Augusta Iwasaki and News Flash Earn Grand Regular Pony Championship PDF Print E-mail
Written by Elaine Wessel   
Sunday, 13 August 2017 13:22
Augusta

One final pony hunter championship was awarded Saturday at the 2017 USEF Pony Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park to conclude hunter competition, with Augusta Iwasaki and News Flash riding away with the win in the Medium Regular Pony Hunters. During the USEF Pony Jumper Championship in the Alltech Arena down the hill, Tabitha Okitsu and her own Spoot De La Jourlais ultimately clinched victory as the only pair to ride clean over the three-phase competition ahead of 30 other competitors.

The largest class of the week with nearly 160 entries, the Medium Regular Pony Hunters took over the Walnut Ring for the large majority of the day, but it all came down to the last two riders to tackle Bobby Murphy’s hunter course. Sitting in second position after the model and hack portions of competition, Iwasaki and Tessa Downey’s News Flash were the second-to-last pair to enter the ring, and they delivered with a score of 256.15. Their performance proved strong enough to claim the win in the over fences class as well as propel them ahead of the original division leader, Caroline Signorino and Hannah Hoch’s Anisette.

With an overall score of 1025.63, Iwasaki and “Flash” not only earned the championship in the Medium Regular Pony Hunters, but also boasted the Overall Grand Champion Regular Hunter Pony honors as the highest-scoring pair of the three Regular Pony Hunter division champions throughout the week. Iwasaki was surely the most decorated hunter rider of the week, as she also claimed the Overall Reserve Champion Green Hunter Pony aboard Quartet Farm LLC’s gelding Butterscotch, coincidentally scoring a 1025.11, only tenths of a point different from their championship score. Iwasaki was the runner-up to Libbie Gordon and Small Wonder, owned by Elsa Batalden, who scored a total 1028.05. This is the fifth time Iwasaki has made the trip to Lexington for Pony Finals from her home in California, and not her first Grand Championship; the young 13-year-old rider, who rides as a 12-year-old, impressively won both Grand Regular and Grand Green titles in 2015, with Bit of Laughter and Kingston, respectively.

Raina Swani and Newhaven’s Magnum, owned by Shadowfax Equestrian LLC, garnered a score of 1008.70 from the judges panel, the only other pair to break 1000 points, to claim the Reserve Medium Regular Pony Hunter Championship behind Iwasaki. Third on the podium was Claire Campbell and Leon, owned by Maher Family LLC, with Brynn Kuhnell and Simply Ponies LLC’s Not So Secret just a few points behind in fourth place overall. Saylor Shea and MAgical Diamond, owned by Strawberry Hill LLC, rounded out the top five placings.

The 2017 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, will continue through Sunday, Aug. 13, with the Pony Medal Finals, one of the week’s highlight events, concluding a week of pony action.

FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE

Augusta Iwasaki – Champion of the Medium Regular Pony Hunters

On winning another Pony Finals Championship:
“It’s amazing. [My strategy] was to just be smooth and do my best. I’d like to thank Tessa Downey for letting me ride [Flash] and also thank Peter Pletcher for training me on the pony.”

On News Flash:
“This is only my second show on [Flash]. He is very smooth and jumps all the jumps the same. He tries very hard. He’s chill and is not spooky. He’s a very good boy.”

RESULTS

Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Score

Medium Regular Pony Hunters Over Fences
1. Augusta Iwasaki / News Flash / Tessa Downey / 256.150
2. Raina Swani / Newhaven’s Magnum / Shadowfax Equestrian LLC / 254.900
3. Alexa Lignelli / Fox Creeks Curious George / Alexa Lignelli / 254.500
4. Brynn Kuhnell / Not So Secret / Simply Ponies, LLC / 252.500
5. Kyla Sullivan / Basically Bunny / Ellie Ferrigno / 252.000
6. Sofia Roberts / Rock Star / Roberts Stables, LLC / 251.750
7. Casey Oliver / Qualen’s Commence The Magic / Sofia Roberts, LLC / 251.400
8. Emily Clee / Clovermeade Bunny Side Up / Ellie Ferrigno / 251.000
9. Libbie Gordon / Astro Boy / Elle Gibbs / 250.600
10. Hannah Hoch / Havana / Hannah Hoch / 248.150

 
Kentucky Horse Park