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2014 USPC Festival Recap


By Shelley Mann, USPC

August 18, 2014 (Lexington, KY) —The United States Pony Clubs Inc. 2014 Festival wrapped up eight days of competition and education on July 21, 2014. USPC Festival is a triennial event hosted at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. Celebrating Pony Club’s 60th anniversary this year, USPC Festival gathered over 1,100 members competing in seven disciplines, as well as a record number of Horsemasters participants. The first part of the week was the National Championships team competition; the second part of the week hosts clinics, demonstrations, and presentations aimed at offering education in all aspects of equine care and riding.

Quiz -290 competitors
Eventing- 271 competitors
Show Jumping- 239 competitors
Dressage- 140 competitors
Mounted Games- 100 competitors
Tetrathlon- 49 competitors
Polocrosse-27 competitors

The educational portion of Festival featured over 600 members learning from Olympians such as Lendon Gray and Gina Miles, and other internationally known equestrians. Popular clinics were offered by The Kentucky Horse Park Mounted Police and the Iroquois Hunt, with more than 100 members choosing to participate in a mock foxhunt in the early morning fog.

Festival hosted more than fifty vendors in the upper arena concourse of the Alltech Arena, as activities such as the Opening Ceremonies, games, a polocrosse demonstration, and many of the clinics took place on the arena floor. Other venues for the clinics were the dressage complex, five show jumping arenas, and the world famous cross-country course. Polocrosse fields were situated to the West and South of the Alltech Arena, with tetrathlon competitors completing three of their four competition phases on the Horse Park.

The Judy Thayer Memorial Coaching Award: Skippy Crawford

The United States Pony Clubs Inc., gave the inaugural Judy Thayer Memorial Coaching Award at Show Jumping Championships during USPC Festival. 2014 marks the first time in 30 years that Judy Thayer was not coaching riders from Eastern Pennsylvania and Delmarva Regions at Championships. Just a few days before heading to the event Judy passed away suddenly. She lived in Kirkwood, PA.

To honor Judy Thayer’s memory, the USPC Show Jumping Committee created this award in 2014 to be given annually during USPC Championships. Winners of the award will receive a lifetime membership to generously donated by the website’s founder, Bernie Traurig a graduate of Meadow Brook Hounds Pony Club.

The award will be given annually to the person who best demonstrates the attributes of Judy’s coaching style. These ideals are the true measure of Judy Thayer’s character as demonstrated by her coaching, teaching, riding, and care of her horses. The coach will:
  1. Show respect for the rider and especially for the horse or pony during and after competition.
  2. Always encourage riders to focus on the positive in order to learn from each riding experience. 
  3. Recognize the simplest methods in coaching often create the best communication between riders and their horses or ponies.
This year’s winner was David “Skippy” Crawford of Elgin, IL who coached for the North Central Prairie Region. Skippy is an Australia Pony Club graduate who now rides and trains in Illinois. 

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