Ever since the Markel/United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) National Young Horse Dressage Program was launched 14 years ago, the awareness, knowledge, and popularity of breeding and developing future generations of quality dressage horses in this country have increased dramatically. Now the National Dressage Pony Cup shined a similar spotlight on up-and-coming dressage ponies with the inaugural NDPC Young Pony Futurity, held as part of the NDPC Championship Show on July 8-10, 2016 in Lexington, Ky.
Lauren Chumley of Pittstown, N.J. has participated in the national young horse program with full-size mounts, and she put that experience to good use in presenting Melissa Dowling’s dun German Riding Pony gelding Nikolas (Novalis x Capina Mia by Classic Dancer) at the Pony Cup. The breathtaking pair earned an impressive average score of 70.625% for their two First Level tests to become the inaugural Champions of the NDPC Five-Year-Old Futurity. “I just love this pony, and he is such an amazing talent,” said Chumley. “I think any young horse or pony division is going to be geared towards gifted students, and he’s incredibly gifted. These programs may not be for everyone, but for ponies like Nikolas which have been bred for generations for this kind of physical talent and trainability, it’s a great track for them to be on. I’ve heard the criticism about pushing young horses too hard, and I agree that every horse or pony should be assessed as an individual. But if they’re ready, go for it. I don’t think breeders and owners should be afraid to get started on those youngsters because I’ve had great success with them, and this Futurity is a wonderful opportunity.”
Finishing as Reserve Champions was another head-turning pair in Kathryn Barry of Freeport, Ill. with Klaus Biesenthal’s gray North American Sport Pony stallion Magnum (Makuba x Brittania by Brynarian Briton), finishing on a two-day score of 68.644% and also received the division’s Born in the USA award. “I was there when he was born and I’ve known him his whole life,” said Barry. “He is the 16th foal I’ve ridden from his mother, and I competed his father through Intermediate I. So it’s a family affair.” Barry has a special relationship with her mount, and believes it was the key to success at their first National Dressage Pony Cup Championship show. “Without a doubt he is my favorite pony I’ve ever ridden, and I think it’s especially because he’s a stallion,” she explained. “We’re just buddies. When we first started he wasn’t really as fancy as we knew he could be, and when I rode him I realized it was because he lacked confidence. He waits to see what I want him to do, and that has actually worked out wonderfully and now he’s blossomed. I hope to keep him for the rest of his life and do as much as we can possibly can, even getting him to Grand Prix someday. He absolutely has the brain for it.”
To find out more information about the National Dressage Pony Cup programs and see a complete list of division and breed champions from this year’s competition, visit the NDPC website at www.dressageponycup.com and visit their Facebook page. To view National Dressage Pony Cup championship show information including class results, visit www.showsecretary.com.