Friday morning during Week 9 at WEF began with pony riders taking on the Derby Field at the Equestrian Village. It was Clara Propp and News Day who took top honors in the competitive $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby. After receiving a high score of 86 in the first round, the pair maintained their lead with a score of 80 in the handy round for a total score of 166.
More than 50 ponies competed in the classic round on the grass field. The class was divided into 17 small ponies, 23 medium ponies, and 11 large ponies, with a height adjustment for each size. After the first round was complete, the top 12 pony and rider combinations returned for their chance to show off in the handy round.
Propp, of New York, NY, and News Day, owned by Aquitaine Equine, were the last to return for the handy round after they earned the highest score in the classic round. The 12-year-old gelding by Clovercroft’s Abba Adonai has been in the Propp family for several years and originally showed in the Large Green Pony Hunters with Propp’s older sister, Stella. Once Stella outgrew ponies, Clara took over the reins and continued News Day’s successful show career.
“He’s absolutely amazing in and out of the show ring!” Propp commented. “He can be a little quick, but in the show ring he acts perfectly. You can tell he’s a show pony.”
Propp and News Day are no strangers to the USHJA Pony Derby and competed in the class last year, where they earned a seventh place finish. Propp was thrilled that she was able to come back this year to earn the win with two beautiful, consistent rounds. “He was absolutely perfect. I did this last year and he was so good. I couldn’t have been happier with how he was and how I was!” Propp explained.
Going into the handy round, Propp knew that she wanted to remain calm and show off enough to stay in the lead. “I tried to make all the tightest turns. I didn’t want to let my nerves get to me and I just rode how I always ride,” Propp described.
Second place honors went to Vivian Golden, of Reading, PA, the owner and rider of Dressed To Go. The pair received scores of 82 and 83, for a total score of 165. Kat Fuqua aboard Chic in Time earned a third place. Fuqua, of Atlanta, GA, and her pony Chic In Time produced scores of 81 and 82, which added up to a total score of 163.