“I’m so happy we decided to make the trip, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with my pony. This has been so much fun!”
These words were heard from juniors to elder adults ranging in experience from dressage newcomers to hardworking amateurs and international High Performance professionals who gathered at the National Dressage Pony Cup, held this year on July 8-10, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. On Saturday evening in front of hundreds of dinner guests, the 2016 class of NDPC champions celebrated their success across 23 divisions from Intro to FEI and representing 16 different breeds and registries. Many more fans from as far away as Australia tuned in to watch the action live on the USEF Network with popular commentary by FEI 5* Judge Axel Steiner.
As shown in the FEI Test of Choice classes, riders like Debra Mgonigle of Woodstock, Ill. never had any doubt that ponies like her Morgan stallion Forsite Renoir can compete at the highest levels of the sport just like the “big boys”. She bred, raised and trained her mount, and he rewarded her with the Open FEI Championship after solid performances in their Prix St. Georges and Intermediate I tests. “I’ve been doing this for 40 years, and he is the third generation of our breeding program,” said Mgonigle of her mount. “We breed sport pony Morgans for disposition and to be all-around willing partners. His grandsire was a gaited Park horse and everyone thought it was a mistake for me to buy because he was ‘ruined’, but I retrained him to compete in Prix St. Georges and Intermediate I dressage, then rode his son and now his grandson. I feel very blessed.” Another accomplished Morgan which has been the recipient of a multitude Pony Cup championships over the years is Melissa Dowling’s charismatic gelding Avatar’s Jazzman, who returned to Lexington this year with Lauren Chumley of Pittstown, N.J. to ride Grand Prix and earn Reserve Championship honors in the FEI Open division.
Billy Jackson of Midland, Ga. swept both Intemediate I tests in the Adult Amateur division to claim the top prize with Janie Pride’s Ilja (62.237%), which also earned the gelding the Dutch breed award as well as the Musical Freestyle Adult Amateur Reserve Championship. Jamie Sawyer’s trip to the Pony Cup from Odessa, Fla. with her German Riding Pony Charly Brown was rewarded with two wins at the Intermediate I level to claim the Junior/Young Rider FEI division title (62.632%) as well as the German Riding Pony breed award. And in the FEI Pony Tests, Katelyn Mosle of Springboro, Ohio and the six-year-old bay pinto Oldenburg Benno’s Watermark held onto their first-day lead to win the overall division, with Grace Sacoman of Rochester, Mich. taking Reserve honors aboard her Welsh gelding Jordy.
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.