Madeline Jordan and Libbie Gordon Lead the Victory Gallop at 2017 USEF Pony Finals PDF Print E-mail
Written by Elaine Wessel   
Sunday, 13 August 2017 13:25
victoryThe 2017 USEF Pony Finals returned for the second-to-last day of hunter competition Friday, with Madeline Jordan and Shamrock hoisting the title of Medium Green Pony Hunter Champions, and Libbie Gordon, with her second championship of the week, aboard Small Wonder claiming the rosette in the Large Green Pony Hunters. It was undoubtedly a special day for both young riders and their families, but especially so for Jordan, as she returned to the saddle just over a year ago after a debilitating accident that led to a broken leg and brain injury, among other injuries.


Luck was in the air for Florida-based Jordan and her own Shamrock as the pair were awarded the title of Medium Green Pony Hunter Champions less than two years after she was hit by a car while trick-or-treating in her hometown on Halloween in 2015. Jordan took a time off riding to recover after a 3-week hospital stay, but you wouldn’t know it watching her ride today. Entering the day in 13th position, she and “Louie” laid down a first-rate jumping trip to propel them to the top of the leaderboard. Jordan and her pony were forced to wait for 12 trips while fellow competitors took a shot at surpassing her 259.00 score, but none even came close, with the second-best score coming from owner-rider Alexa Lignelli and iApprove, who trailed the class leader with marks of 246.75. Jordan and her bay pony ultimately easily clinched the division title with a cumulative score of 1015.01, nearly 13 points ahead of the runner-up duo. Jordan and Lignelli were the only two to break the 1000-point mark.

Lignelli and iApprove rode to the reserve championship with total marks of 1002.30, followed by Libbie Gordon and Jessie Spade’s All Yours in third position. Madeline Rubin, in the irons aboard her own Exuberance, claimed fourth place, and Emma Jolly and Sunset’s Sparkle, owned by Sunset Farm, finished in fifth overall.

With the highest score of the 2017 USEF Pony Finals thus far, Gordon and Else Batalden’s Small Wonder navigated their way to a cumulative score of 1028.05 to claim the Large Green Pony Hunter championship, Gordon’s second title win of the week. Gordon and “Cooper” compounded their reasons to celebrate with a blue ribbon in the over fences class, their score of 261.00 besting a field of nearly 100 competitors. The rider-pony pair entered the day in 11th position, but eclipsed the 10 entries ahead of them thanks to their standout over fences trip. Especially impressive is the fact that Gordon has only been riding Cooper for three weeks, but the pair meshed quickly and the easy connection showed in the ring.

A familiar face in the winner’s circle, Augusta Iwasaki and Butterscotch, owned by Quartet Farm, LLC, earned the reserve position with a score of 1025.11, followed by Adam Edgar and Graciela Roberts’ D’Artagnan in the third position. Claire Campbell rode Maher Family, LLC’s Eastside to fourth place overall, and the top five was rounded out by Alexa Aureliano and Front Row, owned by CKE Horse Enterprises.

In the Medium Regular Pony Hunters, the last hunter division of the week, Caroline Signorino and Hannah Hoch’s Anisette impressed the judges to two top scores in the model and hack phases of competition to secure the early lead. The pair earned third place and a score of 257.23 in the model, less than one point behind the class leader, Iwasaki and Tessa Downey’s News Flash. The two pairs will be neck and neck entering Saturday’s final jumping portion, but Signorino and Anisette managed to just edge out their contenders with a four-point lead thanks to a first place finish and score of 260.43 in the under saddle.

The 2017 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, will continue through Sunday, Aug. 13. The nation’s best young pony riders will be tested in one final hunter division in the Walnut Ring, and the two Grand Champion Hunters – both Regular and Green – will be announced at the conclusion of competition Friday afternoon. The Alltech Arena will play host to Pony Jumper competition through Saturday, and Sunday’s feature will be the Pony Medal Finals, one of the week’s highlight events.


Madeline Jordan – Champion of the Medium Green Pony Hunters

On her jumping round:
“I was a little nervous just because it’s Pony Finals, of course everybody’s nervous. So I was just thinking ‘I hope I don’t chip the first jump’ and then we went in and the first jump was good, and usually the first jump is my hardest part. Then I went to the middle option jump and thought ‘Ok this is pretty good.’ [Louie] got his lead change and then the rest of the course was really good, and then when we were going from the nine[-stride line] to the two[-stride] I was like ‘Go, Louie, go!’ and he was perfect. I kinda figured we had done well coming out of the ring.”

On her accident and recovery:
“I got hit by a car and I broke my left leg, I broke my femur. I was in the hospital for three weeks and I had a brain injury and I tore my meniscus. My small pony, Playtime, I had him at the time and he was perfect. I would be in my wheelchair and I would pet him and he was so sweet. I kind of skipped a bunch of riding and then my first show back was at HITS and [Playtime] won the model and got fourth in the under saddle. Then we got Louie and he just took care of me. I had another surgery to get the rod out of my leg in August 2016 and then the next week I rode Louie and he was perfect.”

Libbie Gordon – Champion of the Large Green Pony Hunters

On winning her second Pony Finals championship:
“I’m so excited about it and I just love doing it. It’s awesome when you’ve worked so hard and so long for something and it pays off twice.”

On Small Wonder:
“He tries his best every single time we go in the ring so that helps us a lot. I’ve only been riding him about three weeks, but we clicked quickly.”

On competing with her friends:
“[Winning with my friends] was the most exciting part about it because it’s always exciting when you share something like this with people you really like. I really like competing, so that’s fun to do, but you’re also really excited for them because they did really well, too.”


Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Score

Medium Regular Pony Hunters Model
1. Augusta Iwasaki / News Flash / Tessa Downey / 258.160
2. Claire Campbell / Leon / Maher Family LLC / 257.660
3. Caroline Signorino / Anisette / Hannah Hoch / 257.230
4. Grace Debney / Sterling / Madeline Schaefer / 254.300
5. Juliette Propp / Heart To Forget / Aquitaine Equine / 252.980
6. Savonna Adell / Sportin Around / AKA Showstoppers LLC / 252.150
7. Maddie Tosh / Cozy Up / Maddie Tosh / 250.140
8. Emma Vandenhouten / Super Cool / Augusta Iwasaki / 250.130
9. Isabella Cukrowski / Find The Love / Vanessa Mazzoli / 249.790
10. Linen Owens / Pitch Perfect / Linen Owens / 249.660

Medium Regular Pony Hunters Under Saddle
1. Caroline Signorino / Anisette / Hannah Hoch / 260.430
2. Raina Swani / Newhaven’s Magnum / Shadowfax Equestrian LLC / 259.400
3. Lauren Gee / Vienna / Madison Hill / 256.550
4. Augusta Iwasaki / News Flash / Tessa Downey / 255.170
5. Baylee McKeever / Greystone’s Star Bright / Lee McKeever / 254.590
6. Mia Green / Unforgettable / Forget Me Not Farm / 254.580
7. Lourdes Low / Overcast / Lourdes Low / 254.580
8. Isabel Liceaga / Wynnbrook Arctic Fox / Kristina Morris / 254.300
9. Ellie Aronson / Sham’s Razzle Dazzle / Ellie Aronson / 253.660
10. Saylor Shea / Magical Diamond / Strawberry Hill LLC / 253.000

Medium Green Pony Hunters Over Fences
1. Madeline Jordan / Shamrock / Madeline Jordan / 259.000
2. Alexa Lignelli / iApprove / Alexa Lignelli / 246.750
3. Justice Delhagen / Twitter WH / Monarch Stables / 243.500
4. Madeline Rubin / Exuberance / Madeline Rubin / 243.150
5. Emma Jolly / Sunset’s Sparkle / Sunset Farm / 240.100
6. Libbie Gordon / All Yours / Jessie Spade / 240.050
7. Caroline Nadalin / Hot Wheels / Sarah Guidice / 237.000
8. Camden Kitchens / Helicon Stowaway / Raeann Jones / 234.000
9. Madeline Boughner / Point And Shoot / Jaimee Peace / 234.000
10. Catherine Souza / Sugarbrook Blue Ayre / Catherine Souza / 229.000

Large Green Pony Hunters Over Fences
1. Libbie Gordon / Small Wonder / Elsa Batalden / 261.000
2. Augusta Iwasaki / Butterscotch / Quartet Farm LLC / 257.500
3. Sadie Rutkowski / Mapleside Voila / Salmon Creek Equine LLC / 253.000
4. Alexa Aureliano / Front Row / CKE Horse Enterprises / 250.250
5. Claire Campbell / Eastside / Maher Family LLC / 249.750
6. Adam Edgar / D’Artagnan / Graciela Robert / 249.250
7. Savannah Gregson / Take Note / Savannah Gregson / 247.000
8. Lauren Reid / Good Reason / Capstone Farm, LLC / 241.500
9. Elle Gibbs / Nominee / Elle Gibbs / 239.500
10. Devyn Borden / My Sweet Sadie / Devyn Borden / 236.000

Kentucky Horse Park