National Pony Hunter Championships presented by Sallee Horse Vans commenced with the Small Hunter Pony Models and the Under Saddle phases. The final day of competition had arrived for the Medium Pony Hunters, with riders full of anticipation as they walked the course with trepidation. The Overall Medium Pony Hunter Grand Championship was awarded to Yasmin Rizvi for her stunning efforts throughout the three days of competition aboard Roxbury.
A cool breeze greeted riders this morning for the third day of the prestigious championships, and clouds awaited in the distance with the threat of afternoon storms; however, the riders were not deterred as they gathered their reins and showcased their mounts. It was Lili Hymowitz and Rafael, owned by David Gochman of New York, NY, who earned the judges' compliments with the blue ribbon in the Small Pony Hunter Model, with Madeline Schaefer of Westminster, MD, and Hi Lite taking the second place. Hana Bieling and Bluetiful, owned by Aleece Jarman of Pace, FL, took the third place honors.
"He is really fun, he is the most easy pony I have ridden. I had the chance to show him here last year, and everything was going great until I messed up during the jumping," Hymowitz recalled. "I am so happy to have another year to try and fix it."
"I love being on top of the standings, it is nice to have that solidity and be able to see everyone else go, but at the same time it is very nerve-racking," Hymowitz described.
The under saddle took place soon after, seeing the top riders and ponies from across the nation attempt to impress the judges with their movement and form during the under saddle. Addison Piper and Goldfish rode to the top of the section, with Hymowitz and Rafael following in a close second. Schaefer rounded out the top three with Hi Lite, collecting the third place.
"This is my fourth year, and I am still getting nervous," Piper laughed. "I was a little bit nervous out there today, but I tried really hard not to let it get the best of me."
"He needs to be collected so that he can really show off his pizzazz and his flow," Piper continued. "I think it is his style that really stood out to the judges, and I am so happy that they saw all of our hard work out there. We have been working with him for a long time, and he has really become a great pony."
Roxbury, owned by Peacock Ridge LLC of Greenwich, CT, with Yasmin Rizvi in the irons, stole the show during the Medium Pony Hunters Thursday. The pair rode to the overall score of 1,015.30 points, originally entering the competition in the third place spot. Their scores of 84, 84.25 and 84.90 pushed them to the top, and they led the day's victory gallop as the Overall Medium Pony Hunter Champion. Hymowitz and Trillville, owned by Rose Hill Farm of Bridgehampton, NY, also posted an impressive round over fences, posting scores of 83, 82.40, and 83.80. Their overall total differed by only 1.10 points, proving good enough for the Overall Medium Pony Hunter Reserve Championship.
"She is really sweet and she hardly spooks and is really fun to ride," Rizvi explained. "She is a more recent pony for me, we bought her at the beginning of Florida. She is never bad, she has a motor and shows you the jumps."
The young rider was full of laughter and smiles as she bragged about her pony, "I thought the course was a lot of fun, the options really allowed me to think out there, at some points it was hard, but it was fun, too. I followed the plan, but it was a little spooky out there after the rain. I think it was how calm she was and how much focus she had in the ring that helped her stand out. I thought she was going to be a little bit excited, but she felt calm when I went in. I relaxed a bit after the first few jumps, and I think that really helped."
Although Rizvi and Roxbury claimed the Overall Medium Pony Hunter Championship, it was Mckayla Langmeier and Georgia, owned by Linda Langmeier of E. Granby, CT, who took the blue ribbon prize during the over fences. Langmeier guided the chestnut pony to scores of 83, 87 and 88 to earn the judges' nod and ride to the top of the standings. Ali Trilschler and Chaconne, owned by Shell Point LLC of Chestertown, MD, took the second place finish, while Emma Kurtz and Grand All Over, owned by David Gochman of New York, NY, finished third.
The 2012 US National Pony Hunter Championships will continue Friday with the Large Pony Hunter Model and Under Saddle. Later in the day, the Small Pony Hunters will complete their over fences phase and the Overall Small Pony Hunter Grand Champion will be named. The final event will be the third and ultimate phase of the US National Pony Jumper Championships, the Individual Championship Finals, to be held in the Alltech Arena.
USEF Network will post results and videos from the US Pony Finals daily at http://usefnetwork.com/featured/2012USEFPonyFinals/
Find out more about the Pony Finals at www.usef.org.
Photo: Yasmin Rizvi and Roxbury won the Overall Medium Pony Hunter Championship at the 2012 US National Pony Hunter Championship. (Shawn McMillen Photography)