Billy Jackson will ride Janie Pride’s Dutch Pony Ilja in the Intermediaire I division in this week’s National Dressage Pony Cup. Photo courtesy of Janie Pride.

Billy Jackson will ride Janie Pride’s Dutch Pony Ilja in the Intermediaire I division in this week’s National Dressage Pony Cup. Photo courtesy of Janie Pride.

Pony Enthusiasts Converge on Kentucky for This Week’s National Dressage Pony Cup

Watch LIVE Starting Friday!

The Kentucky Horse Park will experience an abundance of cuteness this weekend as host of the 2016 National Dressage Pony Cup (NDPC) Championship Show, being held in conjunction with the Kentucky Dressage Association (KDA) Summer Classic and Breed Show I & II on July 8-10 in Lexington. But as any of the 110 NDPC exhibitors from across the country will tell you, they aren’t competing there just to look cute: they are pursuing $15,000 in prize money and championship honors as well as special high-point, musical freestyle, and breed awards for Intro Level all the way to Grand Prix in Open, Adult Amateur, and Junior/Young Rider divisions. Ponies will 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 in this national showcase of pony power.

Kelly Soldavin and her pony Ketadog Admiral are one of many competitors from across the country competing in this week’s National Dressage Pony Cup. Photo by Aaron Soldavin.

Kelly Soldavin and her pony Ketadog Admiral are one of many competitors from across the country competing in this week’s National Dressage Pony Cup. Photo by Aaron Soldavin.

Adult Amateur competitor Kelly Soldavin has traveled south to the Pony Cup from her home in Quakertown, Pa. with her 8-year-old bay roan half-Welsh gelding Ketadog Admiral (“Rally”) to compete in the Second Level Adult Amateur and Musical Freestyle divisions. “This is my first time coming to the Pony Cup, and I’m so excited!” said Soldavin. “I have owned Rally since he was four months old and it is so rewarding, especially as an amateur, to be able to compete at a national competition with a pony I’ve raised and trained. I am so proud of him! The Pony Cup is a wonderful way to celebrate just how perfect ponies are for dressage, whether you are a junior or an adult, an amateur or a professional. I feel incredibly lucky to be competing with my pony partner at the 2016 competition, and I hope we can inspire more people to ride dressage on their own ponies!”

Also headed to the Kentucky Horse Park is Janie Pride of Midland, Ga. This will be her ninth trip to the National Dressage Pony Cup, and this year she’ll be cheering for her Dutch Pony Ilja who will be ridden by Billy Jackson in the FEI division. “It’s that time of year again, and we are so excited! Even though we’ve attended before, we are as thrilled as ever to be here,” said Pride. “It’s even more special because Ilja started at the Pony Cup at Training Level, and now he’s showing at the Intermediaire I level, and is even doing an Intermediaire Freestyle this year.”

Pride explained why the National Dressage Pony Cup has become such a destination event for so many pony enthusiasts. “When I first read about the Pony Cup all those years ago, I knew that this was the show for us. We compete extensively against the ‘big boys’ but this was a special event just for ponies, so we wanted to be a part of it,” said Pride. “It’s truly amazing what [NDPC founder] Jenny Carol and [NDPC Vice President] Tracy Gross have done to develop this show into what it is today. We love the beautiful awards and goodie bags, and they always add special touches to this event such as the competitors’ party and a special Pony Cup line of attire. And every year they go out of their way to add new exciting features, such as adding the live streaming this year with Axel Steiner! What a huge deal! He is such a famous dressage personality, and we may even be live on the air!”

That’s right – excitement is reaching a fever pitch because 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. Videographers will be working to have coverage from all five rings featuring NDPC championship classes as well as the dressage sport horse breeding division, and archives of all the action will be available after the show on the USEF Network page. In addition, highlighted rides and classes on 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”.

Fans, family and friends will be able to watch the action beginning on Friday, July 8th at 7:30am ET and cheer on their favorite riders and ponies, with coverage continuing on both Saturday, July 9th and Sunday, July 10th (see the USEF Network page for daily broadcast schedules). “I think the USEF Network live streaming is fantastic,” said Soldavin. “We have many of Rally’s cheerleaders tuning in from long distance, including his breeder, Kim Holderfield in Georgia, his sire’s owner, Harmony Downman in North Carolina, and our coach Sally Lofting from Pennsylvania. It’s wonderful that they will be able to share in this experience.”

Join in the fun by tuning in to the USEF Network – see why dressage ponies are so much more than cute, how the National Dressage Pony Cup is changing the way they participate in the sport, and why it’s such a special event. “The National Dressage Pony Cup is the show of the year for us, and we move heaven and earth to get there,” said Pride. “Thank you Jenny and Tracy for bringing us this very special show meant to highlight what we love best – dressage ponies! Get ready, Kentucky – here we come!”

To watch the National Dressage Pony Cup LIVE, visit the USEF Network at http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2016NDPC/. 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. To view National Dressage Pony Cup championship show information including prize list, classes and ride times, visit www.showsecretary.com.

By Yellow Horse Marketing for the National Dressage Pony Cup