Last year’s First and Second Level Open champions Lauren Chumley of Pittstown, N.J. and Melissa Dowling’s Germany Riding Pony gelding Nikolas took a short break from eventing to come back to Lexington for the Pony Cup where the accomplished pair went two-for-two yet again, earning the tricolor honors in both the Third Level Open division (69.423%) and the Fourth Level Open division (67.403%).
“We haven’t shown him in dressage since Florida, but instead got him qualified for this year’s American Eventing Championships (AECs) at the Novice level. He’s quite the scopey jumper,” said Chumley of her mount. “This was the first time he’s done a Fourth Level test, but he’s just so naturally talented and rideable that it comes easily for him. That Fourth 3 test is pretty challenging, but he went in there and gave me what was perhaps the best Fourth Level test I’ve ever had. He’s just such a cool pony who just rolls with whatever we throw at him.”
A plethora of awards were also presented to juniors and young riders who excelled from Intro to FEI with their talented ponies. Savana Garvey’s long trip from Dallas will seem a lot shorter on return trip as she takes home the Training Level 16 & Under division championship, earned with a two-test average score of 70.175% aboard her palomino Welsh gelding Madoc Golden Graham, while Laynie Rich of Henderson, Ky. rode her palomino Paint pony Chip to the overall victory in the Intro 16 & Under division with an average score of 63.656%.
Keara Sonntag of Cincinnati rode her grade pony Storm to top the 17-21 age division for both Intro and Training Level with average scores of 63.157% and 58.663%, respectively. The pair first met during a dressage summer camp at Sonntag’s barn. “My instructor was the first person to decide that I should ride Storm, but I was afraid of him because he bit and kicked and even bucked off his old owner!” said Sonntag. “But he’s ‘thrown off’ these bad habits and I grew to love him. He’s so smart and he’s made me a better and more patient rider.”
To see a complete list of champions from this year’s competition, click HERE. For more information about the National Dressage Pony Cup programs, visit the NDPC website at www.dressageponycup.com and visit their Facebook page. To view National Dressage Pony Cup championship show information including individual class results, visit www.showsecretary.com/2017kda_july.asp.