As evidenced by ever increasing participation numbers, the popularity of ponies for dressage in the U.S. is skyrocketing. Now pony fans from across the country will have the opportunity to see what all the excitement is about as the National Dressage Pony Cup (NDPC) announces that its showcase event to be held July 8-10, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. will be available via free live video streaming on the USEF Network.
In addition, the live video service will also feature the expertise of renowned FEI 5* (ret) judge Axel Steiner, who has become wildly popular for his live commentary from major international events as “The Voice of Dressage”.
“I couldn’t be more excited about this tremendous development for the Pony Cup program,” said NDPC founder Jenny Carol. “In 2015 we had almost 100 entries from more than 20 states at our Championship show, and this year we expect many more. Now having the show available via live stream on the USEF Network is not only an incredible opportunity for additional exposure for our competitors, owners, and sponsors, but also it allows all those friends and family members back home to watch the action and cheer on their favorite riders and ponies. We are working to have coverage from all five rings featuring NDPC championship classes as well as the dressage sport horse breeding division, and we will also have archives of all the action available after the show on the USEF Network page. Having Axel Steiner join us to share his expertise with the online audience and talk about all the great things these competitors are doing is the icing on the cake, and is a fantastic way to show off our ‘pony power’ and educate everyone about what amazing athletes these small but mighty equines really are.”
Next month’s National Dressage Pony Cup Championship Show will be held in conjunction with the Kentucky Dressage Association (KDA) Summer Classic and Breed Show I & II, and competitors from across the country will pursue $15,000 in prize money and championship honors as well as special high-point, musical freestyle, and breed awards for Intro through FEI levels and in Open, Adult Amateur, and Junior/Young Rider divisions. Ponies can also compete in an all-new NDPC Young Pony Futurity for four-, five-, and six-year-olds as well as pony-only Dressage Sport Horse Breeding classes (see the prize list HERE).
For the first time the National Dressage Pony Cup will be available to a nationwide audience via free online video streaming on the USEF Network, which according to a recent USEF press release broadcast over 100 days of livestreaming in 2015, garnering 4.5 million unique page views and providing over 3,250 hours of on-demand coverage to 82,000 registered fans and 445,000 social media followers. Axel Steiner is looking forward to attending the NDPC Championship show for the first time and being a part of all the action and sharing his knowledge and perspective with viewers.
“In the dressage community, our leaders have been talking forever about how important ponies are in dressage and how we need more in this country, especially for the development of our junior riders. I’ve seen ponies as wonderful mounts for so many adult riders as well. For some riders, a 17-hand horse is just not suitable and a smaller equine is a much better fit, and it performs just as well in the ring as its larger counterparts. In dressage, bigger isn’t always better,” explained Steiner, whose stellar career has included judging Olympic Games, Pan American Games, World Cup Finals, and premier pony competitions in Europe. “I think this event is a big step forward in the effort to promote ponies in this country and it’s about time there is a showcase like this, so if I can help just a little bit in spreading the word through the USEF Network, I’m delighted to be a part of it.
“As the online video commentator I’m not going to be there to critique tests but instead to be everyone’s cheerleader, because it’s such an accomplishment for exhibitors just to be a part of this show,” Steiner concluded. “I hope to help explain what we will see in the various tests as well as the differences and strengths of the many breeds we see in this country from Haflingers to Welsh to German Riding Ponies. I hope that by streaming this event online that we can help publicize what these amazing ponies can do and perhaps even encourage more riders to give them a try.”
As a reminder for competitors, the closing date for this year’s National Dressage Pony Cup is June 18th – to review the prize list and submit your entry, click HERE. To find out more information about the National Dressage Pony Cup programs, visit the NDPC website at www.dressageponycup.com and visit their Facebook page. Remember to tune in to the USEF Network to watch the National Dressage Pony Cup LIVE beginning July 8th on www.usefnetwork.com.
Photo by Terri Miller.