Wellington, Fla. – Mar. 5, 2020 – Ponies took the spotlight at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival showgrounds Friday morning as small, medium and large ponies were welcomed to the Stadium Derby Field for the $5,000 USHJA Pony Derby. Fifty-one young riders and their mounts competed for the tricolor ribbon, but it was Clara Propp aboard her large pony News Day who emerged victorious with a total score of 166. Vivian Golden rode Dressed to Go to second place, and Kat Fuqua and Chic in Time rounded out the podium with third.
First to take to the derby field were the 11 large ponies and their riders, followed by 23 medium ponies and 17 small ponies. Designed by Andy Christiansen, a 10-fence course was offered to competitors that included four option jumps, a vertical-to-oxer line and a fence near open water which spooked several combinations into refusals.
Heading into the handy round, a cut-off score of 74 brought 12 pairs back to the field to try their hand at the second, shorter course. Competing in reverse order, four combinations from each size group showed off their abilities in a bid to impress the judges. The addition of a bending line, a new option jump and a trot jump challenged horses and riders, but several duos managed to tackle the new field successfully, earning scores in the 80s.
Golden and Fuqua, who earned first round scores of 82 and 81, respectively, both improved upon their earlier scores with impressive handy rides and ascended up the rankings. Sitting in first place following her first ride with a score of 86, Propp needed to earn a score of 80 to maintain her standings in the placings. The final combination of the afternoon, Propp and News Day did just enough to convince the judges that they deserved the blue, earning a second round score of 80 for a winning total of 166. News Day, owned by Aquitaine Equine, is a seasoned veteran of the pony ring, and earned seventh place in the same class in 2019.
The second-place ribbon was awarded to Golden and Dressed to Go, who fell just behind Propp with a total score of 165. Fuqua and Chic in Time earned third prize with a total score of 163.
Competition will continue at the Stadium Derby Field on Saturday morning with the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Clara Propp – $5,000 USHJA Pony Derby winner
On News Day:
“His name is News Day and his barn name is Newsy. He’s a large pony, and he’s absolutely amazing in and out of the show ring. He’s a little bit quick, but in the show ring he acts perfectly. You can tell that he’s a show pony. He’s a little bit nibble-y, he bites a little bit, especially when you’re giving him his food, but once he comes up to the ring he’s really sweet. He rubs up against you and itches you. My sister had him first as a green. Three or four years ago she moved up to horses and she passed him down to me. He’s honestly the best. As a green pony he never spooked and he was so honest and kind.”
On her rounds:
“I was really happy with them. [News Day] was absolutely perfect. I did this class last year and he was so good, and I couldn’t have been happier with how he did and how I did. Going into the handy, I knew that I just needed to do enough, but I still tried to make all the tightest turns. I didn’t want to let my nerves get to me, and I just rode how I always ride.”
$5,000 USHJA Pony Derby
1. News Day / Clara Propp
2. Dressed to Go / Vivian Golden
3. Chic in Time / Kat Fuqua
4. Wellspring’s Roxstar / Isabella David
5. Deja Blue / Lily Epstein
6. Hidden Springs Waltz / Vivian Golden
7. Swag / Madison Keese
8. NewHaven’s Magnum / Addison Stoughton
9. Benlea Mizzou / Katherine Mercer
10. Woodlands Polar Bear / Lillian Stoughton
11. Secret Crush / Olivia Sweetnam
12. Goldhills As You Like It / Vivian Golden