Horse and pony - site index.Horse chat message boards.Horse breeds, types and breeding gallery.Search for horse information on Equiworld.Horse information and equestrian news horse and pony magazine.Horse web links.  

Arabian Wins Pony Jumper National Championship

On August 13, 2002, Byrnadette, a 13-year-old Arabian and her 12-year-old rider, Billy Worthington bested a field of 32 riders from across the country to capture the gold medal in individual competition at the 2002 Pony Jumper National Championship in Lexington, Kentucky. The championship is considered a USA Equestrian Junior Olympic event. Worthington's Zone 2 team was the silver medal team.

Going into the last round with four clear rounds, Worthington knew that a rail would force a jump-off. "That night I had to go clean and I did," says Worthington, who rides Byrnadette for owner Marjorie Ritzer of Sand Lake, New York. Worthington also earned the championship's Short Stop Perpetual Trophy for the best classical jumping style.

"I didn't expect the style award because although Byrnadette is hard to beat, she is quick and hard to equitate," says Worthington, of Averill, New York, who trains with his mom, Betsy Worthington, and Michael Kirby.

"Byrnadette goes like an Arabian and isn't the traditional hunter type, so it was nice that the judges recognized that you don't need to be mounted on a warmblood to be effective," says Betsy.

Ever since the two teamed up almost three years ago, they've been amazingly effective, winning consistently against ponies, Thoroughbreds and warmbloods in the children's jumper divisions and clearing fences up to 3' 6" with ease. The pair was the 2001 champion in Children's and Pony Jumpers and the 2002 champion in Pony Jumpers on the HITS Ocala circuit, one of the nation's premier hunter/jumper circuits. For the second year in a row, they were the nation's high-point pony jumper earners in another well-known national hunter/jumper circuit-- the Marshall and Sterling League.

Ritzer is thrilled that the two have turned into almost an unbeatable combination. "Byrnadette has been so special to me since day one. My blacksmith got her as a barter when she was a 2-year-old and gave her to me for training," says Ritzer.

Although Ritzer has always been an English jumper rider who primarily rode Thoroughbreds, she always thought Arabians were gorgeous. The chestnut mare with the ready nicker who always talked to Ritzer when she entered the barn won her heart. Ritzer became her owner and watched her daughter "win herself out of beginners on her when Byrnadette was only a 4 year old." Ritzer then took over the reins and trained with Dan Kelley and Glenn Geary.

"I rode her to five years of championships as an adult in the Albany area before I turned her over to Billy," says Ritzer, who only owns two horses--Byrnadette and a cherished Thoroughbred jumper.

"She is so smart," says Ritzer. "I just have to tell her something once. She certainly has a mind of her own, but she never bucks or rears and boy does she love her job."

As for her jumping ability Ritzer says the mare consistently wins in 40- to 50- horse classes. "She can show for weeks without losing. She is fast and neat and she can turn on a dime so if you can get into the jump-off and not hit a rail, she's almost sure to take the class."

Ritzer has also discovered that underneath that beautiful exterior is the body of an Iron Horse. "It could be the hottest day in summer but Byrnadette just goes and goes and goes," says Ritzer. "They call her the 'Energizer Pony.' Just before the Pony Jumper Championships, she came home from a show, rested 12 hours and then was trailered 15 hours to Lexington. She had a class the following night that she won, never touching a rail. The next night she and her teammates won the silver medal, and the following night she won the individual championship."

IAHA(is expanding its jumper class offerings by instituting the first annual Arabian Sport Horse Nationals in order to encourage more participation of Arabians, Half-Arabians and Anglo-Arabians in hunter/jumper competitions. Sport Horse Nationals will be held at the Virginia Horse Park on September 17-21, 2003. In 2004 the show will be held on September 15-19 at the Murieta Equine Complex in Rancho Murieta just 20 miles from Sacramento, California.

IAHA® is a 28,000 member breed association that registers Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses, administers more than $4 million in prize money annually, produces national events, maintains official event records , recognizes more than 400 Arabian horse shows and distance rides and provides a ctivities and programs that promote Arabian horse breeding and ownership. For in formation about Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses, call 303-696-4500, e-mail or visit


Find out more, visit the links page or find answers on the message board.