Joe Yoder Wins USEF National Pair Championship

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Temple, Matheson and Stroud Win USEF Pony Championships

Ocala, FL - Joe Yoder driving Jack Wetzel’s pair of Gelderlanders won his first USEF National Pair Championship Sunday at the CAI Live Oak. After finishing second in dressage and winning the marathon, Yoder went into the final Cones phase with a 15-point lead over Katherin Dancer. Three balls down incurred 12 penalties for the young man who just recently relocated from Bozeman, Montana, to Aiken, SC, to drive for Wetzel. Yoder squeaked in just under the 3 minute time allowed to secure his win. Alan Aulson moved into second place, driving his own pair of Morgan horses, after Dancer knocked down five balls and incurred time penalties.
Shelly Temple of Windsor, SC, went into cones with a narrow lead over Suzy Stafford, but managed to keep all the balls on the cones, incurring just 1.61 time penalties to retain the lead and win the USEF National Championship for single ponies. “It was a competitive class,” said Temple. “I was thrilled that my pony went so well. Jack Wetzel kindly lent me a four-wheel Spider Phaeton which made a huge difference from the two-wheeled road cart I usually drive, and it had a very positive effect.”

Driving Katrina Becker’s pair of ponies, Jennifer Matheson who won dressage and was second in the marathon, but even with four balls downs and time penalties she was able to maintain her lead and her second USEF National Championship for pair ponies. “Aiken drivers dominate!” said Matheson, referring to the fact that Yoder, Temple and Matheson are all from the Aiken, S.C. area. “I was thrilled – I used a new combination [of ponies] in the marathon and in cones and I was pleased with the progress we’ve made in a short period of time.”

Alison Stroud, driving her four-in-hand of Connemara ponies was unchallenged in her class, had just two balls down but was within the time allowed.

Temple, Matheson and Stroud were all repeat Champions from 2010 when the USEF Pony Championships were contested at the Laurels at Landhope in West Grove, Pa.

All the drivers praised the help that team coach Michael Freund has given them since the beginning of the year. “For the first time, having the coach (Freund), the chef d’equipe (Chester Weber), and the team vet (Dr. Lisa Casinella) in place, available and very interested in helping has helped everyone’s game enormously,” said Matheson, seconded by Temple.