By Tatum Mitchell
In addition to fences and flat classes, one major part of Pony Finals is the model. The clinic will cover what to expect in the model in Lexington and how to best prepare.
Crandall, who trains at Emily Elek’s Stonewall Farm during the Kentucky Summer Shows, is a seasoned rider, trainer and judge with more than 30 years of judging experience. From Devon to the USEF Junior Hunter National Championships – West Coast, he has judged at numerous prestigious horse shows, and he has officiated at USEF Pony Finals on four previous occasions.
“It’s giving them an overview of what they need to know: how they need to stand their ponies up, what they need to expect, the things that they should try to do and how to present their ponies and themselves in front of a judge,” says Crandall.
Brooks, frequently a co-host on the Plaidcast, brings years of experience in the industry as trainer and owner of Balmoral Farm alongside her husband, Carleton Brooks. Together, they most recently trained Only Always to the Grand Hunter Championship at The Devon Horse Show. Carleton and Traci have taught numerous pony modeling clinics across the country.
“The model seems to bring up anxiety in young riders, especially because they don’t get to practice it much in a show environment these days,” says Traci. “Hopefully we can shed some light and help everyone to feel comfortable and learn to showcase their pony’s best attributes.”
While a Pony Finals veteran, 2022 will mark the first time Crandall has participated in the clinic side of the event.
“Traci is very well spoken, very well informed and knows what she’s doing,” says Crandall. “So hopefully I can add something to it and make a difference that way.”
Brooks encourages riders to watch videos from last year’s modeling clinic as well as other educational videos on her Balmoral TV to learn more.
“Because space is limited, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a spot to participate. Attending and watching will be just as informative,” says Brooks.
THe 2022 USEF Pony Finals will take place at the Kentucky Horse Park, August 9-14. The Pony Modeling Clinic will occur at 7:30am and 9:00am on Tuesday, August 9 and at 6:30am on Wednesday, August 10.
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