August 14, 2016–A week of competition at the 2016 US Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm came to a close Sunday with the most coveted award of the championship. The Marshall & Sterling/US Pony Medal Finals took place in the Alltech Arena with 182 riders vying for top honors in front of judges Scott Hofstetter and Jack Towell. Following excellent performances through the day, Caroline Passarelli earned the Marshall & Sterling/US Pony Medal Finals title.
In round one the riders were tested over an inviting but solid course designed by Jasen Shelley. Twenty riders were called back for round two over a more difficult track to test their equitation skills, with three riders from the Small section, eight for the Large section, and nine from the Medium section. After round two, two riders were asked to return to the ring to be tested on the flat. Passarelli and Augusta Iwasaki entered the Alltech Arena to determine the top placings of the Marshall & Sterling/US Pony Medal Finals. In the test, riders were first asked to show walk, rising trot, sitting trot, canter, and halt before reversing direction.
Fifteen-year-old Passarelli (High Falls, N.Y.) displayed her proficient equitation to be named the winner and receive the Gold medal in the 2016 Marshall & Sterling/US Pony Medal Finals. It was her first time making the top 20 in the Medal Final in the six years she has competed at “Pony Finals”, making the win even more special.
“I feel incredible, but first, I have to start by thanking the Champey family who lent me [News Flash] at the very last minute because without them this would not have been possible.” Passarelli said after her intended mount was unable to compete. “When I got on I felt that he was a good match; he was really willing, brave, had a great change, really everything you would want in a medal pony, especially at the last minute. I was just thinking of giving him the best ride I possibly could with the limited experience I had on him, and lay it down the first time so I didn’t leave any doors open.”
Commenting on the course, Passarelli explained, “I thought the course was great. I thought everything was really inviting, there were a lot of nice turns for the pony. He landed almost all his leads and he was wonderful, really accepting of everything; he was great.”
Twelve-year-old Iwasaki (Calabasas, Calif.) received the Silver medal after great performances in the two rounds and the work-off. The Bronze medal went to 15-year-old Christina Rogalny (Wellington, Fla.) following her smooth jumping rounds.
The following riders rounded out the top 10 placings:
Fourth – Phoebe Topping
Fifth – Taylor Kraft
Sixth – Sofia Roberts
Seventh – Jessica West
Eighth – Jennifer Staniloff
Ninth – Jacob Harris
10th – Grace Defoe
For results, go to www.usefconnect.com/ponyfinals.
Find out more information about the US Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm at www.ponyfinals.org.