Pony Finals Must Do’s

BY INTERN 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!

Augusta Iwasaki and Bit of Laughter take a victory lap at the 2015 USEF Pony Finals. Photo by TPH intern Emy Lucibello.

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.

Go shopping

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!

Ponytail Bows offers customizable official USEF Pony Finals bows and more. Photo courtesy of Ponytail Bows.

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.

Watching the rings at the shows leading up to Pony Finals is a great way to prepare for the competition ahead. Photo by TPH intern Emy Lucibello.

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.