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Isaiah Wiseman, 14, qualified for the upcoming Pony Finals in Lexington, Ky., with his horse, Tux, through the reserve team. Isaiah and Tux are one of 60 pairs in the jumping category.

Fast track to finals

Area teenager qualifies in 5 weeks for Pony Finals

Isaiah Wiseman puts a bridle on his horse, Tux. Isaiah and Tux begin the first round of their competition on Thursday.

– Isaiah Wiseman had five weeks to attempt to accumulate enough points to qualify for the upcoming Pony Finals in Lexington, Kentucky.

Usually, riders have 12 months in a show jumping season but Wiseman didn’t even have his pony until April.

“We had this horse five weeks so we really had to do a lot of intense show schedule but we did qualify in the five-week period,” said Isaiah’s dad, Jason Wiseman.

Isaiah, 14, was able to qualify for Pony Finals through the reserve team.

The country is divided into 12 zones. Indiana is in Zone 5 along with Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio.

The reserve team is made up of the next 12 riders who didn’t qualify for a zone team. Anyone can try to qualify with ponies, as long as they are younger than 18.

“The goal was 60 points to make the zone team,” Jason said. “Isaiah ended up with 54 points but knew we were safe to make the reserve team.”

Isaiah has been riding since he was 8 or 9 years old. He’s been working with his pony, Tux, since April, as the horse he did have wasn’t competition-ready.

Isaiah set up everything to acquire Tux without his dad’s knowledge.

“We got this horse because Isaiah and a friend of his had located this horse online and he communicated with the owners of the horse in New Jersey and arranged the whole deal behind my back,” Jason said. “Without me knowing about it, he orchestrated it, contacted the owners, worked the details of the agreement to where I just got a call one day from this family in New Jersey saying, ‘Hey, we talked to your son. This is what we’ve come up with, we need you to come out to New Jersey to try the horse out.’

“So it was pretty easy for me, I just had to drive there.”

Tux placed ninth at Pony Finals last year with his previous rider, who aged out of the competition.

With four shows in so little time, 9-year-old Tux got a lot of rest during his short season.

Pony Finals will be a little bit different, though.

“It’s a lot of fitness work and galloping,” Isaiah said about preparation for the event. “It’s a longer competition, it’s more work on the pony.

“During the week, we’ll go out and take him around. Once we’re there, there’s not much preparation left to do.”

Isaiah and Tux are one of 600 qualifiers for the Pony Finals event and one of 60 pairs that qualified in the jumping category.

There are three rounds in the competition over three days.

Each round consists of 12 jumps, and results are based on how fast the ponies finish the course.

The jumps are 3 feet, 9 inches high, and faults are given if they knock it off. There are also time penalties if too much time is taken to complete the course.

Isaiah and Tux begin the first round of their competition on Thursday.

areichel@jg.net

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