Hill’s barn features prominent pony, strong group of clients at PSJ show
He’s an amazing little pony. Those were the words used by Gatewood Farms’ trainer, owner and operator Sherry Hill, to describe the 13.3 hand Paint Pony Wicked. The 13-year-old mare, is being exhibited by 11-year-old Scout Davis, one of Hill’s students, this weekend at the Progressive Show Jumping Aiken Winter Festival at Highfields Event Center. Wicked isn’t just your everyday run-of-the-mill pony, she distinguished herself this past year while being exhibited by Katherine Pontone, by capturing blue ribbons at the Devon Horse Show, and at the North American League Pony Jumper Final of the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, garnering Horse of the Year honors and winning more than 20 championships.
Davis’ parents purchased the pony in late December.
What is even more remarkable is that Wicked is blind in her right eye, the result of being kicked by another horse, long before her breakout season in 2012.
“This pony is almost too perfect,” said Hill.
However, it is her fierce look, name, color and the way that her mane is pulled that adds to the pony’s mystique.
“The pony has a normal mane, but she has a mohawk to intimidate the competition,” said Hill. “She’s blind in one eye and named Wicked. We’re going to keep the mohawk. She’s straight, light and powerful as can be.”
Davis a diminutive 11-year-old, had only sat on the pony twice, once in late December in New Jersey, when she first went to look at the pony with her mother and Hill, and on Saturday at Highfields, before exhibiting on Sunday in the Progressive Show Jumping Rider Jump Off, where Davis competed in a class against teenagers and adults, turning in a fault-free first round, and was the fastest 4-faulter in the jump off, placing third in the class.
“She’s been showing all week in open classes against adults,” said Hill. “She’s starting to get her own little fan base. Most of the kids are in the hunter ring, and that’s not Scout’s thing. She’s never been into that. We thought we would skip that, and go right into the big leagues. I’m very pleased with the way she rode.”
The rider/horse combination will have an opportunity to bond, take their time, and get to know one another, she said.
Hill and her husband have a dressage/jumper barn in Cordele, Ga., the Watermelon Capital of the World.
“I came to the show with eight horses,” said Hill, a veteran of the hunter/jumper circuit. “They’re all performing super. My clients love Aiken, and they always say, “When are we going back to Aiken.’”
The horseman will be in Aiken for the next month, is based at Gagne International Stables, and will stay through the PSJ Cupid Classic.
“We’re here for a month before we do Ocala and Wellington,” said Hill, who is originally from Toronto. “We’re going to do the young horse series.”
Gatewood Farms imported a number of horses in 2012, including several four and five-year-olds, and one of them is among the top four-year-olds in the country, said Hill. Mimmo TZ is Zangersheide branded, and is a horse with a great deal of potential.
“We just got back a week ago from Wellington, and now we’re here,” said Hill. “We’re prepping him to do the five-year-olds. We imported three from Belgium.”