Pony Palooza Wrap Up: Blenheim EquiSports Hosts Two Weeks of Pony Power

Lorelei Riding Ponies' Small Illustration and Augusta Iwasaki.
Lorelei Riding Ponies’ Small Illustration and Augusta Iwasaki

Shining Stars include Cavour, Captain America, Small Illustration, Joseph, Iwasaki and more…


July 3, 2016 – San Juan Capistrano, CA – Starting with the Emerson Burr Horsemanship Grant Exam, a Zone Ten Pony Challenge in the middle and ending with a Markel Pony Derby, Pony Palooza days were filled with gorgeous small, medium and large ponies that modeled, strutted and jumped on the grass. When not competing, pony riders participated in quizzes, cupcake and ice cream parties and wore smiles that could be seen for miles.

The $5,000 Markel Pony Hunter Derby 

Seventeen ponies participated in the $5,000 Markel Pony Hunter Derby on a sunnySaturday morning during the Blenheim Red, White & Blue Classic. After two rounds and all the scores were tallied, Cavour (Grace Russo, owner) and Juliette Joseph earned the top call, blue ribbon and high score of the day.

Cavour with Juliette Joseph and (l-r) Blenheim EquiSports' Melissa Brandes, Brandon Seger and Chris Norden of Markel Insurance, Karen Perlow, Equitex Leading Hunter Trainer Archie Cox and Balmoral Farm Leading Hunter Owner Grace Russo.
Cavour with Juliette Joseph and (l-r) Blenheim EquiSports’ Melissa Brandes, Brandon Seger and Chris Norden of Markel Insurance, Karen Perlow, Equitex Leading Hunter Trainer Archie Cox and Balmoral Farm Leading Hunter Owner Grace Russo.

Starting the morning with donuts and drinks courtesy of Blenheim EquiSports, pony riders negotiated the classic round with twelve returning for the handy. As can happen in a round with tight turns and trot jumps, minor mishaps affected scores. However, several showed some true handy colors and earned top scores. Augusta Iwasaki on the adorable medium True Colors moved up to second overall by scoring an impressive 88 + 9 handy points. Joseph and Cavour came in with an 83 and stayed on top with a handy score of 86 + 8 handy points.

Joseph and Cavour, trained by Archie Cox, met this winter at Thermal when she first competed on him. “He is still green, but is a very brave and dependable pony. He’s super fun to ride and easy to find the distances on. He is not spooky and is very predictable,” she remarked.

Cavour and Juliette Joseph
Cavour and Juliette Joseph

Other stellar handy scores went to Iwasaki on Goodness Gracious (85+8), ultimately third in the class, Skylar Wireman and Little Cutie Patootie (84+7), who also earned the Small Pony High Score Award and finished fourth overall. Northern Californian Avery Glynn and Pink Cadillac were fifth, with handy scores of 84 +4.

High Score Awards, generously sponsored by Liz Reilly and Chris Iwasaki of Makoto Farms with Nick Haness of Hunterbrook Farms were awarded to: Cavour for the Large section, True Colors for the medium section and Little Cutie Patootie for the small section.

Congratulations also to Archie Cox, winner of the Equitex Leading Hunter Trainer prize, and to Cavour’s owner, Grace Russo, who won the Balmoral Farm Leading Hunter Owner Award.

Martine, the groom for Charlie’s Angel, took home the Shapley’s Best Turned Out Award.

The USHJA Zone 10 Pony Challenge

Over 50 ponies came to play in the USHJA Zone 10 Pony Challenge on a lovely weekend during the Blenheim June Classic III. Saturday’s scores on the line and under saddle, were tallied with Sunday’s over fences class to determine the top Zone 10 ponies of 2016. Medium pony Captain America (owner, Mackenzie Root), with Augusta Iwasaki in the irons, had a grand total of 259 to earn the Overall Grand Champion award. It was Iwasaki’s first time showing this pony and they hit it off, finishing with solid scores of 86 (model), 88 (under saddle) and 85 (over fences) in the three classes.

On a pony she started riding in June, Iwasaki also piloted Small Illustration (Lorelei Riding Ponies, breeder and owner) to the Green Pony Grand Champion. This East Coast-bred Welsh pony also earned a grand total of 259.

Overall Grand Champion Captain America with Augusta Iwasaki.
Overall Grand Champion Captain America with Augusta Iwasaki.

Erin Marbut, of Lorelei Riding Ponies, knew that they had a special pony when they imported Small Illustration from the U.K. in 2014. “I’ve seen lots of ponies over the years, and had never seen one move like this one – as if she’s floating on clouds, and so quiet.”

Marbut continued, “In all my years of showing, I had never won a cooler – and at Blenheim, she won two!”

More congratulations go to the ponies and riders that also earned high scores for division championships and reserve championships, including Medium Pony Reserve Champion Stella Wasserman aboard Trillville, with 82, 85 and 83. Wasserman was also Reserve Champion in the Small Pony division on Blueberry Hill, earning 86, 84 and 81. And Evelyn Walker walked away with Small Pony Champion on Royal Moment with scores of 84, 88 and 80.5.

Royal Moment, owned by Maddie Stiles, and Evelyn Walker.
Royal Moment, owned by Maddie Stiles, and Evelyn Walker.

Emerson Burr Horsemanship Grant

During the first week of Pony Palooza, pony riders participated in the Emerson Burr Horsemanship Grant Exam. Testing the equestrian knowledge of the sport’s future star riders, the winners were: Stella Wasserman (age group 9-11); Juliette Joseph (age group 12-14); and Hannah Heiber (age group 15-17).

Makoto Farms & Hunterbrook Farms kept everyone smiling after racking their brains on the exam, by sponsoring the Zone 10 Pony Hunter Challenge Cupcake Party.

RESULTS Blenheim EquiSports wishes all ponies large, medium and small a great second half of 2016. Looking forward to Pony Palooza 2017!

$5,000 Markel Pony Hunter Derby

Place – Entry – Horse Name – Rider – Owner – Rd 1 Score/Rd 2 Score/Overall Score

  1. 466 – Cavour – Juliette Joseph – Grace Russo  – 83/86+8/177
  2. 393 – True Colors – Augusta Iwasaki – Joe White – 76/88+9/173
  3. 396 – Goodness Gracious – Augusta Iwasaki – John French – 75/85+8/168
  4. 509 – Little Cutie Patootie – Skylar Wireman – Shayne Berridge – 68/84+7/159
  5. 423 – Pink Cadillac – Avery Glynn – Carol Lynne Nelms – 70/84+4/158
  6. 358 – Whispering Mikado – Skylar Wireman – Kelly Covey – 81/68+8/157
  7. 454 – Trillville – Stella Wasserman- Stella Wasserman – 65/83+7/155
  8. 274 – Hidden Spring’s French Vanilla – Ella Kaplan – Alexis Cluer – 72/76+5/153
  9. 508 – Thin Mint – Juliette Joseph – Nicole Husky – 86/40+4/130
  10. 421 – Small Addition – Augusta Iwasaki – Evelyn Walker – 74/50/124
  11. 155 – Charlie’s Angel – Juliette Joseph – Nicole Husky – 78/40+5/123
  12. 129 – Always Happy + Avery Glynn – Brooke Morin – 79/40/119