PONIES IN THE SPOTLIGHT:
Article & photography by Allison Armstrong Rehnborg
Ponies reigned supreme at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum during the 2019 Tennessee and Georgia Pony of the Americas Clubs’ Southeast Regional and Music City Promo Show. Co-hosted by both clubs, the Music City Promo Show took place on June 14, followed by the Southeast Regional on June 15-16. The premier show of the South for POA exhibitors, the show drew participants from Tennessee, Georgia and other states.
“We had about 85 ponies come in from lots of states, from as far north as Michigan and as far south as Florida, and over 700 entries for the weekend,” Holly said.
Judged by Patricia Smith of Sugar Hill, GA, Kathy Koch of Newborn, GA, and Tim Jedra of Lexington, KY, the Southeast Regional and Music City Promo gave POAs and their riders a chance to shine at what they do best: namely, just about everything.
“The real value of the POA is that they are the ultimate in versatility,” Holly said. “You can have a single pony that will do the full gamut, from jumping and hunt seat to western pleasure, games, western riding and reining. It’s not just that these ponies can go out and do all these things, but they’re also successful at it. It’s great for the kids because it gives them a chance to learn about all the different disciplines. You really do learn to ride when you learn to do all of those things.”
Loren Chambers of CLC Farm in Clarksville, TN, and her daughter, Ella Ruth Chambers, age 10, both competed at the event in a variety of classes. Loren grew up showing POAs herself, so getting to pass on her love of horses and showing to her daughter is a dream come true.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to grow up doing something you love, and then to have a child who loves it as much as you do,” Loren said. “I also love that you can load up and go together to the show as a family. This particular breed and organization are very child-focused and family-focused. I love the friendships that you make and the relationships that you build when you show and are part of a group like this.”
For Ella, the best part of showing is spending time with her friends, who are also some of her best competitors.
“I’m very competitive, so I like to win, but I’m also here to see my friends and have fun,” Ella said. “Sometimes your friends win and sometimes you win, but it’s all fun. And if you mess up on a pattern, you can love on your pony and your pony will just love back on you and cheer you up.”
Ella competed on RM Hollywood Red, a sorrel 2004 POA gelding with spots, while Loren rode RY Major Tribute, a chestnut 2014 POA mare with blanket, spots and blaze. Loren says that showing horses has taught her daughter the value of hard work and good sportsmanship.
“In a world that seems to be very me-focused, you have to be selfless to show, because your horse always comes first and your needs come second,” Loren said. “It takes a tremendous amount of preparation at home to come show.”
The Chambers family shared their barn aisle at the Miller Coliseum with another second-generation showing family, the Woody family of Columbia, TN. Hannah Woody served as groom and riding coach to her daughters, AveryMae (8) and Olivia (6), who each showed ponies of their own.
Hannah also grew up showing horses, so watching her daughters ride and succeed in the show pen is tremendously rewarding for her.
“It’s definitely living the best life,” Hannah confirmed. “It’s so cool to be able to share this with them and watch them progress from babies to where they are now. All the girls who show together are best friends, but they’re also each other’s fiercest competitors. It’s a great family environment, and everyone is welcome.”
For TNPOAC Point Standings and additional information about the Tennessee Pony of the Americas Club, including upcoming events, visit TNPOAC.com.
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