For two friends and pony owners, Jenny Carol and Donna Kuck, what began as a glass of wine and discussion about ponies at Lendon Gray's Youth Dressage Festival was forged into hard reality at the National Pony Cup at Paxton Farm's Cincinnati Summer Classic June 28 and 29, 2008.
"We were sitting down chatting about ponies and the show after the day's classes," said Carol. "And we thought to ourselves: we can do this. From there it snowballed into something much larger than expected."
"Pony riders, trainers and breeders work just as hard as everyone on a regular sized horse," Kuck chimes in. "But they do it on sometimes unequal footing, in venues where they're the oddball. The judges commentary isn't often constructive beyond, 'cute', and they're frequently dismissed. Whereas in Europe they're respected competitors. We wanted to have a similar venue that would showcase, promote ponies as mounts for all ages and give common ground for all breeds to meet and compete on."
Word spread almost virally among the pony community, almost a week after the show was announced through various trade publications and online communities people began spreading the news about the new venue.
"Given the economy, and how little we advertised we were really impressed," said Carol. "At one point, I was worried that only a handful of people would show up. But when Kevin [Bradbury] called and said he had 15 online entries alone in the last week prior to the closing date, I think we knew we had struck a chord."
Expectations were exceeded when the show pulled 44 ponies of all shapes, sizes and colors from as far west as Colorado and as far south as Georgia pulled in at Paxton to compete in over subscribed classes for the weekend.
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