Cooperative News

Dark horse

Local teen trains pony from basic commands to national championship

At first, they were just two blind beginners leading each other.

When 16-year-old PEC member Hannah Mitchell got her pony, Happy, she was only 11 and he had just learned to be ridden, understanding only basic commands. She knew training him wouldn’t be easy, but with practice and patience, she knew it was possible. Just how far she and her pony could go would come to surprise her.

“I got fifth place in my division (beginner novice) and 12th place overall with my team at the Pony Club national championship,” Mitchell gushed. “My trainer, Laura Robinson, truly got us where we are today.”

Mitchell, who started riding at 4 years old, got Happy in 2012, and soon began training with Robinson, a PEC member and owner of Blue Moon Farm in Wimberley. Mitchell took lessons each week but also put in hour after hour on her own after school and on weekends to slowly build her and Happy’s skills.

Through their perseverance, Mitchell and Happy learned to shine together in eventing, where a single horse and rider compete in three disciplines: dressage, cross-country and show jumping. Over the years, Mitchell and Happy began competing and then consistently placing at competitions across the state. In 2016, they did so well they qualified for the Pony Club national championships.

Hannah and Happy jumping an obstacle
Hannah and her pony, Happy, compete in show jumping at the 2017 Pony Club national championship in Kentucky.

“Honestly, I wasn’t that surprised that she did so well,” Robinson said. “I knew Hannah had the maturity and discipline to perform well with [Happy]. She has a remarkable amount of patience, and I’ve loved watching her grow with Happy into an incredible horsewoman.”

Whether she’s training long after dark under the arena lighting or discussing her next competition at the family dinner table, we’re proud to say that Hannah Mitchell is powered by PEC.