Friday, May. 24, 2024

Tuscany Is Hot Property

Meredith Darst has a maturity belied by her 11 years, and with a very cool performance under pressure, she rode Tuscany to a score of 88 in the stake round and to the grand pony and medium pony hunter championships today, Oct. 10, in Harrisburg, Pa.

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Meredith Darst has a maturity belied by her 11 years, and with a very cool performance under pressure, she rode Tuscany to a score of 88 in the stake round and to the grand pony and medium pony hunter championships today, Oct. 10, in Harrisburg, Pa.

“Maddie works so hard and rides so many different ponies,” said trainer Tom Wright. “To be champion at the Pennsylvania National is so special. It’s wonderful that she got to experience it.” Darst rode Tuscany to a blue ribbon in the medium pony conformation class and fourth place in the handy class yesterday. But Allison Toffolon on Neverland also had a blue ribbon to her name, so Darst knew she’d have to win today to be champion.

“I like how he jumps—it’s soft and fun,” Darst said of Tuscany (Pendock Masterpiece—Song And Dance), a bay pony she’s been riding since May. Trainers Ken and Emily Smith train Tuscany—they had him in their barn when Jennifer Waxman rode him to multiple championships. Tuscany was sold to California in 2005 and ridden to much success out there by many different riders, but he was outgrown and sent back to the Smiths this spring to be sold again.

“They have a very special rapport,” Wright said of Darst and Tuscany. Darst, the daughter of trainer Mindy Darst, has a lot of experience on green and difficult ponies, “but it’s so nice for Emily and Ken to give her the opportunity to ride such a nice, made pony,” Wright said.

It’s Tori Time
There aren’t many pony riders who win more than Victoria “Tori” Colvin, and the Pennsylvania National has proved no exception. This year, Colvin rode Vanity Fair to his third consecutive large pony hunter championship. Former owner Lillie Keenan had won the honors with the elegant bay in 2008 and ’07, but Colvin took over the ride this year after Dr. Betsee Parker bought “Coco.”

“I think Tori is a very serious and exceptional athlete. She’s unflappable when the going gets tough, and that really brings her into the lead,” Parker said. “That style of riding is very correct for Vanity Fair, and I think Tori has a very similar way with the pony as Lillie did.”

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Colvin also guided Parker’s For The Laughter, her partner for the grand championship at this year’s USEF Pony Finals, to the reserve large pony hunter championship. In addition, she and Vanity Fair topped the Pony Hunters Winners Stake. Colvin also picked up the Best Junior Rider on a Pony honors.

Ballou In Blue
One of Colvin’s ponies, Ballou, picked up the small pony hunter tricolor. Daisy Farrish, 8, guided the cute chestnut to a big win in the small pony hunter stake to clinch the championship. They also placed third in the Pony Hunter Winner’s Stake class.

“It feels like a real accomplishment,” Farish said. “He’s very sweet to me, and he always wants to win.” Farish has been riding Ballou since the beginning of the year, and she is leasing him from Colvin.

Farish, of Versailles, Ky., rides with the team at Heritage Farm in Katonah, N.Y., and gets to practice on Ballou, who lives at Heritage, just about every other week.

Find out how all the hunters fared with full results here, and check out the jumper results here.

 

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