Wellington, Fla. – March 8, 2019 – Ponies took the spotlight at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival showgrounds on Friday morning where small, medium and large ponies were welcomed to the Stadium Derby Field for the $5,000 USHJA Pony Derby. Cecelia Perry and Pokerface emerged victorious, while Mae Mannis rode Mind Your Step to second place and Carolyn Colter rode So Enchanted to third.
Course designer Danny Moore set two 10-fence rounds, the second being a handy round, to test a total of 53 pairs. The first round featured a rollback, four option jumps and many long lines that left space for error for many riders. Twelve riders were invited back for the handy round where many ponies struggled over new jumps and the suddenly-visible pond on the back side of obstacle two. A fern-covered trot jump with no standards was also an issue for many as they rode for their second set of scores. The increase in difficulty for the second round altered the leaderboard considerably, bumping Hidden Springs Waltz and Vivian Golden from the top spot where Perry took over the lead.
With two seamless trips, Perry and Pokerface received scores of 80 and 87 that led them to the championship ribbon. Pokerface, a 10-year-old Dutch Riding Pony gelding owned by Winter Tietjen, is regularly successful in the Large Pony division, despite being a fairly new partnership for Perry. His expressive jump and bold white face make him a showstopper in and out of the arena.
The second place ribbon was awarded to Mannis and Mind Your Step, an 18-year-old Dutch Riding Pony owned by Ashland Farms. Mind Your Step has competed in the Medium Pony division and pony medals throughout the 2019 season of the Winter Equestrian Festival.
Following behind in third place was Colter and So Enchanted, a 10-year-old Welsh Pony Cross owned by Jessica Zandri. The mare is consistent within the Small Pony division with Colter.
Competition on the Stadium Derby Field continues on Saturday at 8 a.m. with the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Classic.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Cecelia Perry – $5,000 USHJA Pony Derby winner
On her Pokerface:
“He is super sweet, he loves to eat and he loves to lick you and give kisses! He is 10 years old. We call him ‘Pokey,’ ‘Pokes’ and a lot of other things! I love his personality. He likes to kiss me and I love how cuddly and cute he is. I just love him.”
On her first round:
“When I went in, I just wanted to make sure he was getting over the jumps and having a good learning experience. It is only my second time going in [a derby] and first time on a large. I believe this is his first time doing a derby and first time on the grass so I wanted him to not be nervous when I went in the ring. I wanted him to be happy when he went in the grass ring and have fun!”
On her handy round:
“I was a little nervous about the second jump. I saw some ponies look at it and not like it, but I knew Poker would do it because he is perfect like that and helps me whenever I need help!”
On how she will celebrate the win:
“This is really exciting! I did not think this would happen so I was really excited when it did. He is probably going to eat all of his treats [to celebrate]!”
$5,000 USHJA Pony Derby
Place / Horse / Rider
1. Pokerface / Cecelia Perry
2. Mind Your Step / Mae Mannis
3. So Enchanted / Carolyn Colter
4. Kudos / Amira Kettaneh
5. Storyteller / Caroline Signorino
6. Frosted / Georgia Jacob
7. News Day / Clara Propp
8. Sterling / Sterling Malnik
9. Hidden Springs Waltz / Vivian Golden
10. Brighton / Kat Fuqua
11. Benetton / Georgia Jacob
12. Casino De Luxe / Sterling Malnik