Edited Press Release
Aiken, S.C.—June 21, 2022—Pony Hunters took over the Aiken Horse Park at Bruce’s Field on Tuesday, June 20 during the Aiken Summer Classic II as they displayed their skills in the 2023 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Championship – East. With a flowing Classic Round followed by a brilliant Handy, Anna Tyler, of Raleigh, North Carolina, etched her name in history and dominated the podium aboard GC Ponies, LLC’s Etch-A-Sketch and Nominee, scoring a 164 to take home the championship title and a 160.5 for the reserve champion honors.
“It feels really good to have won grand and reserve [at the USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Championship – East]. I have always wanted to accomplish something this big. I went into the class to put down fun and consistent trips on both of the ponies and really exceeded my expectations. I was really excited to hear the results in the end,” said Tyler on her wins.
After working to qualify throughout the year, ponies were welcomed to the Pony Hunter Derby field to compete over Nancy Wallis and Paul Jewell’s first-round course. The field started with 26 ponies and was then narrowed down to 21 to return for the Handy Round, where riders could earn bonus points with smooth inside turns, while still allowing their ponies to demonstrate a beautiful jump over each fence.
Tyler took the lead initially with Nominee and Etch-A-Sketch in second after beginning the day with two solid Classic Rounds. Staying at the top of the leaderboard, she impressed the judges in the Handy Round, showcasing each of her mounts’ jumping abilities. She was rewarded with a score of 164 to earn the championship title with Etch-A-Sketch as well as the High Score Award in the Large Pony section.
“For the Handy, I was wanting to go in and put down solid trips. I was a little nervous but after the course walk and warming up, I felt pretty ready. Both ponies were really awesome in the first trip and I wanted to carry that over into the Handy,” Tyler said of the final round.
Tyler rides with Robin Greenwood of Grand Central Inc. of Southern Pines, North Carolina. “I enjoy learning from my trainer Robin Greenwood and [would like to thank] our groom, Billy Millen, who always keeps us smiling,” she said.
“It’s been a really fun experience to have the opportunity to show both of these ponies. These two have such unique personalities. I love how they always tried their best to me with me when we go in the ring and it has been amazing to learn from them. I really love every moment I get to go into the ring with them,” Tyler continued of her mounts. “Etch-A-Sketch, whose barn name is Sketch, is such a perfect pony and has the biggest heart. He is a really special pony who lights up in the ring. For my other pony, Boss (Nominee), I have had him for two years now. He is a really fun ride and always puts a smile on my face. He has really taught me a lot and I love him, despite our occasional what we call, shark moments.”
Emerson Euler, of Waxhaw, North Carolina, aboard her own Bridlewood in Deemand took home third overall and the High Score Award in the Medium Pony section. Ivy Smith, of Charlotte, North Carolina, and BWI Ranch 1, LLC’s Whinny The Blue took the High Score Award for the Small Pony section.
The USHJA Pony Hunter Derby offers Juniors the opportunity to compete ponies in a series modeled after the International and National Hunter Derby programs. Competitors can earn National and Zone Horse of The Year bonus points, year-end series awards, and qualify to compete in either the East Coast or West Coast Championships.
The USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Championships feature two rounds—a Classic Hunter-style course and a Handy Hunter course. Fence heights are adjusted by size (small – 2’3″, medium – 2’6″, and large 2’9″-3’0″), but the class is not split by size. Each derby is pinned through 12th place.
The USHJA sends special thanks to the entire Aiken Horse Park and Classic Company Ltd team for hosting the Championship; to Official Sponsors CWD, Nutrena and Parlanti; and to Award Sponsors Boy-O-Boy Bridleworks, Essex and Parlanti.
For more information about the USHJA Pony Hunter Derby, visit ushja.org/PonyHunterDerby.
Photos: Eye Was Here Photography
USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Championship – East Results
Horse | Rider | Owner
Round 1 Avg. | Round 2 Avg. | Final Score
1. Etch-A-Sketch | Anna Tyler | GC Ponies, LLC
82.5 | 81.5 | 164
2. Nominee | Anna Tyler | GC Ponies, LLC
84.5 | 76 | 160.5
3. Bridlewood In Deemand | Emerson Euler | Emerson Euler
79 | 80.5 | 159.5
4. Wishlea Star Strong | Charlotte Morassutti | Wynmore Farm LLC
78.5 | 81 | 159.5
5. Greymeadows Vouge | Lila Kissel | Lila Kissel
69 | 85 | 154
6. Heaven’s Gift | Elle Boyd | Lulu Wells
75.5 | 76.25 | 151.75
7. Whinny The Blue | Ivy Smith | BWI Ranch 1, LLC
74.75 | 74.4 | 149.25
8. Crocodile Rock | Sarasen Jablon | Sarasen Jablon
66 | 77.5 | 143.5
9. Benjamin Buttons | Campbell Clement | Red Fox Equestrian, LLC
74 | 67.5 | 141.5
10. Bluebird Matthew | Alston McLane
68.25 | 72 | 140.25
11. Beau’s Master Piece | Katie Kim | Koryo Equine LLC
63.25 | 76 | 139.25
12. Paris | Ivy Smith | BWI Ranch 1, LLC
71.5 | 65 | 136.5