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View Full Version : In the grand scheme of things how important is pony finals??



findlymine
Aug. 4, 2009, 01:03 AM
Just what the title says. If your not there for the auction. Or too take your pony to get sold in the warm up ring. I just don't see the importance of it. I mean there is roughly 100 horses in each division so even if you have the trip of your life you may not get anything. The horse that won the green large of the whole country last year did not place very well at pony finals. I love the ponies and love to see them prick there ears and just carry a kid around a course. But, to me it seems like a waste of time to take a pony there and compete when the I could go to another horse show that weekend and get more points towards the real goal the national rankings at the end of the year. Do you think that pony finals is over rated or do you think it plays a part in the success of certain ponies??

LovesHorses
Aug. 4, 2009, 01:40 AM
I think it is great as you get head-to-head competition among the best ponies out there. Anyone can go to a ton of smaller shows and rack up national USEF points and win without ever competing against the "big guns".

bluetiger
Aug. 4, 2009, 01:40 AM
Pony finals is just a cool experience. There is a sense of accomplishment for these kids to feel like they've earned the right to be here. They work hard during this week and the obviously the weeks leading up to it. At pony finals, trainers or other adults cannot sit on the ponies and do all the leg work so kid can get on and perch for their round like many do at regular shows. The courses are challenging and offer options for young riders to really use their skills wisely. Ponies that are great but take more prep at the shows may not do that well but there are also alot of nerves involved when you only get one shot in the ring to make a good impression. It is really about the kids and their ability to prepare themselves mentally and physically as well as their ponies. National rankings are great but just as you described they are a mere reflection of the number of shows you traveled to for easier points. For a kid to say she won at pony finals is to say she beat every pony in the nation that competed at least once in their division and even your USEF horse of the years can't always say that. So, yes I think it does play a role in the success of certain ponies and riders.

VirginiaBred
Aug. 4, 2009, 08:08 AM
In the Grand Scheme of things, it's not "that" important unless you are selling a pony, then it's up there. If you can win at that level it's impressive. Many of the winners are ridden by the pro rider child, and that tips the scale.........

Midge
Aug. 4, 2009, 08:30 AM
I think Pony Finals overweights the model and hack. I'd rather buy the winner at Harrisburg, than the winner at Pony Finals.

supershorty628
Aug. 4, 2009, 08:45 AM
Midge, I'm just curious, how do you think the model and hack should be weighted? They're already only 25% each, whereas the over fences is 50... a lot of ponies get overall ribbons without good (or any) placings in the model and hack.
I too would rather buy the winner at Harrisburg or Washington than Pony Finals, I'm just wondering how you would change the system at PF.

gasrgoose
Aug. 4, 2009, 09:15 AM
But, to me it seems like a waste of time to take a pony there and compete when the I could go to another horse show that weekend and get more points towards the real goal the national rankings at the end of the year.

Your premise might be accurate for you, but not all kids are concerned with their national ranking. For some kids their goal is just to qualify for pony finals and then participate in the big show. Pony Finals requires qualifying, but it is much easier than Devon or the indoor shows. So for many kids this is their highest goal and in their Grand scheme of things it is the most important show of the year. And maybe the most fun!!

Vandy
Aug. 4, 2009, 10:00 AM
Your premise might be accurate for you, but not all kids are concerned with their national ranking.
Agreed. Theoretically, you can qualify for pony finals by going to one show. A lot of kids don't have the option of chasing points. It goes to follow that a lot of nice ponies who aren't campaigned heavily all year will be qualified for Pony Finals but not Indoors. And some people forget that a large percentage of the ponies at Indoors are from the Eastern part of the country - for the kids in my area, who do 3 or 4 A shows per year, pony finals is a much more realistic goal. And logistically, the trip is much easier.

As a pony shopper or pony seller, while I might rather have the Harrisburg Champion than the Pony Finals Champion, most of us do not own/are not in the market to buy either. At PF, there is more of a range of options for buyers as well as sellers.

Not to mention, at PF, the focus is obviously on the ponies, which makes it very special for the kids, as well as more targeted for someone looking to buy or sell.

Giddy-up
Aug. 4, 2009, 10:18 AM
For some people, just going to PF is their goal. They can't afford to point chase so qualifying for Devon or Indoors is not a reality for them. PF is a great overall fun experience for the pony riders. I went once & my family still recalls the good time we had going to KHP.

Midge
Aug. 4, 2009, 10:19 AM
Midge, I'm just curious, how do you think the model and hack should be weighted? They're already only 25% each, whereas the over fences is 50... a lot of ponies get overall ribbons without good (or any) placings in the model and hack.
I too would rather buy the winner at Harrisburg or Washington than Pony Finals, I'm just wondering how you would change the system at PF.

Honestly, I think it's fine the way it is. It's something different than trying to qualify for Indoors, which is always brutally hard for the ponies, and gives a special place for the pony kids to have fun with each other. I personally will always prefer a mount with a great jump and if it comes with some jewelry or a bit of knee action, I am fine with that.

wesierobb
Aug. 4, 2009, 10:32 AM
Pony Finals IS the goal for the majority of kids there. It is their Devon, Harrisburg, National Horse Show, World Games, Olympics..........it is their DREAM............and for them it is LIVING THE DREAM. Like Ocala, IT HAS ITS PLACE.

You can take your $6k pony and ride in THE BIG CLASS with the zillion dollar pony, and say YOU WERE THERE. That is as close as many of these kids and ponies will ever get. And, IT IS FUN!!!!

WorthTheWait95
Aug. 4, 2009, 10:39 AM
Pony Finals IS the goal for the majority of kids there. It is their Devon, Harrisburg, National Horse Show, World Games, Olympics..........it is their DREAM............and for them it is LIVING THE DREAM. Like Ocala, IT HAS ITS PLACE.

You can take your $6k pony and ride in THE BIG CLASS with the zillion dollar pony, and say YOU WERE THERE. That is as close as many of these kids and ponies will ever get. And, IT IS FUN!!!!

Exactly. I did pony finals two or three times when I was a kid and looked forward to it every year. It was a horse show JUST for kids and ALL of my friends were there. What's not to love?

It was the whole experience though not just the showing. It was getting to hang out with friends alone in a hotel room (at 6 that's a BIG deal even if the parents are in the adjoining room with the door cracked :lol:), getting to trail ride our ponies on the xcountry course and watching all the classes together.

It was just like horse shows are for me now that I'm an adult but as a young child it was a very unique experience! Plus it didn't cost a fortune to get there like indoors.

M. Owen
Aug. 4, 2009, 10:42 AM
I agree with other posters. Looking at ponies as a business, pony finals may not be terribly important, but I think it is really fun for the children. Like others have said, just being there is the goal for some. There is a child in my barn who really wants to qualify her pony for pony finals in the next year or two. She has a cute pony that they bought as a 4 yr old that will likely bring the child from short stirrup to the pony hunters (assuming nothing goes wrong, knock on wood).

They are a family of modest means that just got lucky finding the diamond in the rough. For them, just getting to pony finals will be enough, and any ribbons would be major icing on the cake. They've got a very nice pony and a talented little rider, but not the means to compete enough or at big enough shows to get a year end award. Pony finals will give them the chance to be in the same ring as the "big shots."

cantercutie
Aug. 4, 2009, 10:43 AM
I went to pony finals not too long ago with a pony that moved like a washing machine and had a jug head. However, he was a saint and a darn good jumper. I went FIRST in the jumping round and laid it down, a touch tight out of the last combination but golden otherwise. However, the judges had preconceived notions from not liking us the day before and there was the fact that we went first so they had nothing to base it off of so we got 79s. I had a great time and thought it was a lot of fun but I agree that it should be weighted differently.

These kids qualify by getting champion at a regular horse show with four jumping classes and one hack. That's a ratio of 4:1 jumping:hack not 2:1 like at pony finals. Shows occasionally have models but, again, those don't count as 1/4 of the division.

Now that ponies have handy rounds I would like to see a handy round in addition to the classic. The handy round could be 30%, classic round 40%, hack 20%, model 10%.

Melzy
Aug. 4, 2009, 11:41 AM
For the majority of the kids, the Pony Finals are HUGE in their eyes. It's a unique FINAL just for them. The experiences and fun are never forgotten. I went to the very first one at Commomwealth Park in Culpeper. I had a blast and still remember it and I was a spectator! The focus is on the children and their ponies. Everyone feels special! Plus it makes a great family vacation.

Feride
Aug. 4, 2009, 11:45 AM
Pony finals is a great experience for kids. My daughter did it few times before she was succesful. It is great experience but you do need a good pony that can hack, move and jump well to win. Other than that it true what other posters have said. For some kids they only need to be champion at a small show and it is their only way to compete at such big ring, with such pomp. It is all about the kids.

gasrgoose
Aug. 4, 2009, 11:51 AM
Based on the responses I would say pony finals is HUGE in the Grand Scheme of the Pony H/J world. The pursuit of and participation in pony finals by the large number of kids probably generates more pony business than any other show through out the year.

Indy
Aug. 4, 2009, 12:32 PM
Like others have said, PF is important because it's an attainble goal. For most kids out there, indoors and Devon are just dreams. Even a winter in Florida is a dream. But qualifiying for PF is something that they actually can achieve. Sure, it might be through winning a champion at a small A show someplace where the competition was nothing, but they still get to go and play with the big boys for the weekend. Most of those kids know they're not getting ribbons, they're going to try their best and enjoy the experience. Just going to PF is what they strive for, doing well there is icing.

Sure, a pony who has qualified for and won at indoors or has a national title to it's name is likely to be more valuable & marketable than a pony who won at PF, but it's nothing to sneeze at. To be able to go out there, lay down one perfect trip when it counts and you don't have any other trips to improve upon things, and beat a good hundred other ponies in your division is still pretty impressive.

findeight
Aug. 4, 2009, 01:36 PM
It is, after all, just one horse show. One where you only get one trip around a tough and technical course that counts double what you get for your model and hack efforts.

They do award ribbons in all 3 of those, plus the combined. They do have all kinds of special, kid and family oriented activities. They do not allow anyone except a child to ride or school on the grounds all week. They set the qualifications so a large number of kids can qualify so it is much more inclusive then a 40 week HOTY and zone point chasing schedual. Plus the kids can see what they can do against the big guns. Alot of pressure with just one round that needs to be mid 80s to pin, some tears but a great experience for most of them.

Far as the importance overall versus HOTY? Well, any major single show championship may translate to more then hauling more miles to more shows in the great scheme of things and placing valuation on a Pony, not to mention quality of those beaten in attaining that championship.

Yeah, just one horse show. So's the Olympics. So's Medal Finals.

superpony123
Aug. 4, 2009, 06:18 PM
Well, OP, you sound like someone who *only* cares about getting ribbos and points. I'd rather go to PF and not get any ribbons than get champions non-stop at small any-day shows. Yeah, obviously 100 ponies in each height section won't be getting ribbons. It's tough competition. The average ponies will not win. It's all about the experience. Tough courses, tough competition, and a fun time. Sure, it feels nice to show at an A show, but at pony finals, it's all about the kids and the ponies. You feel special to be there.

What's more important, is that it's an attainable goal (okay, no, your avg. backyard pony is likely not going to be nice enough to qualify. even my pony, who is fairly nice and does very well at A and AA shows isn't quite at that point yet. Maybe if i stuck lillie keenan on him or someone equally as talented and as experienced, but not with me :)

But half the kids at PF will not qualify for devon or indoors--that requires the best of the best, the owners/riders wiht the $$ to spend on the best shows as often as possible.

If you're talking about points, then no, PF will not bear many national points. But, the experience is what's important about PF.

Still, i think your overall question, OP, is a bit presumptuous. It's kind of like saying "what's the big deal about medal finals anyway?"

findlymine
Aug. 6, 2009, 02:30 PM
Well, OP, you sound like someone who *only* cares about getting ribbos and points. I'd rather go to PF and not get any ribbons than get champions non-stop at small any-day shows. Yeah, obviously 100 ponies in each height section won't be getting ribbons. It's tough competition. The average ponies will not win. It's all about the experience. Tough courses, tough competition, and a fun time. Sure, it feels nice to show at an A show, but at pony finals, it's all about the kids and the ponies. You feel special to be there.

What's more important, is that it's an attainable goal (okay, no, your avg. backyard pony is likely not going to be nice enough to qualify. even my pony, who is fairly nice and does very well at A and AA shows isn't quite at that point yet. Maybe if i stuck lillie keenan on him or someone equally as talented and as experienced, but not with me :)

But half the kids at PF will not qualify for devon or indoors--that requires the best of the best, the owners/riders wiht the $$ to spend on the best shows as often as possible.

If you're talking about points, then no, PF will not bear many national points. But, the experience is what's important about PF.

Still, i think your overall question, OP, is a bit presumptuous. It's kind of like saying "what's the big deal about medal finals anyway?"

Excuse me?? I don't care about getting ribbons and points. In fact far from it!!!!! All I asked was in the grand scheme of things how important is pf!!! Medal finals are a lot harder than pf to qualify for b/c you have to be consistant weekend and week out to qualify not just win a champion ribbon with 5 horses in a class.

2bayboys
Aug. 6, 2009, 03:31 PM
Just what the title says. If your not there for the auction. Or too take your pony to get sold in the warm up ring. I just don't see the importance of it. I mean there is roughly 100 horses in each division so even if you have the trip of your life you may not get anything. The horse that won the green large of the whole country last year did not place very well at pony finals. I love the ponies and love to see them prick there ears and just carry a kid around a course. But, to me it seems like a waste of time to take a pony there and compete when the I could go to another horse show that weekend and get more points towards the real goal the national rankings at the end of the year. Do you think that pony finals is over rated or do you think it plays a part in the success of certain ponies??


OP, I assume you're young but you still can't have it both ways. You can't say that you don't care about points AND say (above) "I could go to another horse show that weekend and get more points towards the real goal the national rankings at the end of the year."

It may not be important to you but it's very important to some participants. And in the grand scheme of things (global warming, world peace, hunger), Pony Finals matters not at all.

bascher
Aug. 6, 2009, 04:38 PM
As many people have said already, the goals of many children out there don't include a national ranking. For them, it might simply be impossible due to funds, quality of pony, etc. Instead, their goal is to make it to Pony Finals so for many kids it's their indoors, it's their Devon.

Kinsella
Aug. 6, 2009, 06:43 PM
As someone that was standing at the gate when a child who placed 49th in the model, 30th under saddle and was standing 37th at the end of day 1 came out of the ring after laying down a damn near perfect trip and ended up 4th over fences and 6th overall, I'd say to her Pony Finals was the best thing ever. I wish I'd had my camera as she was so hysterically happy, it reminded me what we are supposed to be doing this for. Congratulations to Sydney Johnson and her absolutely adorable paint pony Double Whammy!

hellerkm
Aug. 6, 2009, 06:50 PM
As someone that was standing at the gate when a child who placed 49th in the model, 30th under saddle and was standing 37th at the end of day 1 came out of the ring after laying down a damn near perfect trip and ended up 4th over fences and 6th overall, I'd say to her Pony Finals was the best thing ever. I wish I'd had my camera as she was so hysterically happy, it reminded me what we are supposed to be doing this for. Congratulations to Sydney Johnson and her absolutely adorable paint pony Double Whammy!


THAT SUMS IT ALL UP!!! CONGRATS! so sorry I am missing all the fun. :(

Windswept Stable
Aug. 6, 2009, 07:47 PM
As someone that was standing at the gate when a child who placed 49th in the model, 30th under saddle and was standing 37th at the end of day 1 came out of the ring after laying down a damn near perfect trip and ended up 4th over fences and 6th overall, I'd say to her Pony Finals was the best thing ever. I wish I'd had my camera as she was so hysterically happy, it reminded me what we are supposed to be doing this for. Congratulations to Sydney Johnson and her absolutely adorable paint pony Double Whammy!

That is wonderful!!! Congrats to her!