Samantha Takacs and Annabelle Brown Start Strong at 2019 USEF Pony Finals

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 6, 2019 – Hundreds of ponies descended upon the Kentucky Horse Park once again for the first day of competition during the annual installment of the 2019 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, to mark the event’s 52nd year. The most celebrated event of its kind for pony riders in the United States, the USEF Pony Finals is a three-phase competition judging the pony’s conformation, way of moving and jumping ability. With blue ribbons in both the model and under saddle phases, Samantha Takacs and Brighton emerged as the early frontrunners ahead of a pack of nearly 150 pairs in the Large Regular Pony Hunters, while Annabelle Brown and Sunshine Kid topped the leaderboard in the Small Green Pony Hunters.

Samantha Takacs and Brighton lead the Large Regular Pony Hunters

Hailing from Oldwick, New Jersey, Takacs is no stranger to the winner’s circle or the pressure of leading a division head into the over fences portion of competition. In 2018, the now-14-year-old rider modeled and hacked Galianna to the day one lead in the Medium Green Pony Hunters, eventually securing the overall championship following an exemplary over fences performance. Similarly, Ellie Sadrian’s Brighton is a returning champion, boasting two major accolades from the 2018 event. With the highest cumulative score of the six divisions, Brighton reigned supreme with rider Kat Fuqua to capture the Grand Regular Pony Hunter championship title, along with the rosette in the Large Regular Pony Hunters. The partnership will jump last Wednesday as the current leaders with 544.27 total points, comprised of their scores of 266 in the model and 278.27 in the under saddle.

Annabelle Brown and Sunshine Kid

In the Small Green Pony Hunters, Brown nabbed the top spot on the overall scorecard with Sunshine Kid, owned by Alina Glover. Earning 258.55 points in the model, the duo was awarded second place out of a pack of 44 challengers and later returned to the Walnut Ring to with a score of 248.25 and fourteenth place in the under saddle. Sitting on a cumulative tally of 506.80 points, Brown and Sunshine Kid lead the division by just one point ahead of a hotly-contested field and will aim to retain their momentum during Wednesday’s third phase of competition.

The 2019 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, will continue through Sunday, Aug. 11. 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.


Samantha Takacs – Leader of Large Regular Pony Hunters

Samantha Takacs and Brighton

On returning to Pony Finals:
“I was coming into this a little nervous to be honest because he did so well last year and I had such a great time last year, as well. I just wanted to do the best that I could with what I had. I did really well and I was so excited with the results.”

On Brighton:
“He is perfect all the time. Whenever I go in the ring, he is perfect. He’s very fidgety on the ground, but he is a good boy. It was a little bit of a challenge [to get him to stand still during the model] but it worked out when the judges came by.”

On jumping last in the over fences class:
“I actually jumped last last year, as well, and it was so nerve-wracking, but now that I’ve done it before I’ll be able to keep it together a little better.”


Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Score

Large Regular Pony Hunters Model
1. Brighton / Samantha Takacs / Ellie Sadrian / 266.00
2. Casino De Luxe / Sterling Malnik / Sterling Malnik / 262.10
3. Aspire / Judy Dettore / Judy Dettore / 261.49
4. Prestige / Kat Fuqua / Kat Fuqua / 261.32
5. Cacique / Carolyn Colter / Josephine Rose / 260.75
6. Simply Max / Dylan Driver / Hampton Baker / 260.15
7. Eastside / Claire Campbell / Aquitaine Equine / 259.82
8. Small Wonder / Sophia Tabasso / Sophia Tabasso / 259.67
9. Empire’s Victory / Parker Peacock / Parker Peacock / 259.50
10. Quicksilver Electric Slide / Courtney Morton / Brittany Purnell / 258.78

Large Regular Pony Hunters Under Saddle
1. Brighton / Samantha Takacs / Ellie Sadrian / 278.27
2. Valentino / Ava Berman / Ava Berman / 274.99
3. So Dapper / Caroline Passarelli / Jessica Zandri / 272.23
4. Small Romance / Elise Stephens / Rendezvous Farm / 269.79
5. D’Artagnan / Paige Walkenbach / Paige Walkenbach / 269.16
6. Heaven’s Gift / Alexa Karet / Glade Run Farm Llc / 266.16
7. Prestige / Kat Fuqua / Kat Fuqua / 265.20
8. Terian’s What A Fox / Sky Bandini-Gondron / Ashley Frankens / 262.44
9. Masquerade / Spencer Toohill / Spencer Toohill / 262.42
10. Cacique / Carolyn Colter / Josephine Rose / 261.37

Small Green Pony Hunters Model
1. Snoop Dogg / Carlysle Drosos / Carlysle Drosos / 259.00
2. Sunshine Kid / Annabelle Brown / Alina Glover / 258.55
3. FC Hi Fashion / Kierstin Antoniadis / AKA Showstoppers LLC / 256.23
4. Up Up & Away / Kaitlyn Linck / Kaitlyn Linck / 252.24
5. Just Enuff / Madeline Rubin / Briar Field Farm, Llc / 251.76
6. Jubilee / Rose Campbell / Zoey Chambers / 249.61
7. Rubik’s Cube / Trilby Allen / Stephen Borders / 248.35
8. Clovermeade Pop Secret / Olivia Sweetnam / Jill Shulman & Sweet Oak Farm / 247.50
9. Who’s Watching / Milana Zukowski / Brooke Chasin / 245.80
10. Heaven Sent / Vivienne Noel / Kelly Kiser / 245.47

Small Green Pony Hunters Under Saddle
1. So Charming / Caroline Passarelli / Jessica Zandri / 262.310
2. Clovermeade Pop Secret / Olivia Sweetnam / Jill Shulman & Sweet Oak Farm / 257.870
3. Heaven Sent / Vivienne Noel / Kelly Kiser / 256.170
4. Creativity / Lillian Geitner / CDS Stables / 255.320
5. Pick Me / Molly Brooks / Molly Brooks / 255.310
6. Trending Topic / Samantha Smith / Jessica Smith / 253.780
7. Idolize / Tiara D’amico / Bibby Hill / 253.210
8. Wish List / Marissa Santaniello / Christy M. Conway-Chester / 252.130
9. Who’s Watching / Milana Zukowski / Brooke Chasin / 251.470
10. Darth Vader / Sara Burchfield / Sara Burchfield / 251.350

For more information on the 2019 USEF Pony Finals, please click here.


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