Lexington, Ky – Aug. 4, 2022 – Large ponies took to the Claiborne Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park showgrounds on Thursday afternoon, competing for bragging rights to the Large USEF Pony Medal. The large ponies took turns taking center stage, with Claire Marie Diamond and Stoneledge Special Request earning the spotlight at the end of the competition, with Evelyn Bay and Whatdoyasay? settling in right behind them.
Course designer Jasen Shelley (USA) designed the hunter tracks in the Claiborne Ring to showcase the beautiful fluidity between horse and rider. The 41 horse-and-rider pairs were tested on their ability to navigate through a winding and flowing course with several of the jumps coming up short off the corner, causing riders to have to adjust their strides throughout the long bending lines.
Claire Marie Diamond and her own 15-year-old mare, Stoneledge Special Request, seamlessly navigated Shelley’s winding courses with ease. Diamond and her Welsh Pony Cross showcased poise and composure that stood out among other competitors. Piloting Stoneledge Special Request around the ring, Diamond showcased the capabilities of that of a professional rider working with her mount to produce the smoothest rounds of the day while highlighting her horse’s natural handiness over the tight and technical track, earning them the champion title.
Evelyn Bay and her mount, Whatdoyasay?, were within striking distance of the winning title, boasting top scores in her rounds. Not only did Bay utilize her hunter expertise but also her extensive equitation skills to guide Whatdoyasay? to a near perfect round. After putting forth applaudable effort over the course, the promising pair were able to tuck the reserve champion title under their belts.
Hunter competition resumes, Friday, Aug. 5, kicking off at 8:00am EST in both the StoneLea and Claiborne Rings. Hunter competition will then come to a head on Saturday, Aug. 6, at 8:00am EST with the USHJA National Hunter Derby.