Maddie Tosh Jumps to Small Regular Pony Hunter Championship with Bit of Love at 2018 USEF Pony Finals

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 9, 2018 – The 2018 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, returned to the Kentucky Horse Park for the third day of competition Thursday, with Maddie Tosh and Bit Of Love proving to be the day’s big winners as the over fences and overall champions in the Small Regular Pony Hunters. The winning 12-year-old and Bit Of Love bested a lofty field of 101 entries to assert themselves as the 2018 titleholders. The remaining larger green pony divisions all had their time to shine Thursday, as well, with Samantha Takacs aboard Galianna and Josephine Rose with the ride on Cacique claiming the early leads in their respective divisions, the Medium Green and Large Green Pony Hunters.

Maddie Tosh and Bit of Love took home the Small Regular Pony Hunter championship and the High-Scoring Welsh Award.

Returning in sixth position for the Small Regular Pony Hunters, Tosh was not faced with the pressure of riding as the last to go with Dr. Betsee Parker’s seasoned pony, Bit Of Love, but was challenged to lay down a near-perfect showing in order to eclipse Finley Morgan and the five pairs sitting ahead of her after the model and hack phases. Tackling the expansive track with finesse, the young rider and Bit Of Love pulled in scores of 88, 90 and 92 for a composite score of 270 over fences, overtaking the early leaders Morgan and her own Howie Do It, who impressively jumped from 50th position to the initial lead after a textbook trip. Forced to watch five of her peers chase her down, Tosh was ultimately rewarded as each pair failed to accrue enough points to oust her from her spot atop the leaderboard. Though Helen Ryan and Smitten gave them a run for the title with individual scores of 87, 87.5 and 88, their effort would have to settle for second position in both the over fences and overall.

Maddie Tosh and Bit of Love

In addition to their class and division tricolors, Tosh and Bit Of Love also earned the High-Scoring Welsh Award for Small Regular Ponies as the top finisher for the breed. Tosh is trained by her father, acclaimed rider and trainer Hunt Tosh, out of Alpharetta, Georgia, and has been riding “Chester” for two years. This is her second appearance at Pony Finals, but the first win for Tosh, who also competes on the horses in the equitation and Children’s Hunter.

Maddie Tosh and Bit of Love

Combined with Wednesday’s score from the model and under saddle portions of divisional competition, Tosh and Bit Of Love concluded the Small Regular Pony Hunters with total marks of 1,050.54, a handful of points ahead of the reserve champions, Ryan and Town Line Equestrian, LLC’s Smitten. Not far behind, the day one leaders Carolyn Colter and So Enchanted, owned by Jessica Zandri, claimed third position, trailed by Lauren Gee and Ava Berman’s Farmore Charismatic in fourth place. Morgan and Howie Do It made the largest jump of the afternoon to round out the top five finishers.

Boasting two strong showings in the Medium Green Pony Hunters a few hours prior, four-time Pony Finals veteran Takacs modeled and rode Kim Wolf’s Galianna to the highest total marks of the day to emerge as the early pair to beat. The pony-and-rider combination commenced their morning with a third place finish out of 72 exhibitors in the model, and then secured the divisional lead with an eye-catching performance in the hack, riding to the blue ribbon more than 10 points ahead of the next-closest finisher.

Samantha Takacs and Galianna. Photo: Shawn McMillen Photography

Takacs and “Adele” will be the last to ride over fences Friday with their high score of 528.02, and will aim to outshine Sydney Raidy and Diane Daly’s Missed Point, currently contesting the lead with marks of 511.68, as well as Grace Debney and Highridge Farm’s Banksy, sitting in the third spot with 506.80 cumulative points.

Rose and Joey Rose, LLC’s Cacique concluded the initial phases of Large Green Pony Hunter competition as the frontrunners with a narrow 4-point lead headed into the over fences class Friday. Now at her fifth Pony Finals, Rose showed off Cacique’s conformation expertly, warranting a fourth place ribbon and score of 255.59 from the judges panel. The pair soon improved upon their showing in the hack, displaying the walk, trot and canter to the reserve spot and a lofty score of 270.16, less than one point behind the class winner, Caroline Passarelli in the irons aboard So Dapper, owned by Jessica Zandri.

Josephine Rose and Cacique

Thanks to their class-topping score of 525.75, Rose and “Zeke” will return Friday as the last to ride out of a field of 83 hopeful duos, with owner-rider Joziemae Syroka and Spot On hot on their heels only a few points behind the initial class leaders. Still in contention is Isabella Griffin and her own Heaven’s Gift, the currently third position pair.

The 2018 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, will continue through Sunday, Aug. 12. The nation’s best young pony riders will be tested in Small, Medium and Large classes of both Regular Hunter and Green Hunter divisions in the Walnut Ring, and the Alltech Arena will play host to Pony Jumper competition Thursday through Saturday. Sunday’s feature will be the Pony Medal Finals, one of the week’s highlight events.


Maddie Tosh – Small Regular Pony Hunter champion

On her reaction to winning:
“It feels amazing! It’s really super special. It’s awesome. It was really fun. This is kind of a dream come true. This is my second time at Pony Finals, and first time winning.”

On Bit Of Love:
“He’s amazing. His barn name is Chester. Dr. Betsee Parker owns him and I’m very grateful to be able to ride him for her. He’s so much fun and he’s such a good pony. I think this is my second year with him. He is really sweet to people, but he doesn’t like other horses very much. You can definitely trust him. He knows to be on his game.”

On her over fences ride:
“It was amazing and really fun. Coming to the last line I got a little nervous, but I saw my distance and was very excited. It was a lot of fun and [Bit Of Love] was really good I knew he was trying to win.”

On training with her dad, Hunt Tosh:
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s a little stressful sometimes. I was nervous going in today. [My dad] gets very nervous. He said to just have fun and do what you know how to do.”

Samantha Takacs – Leader of the Medium Green Pony Hunters

On her performance today with Galianna:
“She was really good. She hasn’t done many models, but she was really good. [The under saddle] was really fun. She just went right in there and was really perfect. She is really forward and comfortable at the canter.”

On jumping last in the over fences class:
“I’m really excited. She is so good [at jumping].”

Josephine Rose – Leader of the Large Green Pony Hunters

On Cacique and his performance:
“We have had him for about two or three years now, and every time I ride him he tries the hardest he can for me and he is such a good guy. Every time we go out there he puts everything in he can for me and I can’t complain about that at all. In the model, we ended up fourth. He is really good guy and he just stood there like a pro. I think he has won almost every under saddle class he has ever done. He is a really good guy.”

On jumping last in the over fences class:
“I am really looking forward to that. He can be a little green sometimes, but we are going to go in there and just give everything we can.”


Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Score

Medium Green Pony Hunters Model
1. EMC Entourage / Alexa Lignelli / The Lignelli Family / 263.97
2. Missed Point / Sydney Raidy / Diane Daly / 260.68
3. Galianna / Samantha Takacs / Kim Wolf / 259.02
4. Banksy / Grace Debney / Highridge Farm / 258.80
5. Durleyhall Miss Money Penny / Amelia Turner / Amelia Turner / 257.58
6. Bayridge Spellbound / Alexandra Lynn Willner / Buckwild Farm LLC / 256.84
7. Sandman / Mary-Grace Segars / Molly Segars / 255.19
8. Ic Blue Royal / Madeline Rubin / Holly Kobie / 255.10
9. Northwind Marwyn / Cecelia Jackson Susan McDade 253.64
10. Threes A Charm / Reese M. Dorsey / Reese M. Dorsey / 253.63

Medium Green Pony Hunters Under Saddle
1. Galianna / Samantha Takacs / Kim Wolf / 269.00
2. Trilogy / Lacy Lee Crannell / Sweet Oak Farm / 258.13
3. Blank Check / Kierstin Antoniadis / Elizabeth Garcia / 254.75
4. Cowboy / Rose Donato / Rose Donato / 251.88
5. Royal Heir / Emilia Richard / Epic Farm LLC / 251.35
6. Goldhills As You Like It / Lola Head / Lola Head / 251.00
7. Missed Point / Sydney Raidy / Diane Daly / 251.00
8. Hopscotch / Amy Krebs / Amy Krebs / 250.55
9. Waikoloa Bay / Sara Bender / Sara Bender / 249.28
10. Sandman / Mary-Grace Segars / Molly Segars / 248.65

Large Green Pony Hunters Model
1. Lafayette Park / Grace Debney / Temple Equestrian LLC / 261.85
2. Spot On / Joziemae Syroka / Joziemae Syroka / 261.53
3. Heaven’s Gift / Isabella Griffin / Isabella Griffin / 258.95
4. Cacique / Josephine Rose / Joey Rose LLC / 255.59
5. Aspire / Judy Dettore / Judy Dettore / 255.270
6. Stanmore’s First Blue / Lauren Gregson / Melinda Courtland / 253.90
7. Cherrybrook Blue Dahlia / Fiona Von Hartleben / Fiona Von Hartleben / 253.25
8. Sun Catcher / Sage Ingle / Sage Ingle / 251.16
9. Masquerade / Spencer Toohill / Spencer Toohill / 250.460
10. Ella Enchanted / Jessica Gaby / Jessica Gaby 249.150

Large Green Pony Hunters Under Saddle
1. So Dapper / Caroline Passarelli / Jessica Zandri / 271.00
2. Cacique / Josephine Rose / Joey Rose LLC / 270.16
3. Small Romance / Samantha Takacs / Rendezvous Farm / 262.00
4. Powerball / Lauren Reid / Capstone Farm, LLC / 260.24
5. Only Blue / Emily Dehoff / Emily Dehoff / 260.00
6. Spot On / Joziemae Syroka / Joziemae Syroka / 259.66
7. Heaven’s Gift / Isabella Griffin / Isabella Griffin / 259.35
8. Cloud Nine / Madelyn Scharf / Madelyn Scharf / 259.23
9. Country Grammar / Hannah Hoch / Vlock Show Stables LLC / 259.00
10. Eastwood / Christina Rogalny / Tracy Howe / 258.35

Small Regular Pony Hunters Over Fences
1. Bit Of Love / Maddie Tosh / Dr. Betsee Parker / 270.00
2. Smitten / Helen Ryan / Town Line Equestrian LLC / 262.50
3. Howie Do It / Finley Morgan / Finley Morgan / 260.00
4. Farmore Charismatic / Lauren Gee / Ava Berman / 257.50
5. Fairytales / Emilia Richard / Fairytales, LLC / 252.00
6. So Enchanted / Carolyn Colter / Jessica Zandri / 251.75
7. Baby Blue / Emma Hechtman / Abigail Gordon / 248.00
8. iParty / Alexa Lignelli / Alexa Lignelli / 246.25
9. Blueberry Hill / Rose Campbell / Maher Family LLC / 242.25
10. Training Wheels / Hallie Moss / Training Wheels, LLC / 242.00

For more information on the 2018 USEF Pony Finals, please click here.


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