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Middle Tennessee Pony Club Mini Trials


Photos by Carissa Ramsdell

Middle Tennessee Pony Club’s (MTPC) annual Mini Trials kicked off the spring eventing season on the first Saturday in April (6th) 2019 at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tenn. The 2019 Mini Trials is an unrecognized “3 in 1 day” event, with the three phases – dressage, cross country, and stadium – all in one day. Order of the day was a bit different from a regular event: dressage first, then stadium, and finishing with cross country.

Competitors could choose to enter one of four divisions: Novice, Beginner Novice, Starter, and Pre-Starter. Novice division dressage test is the 2018 USEF Novice Test A; jump height is 2’11” with a water obstacle on cross country.  Beginner Novice division dressage test is the 2018 USEF Beginner Novice Test A; jump height is 2’7” with a water obstacle on cross country. For the Starter division, dressage test is USDF Intro Test C; jump height is 2’3” with water an option, not required, on cross country. And for the Pre-Starter division, dressage test is 2019 USDF Intro Test B; jump height is 18” with water optional, not required on cross country.

Photographer Carissa Ramsdell said about the event: “It was fantastic!  Perfect weather and the day seemed to run flawlessly. There were many great rides and smiles all around.”

Coach Meredith Tipton took several students and had this to say about the event: “We had a wonderful time at the event! As always, MTPC put on a very organized and well run show. The courses were inviting with a good mix of confidence boosting fences along with a handful at max heights for each level.

“My girls have worked so hard on their dressage over the winter, and it showed. All six kids from River Run Eventing scored in the 30s.”

As happens sometimes, a rider inadvertently gets the E score (elimination). Anna Claire Bradley and Scarlett Begoney all had a great dressage test, scoring 32.2 in the Jr. Beginner Novice division. She had a great cross country ride, thinking she had finished clean, with no penalties. Unfortunately, after finishing, she realized she had skipped a fence. “So sad to be eliminated as she was winning her division,” Meredith commented. But this happens to the best of riders.

 “Eleven-year-old Mia Dunford and her pony, Touched By An Angel, completed their first Novice division on just their dressage score of 33.3 to finish the day in second place. Fifteen –year-old Anna Claire Callum and Road Less Traveled added no penalties to their dressage score of 32.8 to win Starter Division A. Twelve- year-old Olivia McNatt and One Under Par finished on just their dressage score of 32.3 to win Starter Division B. This was both girls’ first time at this level! Twelve- year-old Sarah Bomar and Area Fifty One added no penalties to their dressage score of 39.5 to finish in second place in Starter Division B. This was her 6-year-old OTTB’s first ever event! Twelve- year-old Olivia Hood and Wish Upon A Star finished on a score of 38.1 to take second place in Pre-Starter B.” Meredith was, obviously, very proud of and excited for the success of her students!

Winners per division (with final score) were:

Modified Novice: Roberta Woroniwicz on Cookie Monster (26.4)
Modified Novice Jr/Young Rider: Nora Goldfarb on Maddie (23.6)
Jr. Beginner Novice A: Caitlin Langerhoven on Gracie Lu Cruisin (40.6)
Jr. Beginner Novice B: Amelia Chey Slaton on Griffin (30.3)
Open Beginner Novice: Gretchen Webber on Galouette (32.5)
Amoeba A: (tie) Dalyce Bird on Camilla Acres (37.5) and Sophie Pierce on My Fair Lady (37.5)
Amoeba B: Morgan Koerlin on Along Came a Spider (35.3)
Amoeba C: Reagen Emery on Diamonds are a Girld Best Friend (36.9)
Jr. Starter A: Grayson Newman on Mocha Del Sol (30.5)
Jr. Starter B: Abby Goulet on Yates (29.0)
Jr. Starter C: Emily Spatz on Midnight Star (34.0)
Open Starter: Caroline Lee on Star (29.8)

Find more information about Middle Tennessee Pony Club and the Mini Trials at:  Results are posted on StartBoxScoring.

See more of Carissa Ramsdell’s photos at: And check out her Freedom Reigns Ranch at:

Peggy Hart also took students to MTPC Mini Trials: Ashley Evans and Alli Gill. Peggy writes: “Arriving early at your next horse event helps to make it a nice relaxing show.  It lets you leisurely inspect your stalls, and then rush to the local grocery to get bleach to mix with water to spray down the stalls.  Get everything unloaded and sorted, including putting up your homemade signs stating who you are and who your equine partner is. And take said equine partner for a nice graze around the grounds before the crowd arrives. 

“This mini event consisted of dressage, stadium jumping, and cross country. It was one of the first outings after a long wet winter for the girls and their horses, and a new type of format for them.

“In Eventing, each phase must be completed by the same horse and rider and each phase is scored separately. Doing well in one phase is not enough, and the smallest mistake can change your score.  The official name for this type of eventing is Horse Trial, in which all three disciplines occur on one day, rather than across three days or more. A Horse Trial is a fun form of competing; your horse must be good in all three disciplines and you must be able to ride correctly in each discipline.

“The levels of competition included Pre-Starter with jumps at 18” and Starter at 2’3,” which are not United States Eventing Association (USEA) recognized levels. The USEA recognized levels were Beginner Novice at 2’7” and Novice at 2’11.”

“Saturday started with two dressage rings going at the same time.  Ashley and her horse Oliver came in first in dressage and Alli and her horse Teagan came in sixth in their Beginner Novice tests.  After a break the girls proceeded to the stadium jumping course where Ashley and Oliver had one rail down for a four-point penalty, and Alli went clear, even over the tricky second vertical, and an almost stop at the last jump where Alli informed her horse she “was going to jump,” so her mare flat- footed it over the wall. 

“Riders and horses went from stadium jumping to the cross country course, located in the infield of the steeplechase course. These jumps do not come down and reflect what you might jump out in the hunt field, including drops and water obstacles.  Oliver and Ashley rolled through this course, finishing without a refusal.  Alli and Teagan’s ride was not quite as successful, as they had two refusals. 

“It is the early spring shows that allow you to see what you need to work on before the season of recognized shows begin.  The girls were excited about how they did considering the lack of riding they had been able to do between work, school and the unending rain this winter.  Ashley and Oliver finished with a third and Alli got her rhythm back with the cross country. She has worked out a major training program before her next event in June.  Having problems is how you learn what you need to fix and work on and both girls got the message.  Good for them!”

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