By the time Matthew Miller’s elegant black Weser-Ems filly Ryann got done with her weekend at the 10th Anniversary National Dressage Pony Cup Championship Show, held July 7-9, 2017 in Lexington, Ky., it was hard to find the actual pony under the mountain of ribbons presented to her during awards ceremonies.
“She’s been special right from the start,” said rider/handler Betty Bryant of Virginia Beach, Va. “I was there when she was born and helped her stand up for the very first time. We thought she had promise, and I had heard a lot of great things about the Pony Cup so this year we wanted to come for the first time and see how she’d do. This is just her second show ever, and she’s been such a good girl despite being so young, so we’re very proud of her.”
Since its inception a decade ago by founder Jenny Carol, the National Dressage Pony Cup has been dedicated to showcasing and promoting ponies in dressage in the United States, and in furthering those efforts the Championship Show was expanded last year to include a Young Pony Futurity as well as a pony-only Dressage Sport Horse Breeding division as part of the annual celebration.
“Once again I’m delighted with the turnout this year, and am pleased that we can provide a place where breeders and their young ponies and breeding stock can shine,” said Carol. “I think it’s particularly notable that all three of our Futurity winners this year were bred in the United States, and I hope that’s a trend that continues.”
On Saturday, Ryann (Ridley x Proud Gina by Dexter S, bred by Chris Rush) cemented her victory in the NDPC Four-Year-Old Futurity after completing two rounds of Training Level tests. She then followed up on that achievement by claiming the NDPC Mare Championship, the NCPC Mature Pony Championship, and the NDPC Grand Championship in-hand as well as earning top Individual Breed Class (IBC) and Suitability awards during Sunday’s sport horse breeding competition in front of judge Hilda Gurney.
“We came to the Kentucky Horse Park for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010, but it’s our first time actually showing here and it’s been wonderful,” said Bryant. “It’s very exciting to be a part of this. I read about the Young Pony Futurity on the NDPC website and we thought we’d give it a try. I love that it’s offered here and I think it’s a terrific concept for encouraging young ponies, and I especially appreciated the Born in the U.S.A. awards. And as for Sunday, I’d never even done a sport horse breeding show before, but once again we thought, ‘It’s here, so why not?’”
Also finding the winner’s circle in the NDPC Sport Horse Breeding division was Mary Procopio’s nine-year-old Haflinger stallion Stellar TVR (Straden x Chione by Altess) who claimed the NDPC Stallion Championship as well as being named NDPC Reserve Grand Champion. The NDPC Filly Championship and Young Horse Championship went to Amy Burkemper’s two-year-old AWR filly Fairy Gold (Clanfair Goldrush x Wicklyn Simply Irresistible by Glannant Scarab), while the NDPC Colt Championship was earned by Bluegrass Pharoah, a two-year-old Welsh gelding (Nistar Blazing Kansas x Tarry a Bit Poppy by Stonehedge Spectacular) owned by Cynthia Bellis-Jones.
In the NDPC Young Horse Futurity, Helen Frederick’s buckskin German Riding Pony stallion Dauntless Debonair (Dynamic x Posh Lottie DA by Gayfield’s Call the Cops) was ridden to victory in the Five-Year-Old division at First Level by Susan Shelton of Mills River, N.C. Meanwhile, the challenges of Second Level proved to be no problem for 2016 Reserve Five-Year-Old Futurity Champion Magnum. This year, Klaus Biesenthal’s striking gray North American Sport Pony stallion (Makuba x Brittania by Brynarian Briton) didn’t let anything stand in the way of claiming top honors in the Six-Year-Old division with Kathryn Barry of Freeport, Ill. at the reins.
As with seeing the promise of a talented youngster like Ryann when standing for the first time, the National Dressage Pony Cup programs including the Young Pony Futurity and Dressage Sport Horse Breeding division championships will continue to grow and work to promote the breeding of high-quality, pony-size equine athletes for dressage. “Now that we’ve seen what it’s about, we’re going to prepare Ryann for the 2018 Futurity in the five-year-old division, and will also keep it in mind for our other youngsters,” said Bryant. “We’ll definitely be back again and again. There’s no reason not to!”
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 individual class results, visit www.showsecretary.com.