It’s my favorite show, hands down. And let’s be honest: Pony Cup also has the best ribbons.”
In just a few weeks, competitors like Emilie Goddard of East Hill Farm in Plainfield, Vt. will be traveling across the country to attend the 10th anniversary edition of the National Dressage Pony Cup (NDPC) Championship Show, to be held July 7-9 at the world-famous Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington and in conjunction with the Kentucky Dressage Association (KDA) Summer Classic I & II.
This year’s Pony Cup competitors aboard a wide variety of ponies and small horses will pursue $15,000 in prize money and a stunning array of awards in open, adult amateur, and junior/young rider divisions from the Intro Level to Grand Prix. In addition, the NDPC Breed Shows and the second-annual NDPC Young Pony Futurity will highlight the talents of up-and-coming young stars. And for the chance to compete in this nationally-renowned pony showcase, riders, owners and horses will literally be converging on Kentucky from coast to coast.
Goddard will be driving more than 16 hours from the Green Mountain State to compete at Third Level with her nine-year-old 14.2-hand Haflinger gelding named Abercrombie of Deer Haven, or “Crumble”, who came into her life as an unexpected Christmas gift in 2011. “My first time going to the Pony Cup was quite a few years ago when it was still in Ohio, and I was hooked from the get-go! It holds a lot of great memories for me, and is my favorite show, hands down,” Goddard explained.
“It’s also extra special to me because the Rachel King Memorial Award for the highest scoring Haflinger was started in honor of the owner of Deer Haven, who was my former employer and a part of my family. Pony Cup was always her favorite show as well, because it was a great way to get out and promote our favorite breed while hanging out with so many other pony enthusiasts. The people who run it are passionate about what they do, and they are always looking to offer more opportunities for pony dressage riders. You really can’t NOT have fun there!”
Facing an even longer trek is Emily Lasher of Sycamore Canyon Stables in Poway, Calif. in San Diego County. She and her eight-year-old 13.2-hand buckskin Welsh Cob-cross gelding named The Hot Topic of Spring Song (or “Dolce”) will travel well over 2,000 miles to attend the National Dressage Pony Cup Championship Show for the very first time and compete in the Open Intermediate I and Freestyle divisions.
“I bought him off of a short video online as an unstarted three-year-old project to start, bring along and resell because I was intrigued by trying something a little different from the typical warmblood,” Lasher remembered. “He turned out to be a little too full of energy to be a child’s mount right away but he seemed to have great potential for FEI, so I thought I would see how far he could go. This is his second year at the Intermediate I level and he has been a very fast learner. We’re even looking at doing Grand Prix in the future.
“I feel like it is important to recognize horses of any size with talent, and the Pony Cup does exactly that,” Lasher continued. “I feel like it’s really strange that only kids can compete ponies in CDI competitions and only to a lower level, but a ‘pony’ which is one centimeter over the height limit can go to the Olympics. I think we should let the best equine win! So for me and Dolce, I feel like the time is right to make this journey and compete him on the national stage, and we’re incredibly excited about going to the Pony Cup.”
Want to be a part of the country’s premier showcase for dressage ponies, compete for amazing awards, and have a great time in a beautiful venue? You have to hurry – the closing date for entries for the 2017 National Dressage Pony Cup Championship Show is this Wednesday, June 21st.