Articles: Press Release
Pony Hunters and Jumpers Turned up the Heat
at the 2009 USEF Pony Finals
Jumper champion Sydney Shulman aboard Set Sail. Photo credit: USEF
United States Equestrian Federation, Inc.
4047 Iron Works Parkway
Lexington, KY 40511-8483
Tel: (859) 258-2472
Fax (859) 231-6662
Web site: www.usef.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 8, 2009
Lexington, KY -- It was a day of champions at the 2009 USEF Pony Finals as
ribbons and top honors were handed out in the Regular Pony Hunters as well
as the Individual Jumper Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park on a sun-drenched
day where the competition was as hot as the weather.
Beginning early in the day was the Medium Pony Hunters where there was no
shortage of graceful rides and impressive rounds from the ponies. Following
that, the Large Pony Hunters made their way across the over fences course in
a battle royale to see who would not only take the overall win in their
division, but to see if one of them would be named the Overall Grand Hunter
In the Medium Regular Pony division it was a banner day for 14-year-old
Porter Allen and Halo. The 13.1-hand chestnut gelding owned by Ashley
Kennedy Whitner was unstoppable in his quest for a Pony Finals win.
Scoring here highest to datea 90 from one judgeAllen was thrilled with her
ride and the ponys performance on Saturday in the Walnut Ring.
Ive had the best experience this year at Pony Finals, said the Texan. Both
my trainer and the pony have built up my confidence. That trainer happens
to be pony guru Bill Schaub of Over the Hill Farm who only began working
with the young rider since earlier this year in Ocala.
Its been great training with Bill, said Allen. It was great right off the
bat and the pony is so fun to ride.
Near the top of the leader board going into the decision-making round, the
pair looked in expert control and glided over the course set before
them. The nine-year-old Welsh cross was a true star for his young pilot.
Allen will return to the Walnut Ring one final time during this years Pony
Finals as she competes in the Medal Final on Sunday aboard Midnight Hour.
This has just been so much fun, and the best part of Pony Finals is
interacting with all the ponies, she said.
In the Large Regular Pony division, it was a double victory for Floridas
Victoria Tori Colvin and the flashy For the Laughter, who not only won the
Large Pony title, but picked up the Overall Grand Hunter Pony Champion
On a final combined score of 1,089, leagues ahead of the competition, Colvin
guided the 14.1-hand bay gelding through a beautiful round and showed the
crowd just what a championship-winning round looked like. She also shared a
story about the pony and his interesting dislike of flowers.
When he was a baby, he got his bit stuck in a flower pot, she said. So, he
spooked, and now whenever he sees flowers or jumps over them he gets a
little spooky. So, today I had to give a lot of leg and support. You would
have never known as the horse was appeared the template of confidence.
Colvin, who benefits from the coaching of owner Scott Stewart, was appearing
in her fourth Pony Finals this year. She definitely has plans to make
another go at it next year, as well.
Next up for Colvin, who happened to win two of the Green Pony Hunter
divisions two years ago, is a trip to the Hampton Classic in three weeks
time. But, before heading north, she said that being at the Pony Finals was
This year it was a bit more challenging for me, she said. But, I had so much
In the Individual Jumpers, it was a five-way tie forced to jump-off to
determine who would leave the Pony Finals with the coveted Gold medal and a
years worth of bragging rights.
The five pony-and-rider combinations each posted double-clear rounds over
the 15 obstacles in the nights first round, and any one of them could have
taken the title.
The jump-off began with Marylands Sarah Mills aboard Meadowoods Oreo No
Cream who was the first of the night to post a triple-clear week of
jumping. Unfortunately, the duo representing Zone 3 pulled two rails and
ended with an eight-fault total and an ultimate fourth overall finish for
Next up was Pennsylvanias Carly Attanasio representing the U.S. Pony Club
and Rascal who practically hopped over the first fence in the nights earlier
round. It was the fifth jump of the jump-off that the pair nicked the rail
and downed it to take on four faults, leaving them with a very close
second-place finish and reserve champion title in the tiebreaker.
Third up was the ill-fated Amanda Metzer and Zack Attack who displayed an
impressive first round, but as fate would have it, the pair was eliminated
after receiving uninvited outside-the-ring assistance and were, therefore,
automatically bounced from the competition. It was a disappointing finish
for the hopeful rider and pony, but they did make it to the jump-off so they
were awarded with a fifth-place finish nonetheless.
With only two triple-clear jump-off riders to go, it all came down to Bella
Cramer from Zone 5 and her Good Fortune. As the name of the pony suggests,
fortune is exactly what she had experienced thus far at the Pony Finals. But
a pesky plank put an end to their championship dreams as the four faults
relegated the rider from Michigan and the pony to third place.
As it would turn out, the nights final ride belonged to the ultimate
champion. Connecticuts Sydney Shulman and Back Country Farms Set Sail
appropriately sailed through the entire competition without a fault. The
10-year-old, 14.2-hand dapple grey Welsh/Thoroughbred cross maneuvered the
course as the diminutive Shulman guided the gelding to the win in just over
This week was a lot of ups and downs, said Shulman, who happens to be
coached by her mother, Jill, in addition to working with Frank Madden. It
was tough, but I had so much fun. My pony has been busy. He qualified for
the Large Hunters, and well be in the Pony Medal Finals on Sunday.
The young rider said that she prefers to be put under pressure as it
motivates her and makes her perform better. I just do better, and going
last always helps me out, she said.
Shulman said that she has a favorite rider that she looks to and tries to
emulateOlympian Beezie Madden. She is so good! Watching her pushes me to try
to improve and be more like her. When she rides, she does it really soft but
connected. She just makes every course look so easy.
Speaking of courses, tonights course seemed like an appropriate challenge
according to Shulman. I really like it when the courses are bigger, and
tonights course was just great. It road well for me.
For more information about Pony Finals, please contact Marion Maybank, USEFs
Director of Hunter Disciplines at (859) 225-2033 or via e-mail at
To learn more about the USEF Pony Finals, visit
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of excellence from the grassroots to the Olympic Games, based on a
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