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Pony Finals 2018- Pony Jumpers

Hi all, We have a client who wants to take her pony to pony finals 2018! She has a pony jumper. We’ve never been to PF, so we have no clue on the qualifying process and how to get there! Anyone have any insider advice? The info on USEF is a little confusing. We plan to get her to an A show in January to rack up some points.

What zone are you in?

We are in Zone 5.

Wow, the pony jumper qualification process is way less cut and dried than the hunters!

That being said, it’s usually not a huge division in most places, so if you get to some horse shows and get some points, you should probably be in good shape. You might want to call or email the contact listed for your zone, just to touch base and get an idea of the possibilities.


As for pony finals in general, it’s usually a really fun experience for the kids. There are scads of other kids there with similar interests, and the organizers put on tons of activities for the riders all week long. So the kids can really have a chance to enjoy themselves and make new friends, regardless of how they do in the show ring.

Very few PJ classes around here, most in it do the Ch/Ad Jumpers for practice…and the PF course will be a low Ch/Ad comparable. Where is client showing now?

There should be some video out there if PF Jumpers, might want to see if you can dig some footage up.

We will be attending the January Ledges show. They offer both low and high child/adult jumpers, and pony jumper classes.

Do you understand the selection process? That’s what confuses me. Do they invite anyone with points? I saw something 12 per zone? We will be attending a show in January that offers pony jumper classes for her.


In case you haven’t seen this, this is the link to last years PJ Standings. You can search it by zone or national standings. In theory, they take 52 PJ kids for Pony Finals (each zone can field a team of 4, plus Pony Club can send 4 and then they take the next top 12 kids out of the national standings). Counting up the number of people who applied to go to PF from the national list, I came up with 44 which probably means that every kid in the country who applied was accepted. Where it can get competitive is between the kids within a zone who want to make it to their zone team for PF (Zone 2 is probably the most competitive within the zone).

It appears that the PJ’s in Zone 5 aren’t very popular (only 5 kids had points last year and only 3 applied to go to PF). Odds are that as long as your kid gets any points, they are probably going to qualify to go to PF and to be on their zone team. Your problem may be finding shows within your zone that actually run the PJ classes since there are so few PJ kids in your zone. You need 3 kids in the class for points to count.

The PJ division is near and dear to my heart as my daughter’s pony flunked out of hunter land but was quite successful in the PJ’s. One thing that caught us by surprise the first year we went to PF is that 1) most of the shows in our zone (zone 2 where PJ’s are more competitive) did not set to height so the jumps at PF which are set true looked enormous and 2) not one of our zone PJ shows, not even Devon, had a triple combination and there was one at PF. I would suggest finding videos of the PJ classes at PF and watching them.

I hope all of this helps.


****sorry, bad math. In theory they take 64 kids (12 zones and PC with 4 kids each and then the top 12 remaining kids in the national standings)

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This was in the FAQ section for the 2018 pony jumper finals, probably since it is a very small division in many places:

  • Can I still get points in Pony Jumpers if there are less than three entries? Answer: Yes, if there are less than three entries in a Pony Jumper class, the pony/rider combination can acquire points towards the championship from the additional points chart based on the fence height and number of faults. Children's Jumper classes are not eligible to receive points from the faults and fence height chart.
So the OP could probably ask a few show managers in that zone if they would be willing to offer the Pony Jumper classes, since it only takes one entry to get some points.


I think there was an article a few months back lamenting how unprepared many of the kids were this year for PF jumpers. I think what skyy is saying above is really important… try to find video and don’t rely on horse show organizers to adequately prepare your rider for finals. They almost never build to spec. Add to that the extra pressure and atmosphere and it can be a bit hard for the kiddos to get around easily. Make sure they’re practicing more technical courses, with triples and bigger jumps so they can feel confident at the big show!


I just re read the qualifying info and it appears that you can now get points to qualify for PJ’s at PF by doing the Children’s Jumpers as long as they are set at 1.05 or higher. That is really cool and different than the last time my daughter did the PJ’s at PF. That should make it a lot easier for your kid to get points as Children’s Jumper classes will fill.


Greysfordays is absolutely right. My daugher’s pony was okay jumping the set true to height fences at PF because she had been jumping bigger at home but quite honestly, both she and the pony came into the triple combination and completely lost their confidence. And there’s no opportunity to go out to another ring and school if you have trouble.

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To put it delicately, most years many PF Jumper riders and Ponies have been in over their heads. There is often some carnage.

The best preparation is watching those videos and doing the Ch/Ad Jumpers rather then scrounging for minimum entrant Pony Jumper classes. I’m in zone 5, it’s slim pickings for a PJ class and they tend to be far " softer" course wise then what the kids will see at Pony Finals. Hence the advice to do the Ch/Ad.

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The other thing that was different for us was the very limited, time crunched schooling right before you go in. There’s a little side warm up ring in the big Alltech Arena building and the gate keeper only allows about 4 or 5 kids (if memory serves) in the ring at a time to flat and jump the 2 warm up fences. If you have a pony who needs some extended warm up time, you may have a challenge as they only allow you to school for a short time based on the posted order of go.

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We definitely drill our kids at home with triple combos, triple bars, and very difficult courses and turns!

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Findeight has it in a nutshell. Let me tell you, it is devastating for a kid who has worked hard all year to qualify to go to PF and have it be a debacle because they are not prepared (through no fault of their own). Even if you don’t know the kid, it breaks your heart. Unless the coach has been to PF before, you just can’t anticipate what the kid and the pony will be up against. My daughter went to PF twice and we saw so many kids and ponies struggle . Some never even made it over the first fence. After her first year at PF with the pony eating triple combination from hell, my daughter spent a lot of time working on combinations at home because there wasn’t a show that we went to that had a triple even in the Ch/Ad jumpers.

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With all of that being said, PF is a great experience. Once your kid qualifies and you get all the show info, you will see that the PJ’s don’t have to be there before Weds at 5 pm of that week (assuming they still run it like they did 2 years ago). However, I encourage you to encourage the kid and family to go for the whole week. The kids start making friends immediately and there is so much for them to do. I know that when my daughter looks back on PF the highlights were hacking out across the Rolex course with her zone team mates, playing with the inevitable litter of puppies that are for sale near the food venue, and hanging out with newly made friends watching all the cute hunter ponies. It really is a wonderful experience.


Does anyone know where the application is found on USEF? Or is that not posted yet

What application are you referring to? MHM has some links in several of her replies on this thread.

As long as you treat your kids and their Ponies like regular Ch/Ad Jumpers And not like some pee wee version of " real" Jumpers? You’ll be fine. Just watch those videos which are around someplace, set honest pace and step and work a triple combination in a creepy to the Ponies indoor arena in somehow. All Tech is not that bad compared to others but Pony Jumpers is usually relegated to ring # 3 over a hill at 11am with 6 parents watching, not late afternoon, early evening in an indoor stadium full of very noisy kids sitting above their heads…can look like a wall of screaming faces from the in gate.

Not something even the regular Ch/Ad Jumpers deal with often or at all. It’s more like what a GP horse and rider team are used to dealing with and the show very much sets it up that way. Be prepared.