"It felt so good. I don't know how to describe it, it was like we were flying." Tabitha Okitsu & Spoot De La Jourlais of USHJA Zone 10 jumped 4️⃣ clear rounds over 3️⃣ days to take the 🥇 in the Individual Jumper Pony Final at USEF Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm. Her classmate and close friend Avery Kim took Silver aboard Jo-el. Watch all of #PonyFinals: https://www.usef.org/network/coverage/2017ponyfinals/
Posted by USEF Network on Saturday, August 12, 2017
Tabitha Okitsu came into the third and final round of the USEF Pony Jumper Championship with an extremely clear mission: leave every pole in the cups. As the sole rider to go clear in the first two rounds and a rail in hand, Tabitha and Spoot De La Jourlais didn’t have to go at break-neck speeds or take any major risks, they just had to go relatively fast and spectacularly clear.
And that’s exactly what they did.
“I am shocked. It felt so good. I don’t know how to describe it, it’s like we were flying. [The course] was pretty hard. I think it was mostly my horse, Spoot. We had a lot of tough spots that he just carried me through.”
Sporting an inflatable air vest over her jumper jacket, Tabitha and Spoot flew over the twisting and technical Jason Shelley track in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park to win the top jumper title – an incredible achievement for a rider who faced nothing but heartbreak in her previous attempts at Pony Finals.
“I came last year with a different pony named Super Mario and we didn’t complete a single course. We brought in [Spoot], and that did the trick. He is the best pony I could have asked for.”
The 15-year-old from South Pasadena, CA is not praying for a growth spurt anytime soon, as she’s really fallen in love with the ponies and has no intention of moving to the standard horses until she has to.
“I think I will keep doing the Pony Jumpers. I’m going to stick with ponies as long as I can.”
Congratulations on your big win, Tabitha, and Go Jumping!