August 14 Lexington, Kentucky
Spectators at this year’s USEF Pony Finals may have experienced an eerie sense of deja vu.
Like last year, For The Laughter and Victoria Colvin faced the unenviable task of being last to go over fences. And like last year, Colvin kept her cool and piloted Betsee Parker’s entry to blue in the jumping phase, clinching the large pony and grand pony championships. Victoria Press rode Porter Allen’s Midnight Hour to the reserve title after a breathtaking second-placed jumping round.
For The Laughter topped the model and picked up fifth in the under saddle yesterday, then won over fences today, tying the high score of the competition—a 90.
“By now he’s pretty good,” said Colvin, Loxahatchee, Fla. “We did him last year and the year before. The first year he came in, hit the first jump, and spooked himself a little bit. But we’ve figured it all out by now.”
“Bubbles” lives with trainers Rob Coluccio and Richard Cunkle in Wellington, Fla., along with the rest of Parker’s ponies. He enjoyed a month off after Upperville (Va.) starting back just a few weeks before Pony Finals with a schedule of dressage and minimal jumping.
“He’s grown up a lot in the last year,” said Cunkle. “He’s a lot less preparation. He basically walked right out of his stall to the ring.”
Cunkle and Coluccio trained three of the six champions at this year’s Pony Finals, all three owned by Parker, including Seven Steps, who took the grand green title with Colvin.
“She’s great to work with,” said Coluccio of 12-year-old Colvin. “I’ve known her since she was tiny, and she’s just wonderful. It’s all thanks to her mother. She disciplines her and gives her a great work ethic.”
Around the Showgrounds
—The judges pinned the debut Top Model class at USEF Pony Finals, dubbing Bridlebourne Stables’ Rafael the best-built pony in the country. That class pitted the top two placed ponies in each of the green and regular divisions against one another. Judge Mindy Minetto gushed over Rafael, who hailed from the small green division. The judges only picked a winner, and didn’t rank the remaning 11 ponies.
—Dana Rizzo and Nona Garson’s Cassius Clay topped the Top Ten Handy Hunter Stakes, another debut class at Pony Finals. Emma Roberts caught the ride aboard the standout large pony for Garson, and rather than receiving any cash, the class’s sponsor, Parker, will donate $10,000 in her name to charity. Garson found Cassius Clay while on a buying trip in Germany and though she was on the lookout for grand prix prospects, the 3-year-old pony in a corner stall caught her eye. Garson insisted on getting a look at him, and next thing she knew she had a 14.1-hand animal on a plane to New Jersey rather than an international-caliber jumper.
—A slew of awards were presented this evening before the pony jumper individual championship. Notable honorees included Charlotte Currey, who won the Buttons And Bows Sportsmanship award, and the USHJA’s Pony Hunter Task Force co-chair Mindy Darst, named volunteer of the year.
—Pony Finals will wrap up tomorrow with the all-day USEF Pony Medal Final set in the indoor arena.
For full results please visit www.shownet.biz. Top ten results follow.
Overall Large Pony
1 For The Laughter/Victoria Colvin/1032
2 Midnight Hour/Victoria Press/994.5
3 Cassius Clay/Emma Kennedy/986.5
4 Losander’s Camelot/Isabelle Caccamise/981.7
5 Won Up/Ashton Alexander/980
6 Braveheart/Allison Toffolon/977
7 Showboat/Lucy Matz/963.75
8 Center Field/Louise Graves/961
9 Meant To Be/Liana Cohen/957
10 Bracewood’s Crush Wothy/Elizabeth Newmeyer/953.3
Large Pony Over Fences
1 For The Laughter/Victoria Colvin/263
2 Midnight Hour/Victoria Press/255
3 Showboat/Lucy Matz/251
4 Braveheart/Allison Toffolon/250.5
5 Cassius Clay/Emma Kennedy/250.25
6 Center Field/Louise Graves/245.5
7 Meant To Be/Liana Cohen/245.5
8 Won Up/Ashton Alexander/244.5
9 Losander’s Camelott/Isabelle Caccamise/241.35
10 Cherrybrook Blue Suede Shoes/Caroline Cline/239.1
Top Ten Handy Hunter Stakes
1 Cassius Clay/Emma Kennedy/261
2 Highland’s Make Believe/Meredth Darst/260/5
3 Tuscany/Sophie Michaels/255
4 Elation/Meredith Darst/251.25
5 For The Laughter/Victoria Colvin/250
6 Sassafras Creek/Katherine Strauss/245.75
7 Hearts Desire/Allison Toffolon/229.25
8 First Edition/Bergen Sanderford/225
9 Cherrybrook Blue Suede Shoes/Caroline Cline/224
10 Simply Magical/Ailish Cunniffe/223.5