USPC Championships East

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Pony Club Championships East A Success

By Shelley Mann

August 7, 2018 (Lexington, KY) – Pony Club members returned to Tryon International Equestrian Center for the USPC Charles Owen 2018 Championships East, presented by Flair, LLC and Airowear July 25 – 29, 2018. Members competed on the same grounds where the FEI World Equestrian Games will be held in September.

The event brought more than 500 competitors together representing twenty-six regions to compete in Dressage, Eventing, Games, Polocrosse, Show Jumping, Tetrathlon and Quiz. A large group of Pony Club leaders, volunteers, parents and friends helped to organize and staff the days of competition.

“I had so much fun competing in this year’s USPC Championships East. Tryon International Equestrian Center is an impressive venue that has so many opportunities for spectating and competing. One of my favorite things this year was that Polocrosse was playing right outside the eventing barns. I have never seen a Polocrosse match and it was so much fun watching in the mornings while I got ready for my rides. That is what I love about TIEC: all the disciplines are competing so closely the competitors have the opportunity to watch other disciplines that we may not always have the chance to see regularly,” said Eventing competitor Micaela Forsyth (H-HM/H-Traditional, Eastern Pennsylvania Region & National Youth Board Member).

In addition to the traditional competition, twenty-eight Pony Club members brought their Off-The-Track Thoroughbreds to participate in the New Vocations Pony Club Challenge competition in four different disciplines.  Seven members competed in Eventing, twelve in Show Jumping, nine in Dressage of which, two rode Western Dressage.  Members used their horsemanship skills to retrain their adopted mounts; over the weekend they were judged on performances in the ring as well as their Pony Club Horse Management skills in the barns. Caitlin Deisler (C-1 Traditional/HM, Red River Region) navigated Mach Seven to win the Eventing Division. Keely Bechtol (H-B/C-2 Traditional/C-3 Show Jumping, Midsouth Region) piloted Why Not Whiskey to top honors in the Show Jumping Division. Savannah Ranes (H-B/C-1 Flat/C-1 Dressage, Southern California Region) rode Jackson Square to take home the blue in the Dressage and Rhian Cline (C-1 HM/C-1 Western, Heartland Region) rode Conquest Neighplam to win the Western Dressage Division.

There was great competition in dressage, eventing, quiz, show jumping and tetrathlon, but the President's Cup competition sponsored by Hero Kids Foundation was the highlight event during the Saturday Nights Lights evening at Tryon International Equestrian Center. The Switchblade team hoisted the trophy Saturday night.  Team Members include: Captain Cora Raniowski (C-1, Old Dominion Region), Jess Bradley-Johnson (C-2, Eastern Pennsylvania Region), MacKenzie Raniowski (D-3, Old Dominion Region), and Azaria Smallwood (D-3, Eastern Pennsylvania Region). 

Teams in each discipline were judged on their horsemanship skills at various points during the competition. Turnout Inspection ensured that the horse or pony was well-groomed and reflected regular care and that tack fitted properly.  After each ride, Turn Back Inspections ensured that the young riders properly groomed their horses and cleaned their tack and equipment. In addition, each team worked together to properly equip their team tack room, which included a utility kit, first aid and veterinary care kit, extra tack and safety equipment.
MidSouth Region Riders

Photos by Rosane Olyha

This year USPC offered a Developing Horse/Rider competition, with eight teams enrolled. The MidSouth Region paired with the Maryland Region for a scramble team. Team members were Team Captain Taylor Gibboney (C-2, Maryland) with Flying First Class; Ella Braun (C-1, MidSouth) with Gigi; Lidia Olyha (C-1, MidSouth) with Something to Scout About; Morgan Trotter (C-1, MidSouth) with Corner Oak Loch Lorian; and Stable Manager Gabrielle Brown (D-3, Maryland). The teams competed in five rounds of Show Jumping and, as always, in Horse Management.

The Maryland/MidSouth Developing Horse/Rider team placed second overall in the competition. In addition, team members won individual awards. Ella Braun and Gigi, won the Individual Rider award in the Developing Horse/ Rider division! Morgan Trotter, with Corner Oak Loch Lorian, placed second individually; Lidia Olyha, with Something to Scout About, placed 6th individually; and Taylor Gibboney (team captain) placed 14th individually. Lidia was 4th in the Equitation round with a score of 0.75.  Taylor had a score of 0.78. Congratulations!

Here’s what Lidia Olyha said about her experience at the 2018 USPC Championships East:

“This year I had the opportunity to compete at USPC Championships in Tryon, NC.  It was my first time at USPC Championships, Tryon, and participating as a member of a scrabble team. I could not have asked for a more exciting and challenging opportunity at this point in my riding career! I met some amazing girls and we enjoyed spending time together, especially in our tack room, where we would prepare for our upcoming rounds and inspections. This has been the farthest away from home my horse and I have competed, as well as the largest show we have been to together. Yet, despite my nerves, my horse jumped his heart out for me and we finished in fourth place in our division! I can’t thank Pony Club enough to give me (and others like me) these amazing opportunities to grow as both a rider and as a person.  What a privilege it has been to be a PC member and attend this event!”

Team Captain Taylor Gibboney also shared her thoughts about competing at the 2018 USPC Championships:
“This year was my third year competing at Pony Club Championships and my second time at Tryon. Going into this championship I was really excited because I had never been on a scramble team with another region before. After competing at champs, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way! I got to meet four awesome girls and their horses. Overall, our team did really well, ending up second overall. Some of my favorite moments from champs are meeting my teammates, getting second in the lip sync battle, and receiving the best equitation score I’ve ever ridden. Pony club championships is always fun, with this year definitely being one to remember!”

At USPC Jumping Championships East, another MidSouth team won the Introductory A Jumping Team competition. The team placed 4th in Horse Management. Members were:

Sarah Miller (captain) C-1 and TM Hezacash (10th individual)
Audrey Cozzi D-3 and Sorrella Bella Bleu (6th individual)
Sophie Jaynes C-1 and Dublin (3rd individual)
Madelyn Gibbs D-3 Stable Manager

In Tetrathalon, Cian and Alden Yorba were on a scramble team with Capital Pony Club. Other team members were: Jorgia Walker, ITM Girls, and Ariana Dickey, Novice Girls. The team placed eighth overall.

Find complete results for all divisions at USPC Championships East at: 

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