Maddie Darst found the perfect way to follow up her small pony title at USEF Pony Finals: another championship.
Darst, 13, rode Elizabeth’s Wenner's Highland’s Make Believe to the top of the medium pony division today, after topping the medium pony over fences class. The reserve rosette went to Isabelle Caccamise and Better Than Good.
Maddie Darst and Elation finished out the day at USEF Pony Finals the way they started it: at the head of the small pony division.
Betsee Parker’s gray clinched victory with a winning over fences trip when the pressure was on. Last to go, Darst kept her cool to win the small pony championship over Lands End Eros, ridden by Pony Finals first-timer Isabel Ryan.
“I was really, really nervous!” said Darst, 13. “I’m not sure why—I never really get nervous.”
Last year’s trip to the USEF Pony Finals (Ky.) felt bittersweet to Parker Wright. He piloted Sir Dragon to fourth place in the small green pony division, then watched as his mount—whom he’d trained from the ground up—went home on someone else’s trailer after the American Hunter Pony Classic Auction.
But his partnership with the Welsh will come full circle at this year’s competition, as his owner, Hailey Livingston, has asked Wright to take over the reins for the weekend.
Scott Stewart proved his own toughest competition today, July 11, in Lake Placid, N.Y., riding Declaration and Summer Place to a one-two finish in the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby held during I Love New York. Lolita and Linda Langmeier came close to challenging Stewart for the title, showing off tight turns in the handy round to step up to third place.
Margie Engle earned her seventh career Lake Placid grand prix victory in New York today, July 10, in the $75,000 Le Grand Prix Hermes CSI** aboard her newest grand prix star, Indigo. Kate Levy came closest to catching Engle aboard Lirving de Volsin, with Engle’s second mount, Hidden Creek’s Campella, coming in third.
Jen Alfano finished out her trip to Devon, Pa., in perfect style: by riding her long-time partner Jersey Boy to the top of the $25,000 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby title.
Alfano scored the highest raw score of the day aboard the SBS Farms entry, (93.5) to edge out Maggie Jayne on Devon’s leading mare Francesca. Alfano’s former ride, Rock Star, (Louise Serio) earned third and scored the highest handy round of the day.
Peter Leone found the perfect way to describe his newest star.
“I call him the Geico horse, because he’s so easy a caveman can do it,” he said. “He’s like an equitation horse who jumps a 1.60-course. He’s just incredible to ride.”
That horse, Select, lived up to Leone’s praise today, June 3, when he topped the $100,000 Grand Prix of Devon. Select edged out Hidden Creek’s Campella, ridden by Margie Engle, and German Andre Thieme aboard Antares F.