Baby Blue Claims VPBA Title At 2015 Pony Finals

By Virginia Pony Breeders Association

Tuesday, August 4th, was opening day of the 2015 US Hunter Pony National Championship, held at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. Ponies qualify to be invited and must be ridden by the same rider throughout the entire competition. Each rider is allowed to ride only one pony per section.

A total of 398 ponies – 120 Small, 156 Medium, and 122 Large – participated in the Regular pony sections. 28 Virginia-bred ponies, showing as registered with VPBA, were eligible to compete for the VPBA trophy and four ribbons, awarded in the Regular Pony Hunters to the highest scoring registered Virginia-breds in the combined Regular Pony results.

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Saved By the Bella & Gabrielle Sousa. Photo: Briar Field Farm.

The order of events saw the Large Regular ponies lead off the competition with their Model and Under Saddle phases. Each of these first day phases counted 25% of each pony’s overall score, with the remaining 50% being determined by the Over Fences phase the following day. A panel of 3 judges gave each pony a numeral score during the Model and Under Saddle phases, and 6 judges, sitting in pairs, scored each pony over fences.

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Baby Blue & Libbie Gordon.

BABY BLUE, a small pony owned by Bibby Hill of Reddick, FL, and his eleven year old rider Libbie Gordon, Statesville, NC, were well-positioned going into the jumping phase, which took place during a heavy rainstorm. Seemingly unfazed by the rain, they earned the 3rd highest score of their section, giving them 1001.80 total points, one of only 8 final scores over 1,000 points in all of the Regular sections. The chestnut twelve-year-old crossbred gelding, by Blue Rain x Jingle Bells, was bred by Shauna Spurlock, Lovettsville, VA. For this outstanding showing, Baby Blue and Libbie were presented the VPBA Perpetual Trophy and Championship ribbon, awarded at Pony Finals since 1988.

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Baby Blue & Libbie Gordon

The Medium Pony section of 157 ponies was the largest section of the 2015 Pony Finals. Placing 1st in the Overall Medium Pony section and 1st in the Under Saddle phase, was WOODLANDS STEVIE RAY, owned by Hannah Bernstein, Chicago, IL, and ridden by twelve-year-old Alexa Aureliano, Old Brookville, NY.   The eleven-year- old grey crossbred gelding, bred by Bo & Kay Randolph, Brodnax, VA, is by Woodlands Velvet Rain x Woodlands Fire-N-Ice by Woodlands Wishing Cloud and finished with 1000.34 total points, just 1.46 points behind Baby Blue, capturing the 2nd place VPBA award.

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Woodlands Stevie Ray & Alexa Aureliano. Photos © Adam Hill / Decaseconds.com

Continuing her string of award winning performances at Pony Finals, WOODLANDS MISTY RAIN, by Woodlands Velvet Rain x Woodlands Sabrina by Woodlands Prince Of Princes, carried owner Isabelle Aldridge of Atlanta, GA, to 3rd place in the VPBA standings and 10th Over Fences in the Large Pony section, garnering 973.32 total points. Bred by Bo & Kay Randolph, the aged bay crossbred mare was no stranger to receiving VPBA awards at Pony Finals. In both 2007 and 2014 she claimed the 4th place VPBA ribbon. In 2008 she captured the Reserve Champion VPBA ribbon and in 2013 she was the VPBA Champion. Quite an outstanding record!

BENLEA MIZZOU, a liver chestnut Welsh gelding bred by James McLean, Glen Allen, VA, placed 1st in the Small Pony Under Saddle phase and finished as the 12th place Overall Small pony, taking the 4th place VPBA ribbon. By *Pennwood Missouri x Benlea SeaTango by Lemontree Sea Captain, the thirteen year old pony was piloted by owner-rider Olivia Markman of Chicago, IL, to a total score of 969.39 points.

Additional Laurels for VPBA Ponies

Special recognition goes to these additional registered VPBA ponies who topped a phase and/or a size section:

– Woodlands Polar Bear – 1st Overall Small Green, 1st Over Fences – owned by Bibby Hill, ridden by Devin Seek – 990.55 points

– Falling Moon Huckleberry – 1st Small Model – owned &/ridden by Ashley Schneider

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Falling Moon Huckleberry & Ashley Schneider. Photo: Bethany Unwin Photography.

Special Awards to VPBA Ponies and Riders

Best Presented Model Pony – Friday (selected during the Model phase for best effort in presenting the pony to the judges)

– Woodlands Love Story – Medium pony, handled by owner Brittany Bardwell, Temperance, MI

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Woodlands Love Story & Brittany Bardwell. Photo © Adam Hill / Decaseconds.com 

Best Turned Out Pony – Thursday (selected during the Under Saddle phase for evidence that great care was taken in preparing the pony for the show ring)

– O’Henry – Large Green pony, owned by Little Brook Farms, Wellington, FL, ridden by Darien Topolski, Charlton, NY

– Serafina’s Millenium – Medium Green pony, owned by Gabriella Hoard-West, Charlottesville, VA, ridden by Hana Bieling, Naples , FL

Riders of VPBA ponies recognized for their Sportsmanship during the five day competition were:

– Sydney Flashman, Irvine, CA, rider of Bay Society, owned by Jordan Ayres, Lenoir City, TN – Medium Green   pony

– Rawleigh Harris, Mt. Pleasant, SC, owner-rider of Belle Amie – Large Green pony

VPBA Volunteers at Work

During the full week of the Pony Finals activities, VPBA volunteers Alicia Kline, Gayle Presson, and Susanna Rowe manned a ringside booth where they tracked the standings of VPBA registered ponies, displayed VPBA promotional materials, distributed the Sales Listing of registered Virginia bred ponies, and assisted exhibitors with updating their ponies in the VPBA registry. They were joined by Kay Randolph, Janis Shaneberger and Kathryn Southard, all able photographers who captured award-winning shots of VPBA ponies and helped promote VPBA and its activities. Margaret Bzdak also lent a helping hand by transporting our VPBA table and chairs for use in our booth.

Special Rider Gifts

Riders were eager to receive the gift bags provided for every rider of a registered Virginia-bred pony in the Green, Regular or Jumper divisions. Cheryl Maye assembled VPBA tote bags containing a saddle pad embroidered with the VPBA logo and “US Pony Finals”, a ball cap with the VPBA logo, a bag of Horse Nibbles treats, and a small VPBA insulated cooler. To quote one of the recipients when opening her tote bag:   “What a super awesome gift!”

Thanks to the generosity of the following, VPBA was able to present gifts to 37 riders:

Barry Walters, Rebecca Walters Bardwell & Brittany Bardwell, Temperance, MI

Jennifer Yandell – Memphis TN
Stacey Schaefer – Westminster, MD
Epona Farm LLC – Keswick, VA
Leah Aldridge – Atlanta, GA
Ledinjadon Ponies Palmyra, VA
Oliver and Joan Brown – Reva, VA
Maye Show Ponies – Fairfield, VA
Alicia Z. Kline – Round Hill, VA

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Woodlands Padme & Katie Lela Pollock.

The full list of registered Virginia bred ponies placing in the top 20 of any phase of the Green or Regular Pony Hunters follows.

REGULAR PONIES scoring in the top 20 of Regular Pony Sections

Name, placing, owner, rider if different, (breeding, breeder)

BABY BLUE – 1st VPBA, 5th Overall Small, 3rd Over Fences, Bibby Hill, Libbie Gordon

(Blue Rain x Jingle Bells, Shauna Spurlock)

BEAUDACIOUS – 12th Large Model, Madison Downs

(Greystone Ian McVai x Beaucall, Pam Simoneau)

BENLEA MIZZOU – 4TH VPBA, 12th Overall Small, 1st Under Saddle, 14th Over Fences, Olivia Markman

(*Pennwood Missouri x Benlea SeaTango by Lemontree Sea Captain, James McLean)

CAROLINA’S COOL BREEZE – 11th Large Under Saddle, Donna Marie Rothman, Samantha Rothman

(Wellen Red Rock x Infomercial, Alicia Kline)

EMPIRE’S PARIS – 14th Small Under Saddle, Sophia Calamari, Francesca Calamari

(*Empire’s Power x Little Bo Peep, Patricia Landes)

EMPIRE’S VICTORY –             2nd Large Model, 15th Under Saddle, Lily Ezrow

(*Empire’s Power x *Sarnau Valencia, Patricia Landes)

ENTOURAGE – 15th Large Model, Yandell Family Farm LLC, Emma Seving

(Clovercroft Polarized x Debt Limit, Sandy Rose)

FALLING MOON HUCKLEBERRY – 1st Small Model, Ashley Schneider

(*Telynau Royal Anthem x *Priestwood Sappho, Lynn Kiefer)

HEART TO FORGET – 15th Overall Medium, 18th Over Fences, Stella Propp

(Lemontree Sea Captain x Benlea Tempo, Margaret Raymond)

WOODLANDS GARDINIA – 10th Overall Large, 6th Over Fences, Elizabeth Garcia, Madeleine Flocks

(Woodlands Velvet Rain x Woodlands Sabrina, Bo & Kay Randolph)

WOODLANDS LUCKY STRING – 16th Large Under Saddle, Lauren Orfinik

(Woodlands Foxy Cloud x Woodlands Damask Cloud, Bo & Kay Randolph)

WOODLANDS LOVE STORY – 5th Medium Over Fences, Brittany Bardwell

(Elite Earl Grey x Woodlands Sun Dancer, Bo & Kay Randolph)

WOODLANDS MISTY RAIN – 3rd VPBA, 8th Overall Large, 10th Over Fences

(Woodlands Velvet Rain x Woodlands Sabrina, Bo & Kay Randolph)

WOODLANDS STEVIE RAY – 2nd VPBA, 1st Overall Medium, 1st Under Saddle, Hannah Bernstein, Alexa Aureliano

(Woodlands Velvet Rain x Woodlands Fire-N-Ice, Bo & Kay Randolph)

WOODLANDS TALULAH – 8th Medium Under Saddle, Ponies & Palms, Kayla Brusie

(Woodlands Velvet Rain x Woodlands Queen Elizabeth, Bo & Kay Randolph)

GREEN PONIES scoring in the top 20 of Green Pony Sections

Name, placing, owner, rider if different, (breeding, breeder)

DAYS OF OUR LIVES – 13th Large Green Model, Merrylegs South, Reid Arani

(*Telynau Royal Anthem x Light of My Life, Penny Hallman)

FOXLAIR SYNCOPATION – 3rd Large Green Under Saddle, Kayla Jacobs

(Land’s End Posiedon x Quiet Tempo, Stewart Kohler)

GAP SPRING HEART’S DESIRE18th Medium Green Model, 20th Under Saddle, Dale Crittenberger, Kierstin Antoniadis

(Gypsy Time Traveler x Clementine, Debra Meighan)

GLENHAVEN ASTORIA – 4th Overall Small Green, 3rd Model, 8th Under Saddle, 6th Over Fences, Parker Peacock, Libbie Gordon

(*Downland Rembrandt x Glenhaven St. Aria, Suzanne Moody)

GLENHAVEN GOLDEN IDOL – 9th Overall Large Green, 7th Over Fences, Hannah Hieber

(Glenhaven Leonardo x Glenhaven Golden Ibis, Suzanne Moody)

GYPSY’S SWEETHEART – 20th Medium Green Overall, Patty Davis, Morgan Rosia

(Gypsy Time Traveler x Mexicala Choice, Patty Davis)

KINGSLAND – 14th Large Green Under Saddle, Stone McCormick

(Land’s End Adonis x Special Effect, Jeanne Marie Gelber)

M&M WAY TOO FOXY – 10th Small Green Model, Kacy Baumgart

(Blue Fox x Gayfields Pattycake, Martine Hartogensis)

M&M WAY TOO LUCKY – 13th Small Green Model, Kelly Baumgart

(Blue Fox x Gayfields Pattycake, Martine Hartogensis)

SAVED BY THE BELLA – 7th Medium Green Under Saddle, Gabrielle Sousa

(Rocky Creek’s Wendy Adonis x Treasure, Christina Phillips)

SERAFINA’S MILLENNIUM – 17th Medium Green Under Saddle, Gabriella Hoard-West, Hana Bieling

(Land’s End Poseidon x Coming Up Roses, Claiborne Bishop)

WOODLANDS PADME’ – 14th Overall Small Green, 10th Under Saddle, 14th Over Fences, Katie Lela Pollock

(Halcyon Sir Lancelot x Woodlands Miss Sue, Bo & Kay Randolph)

WOODLANDS POLAR BEAR – 1st Overall Small Green, 15th Model, 7th Under Saddle, 1st Over Fences, Bibby Hill, Devon Seek

(Clovercroft Polarized x Hillcrest’s Silver Belle, Bo & Kay Randolph)