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MTPC Horse Trials


By Nancy Brannon

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This year Middle Tennessee Pony Club (MTPC) celebrated their 67th annual fall horse trials at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tenn. This is the longest, continuously running recognized horse trials in the U.S. On Saturday October 5, 2019, MTPC hosted dressage and cross country, plus a 65th Anniversary Celebration of United States Pony Club (USPC) after the end of cross country. On Sunday October 6 was the final phase: show jumping.

The MTPC Horse Trials is truly a regional event, attracting 120 riders from Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama.

 The Anniversary celebration dinner honored the establishment of USPC in 1954 and the establishment of Middle Tennessee Pony Club by Margaret Lindsley Warden in 1953.

J.J. Johnson, MTPC Horse Trials Organizing Committee, recognized the Charter Members, Graduate – A and –B pony clubbers from MTPC, and former MTPC District Commissioners (DC). J.J. has been associated with MTPC and its Horse Trials since 1986, when she served as DC. The position also included organizing the Horse Trials and she’s been doing it ever since. She now shares responsibilities with Peppy Butler, “and we have a great team assembled with Delana Owen as DC and Secretary, among many others who step up to make the event happen each year,” J. J. told the Mid-South Horse Review.

Mary Brockman spoke about all that Warden had accomplished for MTPC and her devotion to developing young riders in the Nashville area.

Warden began her long career of promoting horsemanship and equestrian activities after her graduation from George Peabody College in 1925. She wrote a weekly column for The Tennessean newspaper, called Horse Sense, and reported on Nashville-area equestrian events. When she retired from the newspaper in 1995, she held a record of 55 years on the equestrian beat.

In 1952 she “conceived the idea of persuading the Nashville Tennessean to sponsor a Horse Sense Riding Tournament, named after the title of her weekly column. My request was granted with some enthusiasm by Coleman Harwell, editor,”  Warden wrote in the “Background and Origin of Middle Tennessee Pony Club.” So the “All Horsemanship-Pleasure Mount Show” took place August 30, 1952 in Edwin Warner Park. “The results of this were so encouraging…” Warner wrote.
“Incidentally, it was at this 1952 Horse Sense Riding Tournament that Major Jonathan R. Burton, on his Thoroughbred mare June Lilly, demonstrated what is believed to be the first authentic dressage in these parts,” Warner wrote.

Warner goes on to describe the sequence of events that eventually led to the founding of MTPC in October 1953. She set up a table at the Grassland School Fall Horse Show with a sign that read “Join The Pony Club.” At this event, “32 signed the application forms and 23 paid the $1.00 membership fee. So these 23 could be considered charter members. The first to sign and pay was Eleanor Ann Pewitt, who became an active and long time member,” Warden wrote.  MTPC was the first club chartered by the newly established USPC.

Warden’s impact upon the Nashville community and the world of equestrian sports and horsemanship is immense. For a number of years she served on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Equestrian Team and she was involved in many civic organizations in Nashville, particularly in the arts and historic preservation. Ms. Warden died at age 103 in November 2007.

In the Foreword to her memoir, Life Has Been Very Kind To Me, John Siegenthaler wrote of her resourcefulness, her strength of character, her wisdom, and her wit. Warden’s love of horses and equestrian sports inspired thousands of young people. She was a treasure to those who knew her.

The Margaret Lindsley Warden Library for Equine Studies was established at Middle Tennessee State University. It is one of the largest collections of information about equestrian events and includes 3,000 volumes of serial publications, 2,500 photographs, and more than 900 individual titles.

Giles Rowsell, announcer for MTPC Horse Trials for the last 18 years, spoke about the British Pony Club’s 90th anniversary. He lives in England and makes a few trips to the U.S. annually to announce at several events. He has served on the board of British Eventing and as chef d'equipe of the Young Riders team. He explained how the leaders of local pony clubs, District Commissioners, got the title. In the days of the British Empire, the District Commissioner was in charge of a district of one of the British colonies. They were almost always organized, clever, and assertive – characteristics the DC of a Pony Club also needs to have!

The evening’s soirée provided a delicious dinner and much time for reminiscing about the many good times experienced by pony clubbers in middle Tennessee.

MTPC Horse Trials Results:
Training – Open A: Jacob Fletcher on 5o1 Hollywood Legend (32.1)

Training – Open B: Breeana Robinette on Velvet Brown (36.4)

Both winners finished on just their dressage scores, incurring no penalties on cross country or stadium jumping.

Jr. Novice A: Ainsley Slicker on Horizzon (26.7)

Jr. Novice B: Amelia Kremer on Delgado (35.2)

Ainsley finished on just her dressage score, incurring no penalties on cross country or stadium jumping.

Novice Open – A: Megan Moore on Master Plan (31.2)

Novice Open – B: Hannah Miller on Dynamic Knight (26.0)

Novice Open – C: Erica Mitchell on Shaniko Star (35.0)

All winners finished on just their dressage scores, incurring no penalties on cross country or stadium jumping.

Jr. Beginner Novice – A: Faith Newman on Jumble (32.3)

Jr. Beginner Novice – B: Riley Jones on Senor Santana (31.0)

Both winners finished on just their dressage scores, incurring no penalties on cross country or stadium jumping.

Beginner Novice Open – A: Susannah Lansdale on Four Star (35.3)

Beginner Novice Open – B: Amanda Schardt on Spanish Alarm (33.0)

Amanda finished on just her dressage score, incurring no penalties on cross country or stadium jumping.

Jr. Starter – A: Larkin Albarado on Sf Lil Bit O Texas (28.8)

Jr. Starter – B: Olivia Marsh on Decadence (28.8); Second: Audri Hoos on Boo Ribbon (33.5)

All three riders finished on just their dressage scores, incurring no penalties on cross country or stadium jumping.

Starter – Open: Laura Shipman on Secret (33.8)

Laura finished on just her dressage score, incurring no penalties on cross country or stadium jumping.

Training Level Thoroughbred Incentive Program:

Winner: Cameron Stacy on La Vie en Rose (39.1); Second: Sydney Doss on Hooked On You (40.8)

Novice Level Thoroughbred Incentive Program:

Winner: Hannah Miller on Dynamic Knight (26.0); Second: Amelia Kremer on Delgado (35.2)

Beginner Novice Level Thoroughbred Incentive Program:

Winner: Morgan Koerlin on Road to Rockport (31.5); Second: Amanda Schardt on Spanish Alarm (33.0)

Starter Level Thoroughbred Incentive Program:

Winner: Cindy Carmack on Repeat Winner (35.3); Second: Sydney Doss on Piano Blues (36.8)

Find full results of MTPC Horse Trials at: 

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