Sunday, Jun. 2, 2024

Bit Of Laughter Is Best with Augusta Iwasaki

Lexington, Ky.—Aug. 6

No one could beat Augusta Iwasaki and Bit Of Laughter in the regular small pony division—the 11-year-old rider topped a field of 118 small ponies to take the championship honors.  

And nothing could distract her from discussing her win after the awards ceremony—the rain was coming down in buckets at the Kentucky Horse Park, but Iwasaki was not fazed. A question that usually elicits a humdrum two-word response was carefully studied before Iwasaki returned an answer.

PUBLISHED
WORDS BY

ADVERTISEMENT

Lexington, Ky.—Aug. 6

No one could beat Augusta Iwasaki and Bit Of Laughter in the regular small pony division—the 11-year-old rider topped a field of 118 small ponies to take the championship honors.  

And nothing could distract her from discussing her win after the awards ceremony—the rain was coming down in buckets at the Kentucky Horse Park, but Iwasaki was not fazed. A question that usually elicits a humdrum two-word response was carefully studied before Iwasaki returned an answer.

“One second,” Iwasaki said after being asked what makes her pony so special. She put her index finger to her pursed lips and stared off at the warm up ring, oblivious to the rain soaking her shadbelly and helmet. For about ten seconds, there’s nothing but the sound of rain hitting tent tops around the park.

“He always tries his hardest, and he’s not spooky, and he likes being at the horse show much more than he likes being at home,” Iwasaki said confidently, looking back at the small group of reporters. “He’s much better at the shows.”

Iwasaki cannot be an inch over 4-feet-tall, but her can-do confident attitude makes her seem more mature than many of the competitors towering over her. While many riders in the division struggled to find distances on their tiny galloping mounts, Iwasaki sailed around with foot perfect form to clinch the top spot, 10 points ahead of Mimi Gochman and Betsee Parker’s Love Me Tender.

Bit Of Laughter, or ‘Ceto’ as he’s known back in the barn, was previously owned by Scott Stewart and then the Gochman family before making his way to the West Coast to join Iwasaki’s string in 2014. Ceto has been a part of many top pony rider’s careers: Lindsay Levine rode him to the small green championship at Pony Finals in 2011, and he has also carried Emma Kurtz, Gochman and Coco Fath to blue ribbon finishes across the country.

“He has two sides; he’s either really nice, or really grumpy,” Iwasaki said. “But he’s been very good lately, and he’s really fun.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Iwasaki is very aware of where she stands with her sometimes nice, sometimes grumpy pony.

“He just really doesn’t like other ponies,” Iwasaki said.

“Does he like you?” she’s asked.

The query elicits another thoughtful pause, hugging her towel covered tricolor ribbon to her chest, before Iwaski shrugs her shoulders and says, “When I give him treats?”

There you have it: winning strategy, bribery (of ponies, not judges!).

Want more Pony Finals action? The first championships were awarded Wednesday. Read about the mustang competing in the large greens on Friday and about four first time competitors.

Find all of the Chronicle’s coverage here. Don’t miss our in-depth magazine coverage in the August 24th issue of the magazine. Full Pony Final results are here.

Categories:
Tags:

ADVERTISEMENT

EXPLORE MORE

Follow us on

Sections

Copyright © 2024 The Chronicle of the Horse