We started out the summer as we have for many years, we are creatures of habit, and in June we were off to Conyers, Georgia with seven horses and ponies. Bob Bell’s Atlanta shows are always so well done and refreshing, with something to do every Friday and Saturday night. There’s also always pizza at the in gate every Saturday. The horses were, A Paige In Time, Balou Velvet, Enrico JS, Caspar, Upcountry Dreamer, Glitterati and Gypsy’s Sweetheart. We spent lots of time together as a family, with dinners, bike riding, taking the dogs to swim in the river and just plain fun together. While were there, we found the horse of a lifetime for Caroline Carr. His name is Teddy, aka, Etcetera and they will be seen in the Amateur Owners shortly. Thanks to Daniel Geytner for another fantastic horse.
In July, we were at our second home, Fox Lea Farm. One of our all time favorites. They do such a good job with the footing so that it’s always perfect. No matter how much summer rain we get the night before, they are our there working their magic and come show time it’s perfect. There’s no jackets, no braiding and we all dress up like super hero’s. There’s a Grand Prix every Friday night and sometimes Chippy and Emma Hecthman carry the flag for the National Anthem. We, of course, all stand to respect our flag and the freedom it stands for and those who gave their lives to make it happen.
Come August, we made the trek from Tampa to the Kentucky Horse Park with seven horses and ponies. After the previous years B&B and layover, there was some trepidation, but it’s a long way. After a good bit of investigation, I was recommended to contact A.J. at Blue Sky Riding Academy. What a pleasant surprise!! We overnighted at Blue Sky Riding Academy in Emerson Georgia, just north of Atlanta. We highly recommend Blue Sky if you are going north and need a great layover. They worked hard to accommodate us and we and the horses left ready to return on the way home.
We did the Kentucky Classic 2 where Clair teamed up with Bibby Hill and Lynn Fiorgione. We had Enrico, Sir Dragon, Caspar, Etcetera and Balou Velvet and a couple of sale ponies. Everyone was very successful and we all had a great time together, with dinners etc. We were so glad to have Linda Rice, Wendy Rice’s mom, there for the week.
The horses who did the first week were sent home, because the 2016 Pony Finals was about to get in full swing. Of course, they over nighted with A.J. at Blue Sky. There were ponies everywhere!!! Thank you Bibby, our stalls were right across the street from the Stoneleigh ring and adjacent bar! The Salty Dogs were to die for.
For some of our young riders, this was their first time riding at PONY FINALS and boy did they step up to the plate. From dawn till dusk they were committed and prepared for the challenges they faced. The whole Kingsmeade team came together and made sure everyone would have the best ride ever. All the riders started with the pony model. The pony’s and kids were spit shinned and put on display.
Casey Oliver and Shalimar were first to go and were tenth in the small pony model. The classes were huge, many well over 100 participants. Casey and Picturesque Bowtie were Reserve Champion in the Small Green Pony division. Her round on Bowtie was very well ridden and she couldn’t have been prouder of him. Casey and Bowtie started out together at Atlanta in June and she could see that all the hardwork put in since then paid off.
Madison Gentry and her large pony Mr. Popper, who is a mustang, started in the model. Being a grey pony was a challenge for the KMF team, but he arrived white as could be! Madison and Mr. Popper had also qualified for the USEF Pony medal and we all went over to the Alltech arena. This was a really a long trek, but we made it! Mr Popper was a trooper, and we were all so proud of them.
This was the first Pony Finals for the rest of the girls and Emma Hechtman and Sir Dragon went into the jumping round having placed high in the flat phase. The pressure was on for young Emma but Dragon stepped up to help! They finished 19th overall after putting in a score of 82 over fences.
Savannah Gregson and Gypsy’s Sweet heart, who Savannah has only been riding for a couple of months, were something to behold in the over fences portion of the medium ponies. They ended up 20th over all in the Medium Pony division out of 167 medium ponies! Lauren Gregson, Savannah’s younger sister had an awesome round on her mount Glitterati, both of them being at the top of their game. They showed us how to walk into the ring like a pro with Lauren showing courage and sportsmanship. Claire Lube showed Sugarbrook Blue Secret in the Medium Green Pony division and were 7th in the hack out of 68 ponies.
Overall, Pony Finals 2016 was a great success. The experience of a life time. The riders and staff all worked hard and it payed off. For some, it was the first of many to come and for others their last. What memories were made!