Elite ponies from across the country will soon descend on The Kentucky Horse Park for Pony Finals, but one pony trainer won’t be making the trip. The United States Equestrian Federation is standing firm in its decision to maintain Elizabeth Mandarino’s suspension after her pony, Humble, died at the Devon Horse Show.
A temporary suspension was issued by USEF Chief Executive Officer John Long on June 14. The action came two days after a protest was filed by a member regarding the pony’s death. The Amber Hill Farm owner admitted to police that she injected the pony incorrectly prior to the chestnut gelding’s death. According to eyewitnesses, Mandarino gave the injection as he stood tied in the grooming stall. Sources say he was being tacked when he fell to the ground and went into convulsions. It is unknown what was in the syringe.
Attorney Tamara Tucker filed a request for dismissal on behalf of Mandarino. The Hearing Committee Co-Chairs reportedly voted Thursday to deny the motion to dismiss. The temporary suspension remains in place until the Hearing Committee hears the matter and issues its decision.
Nancy Baroody, six-time Horse of the Year Champion in the Pony Divisions, says, “USEF is to be highly commended for their action. We need positive role models for our young riders and allowing such a person’s presence at Pony Finals, and partaking of the festivities surrounding the Wheeler Museum certainly does not meet the standards of good conduct.”
Baroody is one of several people being honored at this year’s Pony Finals in celebration of the Wheeler Museum’s latest exhibit, Ponies Through the Decades. Baroody owned and competed one of the history’s most revered pony athletes, Midget. The pair won four Horse of the Year Awards consecutively.
USEF Regulation Director Emily Pratt says the next hearing sessions are being scheduled for the fall. It is unknown when Mandarino’s hearing will be held.