Lexington, Ky.—Aug. 12
After Cameron Cuddy laid down a flawless ride on Temper Of Tony—his fourth clear round of the USEF National Pony Jumper Individual Championship—the pressure was on the final rider, Reagan Voxman. And Voxman rose to the occasion, riding Air Force One to her fourth clear round of the competition to tie Cuddy for the lead.
Because Cuddy hails from Canada he wasn’t eligible for the national championship, so the two riders didn’t need to jump off and stayed tied for first to join each other on the top step of the podium, but Voxman claimed the national title.
Sienna Smith on Cappucino earned the reserve national title, and Madeline Kottman rode Valor to bronze.
Going last didn’t bother Voxman too much.
“I felt a fair amount of pressure but also it’s nice seeing everyone go and knowing it’s going to be OK because everyone else does OK,” said Voxman, San Marino, California. “There was pressure but I think once you get into the ring you just focus on [riding].”
It’s Voxman’s second time riding Air Force One at Pony Finals, but this time around she had a special challenge: she had only ridden once in the weeks leading up to Pony Finals thanks to a twice-broken collarbone.
“I was out for two months because I rebroke it in the middle of that,” she said. “Just two weeks ago I was finally cleared, so I actually only rode one time before this, which was a little nerve-wracking, but my pony really helped me with that and made me a lot less nervous because you can rely on him for a lot.”
The Zone 10 rider already picked up team gold yesterday, and her results were a step up from last year’s individual bronze and team silver.
“My goal was honestly just each day just trying to get a clear ride,” said Voxman, 16. “That’s all you can do, here especially. There’s some years when there’s absolutely no clear rounds. Each day I was like, ‘It’s OK, you don’t have to go fast you can calmly ride around and get a clear round.’ ”
Like Voxman, Cuddy is in his second year paired up with his pony. He and Temper Of Tony also scored the style of riding award for their composed courses.
“He really likes to jump,” Cuddy said of “Tony.” “He really likes to jump; unless there’s something he really doesn’t like about the jump, he’s always going to go towards it. He’s really good.
“When I first got him, we were mainly getting second places, but then this year I practiced throughout the winter, and this year I practiced a lot of the higher jumps and I’ve started getting a lot better,” he added.
It couldn’t have been a better first Pony Finals for the 12-year-old from Toronto. He trains with Sabrina Ivankovic. He followed his parents into the sport, and has been dominating the pony jumpers on the Canadian circuit. As the top pony jumper in the country, he received an invitation to come compete at his first U.S. show.
“The [Kentucky] Horse Park is really lovely and also I really like the jumping part,” he said. “I liked going around the course and seeing the other competitors and being able to watch their rounds and learn from them.”
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.