Saturday, May. 25, 2024

Farah Rizvi Leads The Way In The Pony Hunters

Farah Rizvi won 3 of the biggest pony titles on the last day of the Washington International, including Best Child Rider. “It’s a really big deal [to win the Best Child Rider Award]. It’s not just between your divisions, it’s out of everyone. I’m so happy for the champion, but Best Child Rider just adds so much more for me to be excited about.” she said.


Washington D.C.—Oct. 25

One of Farah Rizvi’s biggest goals this year was to make it to the Washington International Horse Show again. Today, she exceeded that goal when she and her pony Glynhafan Red Kestral came away with the large pony hunter and grand pony hunter championships. Rizvi also claimed the Best Child Rider Award.

“It’s a really big deal [to win the Best Child Rider Award],” said Rizvi, Greenwich, Ct. “It’s not just between your divisions, it’s out of everyone. I’m so happy for the champion, but Best Child Rider just adds so much more for me to be excited about.”

“I definitely wanted to accomplish it and I was hoping and trying really hard too,” she continued. “I’m really glad that I did.”

Rizvi tacked up her pony “KP”, a 10-year-old half Welsh Pony to win the large pony title ahead of Augusta Iwasaki and Kingston.

Trainer Christine Trigger was over the moon with Rizvi’s success.

“I had goose bumps for her,” said Trigger, who has been with the Rizvi family for six years. “She took over the reins this summer and then she was away a lot—so for her to be able to step up like this on this pony is just, it’s a trainer’s dream. I’m so happy for her.”

Rizvi said the venue at the Verizon Center really suited her pony and helped her to come away with three major awards today.

“I think he really liked it in there, feeling like he was inside,” said Rizvi. “He kind of likes audiences, so I think he felt like, ‘Oh everyone sees me now!’ He’s awesome.”

While her indoor show season has finished, Rizvi is excited to go back to the Winter Equestrian Festival (Fla.) this winter. She hopes to continue her achivements in the pony divisions, and transfer some of that success into the dressage ring, where she will be contesting the FEI Ponies at the Dressage Global Festival (Fla.) with another one of her ponies, Prince Z. 

Not to be upstaged by her older sister, Zayna Rizvi also took home a tricolor. She rode Swingtown to the medium pony hunter championship. The 10-year-old has numerous championships to her name, but until today, Zayna had never claimed the top ribbon at the Washington International. 

“I’m really excited,” she said. “[Swingtown] was such a good boy; he’s brave.”

Zayna rode Swingtown, a 12-year-old warmblood pony owned by her family’s Peacock Ridge LLC, to the medium pony hunter title ahead of Hannah Hoch and Anisette.

While this was Zayna’s first time competing the gelding at the Verizon Center, Swingtown is no stranger to the pressure of indoors.


Before Zayna took over the reins, Swingtown was her older sister Yasmin Rizvi’s pony. The medium pony has also shown with Meredith Darst and Mitchell Endicott in pervious years, so Zayna wasn’t worried about the stress of the indoor venue. 

“He’s easy to find the jumps on,” said one of her trainers, Richard Cunkle. “He doesn’t let you down.”

“He’s adjustable, and he’s really fun,” said Zayna.

The pair swept the medium pony division titles throughout indoors, with tricolors from Capital Challenge (Md.) and the Pennsylvania National before Washington.

Zayna’s pony will join Glynhafan Red Kestral in Wellington, Fla., where the sisters will spend the winter season. 

The Gochmans End On A High Note

The Washington International was Sophie Gochman’s last show of the indoor season, and she made sure to end it with a bang. Gochman rode Betsee Parker’s Love Me Tender to the small pony hunter championship. Baby Blue claimed the small pony hunter reserve championship title with Libbie Gordan in the saddle. 

“It feels amazing [to win],” said Gochman, of New York City. “Washington is such a competitive show. To be able to get champion or any ribbon is a great accomplishment.” 

Gochman and Love Me Tender won the small pony hunter conformation and were second under saddle yesterday. A pair of third place ribbons today boosted them to the championship.

“Princess” is an 11-year-old Welsh pony, and Gochman says the mare definitely lives up to her name. 

“She acts like she’s the queen bee and she knows that she does,” said Gochman, 12. “When she goes out of the ring and she has a good round, she’ll look at you like, ‘I was perfect, where’s my treat?’ “

Gochman says her favorite thing about Princess is her personality and she is grateful to Parker for allowing her the opportunity to ride the mare. 

“She’s a bit sassy, but she’s adorable,” she said. “I love her so much.”

The pair are now looking forward to WEF next year, but it will be a little bittersweet for Gochman as it will be her last year competing in the small pony hunter division.


“I’m just going to try and keep [riding] the same,” said Gochman. “Because this has been, fortunately a pretty good year.”

Also adding another accolade to her stash was Gochman’s sister Mimi Gochman, who claimed the blue ribbon in the Washington International Pony Equitation Finals. After she was announced the winner, Mimi, 11, couldn’t stop smiling and petting her mount, Storyteller. In the interview, she gushed about how lucky she was to have such a great pony.

“It was really awesome to win and really nice,” said Mimi, 11. “My pony is the best for this kind of thing. He’s easy to transition, has a nice jump, and is good for sitting the trot. It’s really nice to have the opportunity to ride him all the time. He can do everything.”

The judges called the top four riders in the class back to test, and gave them a twisty track to ride that included a trot fence followed by a halt, after which they had to immediately pick up the canter and turn to the last fence. Mimi went into the class in third, and her beautiful transitions wowed the judges and bumped her up to first. Tessa Brown claimed the red ribbon, while Elly Ficca rode to third in the class. Caroline Ellis rounded out the top four testers.

“They told us we had to go in the ring and have no instruction from our trainers,” said Mimi. “And that’s when I got nervous, like, ‘Whoa, that’s scary.’ But when I heard the test, I was like, ‘Okay, they’re not going to kill us with a hard, hard course,’ but it was still challenging.”

Mimi got the ride on Storyteller, a large 12-year-old German Sport Pony, from Fair Play Farm in August 2014, and she said there was no adjustment period; the gelding has always been perfect.

“Story” did double duty in the large pony hunter division and the pony equitation finals, but Mimi wasn’t worried about Story’s performance.

“He was so relaxed in there,” she said. “I thought he was going to be all jittery, but he was just standing there like a good pony. He puts up with me even if I do make a mistake. He forgives really easily so it’s nice.”


Want more from Washington? Catch up with the Chronicle.

For full coverage and analysis from the show, check out the Nov. 9 issue issue of the Chronicle of the Horse magazine.





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