Friday, May. 24, 2024

Zones 1, 5 and 9 Team Up For Pony Jumper Gold

In a true team effort, Zones 1, 5 and 9 combined to win the pony jumper team championship at the USEF Pony Finals Friday night, with a narrow victory over Zone 7/10. Zone 2 picked up the bronze.

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In a true team effort, Zones 1, 5 and 9 combined to win the pony jumper team championship at the USEF Pony Finals Friday night, with a narrow victory over Zone 7/10. Zone 2 picked up the bronze.

The first round of competition proved challenging for the eight teams that contested the championship, and it was anyone’s game going into the second round (in which the top five teams rode the same course for a second time). Riders had to work from start to finish: The first fence faced directly into the crowd and gave many ponies pause, and the final triple combination led to countless heart-breaking rails.

Under the guidance of first-time pony finals Chef d’Equipe Ken Smith, the winning Zone 1/5/9 team included:

–          Sydney Shulman, 15, of Greenwich, Conn., aboard Back Country Farm’s Set Sail
–          Andre Mershad, 11, from Columbus, Ohio, with Little Freebie
–          Taylor Cobb, 13, Bend, Ore., and Kokanee
–          Dagny Mactaggart, 9, Millbrook, N.Y., aboard Spiderman

This was the first team event for all four riders, but their camaraderie was evident. “I’ve never done this before, but I love it,” exclaimed Mershad.

“I’ve never had a team because we’ve never been able to put a team together,” added Shulman. “It was fun; we all cheer each other on.”

Although they scored a narrow three-point victory over the silver medalists of Zone 7/10 (Kaitlin Miller-Roberts, Alexis Brown, Stephanie Don and Sarah Walker), Zone 1/5/9 was the only team to post three clear rounds in the final round of competition.

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“We wanted clear rounds, and we got a lot of clear rounds,” said Smith. “The kids really pulled it off and made my job easy.”

–          Of the 32 entries, four pairs jumped clean in the first round and seven were clear in the second, but Zone 1/5/9 riders Sydney Shulman and Andre Mershad were the only ones to post double-clear rounds.

–          The gold medal was still on the line when the final pony jumper pair—Sarah Walker and La-Ti-Da—walked in the ring. Walker laid down a well-executed round, but a heart-breaking rail at the last jump gave Zone 1/5/9 a three-point advantage and the win.

–          Zone 4 team member Peter Droogman celebrated his 13th birthday today on Friday the 13th and was the last rider drawn in the order of go. He found more good luck than bad, however, and posted two four-fault rounds, earned team fifth overall, and became a fan favorite along the way.

–          Sydney Shulman continued her hot streak after topping the Welcome Class the night before; she and Ceely Davis are the only riders not to have accrued any faults going into Saturday’s individual pony jumper championships.

Pony Jumper Team Results:

  1. Zone 1/5/9 (Tayler Cobb and Kokanee, Dagny Mactaggart and Spiderman, Andre Mershad and Little Freebie, Sydney Shulman and Set Sail)
  2. Zone 7/10 (Kaitlin Miller-Roberts and Game On, Alexis Bowen and Kelly, Stephanie Don and Bentley, Sarah Walker and La-Ti-Da)
  3. Zone 2 (Nicole Kapusta and Go Go Gidget, Chelsea Babcock and Glitter Girl, Jeremy Allegar and Lord Titan, Rachel Fleszar and Valley Girl)
  4. Zone 3 (Brittany Carter and Suprisingly Dottty, Jessica Grey and Rootbeer Float, Jessica Karsin Landis and Oliver Twist, Ashley Foster and Only Option)
  5. Zone 4 (Mariah Carlone and Space Ghost, Evan Maxwell and Tornado Alley, Matthew White and Over Easy, Peter Droogmans and Sky Miles)
  6. Zone 8 (Ceely Davis and Night Games, Alexandra Benson and Fire Storm Ninetysix, Lucy Bradbury and Patronis)

For complete results see Shownet.biz.

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