Lexington, Ky – Aug. 10, 2022 – Day two of competition at the 2022 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Honor Hill Farms, continued in the Rolex Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park Wednesday morning with the leaders of the Regular Large Pony Hunters riding for championship honors. After a brief rain delay due to severe thunderstorms, 147 horse-and-rider combinations tried their hand at the 10 obstacle course. Aundrea Hillyard and Goldmark emerged victorious as the Regular Large Pony Hunter champion.
Hillyard piloted the 7-year-old Warmblood gelding, owned by Take 3 LLC, around Bobby Murphy’s classic hunter track with ease. Posting scores in the 90’s from all three judges, Hillyard and the striking Buckskin gelding laid down a combined total of 276.16 points. Ava Barnes and Prestige took home the red ribbon after earning a total of 252.660 points, while Katherine Mercer and Emma Brody’s Rolex rounded out the top three with a score of 251.820.
Upon completion of the three rounds of competition, Hillyard and Goldmark were welcomed back into the Rolex Stadium to be awarded the first tri-color of the week – The Regular Large Hunter Pony Championship. Their textbook hunter style, impeccable turnout, and consistency catapulted the duo from ninth place overall to the top of the podium Wednesday evening.
Dr. Betsee Parker’s Brixton, ridden by Vivian Golden, took home Reserve Championship Honors after equally impressive efforts. Entering today’s competition, Golden and the 12-year-old Deutsches Reitpony gelding held the top spot before Hillyard took to the stadium with confidence. Ava Barnes and Prestige rounded out the top three overall standings in the Regular Large Pony Hunter Division, with a two-day total of 1017.300 points. Sitting in 15th place at the end of day one, Barnes and the 11-year-old Belgian Riding Pony showed they were a force to be reckoned with after riding to the second highest scores of the day. The pair’s second place finish in the over fences round secured them the overall third place title.
While only being partnered together since May, Hillyard and Goldmark are no strangers to the winner’s circle after earning top placings at The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival [Traverse City, Michigan] and the Upperville Colt and Horse Show [Upperville, VA]. “Goldmark was really jumping today,” commented Hillyard. “He got a lot of height on the jumps and was listening super well.” This is Hillyard’s final year at Pony Finals, but the talented junior isn’t done yet. The 17-year-old plans to continue her equestrian career at the collegiate level, and is headed off to Baylor University this fall, where she will ride on their Division 1 IHSA Team. When asked about how it felt to post the highest scores of her career, she remarked “Amazing! I felt on top of the world.”
Not to be outdone by the large ponies, the Regular Small Pony Hunter Division began bright and early to kick off day two. Lauren Padilla and Celebration, owned by Highland Farm LLC, topped the under saddle out of a field of 112 small ponies, while Alina McLean and Westley, owned by Olivia Golden, took the blue in the model phase. Padilla and Celebration are sitting atop the leaderboard going into the final phase of competition, boasting the highest combined score from day one of the Regular Small Pony Hunters.
The 2022 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Honor Hill Farms, continues Thursday at 7:00 am EST with the Medium and Large Green Pony Hunter Model and Under Saddle classes. Due to inclement weather Wednesday, the Small Green Pony Hunters will conclude their third phase of competition with the over fences portion to crown the Small Green Pony Hunter Champion. The excitement in the Rolex Stadium will conclude with the Regular Small Pony Hunter Over Fences. The Claiborne Ring will showcase its first pony competitors Thursday morning with the Training Jumpers, followed by the first round of Individual Jumper Competition later in the afternoon.
On her pony, Goldmark:
“He was really jumping today. He got a lot of height on the jumps and was listening super well. He was super in it today. He’s so fun, he’s like a little horse. He has so much scope and so much stride…His personality [is my favorite]. He’s not the warmest to everyone so when he warms up to you it’s really nice.”
On being at Pony Finals:
“This is my third year of Pony Finals. It means a lot to be here because it’s my last year. Seeing all the people here and all the kids that work really hard to get here. Everyone is really happy to be here. It’s really fun.”
On riding in the Rolex Stadium:
“It’s fun! I’ve only competed in the Walnut [arena] so it was a nice change, it’s a fun ring.”
2022 Large Pony Hunters Overall
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Score
Goldmark / Aundrea Hillyard / Take 3 LLC / 1069.30
Brixton / Vivian Golden / Betsee Parker / 1031.50
Prestige / Ava Barnes / Ava Barnes / 1017.30
Rockaway / Madeline Rubin / Briar Field Farm, LLC / 1009.10
Olof / Rylie True / Rylie True / 1005.70
Touch The Sun / Violet Rheingold / Violet Rheingold / 995.39
Rolex / Katherine Mercer / Emma Brody / 988.99
Sahara / Taylor Silvius / Taylor Silvius / 988.19
Rashinga / Agatha Lignelli / Serena Theodoracopulos / 987.13
Heaven’s Gift / Lulu Wells / Lulu Wells / 986.40
2022 Large Pony Hunters Over Fences
Goldmark / Aundrea Hillyard / Take 3 LLC / 276.16
Prestige / Ava Barnes / Ava Barnes / 252.66
Rolex / Katherine Mercer / Emma Brody / 251.82
Rashinga / Agatha Lignelli / Serena Theodoracopulos / 250.61
Touch The Sun / Violet Rheingold / Violet Rheingold / 250.61
Brixton / Vivian Golden / Betsee Parker / 249.54
Olof / Rylie True / 249.54
Rockaway / Madeline Rubin / Briar Field Farm, LLC / 248.81
Daventry’s Davinci / Capri Truesdale / Bonnie Way Equestrian / 246.71
WhatDoYaSay? / Evelyn Bay / Evelyn Bay / 242.98
2022 Regular Small Pony Hunter Leading Overall
Celebration / Lauren Padilla / Highland Farm, LLC / 525.70
So Enchanted / Ella Tarumianz / Sprucedale INC / 516.59
Sugarbrook Burnside / Ella Jane Howard / Sweet Oak Farm / 516.11
Patchwork Caramel Candy / Stella Rumanes / Liberty Lane Farms, INC. / 515.14
Press Play / Corinne Colter / Peter J Pletcher / 513.70
Way Too Charming / Logan Baras / Winsome LLC / 512.69
Memphis / Agatha Lignelli / Monarch Farms, LLC / 510.96
Westley / Alina McLean / Olivia Golden / 510.84
Partly Cloudy / Beverly Allen / Vanessa Mazzoli / 510.69
Old School / Isabelle Castellanos / Isabelle Castellanos / 510.30