Allie Tu, 10, of Lake Wylie only had her new pony, Watch Me Shine, for a month before the two earned reserve champion in the medium pony hunters division at the Camden Spring Classic AA Show in Camden.
This accomplishment qualified the duo a place at the August USEF Pony Finals in Lexington, Ky.
I got Watch Me Shine, a 16-year-old Welsh pony, in April soon before the Classic, Allie said. I already had two ponies, but the more I got into showing, we went looking for the right pony with which to train.
Allie, although young, is no amateur when it comes to ponies. Her love of ponies began at 2 years old riding the ponies at the New Jersey Zoo. By age 4, she was showing them.
When I started, the trainer would attach a lead line to the pony and show the horse while I rode it, Allie explained. As I got older, I could show the pony on my own.
Now, looking forward to the finals Aug. 6-11, Allie and Watch Me Shine will be competing in the medium pony division along with 200 or more others at the Kentucky Horse Park.
I am very excited to have the opportunity to ride with a lot of top riders, Allie said. However, I am nervous, too. We only get one shot at each class, so we have to get it right from the start.
Allie is the daughter of Sonny and Michele Tu. She trains with Lauren Graves Bryant.
For more information on the finals, visit usef.org.
Wendy Dimitri of Lake Wylie is a freelancer writer. Email neighbors column ideas to news@lakewyliepilot.