Ponies Pack the Park on Opening Day of the 2009 USEF Pony Finals
RELEASE: August 5, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Brian Sosby
Pony rider Emma Cullen and green medium pony, Silver Slippers, at the 2009 USEF Pony Finals. (USEF Archive/Randi Muster)
Lexington, KY—It was a day many young riders have been waiting to come for months, and it was well worth the wait judging by their excited faces. The 2009 United States Equestrian Federation Pony Finals National Championships welcomed this year’s roster of ponies and their energetic riders who made the grade and were invited to participate in what is certainly the show calendar’s most anticipated event. To receive such an invitation is the highlight of the season for any pony enthusiast, and the opportunity to show at the Kentucky Horse Park is a prized reward in itself.
More than 500 ponies have come from across the country to take part in the five-day series of challenging championship classes. By the end of the event, there will be newly-crowned hunter and jumper winners. In the hunter division, the USEF Green Hunter Pony and USEF Regular Pony Hunter titles will be decided. These competitions encompass a three-phase competition where the ponies are scored on conformation, way of moving under saddle and jumping ability. The young riders are subject to scoring based on equitation and skill at piloting their pony over fences. Winners are declared in all three divisions: small, medium and large pony.
The jumpers then have their spotlight over a two-day period where both Team and Individual honors are up for grabs. The ultimate pony prize—the Equisport Insurance/USEF Pony Medal Championship—will be determined on Sunday as the pony hunters return to the ring for last round. The top 25 riders qualifying after the morning round will face-off in an exciting last chance at claiming their victory.
“As one of the biggest and most popular USEF championships, Pony Finals consistently draws some of the best ponies in the country,” said Marion Maybank, USEF’s Director of Hunter Disciplines. “The show itself is a crowning moment for all the young riders who qualified. In addition to competing in a national championship, the kids can enjoy themselves in an atmosphere that is unlike most shows by offering fun activities for them to enjoy outside of the show ring.”
Wednesday also saw the Welcome Dinner that had to be moved from its original Tuesday evening timeslot. Severe storms ravaged the area prior to the planned event and made for quite a mess to be cleaned up. But, there was no major damage to the facilities and the dinner went off with the hundreds of riders, parents and coaches who turned out for the annual celebration. Also on the schedule was the annual pony auction that took place in the park’s covered arena produced by American Hunter Pony Classic in conjunction with Professional Auction Services, Inc. This is always a great opportunity for those with a pony for sale to connect with potential owners.
For more information about the USEF Pony Finals, please contact Marion Maybank, USEF’s Director of Hunter Disciplines at (859) 225-2033 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the USEF Pony Finals, visit www.clubequestrian.com/coverage/pony_finals_2009.aspx.