Lexington, Ky – Aug. 12, 2021 – Thursday afternoon saw pony jumpers take over the Claiborne Arena for Phase I of individual competition during the USEF Pony Jumper National Championships. A competitive field of 24 eager athletes vied for a qualifying score to earn their place in the second phase of individual championship competition. North Carolina’s Audrey Turner and her pony, Prince Oliver, proved to be the most efficient duo in the class, posting the fastest time with a no-fault score.
With 13 efforts, course designer Jasen Shelley’s track challenged the competitors to produce fast and fault-free rounds within the time allowed of 74 seconds. The winding course and multiple combinations saw only 10 clear rounds, with all clear rounds receiving a blue ribbon and advancing in the next phase of competition. Hannah Haines set the pace as the first competitor to navigate a clear round aboard Astroworld in a conservative 58.971 seconds. In the end, it was Audrey Turner and Prince Oliver who pulled away with the fastest time on the clock after crossing the finish line in a fault free 51.429 seconds. As the second fastest pair, Lucy Wendling and Brooklyn La Riouat gave their best effort for a clear round in a speedy 52.396 seconds. They were followed closely by Finley Hamilton aboard Focalize Dew Drop, who tripped the timers in 53.957 seconds and finished with no faults.
Turner and her own Prince Oliver, a 12-year-old Warmblood x Quarter Horse gelding, entered the ring towards the end of the class to take an unbeatable lead. The pair has had continued success in the pony jumpers with recent top placings at Tryon International Equestrian Center and the North Carolina Hunter Jumper Association’s Annual show. Turner, who competed in the hunters at the 2019 USEF Pony Finals, emphasized her pony’s work ethic, and spoke fondly of his unique personality. The pair will return for Phase II of individual competition, and are also representing Zone 3 (West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington D.C.) in team competition.
Before Turner’s blazing round, Lucy Wendling and Brooklyn La Riouat held onto the fastest time. Their clear round of 52.396 seconds put them at the top mid-way through the class, but Wendling’s time was ultimately overtaken by Turner. Wendling has piloted her 10-year-old French Saddle Pony mare to multiple top placings in their home state of California, including a win in the Desert Circuit .90m Non-Pro Jumper Championship. Their clear finish in Phase I of Pony Jumper competition qualifies them to return to the Claiborne ring on Friday for the remaining individual competition phases.
Rounding out the three fastest trips, Finley Hamilton piloted Focalize Dew Drop to a clear round in 53.957 seconds. The 10-year-old Belgian Sport Pony mare has been led by Hamilton to numerous wins and top three placings in the Pony Jumpers at various competitions throughout California.
The USEF Pony Jumper National Championships continue Friday with team finals and the final phases of individual competition. The individual final will take place on Saturday evening in the Claiborne ring. Competition at the 2021 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Honor Hill Farm, will conclude Sunday, August 15, with the highly anticipated Pony Medal.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Audrey Turner – Winner of the Welcome Phase of the Pony Jumper Individual Championship Phase 1
On Prince Oliver:
“We call him Ollie in the barn. We have had him for a year and a half. He has a really funny personality and he is really fun to be around. He came from another person who rides at our barn, Oak Hill Hunter Jumpers.”
On her plan for the Phase One Round:
“I wanted to get him up in front of my leg before the first jump and then just try and hold the pace for the rest of the way. He did hold his pace just like I asked him to.”
On showing in the Pony Jumper Championships:
“I represent Zone 3 and I am going to ride in the team competition. This is the first time that I have done the jumpers at Pony Finals. Before, I have just done the hunter divisions. I like doing them both but the Jumpers are more fun!”
Place / Horse / Rider / Total Score / Time
Individual Jumper Final
1. Prince Oliver / Audrey Turner / 0 / 51.429
2. Brooklyn La Riouat / Lucy Wendling / 0 / 52.396
3. Focalize Dew Drop / Finley Hamilton / 0 / 53.957
4. Angel / Molly Koczon / 0 / 54.651
5. Trewithian Hawkeweed / Cash Delia / 0 / 56.940
6. Bluebelle / Michaela Munson / 0 / 57.795
7. Miracles Happen / Alexis Bauman / 0 / 58.548
8. Astroworld / Hannah Haines / 0 / 58.971
9. RR Cool Play / Ryder Richardson / 0 / 60.171
10. Tippy Toes / Ashlin Goodwin / 0 / 60.379
11. Thunder D’Azure / Kennedy Chang / 4 / 52.098