Having a mother and daughter share the same horse at a prestigious competition like the National Dressage Pony Cup could be a recipe for disaster, but for 17-year-old Alayna Borden of Lambertville, N.J. and her mother Karen, it was “no worries” when they paired up to ride Marsha Montgomery’s Hakuna Matata. First Alayna scored the Third Level Junior/Young Rider division title with a two-day average of 63.398% over Bryn Varvel with V Back in Black (61.026%). Then the Oldenburg mare returned to the ring with Karen to hang on to the Third Level Adult Amateur division Championship with 64.872%, edging out Adult Amateur Second Level Champions Mandy Robertson and Destiny’s Persuit (64.616%). In the process, Hakuna Matata also claimed the Oldenburg breed award for the weekend. “We love her name because we’re huge Disney gurus,” Alayna explained. “We came to the Pony Cup for the first time last year and returned because we just love it. We compete in other recognized shows in our area but have to compete against big horses all the time, and sometimes it’s really tough to do with a small pony. Here it feels like we’re on a more level playing field, plus the atmosphere is relaxed and fun, and it’s a refreshing change for us as competitors. We take turns riding her, and she does so well at Third Level because she’s excellent with her lateral work, and we call her the ‘flying change master'. We’re both working on Fourth Level movements with her now so we hope to be back again next year.” In the Third Level Open division, Karyn Becerra of Zebulon, N.C. earned her first Pony Cup Championship title by winning both rounds of competition for an average score of 63.462% with her home-bred American Sport Pony Twinkletoes Tiara, holding off Lauren Chumley and Sham’s Chinaberry (61.924%).
At Fourth Level, Adult Amateur Bonnie Womack of Zephyrhills, Fla. earned her division title and the Arabian breed award with her 10-year-old mare Noblique +/ with an overall score of 61.333%, with Kelly Martinez of San Antonio, Texas and her Welsh cross Fierro L’Oasis claiming Reserve honors. Several additional freestyle championships were also awarded, including for the Junior/Young Rider division to Morgan Walsh of Pataskala, Ohio and the Arabian mare Serene’s Second Chance (63.833%) over Faith Green of Caryville, Tenn. aboard Mary Sivley’s Quarter Horse gelding Duster’s Legacy (61.192%), who also claimed the Quarter Horse breed award. In the Open Musical Freestyle division, Becerra and Twinkletoes Tiara also earned their second Pony Cup Championship, this time for their Third Level Freestyle (69.667%) over Elaine Hayes of Mooresville, N.C. with Ruth Shaw’s Morgan gelding Quietude Seneca Rocks (67.167%).
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.