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NEWS FLASH NAMED GRAND CHAMPION AT 2017 USEF HUNTER PONY CHAMPIONSHIP

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The USEF Hunter Pony Championships came to a close on Saturday at the Kentucky Horse Park. Medium Regular Hunter Ponies went to task in the Walnut Ring in their Over Fences phase to determine the 2017 Champion. Augusta Iwasaki and News Flash emerged victorious on Saturday afternoon, collecting not only the Medium Regular Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans, but also the Grand Champion Hunter Pony title for the 2017 USEF Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm.

National titles are determined following three phases of competition, with Model and Under Saddle phases each counting towards 25% of the overall score, and the remaining 50% being determined by the Over Fences phase.

Iwasaki (Calabasas, Calif.) and Tessa Downey’s News Flash earned an excellent score of 1025.63 to win the Medium Regular Hunter Pony Championship. As the highest scoring Regular Hunter pony, the 2005 Welsh Pony gelding claimed the Grand Champion Hunter Pony title.

Libbie Gordon (Statesville, N.C.) and Mia Albelo’s Childs Play Hot Topic, an 11-year-old Half-Welsh Pony mare, received a score of the 1016.74 to claim top honors in the Large Regular Hunter Pony Championship on Wednesday, thus earning them the Reserve Grand Champion Hunter Pony title.

After earning first place in the Model phase with a score of 258.16, Iwasaki and News Flash placed fourth with a score of 255.17 in the Under Saddle phase. Their Over Fences phase earned them the blue ribbon again with a score of 256.15, thus securing the Medium Regular Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans title with an overall score of 1025.63.  

In her fifth Pony Finals appearance, 13-year-old Iwasaki responded that it ‘was amazing’ to win both the Grand Champion and Medium Regular Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans in one day on “Flash.”

“He is very smooth and jumps all the jumps the same. He tries very hard and is chill and not spooky. He’s a very good boy,” said Iwasaki. She also expressed thanks to Downey and Downey’s trainer, Peter Pletcher for allowing her to ride News Flash.

The Reserve Champion title in the Medium Regular Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans went to Raina Swani (New York, N.Y.) and Newhaven’s Magnum with an overall score of 1008.73. She and Shadowfax Equestrian LLC’s 12-year-old Welsh Pony cross gelding received scores of 239.53 for the 70th position in the Model phase and 259.40 for the second place ribbon in the Under Saddle phase. The pair’s Over Fences phase garnered a score of 254.90 on Saturday.

Claire Campbell (Cochranville, Pa.) and Leon, the 2006 Welsh Pony gelding she owns with the Maher Family LLC and Rose Campbell, finished third with an overall score of 998.71. On Friday, she and Leon placed second with a score of 257.66 in the Model phase and 252.95 for the 11th position in the Under Saddle phase. The pair finished the division on Saturday with a 17th-place score of 244.05 in the Over Fences phase.

USEF Network will conclude its coverage of the 2017 USEF Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm on Sunday beginning at 7:00 a.m. EST with the Marshall & Sterling/USEF Pony Medal Championship. The live stream is only available to US Equestrian members.

Find out more information about the 2017 USEF Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm at www.ponyfinals.org.

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