Lexington, Ky. – August 12, 2022 – The sun was shining in The Bluegrass State Friday afternoon as Pony Jumpers took to the Claiborne arena to contest the chance to step on top of the podium in the Pony Jumper Team Competition. At the conclusion of two thrilling days of competition, it was Aundrea Hillyard, Katie Smith, Savannah Smith, and Linen Owens for Zone 3 raising their gold medals high. Joining the Gold Medalists on the podium were Lucy Wendling, Mary Elizabeth Ryan, Ellie Kao, and Reagan Voxman of Zone 10 with the silver. Zone 8’s, Ryder Richardson, Haley Honegger, Zahara Henderson, and Isabella Uhrig donned the bronze.

Bronze, Gold, & Silver Medalists of the Pony Jumper Team Championship

The team excitement featured competitive pony jumper athletes from all across the United States. A total of five teams competed in a two-round format, where either three or four athletes (dependent on the team) jumped a 15-effort track designed by Jasen Shelley of Wellington, FL. Upon completion of Thursday’s first round, riders returned based on their score from round one with the highest number of faults going first. At the end of the second round, Hillyard and Hidden Ridge’s 13-year-old Belgian Sport Horse gelding, and Smith and her own 13-year-old Welsh Pony gelding, were the only pony-and-rider pairs to go double clear.

Katie Smith & Never A Gray Day

Following the final ride of the day, the team riders were awarded their medals and escorted back into the Claiborne arena where they took to the podiums to be cheered on by their friends and family. Standing tall at the top of the podium, Hillyard, K. Smith, S. Smith, and Owens wore their shining gold medals with pride and smiles to match.

Aundrea Hillyard, Savannah Smith, Linen Owens, & Katie Smith

Although many of these young equestrians compete individually, this was the first time they had ever competed on a team. “It was so fun” the riders exclaimed in unison when asked about their first team experience. “This is all our first time doing the pony jumpers here and being on a team” explained K. Smith. “[Being on a team] gives you more motivation to have a good round because it can be kinda scary going into [the ring] and the jumps are massive so having a little extra confidence is really good!”

Aundrea Hillyard & Magic Dragon

The promising young athletes have been paired with their mounts for varying amounts of time. For K. Smith, she and her striking grey gelding, Never A Gray Day, have been together for nearly seven years. Hillyard and S. Smith have been riding their mounts for about a year and a half, while Owens took the reins only a week prior to the National Finals.

The future is bright for these junior equestrians as they have their sights set on competing with horses, continuing with their current pony jumper and hunter mounts, and participating in other national competitions around the country.

Savannah Smith & Wishlea Star Dasher

The 2022 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Honor Hill Farms, will continue Saturday at 7 am in the Rolex Stadium with the Regular Medium Pony Hunter Over Fences. Jumper competition in the Claiborne Ring will come to a close with the Jumper Individual Final that afternoon. The conclusion of the 2022 USEF Pony Finals will take place Sunday morning at 7 am with the highly anticipated USEF Pony Medal Final.



Zone 3 – National Pony Jumper Team Champions

On their rounds today:
Katie Smith: “So my round was pretty fun, it was a good course. The one strides were set perfectly. Very fun, very fast, and very speedy.”

Andrea Hillyard: “My pony was a little fresh in the first round so I had to do a little more slowing down in the lines. The second round was much smoother and he was much quieter. Excited for the bigger jumps!”

Savannah Smith: “My first round we ended up having 4 faults unfortunately but I still think we did pretty well. We came back with our second round and went clear! He’s really, really fast but we also have to be very accurate. So to be in the middle of that can be pretty hard because he’s not an easy ride, but overall I’m really happy with how we did!”

On how long they have been riding their ponies:

Katie Smith: “I have been with my pony since third grade and I’m a junior in high school right now so it’s been quite an adventure!” 

Aundrea Hillyard: “Little over a year.”

Savannah Smith: “A little over a year as well.” 

Linen Owens: “I met my pony last week!”

On what their pony is like to ride:

Katie Smith: “My pony has a little bit of a spook to it, not too bad, but he does like to back off at the jumps a little, so just need to get after him and he will go over them!”

Aundrea Hillyard: “My pony has a really big stride so when its the horse strides at every other show, it’s actually really nice cause you can just hunt down there. He can be a little quiet sometimes so sometimes you have to pump him up and jazz him up but he’s super fun and always game!” 

Savannah Smith: “Dasher is a pretty hard ride, I wouldn’t say he’s an easy ride at all, it takes a rider that is really motivated and really strong to ride him but he listens really well once you get used to him. It took me a while to get used to him and I’m still getting used to him but he is like a horse in a small body, I’m really happy I get to ride him!”

Linen Owens: “My pony has a huge stride; she eats up the lines and goes at an amazing pace. She really likes when you sit back and let her pick the distance and jump.”

On their team experience:

Aundrea Hillyard: “It’s really fun! We have never met each other before. It’s fun. It’s a lot of motivation from the other girls and everyone wants you to do well. They’re all rooting for you!”

Katie Smith: “This is our first time doing the pony jumpers here and being on a team. It gives you more motivation to have a good round because it can be kinda scary going into [the ring]  and the jumps are massive so having a little extra confidence is really good!” 


Gold: Zone 3, Chef d’Equipe – Dorna Taintor

Pony / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults 
Magic Dragon / Aundrea Hillyard / Hidden Ridge / 0 / 0
Never A Gray Day / Katie Smith / Katie Smith / 0 / 0
Wishlea Star Dasher / Savannah Smith / Tamara Doloff / 4 / 0
Kinka’s Girl / Linen Owens / Ponies Unlimited, LLC. / ELIM / ELIM

Silver: Zone 10, Chef d’Equipe – Caroline Sterckx
Pony / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults 
Brooklyn La Riouat / Lucy Wendling / Lucy Wendling / 0 / 4
Adonis De Muralis / Mary Elizabeth Ryan / Mary Elizabeth Ryan / 4 / E
Top Amontilana Linaro / Ellie Kao / Sofia Celis Karim / 12 / 4
Air Force One / Reagan Voxman / Reagan Voxman / 0 / 4

Bronze: Zone 8 , Chef d’Equipe – Alexia Honegger
Pony / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults 

RR Cool Play / Ryder Richardson / Ryder Richardson / 0 / 16
High Dream N / Haley Honegger / Alexia Honneger / 4 / 4
Star Wish / Zahara Henderson / Zahara Henderson / 8 / 12
Juan Bay / Isabella Uhrig / Isabella Uhrig / 4 / 0


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