Lexington, Ky.—Aug. 10
Most kids only see their pony on the days someone is able to drive them out to the barn—not Ashley Lamers. When she wants to ride her pony, In A Dream, she walks out her back door. Her family keeps their six horses and ponies at home in Caledonia, Wisc., and 9-year-old Lamers piloted In A Dream to the small regular pony hunter championship at USEF Pony Finals on Thursday.
Lamers came into the over-fences class sitting in 17th place, with a long way to rise to take over the lead. But Lamers over fences performance was commanding. She’s only been paired up with “Shadow” for the past two months, but it’s clearly a well made match.
“Her personality makes her special; she’s very sweet to you,” Lamers said. “She never wants to hurt you, and she loves giving people kisses.”
Shadow demonstrated her lovability while waiting to go in the ring for the awards ceremony, posing for pictures and cuddling with Lamers’ little brother, who also rides.
This year marks Lamers’ second competing in the USEF Pony Finals championship and this was her first championship finish.
“I was nervous, but I took a lot of deep breaths,” Lamers said of her winning strategy. Lamers did her entire interview after her win from Shadow’s back, smiling shyly at the commotion around her champion pony.
Lamers trains once a week with Illinois-based professional Diane McClure, and she credits her win to the relationship she was able to quickly forge with her pony thanks to Shadow living just a hop, skip jump from her back door.
“You always are with them, mostly, and you help take care of them and have a special bond,” Lamers said.
Check back with The Chronicle later in the week for more from USEF Pony Finals!