Wins Pony Jumper National Championship
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit