USPC Championships & Festival from SRPC

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By Meredith Tipton, Southern Run Pony Club, with contributions from Nancy Jones

We just returned from the 2017 USPC Championships and Festival at the Horse Park. It was awesome! This year marked the 12th USPC Festival, and riders traveled from Alaska, Oregon, Maine, Florida, Colorado, and Texas, and many midsouth states to participate. 

Several competitors from Southern Run Pony Club (SRPC) were among those qualified to compete at USPC Championships. These kids represented both SRPC and the Deep South Region, as members of several clubs in the Deep South Region qualified to compete at Championships this year.

SRPC sent a full Show Jumping team to Championships this year. Emma Claire Haley, Natalie Hanisco, Chandler Head, and Stable Manager Cassidy Doss competed in the Intro division. Their team finished 14th in the riding portion (without a dropped score), and finished second out of 16 teams in Horse Management. The highest placing member on this year's team was first time competitor Emma Claire Haley riding TopNotch Tux N Tails; she finished tied for 13th out of 59 riders in the equitation round and tied for 18th overall individually.  

SRPC also sent a full Jr. D Quiz team, comprised of Emma Claire Bradley, Mimi Kelly, Anna Claire Bradley, and Keira Vandiver – all from the Tupelo, Mississippi area. This was the first Championships experience for these young ladies, and they finished 14th overall.

Catherine Waddell and Grace Owens represented SRPC in Training level at Dressage Rally. There were 14 teams in that division. The two girls were on a scramble team with three riders from the Carolina region. The team finished in first place in Horse Management and second place over all! Catherine Waddell finished fifth individually out of 56 riders with her musical freestyle ride.  And Catherine had the highest collective riding score of the Carolina/Deep South team.

In Festival years the USPC Championships are followed by the educational component that takes place over three days and offers dozens of mounted and unmounted clinics to participating members. Riders could sign up for sessions in dressage, show jumping, cross country, polocrosse, mounted games, ground training, and distance riding. Members holding a D3 rating and aged 10 and up were able to attend the mounted sessions.

All ages and levels of Pony Clubbers could attend the unmounted sessions, which included a Dressage master class led by Lendon Gray, bandaging sessions, driving demonstrations, a grooming session led by a former Olympic groom, rider fitness classes, and a trailering seminar for older teens and parents. USPC Festival also offered the opportunity to take part in an early morning fox hunt, which was held on the same cross country course as the Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event.

Several SRPC members attended this year’s Festival and were able to ride with National Examiners such as Deb Wilson, Debra Sue Waters, Terry Rocovich, and Karen Nutt. Eventing legend Stephen Bradley taught cross country sessions, along with recent Rolex riders Allie Sacksen and Colleen Rutledge.

USPC truly brought together the best instructors and riders from across the country to share their knowledge with the next generation of young riders.  The next USPC Festival will take place in 2020. Let the countdown begin!

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