First US National Pony Rider Championships in 2011
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LEXINGTON, Kentucky, Mar. 25–An inaugural National Pony Rider Dressage Championship is being planned as part of the Collecting Gaits Farm/U.S. Equestrian Federation Festival of Champions in 2011.
If the plan is approved by the USEF Board of Directors in July it would be the culmination of a years long effort by Lendon Gray, a two-time Olympian for the U.S. Perhaps Lendon’s most famous mount was Seldom Seen, her 14.2-hand (147 cm) pony that was a U.S. champion all the way from national levels up to Grand Prix.
She created the Youth Dressage Festival that has grown into a major event since its founding in 1999, and the East Coast Dressage Pony Cup started in 2006 for competitions at training through Grand Prix.
To promote the pony championship, said Jennifer Keeler, USEF National Director of Dressage, publicity and demonstration rides will be among the features at this year’s Festival of Champions in Gladstone, New Jersey in August.
Lendon said that for the past 12 years she has been encouraging dressage pony events and hopes that including the finals in the Festival of Champions will promote growth.
Pony tests, she said, are more difficult than junior rider tests and are an opportunity for talented, dedicated riders to do well and develop good riding skills.