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The American Horse Shows Association (AHSA) will hold the 34th Annual Pony Finals in Fletcher, NC, from August 14-17, 2001. John and Pam Rush of Rush Management Inc. will manage the competition, which includes the annual Pony Auction on August 13th, run by Professional Auction Services.

The competition begins with the Prudential/AHSA National Pony Hunter Championship in the Green Pony Hunter Division on August 14th, which was won last year by Michael Morrissey on Clean Slate, owned by Eugene Mische. This is followed by the Inaugural HBO/AHSA National Pony Jumper Championship with The Welcome Class scheduled to start that evening.

Last year's Pony Medal was won by Maggie McAlary riding her small pony, Toy Story. This year, the Team Phase of the Pony Jumpers and the Prudential/AHSA National Pony Medal Finals are to be held on August 15th. While on August 16th, the Under Saddle Phase and the Model Phase of the Regular Pony Hunters is contested and in the evening, the Individual Phase of the Pony Jumpers takes place.

On August 17th, the competition moves to the Over Fences Phase for Regular Pony Hunters Division and at the conclusion of this class, the presentation will be made for the Overall Grand Pony Hunter Champion, which was won last year by Julianne Befeler on her pony Knickerbocker.

The original concept of Pony Finals began in 1959 when the British National Pony Society challenged American Pony riders to an International Pony Hunter Championship, which was held at the National Horse Show in New York City. The American Pony Riders were narrowly defeated 10-9. Two years later the British National Pony Society hosted the event. The Americans were victorious winning 13-9. The trophy, which was awarded to the Americans, still remains in the possession of the AHSA and is awarded as a perpetual trophy each year at Pony Finals to the High-Point State Team Champions. In 1967, the American Horse Shows Association created the AHSA Pony Finals, which was first held at the Fairfield Hunt Club in Fairfield CT, hosted by Emerson Burr. Along with many other trophies and awards this year, Professional Auction Services will be donating a scholarship.

The American Horse Shows Association, as the National Equestrian Federation of the U.S., is the regulatory body for the Olympic and World Championship sports of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, reining, show jumping, and vaulting, as well as 19 other breeds and disciplines of equestrian competition. As the country's largest multi-breed organization, the AHSA has over 70,000 members and recognizes more than 2,600 competitions nationwide each year. It governs all aspects of competition, including educating and licensing all judges, stewards, and technical delegates who officiate at these shows.

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