MILTON, Ga. – Amanda Schaefer and her horse Confidant have staked out the top ranking in the Small Junior Hunters, according to the United States Equestrian Federation national point standings. Ilay Talor and his pony Jumpin' Jack Flash have surged into the nation's second spot in another division – the Small Pony Hunters. Both riders train at Phoebe Loughrey Stables on Wood Road in Milton.
Schaefer has competed at the top national shows three years in a row – Devon in 2010 and the Washington International Horse Show in 2011 and 2012. She has also competed at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. The large pony she competed with indoors in 2011 also finished higher than any other Georgia pony at the 2012 U.S. Pony Finals.
Her trainer, Phoebe Loughrey, praised her recent performance.
"Amanda has made great strides moving from a smaller pony to her first horse where the jumps are much higher and all just since August," Loughrey said. "Many of her competitors have more experience, but she has quickly risen to the very top."
Talor was the only boy to compete at the Washington International Horse Show in the Small Pony Hunters.
"Ilay has made tremendous progress in just a couple of years – going from not knowing how to ride at all to the short-stirrup division and then in just a year leapfrogging to the top of the national standings for the small pony hunters. He is a phenomenal prospect," Loughrey said. "Both sets of parents should be applauded for their selfless commitment to this great sport. Without their unflinching support, none of this would be possible."
This article was published in the MH March 28, 2013 edition