By Kathleen Landwehr, US Equestrian Communications Department
Lexington, Ky. – The 2021 USEF Pony Finals presented by Honor Hill Farms ended on Sunday afternoon with the Marshall & Sterling/USEF Pony Medal Finals in the Rolex Stadium. A total of 184 young athletes rode over Jasen Shelley’s course in hopes of winning the coveted title. A total of 20 riders with 4 from the small section, 11 from the medium section, and 5 from the large section returned for the second round over another solid course. Judges Lynn Forgione and Daniel Robertshaw required no further testing, and Olivia Sweetnam was declared the 2021 champion.
Sweetnam (Wellington, Fla.) had a stellar first round with On Your Mark, Sweet Oak Farm’s 2008 Welsh pony gelding, to sit atop the leaderboard for the second round. She and trainer Danny Arendt came up with a plan and Sweetnam executed it well.
“We were just hoping for a smooth, consistent round since yesterday went really well, and we were hoping for the same outcome today,” said Sweetnam.
For the second round, Sweetnam prepared in the warm-up ring and delivered another excellent performance when it mattered most. “We planned [the inside turns] beforehand and practiced them in the schooling area so it was a bit easier in there. We had our plan set out from like six o’clock this morning when we saw the course.”
After claiming four reserve champion titles throughout the week, Sweetnam finally earned top honors. Her hard work paid off, and she was sure to thank her pony.
“I love him so much, said Sweetnam. “I can always put pressure on him and know that he won’t do anything wrong. If I ever need to pull out something big, he is the one I pull out because I know he has me covered.”
McKayla Brombach (Wimberley, Texas) claimed the reserve champion title with California Dreamin’, Millenium Farm Inc’s 2009 German Sporthorse gelding, while Maddie Tosh (Milton, Ga.) was third with Storyteller, Dr. Betsee Parker’s 2003 German Sport Pony gelding.
- Olivia Sweetnam
- McKayla Brombach
- Maddie Tosh
Find out more information about the USEF Pony Finals presented by Honor Hill Farms at www.ponyfinals.org.