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May 26, 2014

Cricket Hops To A Win

The WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase at Devon started under the famous sign in the Dixon Oval—they made two laps of the ring over five fences each lap, then finished in a dash up the center of the ring.

And they're off! A blur of brightly colored silks. Jockeying for position around the turns. The crowd cheering their heads off. A Triple Crown race? No!

The Dixon Oval played host to some pony competition of a different kind when U.S. Pony Racing brought 15 ponies and riders to the Devon Horse Show for a stop on the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series. The wildly successful exhibition made a splash at the Washington International Horse Show (D.C.) last fall, and now the ponies took the Dixon Oval at Devon by storm. 

The young riders (under the age of 16) filled the cards for two races—Hurdle Division I and Hurdle Division II. 

The first race went off without a hitch, with Colin Smith biding his time near the front for a lap then drawing ahead and claiming the win with a furiously ridden finish aboard Olney Smarty Pants, a 9-year-old Paint mare (Mini Me—Olney Whoopee).

The second race had a bit more drama, as Leo The Magnificent cut a turn in the first lap and ran diagonally across the ring with Claire Wheeler clinging on. Wheeler lost her grip in the first turn of the second lap, and Leo The Magnificent caused some traffic as he continued to run with the pack as a loose pony. 

Phineas Westerlund also came off Sail The Sun during the race, but both he and Wheeler were up on their feet and without injury. 

Cricket, an aged silver dappled gelding, emerged from the mayhem with Delaney O'Neil aboard and came out the winner. 

Watch the second race...

The next stop on the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series is the Washington International Horse Show in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 23 and Oct. 25 evenings. 

 
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