Madison Kaplan and Rags to Riches Rise to Children’s Pony Hunter Finals Grand Championship

Saugerties, NY – August 6, 2022 – The Children’s Pony Hunter Finals returned to the New York Horse and Pony Show at HITS-on-the-Hudson, showcasing top young riders and their ponies throughout the weekend. The multi-phase competition was held over two days, providing Children's Pony riders with experience in a finals-type setting. Rising to the top of the standings with impressive scores in all three phases, Madison Kaplan and Rags to Riches garnered the Children’s Pony Hunter Finals Grand Championship.

Madison Kaplan and Rags to Riches. Photo by ESI

“I feel happy and glad that I have such a good pony,” expressed Kaplan after her victory. “She’s very pretty and likes to take care of you. [The Children’s Pony Hunter Finals] was really fun and cool, and I would do it again.”

The format was created to mimic the USEF Pony Finals, with three phases of competition. The phases included a model, under saddle, and over fences phase, with scores counting 10%, 30% and 50% respectively. with sections for Large, Medium and Small ponies. Awards were presented to the winner of each phase in each section, top ten in each section, and top ten overall, including the Grand Champions, Kaplan and Rags to Riches.

The duo kicked off the weekend with a score of 81 in the model and then went on to earn an 84 during the under saddle. The most important phase was Saturday’s over fences class, where Kaplan expertly navigated Rags to Riches to an impressive score of 84. Their performance brought their overall score to 83.4 to top the Small Children’s Pony Hunter section and also capture the Children’s Pony Hunter Grand Championship.

Madison Kaplan and Rags to Riches. Photo by ESI

“We are beyond proud of Madison,” said her mother and trainer, Lisa Kaplan from Sagamore Hill Stables. “The format is similar to Pony Finals, so we're so proud of her and the pony because she was able to model for the first time, and have that incorporated into the hack and over fences, and then come out Overall Grand Champion.”

Rags to Riches is a 19-year-old Welsh pony that was being used as part of the Sagamore Hill Stables school program, but when she clicked with Madison, the mare returned to the show ring and began helping her young rider prepare for this event.

Ross Kaplan concluded, “I think that all the finals, all newer things that have run over the past few weeks, like the Zone Jumper Championship last week and this, are really a nice thing. It's set up to reward good riding. It's not just about having the most expensive pony out there because [Rags to Riches] is a nice pony, but definitely not the model winner, not the hack winner, but really does jump a good jump, and Madison put in a really good round. It’s nice for the kids to see that good riding is rewarded. It's not always just about having the best pony out there; it’s about having a good pony and giving it the best ride you can.”

Addison Rosenquest with Cherrybrook Blue Magic. Photo by ESI


Earning the Large Children’s Pony Hunter Championship and Reserve Grand Championship was Addison Rosenquest with Cherrybrook Blue Magic, who earned a score of 82.9. The Medium Children’s Pony Hunter Championship went to Aurelia Lee and Soprano with a score of 80.9.

Aurelia Lee and Soprano. Photo by: ESI

Hunter action for the Summer Series at HITS-on-the-Hudson season concludes Sunday, but the HTS Saugerties Summer Fall will get underway at the world-class facility in September. The HITS Championship is scheduled for September 7-11, and will include the $15,000 Green Hunter Prix, the $50,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix and the $200,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix. For more information about the HITS Saugerties Series click here.