By Kate Pettersen and Sabrina Brashares for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
The Large Pony Hunter division came to an end on Sunday in Ring 11 on Pony Island with the crowning of the champion. Aundrea Hillyard and Agatha Lignelli’s Chiccobello were unstoppable and won every class in the division to take home the tricolor ribbon.
Hillyard, of Lewisburg, PA, is a working student for Hidden Ridge Inc., which is how she got the catch ride on Chiccobello. Trainer Evan Coluccio was thrilled with the outcome and also to give the “amazing and hardworking” rider the opportunity.
“I ride him at home quite a bit, and he is such a cool pony,” said Hillyard of the 14-year-old German Riding Pony gelding. “I am mainly catch riding down here and I started as a working student four months ago, which has been amazing. My family owns a farm and we have gotten ponies from Evan in the past, so that’s how I met them.”
Hillyard proved to be an excellent match with Chiccobello and piloted the pony to win every class, including the Large Pony Hunter Classic with scores of 84 and 86. The pair also received a high score of 90 in the handy round. Owner Lignelli rode Chiccobello to the blue ribbon in the under saddle.
“He is so fun. I really enjoy riding him,” commented Hillyard. “Our handy was great; he always turns so well. I know he was a pony jumper in Europe so he has a lot of scope, and he loves the handy classes.”
For the rest of the season Hillyard hopes to continue getting opportunities to catch ride both horses and ponies. Hillyard, 16 years old, is currently a junior in high school and wants to make the most of her remaining junior years. “I want to get as much experience as I can while I’m here and learn as much as I possibly can as well,” described Hillyard.
Brianne Beerbaum rode Heritage Farm, Inc.’s Rashinga to the reserve champion title for the division. Beerbaum, of Wellington, FL, piloted Rashinga to two seconds, two fifths, and an eighth place finish.