Submitted by Lisa Kuder
The Capital Region was well represented at this year’s U.S. Pony Club Championships East, held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina on July 24 – 28. Talbot Run Equestrian Center (Mt. Airy) sent six participants to compete in four different disciplines: Dressage, Eventing, Show Jumping and Quiz. This year, USPC changed the Champs format and offered a “Standard” champs for C level riders and above and a “Modified” champs for D riders.
The Capital Region’s Modified Dressage team was made up of riders from Talbot Run, Bascule Farm (Poolesville) and Louisiana’s Cantering Cajuns Pony Club. The event was full of firsts for all the girls, including TREC’s Sophia Braun and Kate Kuder, who were competing at Champs for the first time. The team brought home first place in Horse Management and first place Overall.
The Capital Region’s Standard Dressage team included competitors from TREC, Blaven Farm (Union Bridge) and Florida’s Sunshine Region. Each rider rode Training Level tests and a solo Musical Freestyle, a dressage routine set to music that is scored on artistic impression and technical execution. The team finished in eighth place both in Horse Management and Overall.
For Eventing, the Capital and Maryland Regions teamed up to form a Beginner Novice team. Team members hailed from TREC, Blaven, Iron Bridge Hounds (Sandy Spring) and Waredaca (Laytonsville). The team won fourth place Overall and sixth in Horse Management.
The Capital Region’s Show Jumping Introductory Level team was made up of four Marylanders from two barns, TREC and Blaven. Competing at Champs was a new and exciting experience for the entire group. Each team member rode five different rounds and were scored on equitation, speed and accuracy. The team earned fourth place in Horse Management as well as fourth place Overall.
The Capital Region’s Quiz team, represented three different pony clubs in Maryland: Talbot Run, Seneca Valley (Poolesville) and Good Choice Farm (Clarksburg). The girls rocked the horse knowledge tests earning first place medals and other swag. Individually, TREC’s Chayce Hellyar won second overall out of 24 competitors.
In addition to the equine events, the USPC hosted the Battle of the Barns lip sync contest. Maryland’s TREC put on a spectacular performance to the The Greatest Showman’s theme song. Out of 12 performances, TREC’s Pony Club was awarded second place and received a generous award of $750, which will go towards the barn’s pony club activities (Fig. 6).
While exhausting and an incredible amount of work, Champs 2019 was an amazing opportunity for these pony clubbers to ride at a world class venue and to hone their horsemanship skills. The competitors from TREC also had the opportunity to make new friends from other parts of the state and the greater eastern US making the experience all the more enjoyable. Before we even left Tryon, I heard the girls already making plans for next year’s Championships. Kentucky, here we come!
Editor’s Note: The state of Maryland has US Pony Clubs that participate in three regions: Capital, Maryland and DelMarva. To see the full results from this year’s USPC Champs East, click here.