HARRISBURG, Pa--JJ Torano, at just 9 years old, rode his small pony H.G. Mud Puddles to the Small Pony Championship at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show on Oct. 12.
JJ is already following in his family's big footsteps, as both his father Jimmy and mother Danielle are very successful grand prix riders.
The Toranos of Mohrville, Pa., have been competing in both national and international jumping competitions for almost three decades.
With his family next to the ring and a good luck charm in his pocket, JJ rode H.G. Mud Puddles to a successful final round in the Small Pony Hunter division Saturday to score 87.00, and thus securing the Small Pony Hunter Championship and the Knick Knack Challenge Trophy at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg.
FOR HIS first year at the PNHS, Torano was joined by his parents and, in a way, his grandfather.
Torano kept a photo of him and a blue ribbon, along with a good-luck letter from John Roper, in his pocket during his rides as a connection to his late grandfather.
Jimmy said that the good luck charm would stay with them for other horse shows.
"I wasn't nervous," said JJ, who has had H.G. Mud Puddles for a year and a half. "I'm not usually nervous. She always jumps the jumps, and I like that I can really trust her. The first day we tried her, there was something that flew in the ring, and she just trotted right over it."
Torano also earned the Francis E. Armstrong Memorial Challenge Trophy as the Grand Champion Pony Hunter with a total of 26 points in the Small Pony Hunter division.
While hunters of all sizes competed for Championships and High Point Awards, Family Fun Day was in full swing at the PNHS as children and their parents enjoyed story hour, carriage rides, craft activities and the show itself.
Starting the day's opening ceremonies, the William C. Steinkraus Style Award was given to Madison Goetzmann of upstate New York for best exemplifying the American style of equitation and sportsmanship in the Prix des States.