Lexington, Ky.—Aug. 12
It’s Lucy Deslauriers’ last year at USEF Pony Finals, so she made it count. She outrode 188 other entries to top this year’s Equisport Insurance/USEF Pony Medal Final at USEF Pony Finals.
Deslauriers, New York, lay ninth after the twisting initial round, which included several serpentine turns, long broken lines and a trot fence. Riders halted between two plants about eight strides after the last fence. While no fences were terribly spooky, the turns got the better of many riders. Many riders struggled to get on the pace for the first line, and some struggled with the final halt.
“I really like these types of rounds that have a lot of turns,” said Deslauriers, 13. “The first line you definitely had to get up…My pony has a big stride so that was OK.”
Twenty-five riders returned for the second round, which incorporated a hand galloped fence and more tough turns. Two riders were eliminated for going off course in this phase. Deslauriers nailed the hand gallop to the second fence and jumped every fence out of stride.
Judges Sue Ashe and Bobby Braswell has the option to test the top competitors, and they decided to call back four riders to work off. Riders had to canter fence 1, halt, then counter-canter fence 2, canter fence 3, then finish with a hand gallop to fence 6.
“I was pretty nervous,” admitted Deslauriers after she heard she was called back on top heading into the test. “I knew the other riders were great. I just wanted to go in and put in the best test I could ride.”
She did that. None of the four riders—Ava Stearns, Samantha Cohen, Daisy Farish and Deslauriers—had any major errors, with the judges moving Stearns from fourth to third, and Farish finishing in the reserve slot.
Lucy tacked up Centerfield for the occasion, a gray large pony who finished third over fences in the hunter competition and overall third.
Deslauriers comes from an equestrian family, as both her parents—Lisa Desalauriers (née Tarnopol Silverman) and Mario Deslauriers—have competed internationally for the United States. Her parents coach her at home, and Krista Freundlich of Beacon Hill Stables and Stonehenge Stables help her at shows.
“The hardest one on me is actually my twin brother Jack,” said Lucy. “He doesn’t ride, but he really knows what’s going on.”
Freundlich wasn’t surprised that her student, who was third in this class last year, rose to the occasion.
“She’s a great student and she wants to learn and works hard. She has a great attitude and she’s wonderful to be around. She’s started doing the children’s jumper in February and March, and that’s really helped give her more confidence and learn about different courses and turns,” she said.
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