Mill Spring, N.C.—Oct. 31
Eva Mackenzie celebrated the conclusion of pony day at the Washington International with two championships, one grand championship, and three batches of Ethel M chocolate.
The 11-year-old from Darien, Connecticut, started off earning champion in the small pony hunters with Farmore State Of The Art above J.J. Torano and H.G. Mud Puddles.
“State” took Eva Mackenzie up from the children’s pony and into the small pony division, and she can safely say without exaggeration that the pony taught her “everything.” From her first USEF Pony Finals (Kentucky) in 2019 to her first big win in the WCHR Pony Challenge at Capital Challenge in 2020, the pristinely white pony has been the one to guide her through it all.
“He’s just taught her everything. We are so lucky to have him,” said her trainer Chance Arakelian. “It’s amazing the start that these kids get when they get to start on one that’s that exceptional. He’s so balanced and big strided and lands on both leads; great lead changes; no spook. It really gives us trainers the opportunity to just focus on the kids and not have to worry too much about what the pony’s going to do.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure to have him in our barn,” he continued. “He’s pretty much our barn mascot. He’s the most famous horse or pony in the entire barn.”
Mackenzie continued her winning ways in the medium pony hunters, with her consistency earning her the tricolor on Monkey Business LLC’s Anisette above Torano and Northwind Tag You’re It.
“I’ve only had her for a year,” said Mackenzie. “She’s that grumpy old lady who pretends to not love us, but she actually does.”
To top it all off Mackenzie and State earned grand championship honors. This marks the end of Mackenzie’s time in pony land as she plans to pursue more horse-oriented goals while both “Annie” and State continue on to teach the next champion.
“I’m so happy,” said Mackenzie. “I’m going to miss the ponies, but I’m happy it ended on a good note.”
A Beaming Way To End
As Nominee tried to mouth the pink box housing a Georgetown cupcake, Erin Morera beamed. And one by one, her competitors, after collecting their own ribbons, beamed back and offered her congratulations.
“It means a lot because I don’t get to see everyone all the time,” said Morera of the camaraderie. “At these horse shows when we do [see each other], it’s just a lot of fun because we’re all together and we get to cheer each other on.”
Morera had only competed at the Washington International in the children’s pony division on local day. And in her first visit in the regular large division, she and Nominee topped the final two classes to take the championship over Olivia Sweetnam and Goldmark.
While many of her competitors traveled down south, racking up points in the winter circuits, Morera qualified for Washington the old fashioned way by competing around her home in Greenwich, Connecticut, with Heritage Farm.
“Over the winter, we didn’t go down to Florida; we stayed up north,” she said. “So we went to a lot of smaller, more local shows. It was kind of hard because it was in the winter, so there’s snow; it was really cold. But we got enough points, so we made it to indoors. He’s just the best.”
As with Mackenzie, Washington marked this pair’s last show together. Though it marked a closing of a chapter, Morera was determined to enjoy and savor it, regardless of the result.
“I trust him, and he likes to win,” she said. “I just wanted to go have fun and enjoy my last show with him.
“I guess this my first year doing the division—competing at really the national level,” she added. “And so, to be able to win at my first year really doing it, it just means a lot.”
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