Valor Continues on Path to Greatness

By Plaid Horse Intern Jordan Cobb (@kj_behind_the_camera) 

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Valor and Annabeth Athey in the Large Pony Hunters at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show (Katy, Texas). 

As we start to look forward to the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show and intense competition on the Texas circuits, we highlight Valor, a 2014 USEF National Champion from the Lone Star State. Valor, a 2004 bay gelding, started his rated pony hunter career with then owner Annabeth Athey. After a year of training, Annabeth’s team at Summer Hill Farms (Flower Mound, TX) decided it was time to start the large green division.

With the help of trainers Jordan Siegel-Gilchrist and Laura Hightower, they started off right with a championship at their first show which gave them their ticket to USEF Pony Finals. From that point on they never let up winning over twenty championships to earn them the Large Green Pony Horse Of The Year spot by over two-thousand points. They also pulled out the reserve over all Green Pony HOTY, having been beat out only by Forget Me Not Farm’s True Colors.

The team also scored champion in Annabeth’s home USEF Zone 7. After winning a circuit champion spot in Waco, TX, they went out of state to show in Gulfport, MS, where they were also circuit champion at the Gulf Coast Winter Series. Next, they sailed through the competitive High Performance Series with a championship and a classic win each week to clinch them circuit champion once again. The pair then moved on to championships and classic wins at the Tyler Four, Brownland (TN), and Charleston.

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Annabeth let Valor rest his head after a win in the under saddle at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

Finally it was time for USEF Pony Finals (KY). After an impressive reserve champion in the proceeding weeks, Annabeth got ready to show at Pony Finals. Valor and Annabeth had a good start with a 4th in the model and impressive scores in the hack, but Valor still had to jump around the course the next day, a difficult task for any pony, especially a green one; ponies receive one single trip around the Walnut on which everything rides.

As the day started Annabeth was nervous, but keeping rhythm to the song “Fancy,” she jumped around fantastically to earn an impressive third over fences with scores in the 80s. Combined with her hack and model scores she ended up 4th overall and owner-rider champion, and as she walked up the ramp to receive ribbons, her and her trainer were still singing “Fancy.”

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Valor and Annabeth jumped around flawlessly during the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

After such an incredible Pony Finals, all eyes were on Valor, and shortly after Annabeth’s success, he was sold to the Gochman Family where he continued his success. A few weeks after their purchase of Valor and Emma Kurtz piloting him to a championship in the larges, he won a class at the prestigious Hampton Classic with Mimi Gochman.

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Annabeth and Valor exhibiting in the undersaddle at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

 

Since Capital Challenge doesn’t have greens, Kurtz piloted Valor around the large pony hunters. No one expected a green pony to take the overwhelming horse show, higher jumps, and huge competition so well, but by the end of the week Valor had racked up enough points winning two over fence classes and two seconds over fences also, plus a fourth in the hack to earn not only the championship spot in the larges, but also the coveted overall pony hunter championship.

Annabeth congratulated Emma, who was very thankful to have been able to ride him, and was proud of her former pony. Annabeth misses his diva personality, huge stride and round jump, but she is super proud to see “vavavoom” succeed.

Valor has already started his 2015 show year with multiple championship honors with both the Gochmans and Emma including Holidays and Horses, Holiday Festival II and III and now the early weeks of the Winter Equestrian Festival. Valor looks towards great success in the larges for years to come, and everyone will remember this pony’s success this year, and looks to what he will accomplish next.

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Valor showed some personality after winning at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show