Lexington, Ky – Aug. 13, 2022 – Lexington was the place to be on the brisk, summer morning as competitors, trainers and families were eager to applaud their talented pony hunter riders. As the 2022 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Honor Hill Farm, nears its closing date, the 2022 Grand Pony Hunter Champion was crowned in the Rolex Arena.
To conclude hunter competition for the week, the Medium Pony Hunters were invited back for the over fences phase of the division. Vivian Golden and Baroness of Locheil claimed the Medium Pony Hunter Championship. Following the Medium Pony Hunter awards, Aundrea Hillyard and Goldmark victoriously entered the stadium that played host to incredibly talented young pony-and-rider combinations. The pair stood in the limelight of the final award presentation as they were awarded the 2022 Grand Pony Hunter Championship.
Over the three regular pony hunter divisions, Hillyard and Goldmark held onto the lead by approximately 30 points to add yet another victory to their record. The 7-year-old Warmblood gelding, owned by Take 3 LLC, boasted scores in the 90’s over fences from all three judges, carrying Hillyard to the highest jumping score all week. Their jumping score ultimately catapulted them from ninth place overall going into the over fences phase, to topping the entire field of seasoned regular pony hunters. “Riding him is the coolest feeling, his stride and scope is the best. When you build trust with him you feel like you could do anything,” comments Hillyard. “This show I really felt like I had a breakthrough with him and we were trusting each other a lot more.” While the combination has only been paired together since May, they remained untouchable all week with a cumulative score of 1069.30 points. Their 2022 Pony Finals debut solidified their winning partnership as they walked away decorated in blue, red, and yellow.
Not only was Golden’s performance aboard Baroness of Locheil in the Medium Pony Hunters enough to secure the championship, but it also earned the duo the Grand Pony Hunter Reserve Champion tri-color. The 9-year-old Welsh Pony Cross mare owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, was picture-perfect, averaging scores of 90 across the board in the over fences phase. Together for a short time, they have made a name for themselves earning multiple tri-colors at horse shows including the Winter Equestrian Festival [Wellington, FL] and the Upperville Colt & Horse Show [Upperville, VA]. Though the pair is familiar with the podium, their performance this week proved that their classic, proper hunter style is dominant, even in the company of the best of the best.
The 2022 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Honor Hill Farm, will conclude Sunday at 7 am in the Rolex Ring with the highly anticipated USEF Pony Medal Final.
From The Winner’s Circle:
Aundrea Hillyard – Grand Pony Hunter Champion
On being Grand Pony Hunter Champion:
“It is an incredible feeling. I can’t even describe it. I love the pony and I love the team. It is such an amazing feeling.”
On the best thing about Goldmark:
“Everything. He has the best personality and when he walks up to you he’s the sweetest. Riding him is the coolest feeling, his stride and scope is the best. When you build trust with him, you feel like you could do anything. This show I really felt like I had a breakthrough with him and we were trusting each other a lot more. In Upperville [VA] and Michigan I rode him like a green pony but this show I just trusted him.”
On their plan:
“My trainers always just tell me to have fun. It is the last thing that they always tell me when I walk in. We are going to try to do it indoors and this ring was a lot of fun.”
Medium Pony Hunter Champion:
Place / Pony / Rider / Owner / Score
Baroness of Locheil / Vivian Golden / Dr. Betsee Parker / 1036.68
Paris Charm / JJ Torano / Megan D’Amico / 1036.65
EMC Entourage / Alexa Ella Lignelli / The Lignelli Family / 1026.44
Heart To Forget / Ava Crolick / Katherine Cotton / 1008.86
Smallwood Mystic / Lauren Padilla / Highland Farm, LLC / 1008.04
Island Grace / Capri Truesdale / Capri Truesdale / 996.10
Gypsy’s Sweetheart / Maggie Wiegand / Patty Davis / 985.25
Goldhills As You Like It / Katherine Mercer / Vivian Golden / 984.45
Astro Boy / Sienna Rossano / GC Ponies, LLC / 971.54
Bedford Falls / Violet Rhiengold / Violet Rhiengold / 968.54
Medium Pony Hunter Over Fences:
Place / Pony / Rider / Owner / Score
Baroness of Locheil / Vivian Golden / Dr. Betsee Parker / 272.93
Heart To Forget / Ava Crolick / Katherine Cotton / 259.35
Paris Charm / JJ Torano / Megan D’Amico / 256.79
Smallwood Mystic / Lauren Padilla / Highland Farm, LLC / 255.36
EMC Entourage / Alexa Elle Lignelli / The Lignelli Family / 255.31
Goldhills As You Like It / Katherine Mercer / Vivian Golden / 251.21
Wishlea Star Song / Sophia Welniak / Wynmore Farm LLC / 250.62
Island Grace / Capri Truesdale / Capri Truesdale / 249.65
Hopscotch / Liana Epstein / Liana Jane LLC / 244.54
Deja Blue / Lily Epstein / Lily Epstein / 244.47