Madeline Thatcher Wins Gold Representing Zone 8’s Pony Jumper Team at USEF Pony Finals
by: Lauren Fisher
Lexington, KY – August 12, 2009 – Thirteen-year-old Madeline Thatcher of South Jordan, UT, won the gold medal representing Zone 8’s Pony Jumper Team at this year’s USEF Pony Finals competition. Thatcher and her nine-year-old pony Bally Mac put in double clear rounds to assist the team in its exciting gold medal victory while competing at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
Madeline Thatcher rode on the Zone 8 Pony Jumper Team along with Amelia Drumm, Megan MacPherson, and Georgia Griffis, with the help of Chef d’Equipe Kathy Johnson and trainer Maggie Jayne. The Zone 8 team ended up with zero faults after they were able to drop the lowest score in each round of competition, and all four members were awarded gold medals following their exciting victory.
In the first round of team competition, Thatcher, along with two of her other teammates, jumped clear, and they then took the option to drop their fourth teammate’s score. In the second round, Zone 8 returned in a tie for the gold medal with Zone 5, and Madeline ended up riding anchor to jump last for her team. “My first teammate that went had four-faults, so we were able to drop her score and then the other two were clear and I jumped clear again,” Thatcher smiled. “If I hadn’t jumped clear, they would have looked at our time and I think Zone 5 would have won with that because they were relatively fast.”
Thatcher had the pressure of going clear as the anchor, but she did not get nervous at all. “I just try not to pay too much attention to what is going on and stay focused,” she stated. “Then I go in and try to go clear, because if I let the pressure get to me too much, it usually doesn’t work very well.”
Thatcher and her pony Bally Mac have done exceptionally well together, and she was confident that they could go clear. She has had Bally Mac for about a year and half now and explained that her sister Kelsey rode him for a couple of years before that. “Mac is really easy, and I really like him,” she smiled. “He is one of those ponies that I get on and he just puts me in a good mood because he is so much fun.”
Thatcher rode on the Pony Jumper team last year as well and was very happy with this year’s results. “Winning the gold medal as a team was definitely my favorite part of Pony Finals this year,” she noted. “I like riding on a team. You can have a lot of individual accomplishments, but winning as a team was a lot of fun.”
Along with winning the team gold, Thatcher and Bally Mac also finished in sixth place overall in the individual Pony Jumper competition, after finishing with the fastest four-fault score in the first round and then jumping clear in the second round. Thatcher was not just successful in the pony jumpers however; she also showed Helicon Just Notice, owned by Molly Rhinedollar, in the Medium Green Pony Hunter Model and won the blue ribbon earlier in the week.
Thatcher and Bally Mac have been at the top of the standings for the North American League Pony Jumper Championships throughout most of the year, and they will compete in the finals at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg this October.
While Thatcher was winning gold in Kentucky, Our Day Farm’s Charlie Jayne was in Ireland competing at the world-renowned Dublin Horse Show with two of Pony Lane Farm’s horses, Athena and Carentina III. Athena is co-owned by the Thatchers and the Jaynes as The London Group, and Jayne rode the nine-year-old mare to an exciting second place finish in the Irish Sports Council Classic, a qualifier for the prestigious Longines International Grand Prix of Ireland.
Carentina III is Pony Lane Farm’s newest horse, and Jayne rode her to a very respectable eighth place finish in the Speed Championships after competing throughout the week in order to qualify.
Pony Lane Farm will compete next at the Ledges Fall Classic, August 13-16, 2009, in Roscoe, IL. The following week Maggie Jayne will travel to Lexington, KY, with Pony Lane Farm’s horses Early Applause, Francesca, and Milous de Fontaine, to compete in the 2009 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals.
Zone 8 Gold Medal Pony Jumper TeamPhoto Credit: Madeline Thatcher won the gold medal with Zone 8’s Pony Jumper Team along with teammates Amelia Drumm, Megan MacPherson, and Georgia Griffis, with the help of Chef d’Equipe Kathy Johnson. Photos C 2009 Randi Muster. Photograph may be used only in relation to this PMG press release.