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AHHS Youth Medallion National Championships Keeps On Growing

by Jennifer Styskal            

Kids and ponies always make a good match no matter what the division. Understanding this, the American Hackney Horse Society started up the Youth Medallion program several years ago and has remained as one of the most successful programs for junior exhibitors in the country. Not only does it fuel the younger generation’s love of the breed and promote the versatility of the Hackney pony, but it also provides the Brent Bacon Memorial Scholarship of $500 to each winner and a great way to have fun.


Qualifiers for the national championships are held across the country for the roadster, pleasure and Hackney/harness divisions. The AHHS sponsored a luncheon hosted by the UPHA American Royal that recognized the newly crowned national champions as well as the AHHS Youth High Points.


The AHHS Youth High Point winners

gathered at the luncheon held in their honor

during the American Royal.


Kathy Barlow (left) and Suzanne Mayo

helped coordinate the AHHS Foundation’s

Youth High Point luncheon and awards.


The first of six AHHS Medallion classes came into the ring Thursday evening with five junior exhibitors riding their roadster ponies for the AHHS Youth Medallion Road Pony Under Saddle Championship. These young riders awed the crowd with their daring as they raced around the turns at speed.


After everyone pulled in to the line, the final results were announced in reserve order as is tradition. First to leave the line up was Little Cindy Lou Who with Francis Neunuebel in the saddle for Madison Pope and Lisa Hilmer. Melbourne’s Classic Headlines and Alex Terry pulled out next for Ford and Janet Blair with Knight’s Lady Of Lace and Alicia Harris picking up the third place ribbon for Cathy Harris DVM.


The tense escalated when only two remained in the ring. Both young ladies are very talented and have had great success with their ponies. Too young to drive a car, but old enough to pilot Stacey Swalla’s pony Rolls Royce, Morgan Brison carried out the reserve honors with trainer Kent Swalla and father/trainer Bob Brison greeting her at the gate. A relative newcomer to the Hackney Pony world, Mollie Kregor campaigned former World’s Champion Cowboy Magic to the win for Gabriella Flynn.


Taking a change in pace, the pleasure ponies and their riders entered the ring Friday morning for the AHHS Youth Medallion Pleasure Pony Under Saddle Championship. It was another group of five competing for the national honors. Several of these teams had competed in this class last year and returned for another try with a few new pairs giving them a run for their money.


After going through their gaits both ways of the ring, the five competitors lined up. First to be called out was Alicia Harris riding Seamair Captivator for Cathy Harris DVM. Earning the fourth place ribbon was the Minnesota team of Avis Van Zomeren and Reedann’s Special Delivery, riding under the direction of parents Mark and Renae Van Zomeren.


Blockbuster DV was a hit for third place with Ashlinn Thommes in the saddle for A.W. Hammerlund. Only two were left: Courtney Ledo and last year’s champion Morgan Brison. Picking up the red tricolor was Romeo’s Public Defender and Ledo for owner Pam Kryzer. Garnering all three top votes from the judges, Brison and her champion last year, BRS Mark’s Delight, marched down victory lane for Bob and Tonya Brison.



Morgan Brison showed off her reserve with Rolls Royce in 

the Youth Medallion Road Pony Under Saddle Championship.

Later Brison was back at it to claim the Pleasure Pony

  Under Saddle Championship with BRS Mark’s Delight.

With the riding classes complete, it was time for the junior exhibitors to hook their ponies and show the crowd what they had. The need for speed returned with the AHHS Youth Medallion Road Pony 13 and Under Championship.


There were only four in the class, but they sure made it a horse race. Melbourne’s Classic Headlines returned to the ring with silky behind him to take the fourth place ribbon. Chad Terry directed this pony for Ford and Janet Blair. Last year’s champions Max Kaplan and his popular equine partner Boxford Courageous Spirit left the ring next.


Two pairs remained and they each carried the strong support of their fan club. The smart-stepping Albert Kaponey and Kevin Berman were proud to accept the reserve honors for grandmother Ada Perwien. Keeping their record flawless with a world’s champion of champions title on it, Dun Haven Grandiose and petite Kirstie Buerkly wore the blue from the arena for Blevins Farm. Maureen Lydon and Rich Campbell coached this dynamic team to the win.


Maureen Lydon met Kirstie Buerkly after she made

a commanding drive to win the Road Pony 13 and

Under Championship with Dun-Haven Grandiose.

Pony classes throughout the show were light and the AHHS Youth Medallion Hackney/Harness Combination Championship was no different. Only three came through the gates, however they still put on a great show. Alicia Harris appeared in her third AHHS Medallion class of the week, driving Cathy Harris’s High Tides Lingering Kiss to the yellow ribbon.


Patsy Loeb teamed up with Lightning Up to take the reserve title back to Kellie Loeb. Mollie Kregor returned to the winner’s circle under the direction of Maureen Lydon and Rich Campbell. She drove Heartland Flirtation to the blue for Caroline Kamer.


Maureen Lydon coached Mollie Kregor

and Heartland Flirtation to the

Hackney/Harness Pony Championship.

The AHHS Youth Medallion Hackney Pony Pleasure Driving Championship was the largest class of the program this year with seven junior exhibitors showing off their well-mannered ponies. And what a class it was with some of the country’s best pleasure ponies and youth teaming up for some great drives. Just as in the previous classes, this one was pinned in reverse order. Angela Garza pulled out of the line up first with her Just Cause. Aliyah Asch handled her mother, Gail Asch’s, Callisto for the sixth place ribbon. Patsy Loeb drove Queensbury Debutante out of the ring next for Queensbury Farm.


Small but mighty, Rose Marie Wheeler was the youngest of the group and put in a good drive with her Seamair Dear Sir to claim fourth. Will Mayo and Motown are a well-known team who are rarely seen apart. They both put on a good performance to earn the yellow ribbon with Mike and Kathy Barlow coaching. Emily Doll, daughter of trainer Martha Doll, made the expert drive with Wonmore Diamond Legacy to carry off the reserve honors for owner Marilou Wilschke.


Making it three for three, Mollie Kregor traded in her silks for a beautiful pink blouse to show her support of Friday night’s Pink Ribbon night and took a trip down victory lane with Heartland Entitled for owner Sandra Surber.



Mollie Kregor raced to the Road Pony Under Saddle Championship

title with Cowboy Magic before switching gears and outfits

 to win the Pleasure Pony Driving class with Heartland Entitled. 
Kregor was met by
Salvador Gutierrez and Raül Duarte.


The final AHHS Youth Medallion class was the road pony 14-17 championship. Six sped around the turns with the crowd cheering on their favorite every step of the way. It was a close race, but when the cards were turned in and the ponies lined up, Tyler Volz and POS Time To Shine left the ring first with the green ribbon for Trimble and Sperl. Following were Knight’s Lady Of Lace and Alicia Harris with Scooter Scheurich and The Man claiming fourth for Stacey Swalla.         

It was down to the last three roadsters. Veteran Buckwheat with JP Stilz raced from the line up with the yellow ribbon in hand for Rigby’s Green Farm. Thunderation and Patsy Loeb have been a formidable all year long and continued that trend when they claimed the reserve tricolor. The only one left was World’s Champion Zildjian with Caitlin Leith on the lines for brother Conner Leith. Heather Boodey instructs this team who had a nearly undefeated season.

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