MILL SPRING, N.C. — Pony Club members returned to Tryon International Equestrian Center for the USPC Charles Owen 2018 Championships East, presented by Flair, LLC and Airowear July 25 to 29, 2018.

There was great competition in dressage, eventing, quiz, show jumping and tetrathlon but the President's Cup competition sponsored by Hero Kids Foundation was the highlight event during the Saturday Nights Lights evening at Tryon International Equestrian Center.  Switchblade team hoisted the trophy. Team Members included Jess Bradley-Johnson and Azaria Smallwood of the Eastern Pennsylvania Region. They were joined by MacKenzie Raniowski and Captain Cora Raniowski of the Old Dominion Region.

“It’s fun to ride in such a huge arena, and my pony, Churro, is absolutely perfect, so she takes good care of me. This is my first time at Champs!” said Smallwood.

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Jesse Bradley-Johnson was also thrilled to return to TIEC, and said, “it’s crazy to be back. It’s so updated and coming back for the second time is amazing to see the progress, past and ongoing.” About her sport, Bradley-Johnson said, “my favorite part of Games is probably my teammates, because you really get the opportunity to ride with them, and it’s a really great experience. Rudy and I are strongest at accuracy.”

Teams in each discipline were judged on their horsemanship skills at various points during the competition. Turnout inspection determined if the horse or pony was well-groomed and reflected regular care and that tack fitted properly. After each ride, Turn Back Inspections made sure that the young riders properly groomed their horses and cleaned their tack and equipment. In addition, each team worked together to properly equip their team tack room, which included a utility kit, first aid and veterinary care kit, extra tack and safety equipment.

The Pony Club members competed on the same grounds where the FEI World Equestrian Games will be held in September. “I had so much fun competing in this year’s USPC Championships East. Tryon International Equestrian Center is an impressive venue that has so many opportunities for spectating and competing. One of my favorite things this year was that polocrosse was playing right outside the eventing barns. I have never seen a polocrosse match and it was so much fun watching in the mornings while I got ready for my rides. That is what I love about TIEC, all the disciplines are competing so closely the competitors have the opportunity to watch other disciplines that we may not always have the chance to see regularly,” said eventing competitor Micaela Forsyth who represented the Eastern Pennsylvania Region and is also a National Youth Board Member.

Polocrosse competitor Teagan Lapuk, representing the New York/Upper Connecticut region, has competed at TIEC through the American Eventing Championships, but was a first-time Championships East participant and described her appreciation for the venue as a dual-sport athlete: “our club has always had some racquets and balls to kind of pick up and play around with, but this was the first year we really got into Polocrosse.” Lapuk said, “It’s awesome – I love having all the disciplines here, because I can go and watch, and as an eventer, I like to go and watch the eventing, too, and I think the quiz competitors like to go watch as much as they can, and it’s fun to be able to watch the President’s Cup competition at Saturday Night Lights, or go watch the International Tetrathlon – it’s fun to be able to see everything all in one place.”

The event brought more than 500 competitors together representing 26 regions to compete in Dressage, Eventing, Games, Polocrosse, Show Jumping, Tetrathlon and Quiz. A large group of Pony Club leaders, volunteers, parents and friends helped to organize and staff the days of competition.

In addition to the traditional competition, 28 Pony Club members brought their Off-The-Track Thoroughbreds to participate in the New Vocations Pony Club Challenge competition in four different disciplines.  Seven members competed in Eventing, 12 in Show Jumping, nine in Dressage of which, two rode Western Dressage.  Members used their horsemanship skills to retrain their adopted mounts; over the weekend they were judged on performances in the ring as well as their Pony Club Horse Management skills in the barns.

For a full list of results by discipline, visit www.ponyclub.org.

About Pony Club — The United States Pony Clubs, Inc. was founded in 1954 as a nonprofit national youth organization to teach riding and horsemanship through a formal educational program. There are approximately 10,000 Pony Club members in over 600 clubs and riding centers throughout the country. Many of the nation’s top equestrians, including several of our Olympic team members, business professionals, government leaders and career military officers, have roots in Pony Club. Youth members range in age from as young as 4 through age 25. Pony Club also offers educational opportunities to a growing number of adults through Horsemasters membership. www.ponyclub.org.

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