It’s not easy being the last pony on course at the USEF Pony Finals. That rider has to wait around at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington all day, reevaluating her plan for the toughest pony hunter course of the season.
But the extra pressure didn’t stop Victoria Colvin from earning the highest scores of the week—a pair of 90s and a 93—aboard For The Laughter to claim the large pony hunter and grand pony hunter titles today, Aug. 8.
“We brought the pony here last year as a green pony and he won the model and the hack, and he got a little green over fences,” said Colvin. “But this year was much, much better! When he was a baby he got his teeth stuck in a flowerpot, which really spooked him. He’s better now, but he still can get scared of flowers and ribbons and things. But he was perfect here.”
Scott Stewart imported “Bubbles” (Brilliant—Mon Cheri) off a sales tape as a 2½-year-old, when the Welsh cross was still a stallion. After the quirky bay spent his formative years in a field with his other top ponies All The Best and Follow The Laughter, Stewart broke the pony himself before handing the reins over to Colvin a year and a half ago to show.
Stewart bid goodbye to the talented pony that he trained from the ground up when Dr. Betsee Parker bought the 8-year-old yesterday. After catching Parker's eye at Devon this year with his quirky personality and outstanding talent, Bubbles has found a home at her stable of top show ponies, which includes Liseter Clever Star, two-time Pony Finals champion Vanity Fair, Elation and Landmark Bread and Butter.
Although the ownership papers will change and the pony will move to Parker’s Middleburg, Va., farm, Colvin will continue to campaign the pony.
The 11-year-old is no stranger to the USEF Pony Finals winners circle. She captured two green pony titles two years ago. “I definitely look forward to it,” she said of the show. “I’m starting to get too big for the small ponies and I ride some junior hunters now. It’s great to win at this big show.”
Colvin trains with her mother, Brigid Colvin, at her home in Loxahatchee, Fla., when she’s not at shows with Stewart.
While Colvin is the only rider to ever show her champion mount, this year’s top medium pony, Halo, only partnered with rider Porter Allen for a few months.
“He’s really fun, kind of lazy sometimes, but he has a huge stride and he’s a blast to ride,” said Allen who leases the pony from Ashley Kennedy Whitner. “I feel very lucky to get to ride him.”
Allen lay fourth after yesterday’s model and under saddle, and spent most of the day watching other riders contest the tricky over fences class that started with a broken line to an option fence, and continued in a similar vein in the well-decorated Walnut Ring.
“I’d originally come up with a plan with [trainer] Bill [Schaub] about which fence to do in the first line, and how many strides to do it,” said Allen, Boerne, Texas. “But when we got to the in gate we watched the pony ahead of us go [who Bill knew] and he said, you can do nine there instead of 10.”
That last minute change didn’t throw off the 14-year-old rider. She earned her highest score to date—a 90—and the blue over fences to capture the championship and the reserve grand title.
Shulman Sails To Victory
All eyes were on Sydney Shulman as she entered the ring tonight, last to go in the jump-off for the USEF National Pony Jumper Individual Championship. The rising ninth-grader from Greenwich, Conn., rides best under pressure, and rose to the occasion to put in her fifth clear round of the week with Set Sail to claim the gold medal.
Shulman’s clear, steady round bumped the fastest 4-faulter, Carly Attanasio, to the silver medal position. Attanasio and Rascal represented the United States Pony Clubs in the team competition, and recovered well from a jarring start to their first round of the day after Rascal stopped at the first fence then cleared the jump from a standstill. Bella Cramer and Good Fortune took bronze with 4 faults.
This was Schulman’s first jumper victory at Pony Finals. She rides with her mother Jill at their Back Country Farm, and also gets help from Frank Madden at shows.
“We have 18 horses and ponies at home, and I get up early before school to feed them,” she said. “I try to ride five or six a day after school.”
Shulman has ridden Set Sail for four years, taking him patiently from the level 0 jumpers to the pony jumpers. The 9-year-old jack-of-all-trades also qualified for Pony Finals in the large pony hunter division, and will be Shulman’s mount for the equitation tomorrow.
“He’s really good at adjusting,” she said. “He’s just such a good boy. He used to just jump clear, but now he’s very fast and competitive.”
As his primary trainer and caretaker, Jill takes no credit for the pony’s versatility.
“He’s just such a good boy,” she said fondly. “Whatever bridle you put on him, he knows what to do in the ring.”
Pony hunters and jumpers who don’t do double duty as equitation mounts or aren’t getting tried by new riders during the busiest pony sale weekend of the year will head back home. But most young riders will stay on to contest tomorrow’s USEF Pony Medal Final. Mediums start out the class at 7 a.m., followed by larges then small ponies expected to contest the course by early afternoon.
Large pony hunter overall
1. For The Laughter/Dr. Betsee Parker/Victoria Colvin/1089
2. Braveheart/Phoebe Robinson/Allison Toffolon/1032
3. Sunlight/Alex Paradysz/Shawn Casady/1017
4. Midnight Hour/Porter Allen/Porter Allen/1017
5. Sportspage/Elizabeth Butterworth/Elizabeth Butterworth/1016
6. Land’s End Mat Hatter/Alise Oken/Lucille Oken/1000
7. Tristan’s Blind Faith/Alex Meyerowitz/Kendell Adelberger/994
8. Cherrybrook Blue Suede Shoes/Paulexi LLC/Caroline Cline/992
9. Keep Dreamin’/Katie Dinan LLC/Rachel Blackman/981
10. Smoke Screen/Will Kennedy/Ashley Foster/964.5
Medium pony hunter overall
1. Halo/Ashley Kennedy Whitner/Porter Allen/1039
2. Sportster/Mark Goetzmann/Madison Goetzmann/1027
3. Royal T/Amber Hill Farm/Emma Mandarino/1023.5
4. Rockport/Hannah Holik/Elizabeth Butterworth/1021
5. Heart’s Desire/Stone Ridge/Allison Toffolon/1018
6. Elite Movida/Kaitlyn Alsup/Morgane Quails/1017.5
7. Promise Too/Scott Stewart/Victoria Colvin/1013
8. Luv U Too/Nolan Wein/Nolan Wein/1007
9. Brighton Undeniably/Holly Hill Farm/Ashley Foster/998
10. Grand All Over/Burlingame LLC/Tara Spencer/991
Large pony hunter over fences
1. For The Laughter/Dr. Betsee Parker/Victoria Colvin/273
2. Braveheart/Phoebe Robinson/Allison Toffolon/268
3. Sunlight/Alex Paradysz/Shawn Casady/265
4. Land’s End Mad Hatter/Alise Oken/Lucille Oken/259
5. Midnight Hour/Porter Allen/Porter Allen/257
6. Keep Dreamin’/Katie Dinan LLC/Rachel Blackman/257
7. Sportspage/Elizabeth Butterworth/Elizabeth Butterworth/254.5
8. Oakwood’s Beyond Glory/Don Stewart/Megan McDermott/250
9. Tristan’s Blind Faith/Alex Meyerowitz./Kendell Adelberger/247
10. Cherrybrook Blue Suede Shoes/Paulexi LLC/Caroline Cline/244.5
Medium pony hunter over fences
1. Halo/Ashley Kennedy Whitner/Porter Allen/265.5
2. Sportster/Mark Goetzmann/Madison Goetzmann/264
3. Promise Too/Scott Stewart/Victoria Colvin/260.5
4. Rockport/Hannah Holik/Elizabeth Butterworth/260
5. Elite Movida/Kaitlyn Alsup/Morgane Quails/257.75
6. Heart’s Desire/Stone Ridge/Allison Toffolon/256.8
7. Royal T/Amber Hill Farm/Emma Mandarino/256.25
8. Luv U Too/Nolan Wein/Nolan Wein/255
9. Brighton Undeniably/Holly Hill Farm/Ashley Foster/254
10. Grand All Over/Burlingame LLC/Tara Spencer/252.5