American Dressage Ponies Showcased at the National Pony Cup
While adults were the majority, juniors and young riders proved they could hold their own as well. 11-year-old Leonard Behrens, who rides at Paxton Farm and trains with Jackie Paxton with his six-year-old haflinger gelding, Willo-The-Wisp (Willo Van Het) continued his successful season, capturing Reserve Grand Champion with a 67.6 percent. "He's just on a roll," said Joh Behrens, Leonard's father.
Leonard isn't a stranger to dressage. The young gentleman started riding at the age of three in Thailand. He is also an accomplished concert cellist and speaks several languages. But the talented young rider who trains with Jackie Paxton, and takes occasional clinics with Michael Barisone stays grounded with dressage.
"It started with one of his friends," explains his father. "He saw one of his friends riding, and wanted to try. From there it grew, and now we can't get him out of the barn."
For the family, ponies came on the radar during a trip to Europe where Leonard rode pony schoolmasters.
"I was impressed," said Behrens "These kids weren't over horsed, the ponies were trained specifically for the sport, I knew then we needed to look for a pony for Leonard." The family found Willo through, Kuck, and started training with long time pony-promoter, Jennifer Grant before switching over to Paxton.
[#26503 override="No Longer The Odd One Out" title="No Longer The Odd One Out"]