In the months leading up to this year’s National Dressage Pony Cup (NDPC) Championship Show, competitors across the country have been buzzing about the all-new NDPC Small Horse Championships. And it wasn’t just idle chatter: NDPC founder Jenny Carol’s innovative concept to recognize the achievements not only of ponies but also of horses under 16 hands was rewarded with almost 150 Small Horse division entries, all of whom gathered July 20-22 at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Ill. to compete for lavish awards and $15,000 in divisional prize money at all levels from Intro to FEI. The excitement for this event was described by several officials at the show as a possible “game changer” for the sport, following in the footsteps of the wildly successful Pony Cup in showcasing the talents and popularity of smaller mounts for dressage. Here is a recap of the inaugural class of 2018 NDPC Small Horse Champions:
SMALL HORSE DIVISIONS
Over the course of two rounds of competition, all three champions at the Intro Level improved their scores by the second day to earn victory. For young riders, Brynn Hansen of Mount Horeb, Wis. and her Pinto mare LRD Peggy Sue Got Married secured the win with a combined average of 70.844%. Adult amateur competitor Ann Jonkman of Lafayette, Ind. and Mr. Jones claimed victory in their division with 64.438%, while Sara Campbell of Leetonia, Ohio and Jill McNicol’s Connemara cross gelding Cool Springs Jagger recorded a dramatic 20-point improvement on day two to win the Open Intro title with 64.625%.
At Training Level, Sophie Fisher of Schoolcraft, Mich. also jumped up the leaderboard in the second round with her 15-hand KWPN mare Usela to ultimately win the junior division with 62.421%, while Brynn Hansen and LRD Peggy Sue Got Married continued their winning streak in the young rider ranks with an average of 62.981%.
For adult amateurs, Catherine Varettoni of New Milford, N.J. and her German Riding Pony gelding Riesling left no doubt as to who would be crowned as champions, sweeping both rounds to win with a combined score of 68.034%, while in the open division Brianna Zwilling of Wentzville, Mo. rode Sally Miller’s KWPN mare For Dea Bella to a dramatic come-from-behind victory with 74.362%.
For juniors contesting First Level, Bailey Signer of Monroe, Wis. and her half-Arabian gelding Emagination emerged as the overall victors with 62.941%, while Friesian gelding Montego carried Emma Kemink of Grand Haven, Mich. to claim a narrow victory in the young rider ranks on 65.377%. With a combined score of 64.628%, Catherine Varettoni and Riesling secured their second straight championship title of the day in topping the Adult Amateur First Level division, while Brianna Zwilling and For Dea Bella also made a return trip to victory lane in the open ranks with a top average of 68.387%.
Margaret Moore of Bloomington, Ill. and her German Riding Pony gelding Marciano made short work of the Second Level Adult Amateur Championship as they topped both rounds of competition for a combined score of 66.212%. In the open division, Sydney Ebach’s Arabian gelding Ames Explorer rebounded for victory not only in the second day’s test but also to take the overall title on the strength of an average of 64.567% with Mimi Stanley of Bismarck, N.D. in the saddle.
At Third Level, Patricia McVary of Springfield, Ill. and her PRE gelding Aureo never relinquished their overnight lead in the adult amateur division to claim the overall title with a two-test score of 64.295%, while in the open ranks, the strength of a dominating score on the first day carried Jessie Hayes of New Jersey and Lauren Chumley’s Hanoverian mare Rivendell to the overall victory with 69.680%.
Arabian gelding Knight Thyme SA carried owner/rider Katherine Pfeil of Lodi, Wis. into the winner’s circle for the Fourth Level Adult Amateur Championship with 62.598%. A confident ride by Lauren Chumley of Pittstown, N.J. aboard Melissa Dowling’s German Riding Pony Nikolas drove them straight to the top of the leaderboard on day two to also claim the overall open division title with 66.722%.
And in FEI-level competition, Katherine Pfeil and Knight Thyme SA added a second Small Horse Championship title to their resume by winning the adult amateur division (59.191%), while Kathryn Fleming-Kuhn of New Berlin, Ill. and Ida Noll’s PRE gelding Madrono XXXVI cruised to an easy victory against open riders with an impressive overall average of 67.500%.
Wrapping up two intense days of competition with Freestyle competition, Rachel Tomczak of Foxboro, Wis. earned the win in the young rider division aboard her Paint gelding Ballys Jax of Spades. AnnMarie Hernick-Brockhouse of Princeton, Minn. and her Irish Draught Sport Horse mare Anamchara Temair proved to be the best in the adult amateur freestyle ranks, while Kathryn Fleming-Kuhn and Madrono XXXVI finished their memorable weekend with one last championship title earned in the open freestyle division.
Check back for our continuing coverage, including results from the NDPC Breed Show and Young Pony Futurity.
Complete overall results for the National Dressage Pony Cup & Small Horse Championships are now posted on the NDPC website HERE, while for individual class results from the entire show, follow this link for Fox Village. Follow all the action from the showgrounds on the NDPC Facebook page, and to find out more information about the National Dressage Pony Cup programs, visit the NDPC website at dressageponycup.com. To view show information including prize list, exhibitors, classes and ride times, visit dressageshowinfo.com. To learn more about Lamplight Equestrian Center, visit lamplightequestriancenter.com.