Progressing through important summer horse show days finally brings us to the verge of Pony Finals. To whatever extent the event was subdued in 2020 and 2021, 2022 brought back the full experience.
Around Stonewall Farm, Pony Finals wouldn’t have been possible without the work of a whole team of young equestrians. Catching them in a rare group shot felt like a rare alignment of planets.
Naturally, that was because of the amount of time spent ferrying to and from the Rolex ring. As in past years, golf carts play a key role.
In the ring, young riders have time to school and explore the space before they return for scored trips beginning the next day. Behind this squad, the VIP sits empty.
There’s a mix of high stakes and informal context that makes this day before Pony Finals fascinating.
The formal riding clothes that will make up the next few days, the spectators in the stands, the judges, the jumps—all are absent.
There’s even time to stop for a snack…
…Or for a group photo.
The huge expanse of the Rolex’s footing makes for some remarkably neutral backgrounds. Details in horse and rider are all that stand out.
Back at the barn, pony after pony goes out for schooling or trials.
Will awaits a pony on the way back from the ring.
Megan gets Piper’s horse out of his stall…
And grooms him.
Piper heads off to ride.
The schooling ring is as busy as the Rolex.
In the warm-up, young riders focus on perfecting their rides.
Piper in the ring—with some good advertising.
“Maybe the real Pony Finals champions were the friends we made along the way.”