Knight and Day and Emi Richard Conquer USHJA Pony Derby, Presented by MARS Equestrian™

Emi Richard & Knight and Day, winners of the $5,000 USHJA Pony Derby, presented by MARS Equestrian™. Photo by Sportfot

Edited Press Release

Featured competition was pint-sized as pony hunters took to the grass derby field at Equestrian Village on Friday of Week 9 at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Emi Richard of Middlefield, CT, won the $5,000 USHJA Pony Derby, presented by MARS Equestrian™. 

Sixty-two small, medium and large ponies took to the field, competing at their respective heights over a course designed by Andy Christiansen (ECU). The class, held in traditional hunter derby format, consisted of a first round course, giving riders their ‘Classic’ round score and was followed by the Handy round where the top 12 riders returned to test and secure their final placings.

Richard and Knight and Day, owned by Lakeview, Inc., competed in the large section and returned last after scoring an 86 to set the standard in the opening round.

“Tommy [as Knight and Day is known in the barn] is only seven-years-old, so he’s a green pony this year and he’s been absolutely great,” said Richard. “His jump and canter is amazing and always makes my ride with him so fun.”

Emi Richard & Knight and Day are presented as winners of the $5,000 USHJA Pony Derby, presented by MARS Equestrian™ by Bridgett McIntosh, PhD, Director at MARS Equestrian™. Photo by Sportfot

After returning in reverse order of standing for the hand, Richard earned an 85.5 for a total score of 171.5 to secure the blue. 

“It’s definitely a different environment on the field,” said Richard. “It’s so different for us pony riders who spend most of our season on pony island; it’s really nice.” 

Only three months into their partnership, Richard and Knight and Day have hit their stride with top placings across the large pony and large green pony hunters, including claiming Large Green Pony Hunter Reserve Champion during WEF 7.

Kenzie Smith & Blue Tie Affair. Photo by Sportfot

Taking home the red ribbon was Kenzie Smith of Shoreham, NY, and Blue Tie Affair, owned by First Blue LLC. Smith and her small pony mount earned scores of 82.5 and 87 for a second place on a total of 169.5. Closing out the pony podium was Carsyn Korotkin of Wellington, FL, and Pepsi, owned by Lily Epstein. The pair claimed third with scores of 82.75 and 85 for a total of 167.75.

Carsyn Korotkin & Pepsi. Photo by Sportfot

As ribbons were passed and pictures were taken, pony riders high fived all around and cheered each other on. “It’s so much fun to compete with your friends,” said Richard, “It’s like everyone is supporting each other and wants everyone to do well. It’s really nice to have here.” 

Hunter action will continue on the derby field in Saturday’s $25,000 USHJA International Derby, presented by Bainbridge Companies, starting at 9 a.m. For the start list, please click HERE.