Zone 10a Grabs Gold in the 2021 Pony Jumper National Championship Team Competition

Lexington, KY – August 13, 2021 – The 2021 Pony Jumper National Championship Team Competition was the highlight of the Pony Jumper competition today at the USEF Pony Finals, presented by Honor Hill Farms. The four-person team from Zone 10a, took home the gold medal and continued a winning streak for young California equestrians at this year’s event. The team from Zone 1/7 were rewarded with a silver medal for their efforts, while team Combined Flyers were the bronze medal-winning team.

The team excitement played out in the Caliborn Ring, at the Kentucky Horse Park and featured competitive pony jumper athletes from all across the United States. A total of six teams competed in a two-round format, where either three of four athletes (dependent on the team) jumped a 14-effort track designed by Jasen Shelley of Wellington, Florida. After all of the riders had completed their first round, the teams came back based on their score from round one, the highest number of faults going first. At the end of the second round, Zone 10a and Zone 1/7 were tied on a combined 20-fault score. Each team then was asked to choose one rider to return to the ring for a third time to complete a short course jump-off. Cash Delia, from Petaluma, California; would be the clinch rider for Zone 10a on his own Trewithian Hawkweed, a 12-year old Connemara pony. Michaela Munson piloted Bluebell, her 21- year old pony on behalf of Zone 1/7 and as the sole representative of the United States Pony Club.

Cash Delia and Trewithian Hawkeweed

The jump-off course featured several rollbacks that challenged Delia and Munson to not only conquer all of the efforts with speed but also a fair degree of accuracy. Deila was the first rider to return and he laid down a blazing fast time of 33.063, showcasing his trust in his pony with a slice over the third vertical on course and several very tidy rollback turns. When Munson followed, she tried her best to meet the time that Delia had clocked, but in the end, crossed the timers with a considerably slower time of 43.659 seconds.

Michaela Munson and Bluebelle

After the conclusion of the competition, the team riders all were awarded their medals and escorted back into the rings where they took to the podiums to be cheered on by their friends and family. Taking the top of the podium with Cash Delia as part of Zone 10a were Kennedy (Kenzie) Chang, Finley Hamilton, and Ashlin Goodwin. Although many of these young equestrians have shown against one another before in California, this was the first time that they had competed as a team, under the skilled direction of Chef d’ Equipe Caroline Sterckx. Streckx was also the Chef d’Equipe for team 10b as well and being the coach for Kennedy (Kenzie) and Finley. The other silver Medal-winning teammates of Munson were Cameron Culver, Winifred Branscum, Abigale Luetjen, and Chef d’Equipe Patti Lutjen. The Zone 2 bronze medal winners were Molly Koczon, Lily Gnojewski, and Devon Owen, and Chef d’ Equipe Donna Owen.

Individual jumping finals will take place tomorrow in the Caliborn Ring at 3:00 pm (est) to conclude the 2021 Pony Jumper National Championship competition. Competition at the 2021 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Honor Hill Farm, will conclude Sunday, August 15, with the highly anticipated Pony Medal.


Zone 10a 

On their plans for the course:

Cash Delia:
“I wanted to stay straight because my horse likes to go left over the jumps. I was trying to stay accurate so I didn’t have any rails.” 

Kennedy Chang:
“Right before the walk, I was really nervous. David Sterckx, my trainer, walked us through the whole thing and he was super supportive.”

Ashlin Goodwin:
“During the walk, I was focused on making sure I knew where to make the adjustments I needed to keep her in my hands because she has a tendency to put her head down and get too fast. I didn’t want to make things too tight and help her keep the jumps up.” 

Finley Hamilton:
“I came a little late to the walk and I had to walk again after everyone else walked and we talked about being straight and having enough rhythm to come to the jumps.” 

On returning for a jump-off:
Cash Delia:
“It’s funny, I was kind of nervous but it was really fun. I didn’t know that I was going to be chosen to come back for the jump-off, it was something they told me before we went in. My horse can jump from a lot of angles and I really like the pressure. It makes me excited to know that there is something on the line.”

Kennedy Chang:
“I was nervous but everything turned out fine.” 

On the team experience:
Cash Delia:
“It was a really great experience to be on a team. We just kind of went for it, because none of us have been here before or been on a team before.”

Caroline Strerckx – Chef d’Équipe

On her 10a team

“I think they all have been consistent and especially Cash at the end, he can handle a lot of stress and be really fast so that is why we chose to send him in for the jump off. The other girls were amazing and really consistent as well.”

On Training the Pony Jumpers:
“I grew up doing pony jumpers in Europe and I have been working really hard to develop that part of the sport here in the U.S.. My students never start with the pony hunters, they go straight to the pony jumpers and I think that is what makes them so competitive. We do not have enough pony jumper classes in California but the show organizers are starting to be more open to add these classes so hopefully we are going to only improve in the future.”


RESULTS – 2021 USEF Pony Jumper National Championships Team Competition

Zone 10A-20
Thunder Azure / Kennedy Chang / Kennedy Change / 68.026 | 8 / 67.660 | 0
Focalize Dew Drop / Finley Hamilton / Finley Hamilton / 69.716 | 0 / 67.660 | 0
Tippy Toes / Ashlin Goodwin / Ashlin Goodwin / 65.712 | 4 / 71.629 | 8
Trewithian Hawkeweed / Cash Delia / Cash Delia / 72.391 | 4 / 70.245 | 4

Zone 1/7-20
Praise On / Cameron Culver / Kimberly Brunson / 71.060 | 0 / 67.212 | 4
Bluebelle / Michaela Munson / Genevieve Munson / 74.544 | 0 / 73.086 | 4
Rewrite The Stars / Winifred Branscum / Winifred Branscum / 71.405 / 4 | 70.571 / 8
High Jynx / Abigale Luetjen / Abigail Luetjen / 92.759 | 21 / EL

Combined Flyers-24
Prince Oliver / Audrey Turner / Audrey Turner / 63.342 | 0 / 65.615 | 4
Star Wish / Deja Valdez / Dejah Valdez / 71.365 | 4 / 69.013 | 8
RR Cool Play / Rider Richardson / Ryder Richardson / 71.635 | 4 / 69.013 | 8
Fluff On Fire / Kaidyn Griggs / Kaidyn Griggs / EL

Zone 2-32
Angel / Molly Koczon / Ponies Unlimited LLC / 64.279 | 4 / 66.545 | 0
Kinka’s Girl / Lily Gnojewski / Ponies Unlimited LLC / 67.108 | 4 / 68.372 | 4
Ez To Spot / Devon Owen / Ponies Unlimited LLC / 67.577 | 4 / 67.225 | 4

Zone 4-43
Ginger Spice / Nyree Pascucci / Nyree Pascucci / 82.433 | 19 / 71.028 | 12
Astroworld / Hannah Haines / Hannah Haines / 73.968 | 4 / 74.796 | 4
Venice / Madelyn Godard / Wendy Arndt /  EL
Miracles Happen / Alexis Bauman / Amber Bauman / 74.690 | 4 / 73.985

Zone 10B
Joshua Tree / Campbell Lear / Campbell Lear / EL
Adonis De Muralis / Mary Elizabeth Ryan / Mary Elizabeth Ryan / EL
Brooklyn La Riouat / Lucy Wendling / Lucy Wendling / 65.456 | 4 / 65.750 | 4
Wilde 13 / Trace Delia / Trace Delia / EL

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