Champions Crowned at 2012 US National Hunter Pony Championship

by Kendall Bierer for PMG

The fences were set as the second day of the Green Pony Hunter divisions entered the ring to showcase their talent over fences. The 2012 US National Hunter Pony Championships presented by Sallee Horse Vans, continued today at the Kentucky Horse Park, seeing ponies and riders navigate the nine-obstacle course with the hopes of taking the top honors over fences, as well as the prestigious championship and reserve championship titles.

Aleece Jarman and Valentino (Kendall Bierer/PMG)

As the day came to a close, it was Aleece Jarman and Valentino who claimed the Green Pony Hunter Grand Championship title after winning the Large Green Pony Hunter Over Fences, and the Large Green Pony Hunter Championship.

The first to dare Bobby Murphy’s course was the Small Green Pony Hunters. Parker Wright and Benjamin Buttons, owned by Emmalee Virginia, entered the third phase of the competition with the highest overall score, and combined with their excellent round over fences, they climbed to the top of the leaderboard. The pair was awarded the scores of 83.50, 85.50, and 83.50 for a total of 252.50 points. Combined with their first day scores, Wright earned a total 1009.50 points to take the blue ribbon in the over-fences phase, as well as the Small Green Pony Hunter Championship.

This was Wright’s fourth time showing a small green pony at the US National Hunter Pony Championships, and his last time winning the championship was in 2010. “I thought originally that I was only showing in the Medium Pony Hunters, but Charlie Moorcroft told me that he had a small green for me to show, and next thing I know I was riding him and preparing to show here—that was only two days ago!” Wright exclaimed.

Wright continued, “I think he is a really nice pony, he is very easy, and I guess in a way I just assist. He only needed some leg and guidance from me, and it is great to know that Charlie trusts me so much. As soon as I got on this pony, I knew he was a winner. Not everybody gets a chance to take championship, and I am so happy to have had the opportunity for a second time.”

Daisy Farish and Helicon Penny Lane, owned by Linda Langmeier, were awarded the second place ribbon in the over fences after earning scores of 80.5, 85 and 85. Farish also snatched up the Small Green Pony Hunter Reserve Championship for her overall total of 1001.50 points. It was Lindsey Ayres and In a Dream that were awarded the third place award in the over fences this morning, riding to scores of 83, 84 and 83.

The Medium Green Pony Hunters were next, and it was Frosted’s stellar performance over fences that helped him win the third place with Madeline Schaefer in the irons, and eventually the Medium Green Pony Hunter Championship. They earned scores of 86, 84.25 and 83.85. Schaefer was also presented with the High Scoring Rider/Owner Award aboard the 9-year-old grey gelding.

“This is my first year winning champion, I haven’t had the best luck here in other years,” Schaefer laughed. “I liked the course today, it was definitely different, the last jump was a vertical, but the course was easy to ride. My pony was so good over the course.”

Schaefer continued, “We have been working with each other for a long time, and he is the sweetest pony. He will pretty much do anything you ask of him—if you ask him to leave long and he can’t, he sure will show you that he is going to try. I couldn’t ask for a better pony.”

Although Schaefer took the Overall Medium Green Pony Hunter Championship, it was Carly Hoft and Wonderwall, owned by Megan Kelly D’Amico, who truly shined in the over fences portion of the championship finals. Hoft navigated Wonderwall to scores of 83, 85 and 87 for the high score of 255 points.

“She is really a fun pony, you put her on cruise control, and just let her go,” Hoft explained. “I was a little nervous going into this phase because I didn’t know how scary it was going to be, but she is a great pony, and she really took care of me. This has been such a great experience for me, and I am so happy to have competed with Wonderwall, she was great out there.”

The Overall Medium Green Pony Hunter Reserve Championship went to Wright and Anisette, owned by Lionshare Farm, who were ranked fifteenth going into the final phase, and placed second over fences. The duo was awarded the high placing scores of 83.50, 87, and 84 points, just narrowly missing the blue with a score of 254.50, and just shy of the Overall Medium Green Pony Championship by 21 points.

In the Large Green Pony Hunter division, Aleece Jarman, yesterday’s leader, stepped up to win the Overall Large Green Pony Hunter Championship aboard Valentino after placing first in the over fences with scores of 83.5, 85 and 84.45.  Jarman also took the prestigious Grand Green Pony Hunter Championship with 1030.09 points, with Schaefer taking the reserve championship with Frosted for their overall score.

“This feels amazing, words can’t describe it,” Jarman described after accepting the Grand Green Pony Hunter Championship. “I especially didn’t think that this would happen with Valentino since he is so green.”

Jarman continued, “I think me containing my nerves and not letting me get the best of this time really helped to give us a little extra edge. This was my first year showing him here, and since he was green he was a little wiggly, so I had to keep him straight and guide him into his lead changes and smoothly around the course. I hope that our success continues into Indoors, and I will definitely be back with him again next year.”

The Large Green Pony Hunter Reserve Championship went to Daisy Farish and her talented EMC Fairy Tale, owned by EMC International. The duo received scores of 87, 84 and 81.65 to earn the class’ blue ribbon prize. Lekha Ramachandran and Feature Presentation took home the third place honors after earning scores of 83, 86 and 83.

The next presentation was for the Welsh High Score Green Pony, and the winning prize was awarded to Lindsey Ayres with In a Dream. Taking home the reserve title was Farish and Helicon Penny Lane.

The last event of the day was the Medium Pony Hunter Under Saddle where Madeline Schaefer once again rode to the blue ribbon, but this time aboard Swingtown. Picking up the second place honors was Trillville with Lili Hymowitz in the saddle. Madison Goetzmann and Rock the Boat took the third place finish.

The 2012 US Pony Finals and the US Hunter Pony Championships presented by Sallee Horse Vans, will continue tomorrow with the Medium Pony Hunters third phase, the over fences. The Small Pony Hunter Model and Under Saddle will also take place tomorrow in the Walnut Ring. Today will also see the second phase of the National Pony Jumper Championships, the team competition, in the Alltech Arena at the renowned Kentucky Horse Park.

For more information about the 2012 US Pony Finals, please visit