My name is Brynn Katany, I'm 15 years old and I am a member of Bedford County Hunt (VA) Pony Club. This summer, I traveled to Kentucky to compete in the United States Pony Clubs (USPC) National Championships to represent the Old Dominion region in the discipline of showjumping. My partner in this event was Cady O'Daly Artisan, a.k.a Artie, a ten year old Connemara/Hanoverian cross, who I also compete in eventing.
Brynn Katany and Artie. Photo courtesy of Stacey Katany.
I'm grateful to have formed a partnership with this amazing mare over the past two years. My coach was Kindra Kenny, also an active member of Bedford County Hunt. It has taken a great deal of work and practice to prepare for this event.
Pony Club teaches you to do the very best you can in both horsemanship and riding so not only does your horse have to be fit and athletic, but your turnout and tack must be immaculate. One of the most difficult aspects of this experience was maintaining a high level of organization for both my team and myself while getting through five tough courses in the 90+ degree heat and humidity!
It's difficult to describe the most rewarding part of Championships. It was an amazing experience to receive seven "exceeds standards" in horse management and to come in third individually at Nationals for the Developing Horse and Rider division (2'9"-3'). Hard work and practice really do pay off! It was also incredible to meet and make friends with pony club members from all over the country. It was a wonderful experience that I'll never forget!
I have grown up in Bedford Hunt Club (we have been members for longer than I've been alive). I can recall being ponied around as a small child on trail rides at first, and then graduating to my very own walk/trot pony (who knew how to canter but preferred to travel no faster than a trot)! I would love to hunt more if I can keep my mom from stealing my horse. Now that she has her own pony again, I am looking forward to a lot more time in the hunt field this upcoming season. I feel very fortunate to have grown up in such a great area of Virginia with a supportive club like Bedford County Hunt.
Brynn and Artie at USPC National Championships. Photo courtesy of Stacey Katany.
Editor's Note: Brynn placed third overall in the Developing Horse and Rider division, and also ended up with zero horse management penalties. Coach Kindra Kenny said, "It was my first time going as a coach, and I was quite impressed with the kids and their mounts. To say that Brynn is focused and meticulous is an understatement. She goes above and beyond to make sure everything is pristine and ready to go, including her horse. Brynn has been working very hard this past year towards her goal of competing at Championships. I am very proud of them both, they showed up to compete and did very well together."
Kinney also coached a team from the Old Dominion Region (Alexis Owens, Elizabeth Davis, Candace Pembleton, and Emily Pembleton), who finished first in horse management.