BY ANNIE BIRMINGHAM
With the start of the annual USEF Pony Finals quickly approaching, perfectly prepped ponies and their equally adorable riders from across the country are perfecting their final touches before heading to the Kentucky Horse Park for their moment to shine in the Walnut Ring. But with all of the excitement leading up to the competition, it’s also important to plan accordingly for your downtime at the show to ensure that you don’t miss out on any of the fun that this unique event has to offer. Here are our top five Pony Finals must do’s!
Trail ride on the cross country field
The Kentucky Horse Park is home to the world-renowned Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event, which means the park has rolling fields with natural looking cross country jumps that quite literally go for miles. Riding is not allowed on the field during Pony Finals, but making a point to head out for a hack on the field before the show starts is a great way to stretch your pony’s legs and ease both horse and riders minds for the competition ahead.
The vendors at Pony Finals seem almost never ending, with rows of shops lining the pathways by the main hunter rings, the Walnut ring, and the farrier’s workshop. From official USEF Pony Finals gear, to custom bows galore, and everyday essentials, the only thing you can hurt while shopping at Pony Finals is to your wallet!
The golf cart parade
A unique aspect of the many traditions of Pony Finals is the annual golf cart parade, which takes place every year in the Alltech Arena before the pony jumper competition kicks off. Kids pair into teams, dress up their golf cart to fit a theme of their choosing, and face off to try and win the ultimate bragging rights. The parade typically garners a large audience, and is enjoyable for spectators and competitors alike.
Tour the KHP
The Kentucky Horse Park is highly regarded for its museums and educational opportunities for horse lovers of all ages. If you find yourself with some downtime, be sure to visit the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, the Wheeler Museum, or any of the horse park’s dozens of attractions!
Watch the rings
The Walnut ring at Pony Finals is known for its long and flowing lines, and you can never be too prepared! Take a break from the Kentucky sun, and keep an eye on the competition from the shade at the top of the hill.
With the proper planning for both your time in the show ring and hanging out at the horse park, your experience at the 2018 USEF Pony Finals is guaranteed to be one to remember.
About the Author: Annie Birmingham is an 18 year old equestrian from Long Island, New York. A freshman at Long Island University studying equine management, Annie can usually be found spending time at the barn and grooming at horse shows up and down the East Coast.
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