Thursday, May. 23, 2024

Celebration Brings The Party To USEF Pony Finals

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Lexington, Ky.—Aug. 10

When Kathryn Padilla first swung a leg over Celebration at the beginning of the year they clicked instantly, and ever since then they’ve been the ones to beat in the small pony hunter ring. They traveled from Palos Verdes, California, to Devon (Pennsylvania), where they picked up the championship, and they repeated that feat at the USEF Pony Finals, earning the top call over Dream Big and Logan Baras. Padilla clinched the win with a winning over fences round.

Kathryn Padilla and Celebration won the small pony hunter championship at USEF Pony Finals. Mollie Bailey Photos

Trainer Christa Endicott said that Padilla and the 12-year-old Welsh (Cadlan Valley Imperial—Bronheulog Sun Shimmer) have a way of rising to the occasion when the pressure’s on.

“I just think Kathryn really believes in the pony,” she said. “She trusts him 100%. She knows he’s not going to let her down. If she does her job, he’ll do his. I think that she has great confidence walking into the ring on him.”

Celebration jumped to the top of the small pony over fences class on the way to the division championship.

Indeed Padilla said that a few niggling nerves disappeared as soon as she stepped into the ring aboard “Squiggles” after Endicott told her, “You got this.”

“I thought [the course] was really fun,” said Padilla, 11. “It wasn’t too hard, but [the option fences] made it tricky enough that it was exciting.

“My favorite thing about Pony Finals is how exciting it is to only have one round to do good,” she added.

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Kathryn Padilla and Logan Baras celebrated after the awards.

Padilla lives two hours away from Endicott and keeps her ponies at home at her family’s farm, and Endicott or her husband Mitch Endicott drive up to give her lessons once or twice a week.

“She’s great,” said Endicott of Padilla. “She’s a good student. She’s a good rider. She’s got good instincts and good balance. She has a bright future. She rides as [show age] 10.”

Watch Padilla and Celebration’s jumping round, courtesy of USEF Network and ClipMyHorse.TV:

Logan Baras and Dream Big earned the reserve championship.

Padilla and Squiggles practice leg yielding in lessons to keep from shifting. She said her favorite thing about Squiggles is his trot.

“It’s like floating on a cloud,” she said.

Katherine Mercer rode Clovermeade Pop Secret to overall third.
Bettina Lando and Hondo The Magnificent cantered to overall fourth.
Chrysopylae Locke Youngman and Walk Me Home took third in the large green pony under saddle.
Seven-year-old Oliver Rolfe jumped a clear round in today’s individual pony jumper phase I aboard Cillbhrid Pippa.
It wouldn’t be Pony Finals without plenty of bows for sale.
At Pony Finals you can get a customizable barn for your Breyer horses.
Kenzie Montoya and Take Notice earned sixth in the large green hunter under saddle.
There’s plenty to do—like the Kid Grand Prix—even when you’re not riding.
Natalie Townsend and Rita’s Rabbit earned fourth in the large green pony hunter model class.
The gorgeous Pony Finals trophies are on display.
Secret Hero and Penelope Sugg earned seventh in the large green pony model.

Find full results here.

Follow along with all the Chronicle’s coverage from Pony Finals here. Be sure you’re following the Chronicle on Facebook and Instagram @chronofhorse for more. Check out the Sept. 4 issue of the magazine for more from the competition.

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