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Betsy Carter’s Horse Scene: Hazelwild’s Jones wins VHSA award
Hazelwild Farm’s Catherine Jones won the prestigious Allie Miller Perpetual Trophy for the grand champion pleasure pony at the Virginia Horse Shows Association’s Associate Championship Horse Show on Nov. 16.
At 7:30 a.m. on that Friday at the Virginia Horse Center Anderson Coliseum in Lexington, 97 ponies were prepared to compete in the pleasure pony championship. The division was so large it had to be divided into three sections.
Each section of 32 ponies (still a very large number of ponies to walk, trot and canter in one arena) had to be judged as if it were a separate division.
After watching and studying all 32 ponies as they went around the ring, the judge pinned the classes (three classes for each section). Out of each section of 32 ponies, only eight got ribbons.
After the three classes, a champion was pinned from each section resulting in three champions. Then the three champion ponies and their riders were judged in a final hack-off to determine the grand champion.
That title went to Hazelwild’s Jones, riding State the Obvious (Wilbur) owed by Hazelwild. Jones and Wilbur are trained by Chelsie Liming. It was the first time for Jones and Wilbur to compete at the VHSA finals.
Jones began riding at age 5 at Hazelwild’s summer camp, then went on to regular lessons with Liming, who has been the trainer there for four years. Wilbur came to Hazelwild as a donation pony and has turned out to be a real champion.
A pleasure pony is judged on his way of going as a pleasurable pony to ride.
His gaits must be smooth, comfortable and consistent. In addition to his way of going, how he travels as a hunter is also taken into consideration—meaning it is preferred that he travel with his knees flat with a ground covering stride. However, because he is carrying a child, the pony must be suitably safe.
The part the rider plays is also significant because she must cue the pony properly for each gait and maintain the gait in and out of the traffic of all the other ponies and despite any distractions.
Betsy Carter can be reached at The Free Lance–Star, 616 Amelia St., Fredericksburg, Va. 22401; or by fax at 540/373-8455.