Taylor Ann Adams Wins 2007 USEF Pony Medal Final; Zone 4 Wins the 2007 Adequan/USEF National Pony Jumper Team Championship
RELEASE: August 17, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Stacey Meier
Tennessee's Taylor Ann Adams and Millpond Celebrity take the 2007 USEF Pony Medal Finals in Lexington, KY. (Mary Phelps)
Lexington, KY— Day Three of Pony Finals was overflowing with 202 ponies competing for the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Pony Medal Final along with an evening of show jumping for the Adequan/USEF National Pony Team Jumper Championship. Taylor Ann Adams from Eads, TN, won the Pony Medal Final aboard Millpond Celebrity. Zone 4 ran away with the Gold in the 2007 Adequan/USEF National Pony Jumper Team Championship with a total of four faults; Zones 8 and 9 (combined) took home the Silver with a total team score of eight faults.
In the USEF Pony Medal Final, all riders completed one round of a challenging course, which included a halt during the jump course followed by a trot fence. The riders were judged on their equitation and ability to ride the course correctly. The top 25 riders overall (small, medium and large) were then called back to compete head-to-head for the medal.
Competing for the Pony Medal Final title were 10 large, 13 medium and three small ponies. It came down to the work off to determine the Grand and Reserve Champion. There was very little time to memorize the call back test, which included a very difficult course of five out-of-order fences with maneuvers including a halt, counter canter to a fence, a hand gallop to another jump then returning to the line at a sitting trot. Adams and Millpond Celebrity, recently sold to Olivia Haslam by Sarah Barnett, pulled the whole thing off to win the championship in impressive fashion. The 9-year-old Welsh/Thoroughbred cross gelding fulfilled a special request by Adams and made the trip to Pony Finals thanks to the generosity of his new owner.
“I had confidence in him, I didn’t really have much confidence in myself,” said Adams.
“I rode him all this year, now Olivia has him— she bought him from Sarah. They sent him up here because we asked to borrow him for the medal. They were very nice people and sent him,” she said.
Elizabeth Boone of Lexington, KY, aboard 11-year-old Bridgewater took home Reserve Champion after putting in several good rounds. Bridgewater, a German Pony gelding, is also owned by Boone.
Adams was on a winning streak with the reserve champion in the Medium Green Hunter Pony Finals yesterday and a win last week at the Junior Hunter Finals.
But the pressure of the work off against a friend was a lot of pressure.
“I was dying, we [Adams and Boone] were sitting out there practically crying together. She’s a really good friend. She jumped the wrong last jump and I was thinking that she was right and I was wrong. I first walked in there and I didn’t know. I thought about it and thought about it and I got it right,” she said.
After the day’s Pony Medal Finals, the evening brought forward a fierce challenge for the team championship title. The riders were not only competing as a team but as individuals as well since this was the second of three phases for the individual championship.
With a well designed and challenging jump course designed by J.P. Godard, the top five teams were called back to jump a second round. Those teams included Zones 2, 3 and 12 (combined), 4, 8 and 8 (combined) and the United States Pony Club team.
Zone 4 hustled their way to the top to take the Gold with riders Claudia Billups, 12, aboard Salsa from Gulfport, MS; Edie Ringger, 16, from Upatoi, GA, riding Double Delight; Brittni Raflowitz, 12, of Palm City, FL on Tallyman; Leigh Hartrampf, 16, of Atlanta, GA on Spudd Webb.
The four girls have spent the last three years preparing for this win. Guided by their own coaches and under the watchful eye of show jumper Aaron Vale and Raflowitz’ father, Brett, one rail marred an other wise perfect night for the girls from the Southeastern U.S.
“It felt like a dream to win,” said Raflowitz. “I’ve been wanting this for so long. I’ve had my three teammates − this is our second year coming into it and we just wanted to win so badly. We were fourth last year. It’s gone up four ribbons every single year (they were eighth in 2005).”
Billups echoed her teammates sentiment, especially the significant improvement they have achieved over the last two Pony Finals.
“I’ve been here three years and we finally did it,” said Billups. “We moved up four places each year.”
Billups’ pony, aptly named due to her fiery nature didn’t disappoint when it really mattered despite some recent difficulties.
“Salsa was hot, she’s always hot,” said Billups. “She’s hot Salsa. I thought she’d be hotter in the second round but she was actually quieter. I’m proud of Salsa, the week before we entered Pony Finals we were stopping at every jump.”
Ringger was incredibly proud of her pony and knew that with the right ride, this kind of performance was possible.
“It’s unbelievable, it’s the best day of my life,” said Ringger. “I’m so excited. It’s a dream come true. My pony is really amazing but he can be spooky but I’m really glad that we jumped clear and that he listened to me. I wished that he would listen to me and jump clear and be the best he could and he was. He was the best he’s ever felt before.”
Hartrampf felt positive coming in to the competition and maintained her outlook as the night unfolded. Determined, she put in two really confident rounds and was rewarded, like her teammates, with a gold medal.
“It’s unreal,” said Hartrampf. “I just kept myself thinking that we had a good chance. My pony is good, he has a lot of heart.”
As far as tomorrow’s plan for the individual class, the team spoke as one, “Same thing as today!”
The Silver medal went to Zone 8 and 9 (combined) with riders Rebecca Chesne of Park City, UT, riding Gidget; Courtney Youell from Snohomish, WA, on Chance to Shine; Bryn Sadler of Lynnville, TN, riding Darcy; Elizabeth Brackett from Bainbridge Island, WA, aboard Boadicea. Zone 10 captured the Bronze with a total of 12 faults.
The 40th anniversary of the USEF Pony Finals continues its consecutive run as the most prestigious and celebrated events in the United States. Pony Finals continues Saturday, August 18 with the first two phases of the Wild Horsefeathers/USEF Pony Hunter Finals along with the Adequan/USEF Pony Jumper Individual Final and the conclusion of the Pony Hunter Finals on Sunday.
For more information about Pony Finals, please contact Marion Maybank, USEF’s Director of Hunter and Collegiate Activities at (859) 225-2033 or via email at email@example.com.