Breed of the Month – Ponies! Part 1

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Submitted by Abby T. - This is North Forks Troubadour, half brother of the Grand Prix Welsh Cob stallion North Forks Cardi. My dear friend Julie Haefner chose him while he was still in the womb, and he was born on Mother’s Day 2009. I first met him when he was 6 months old when he got off the trailer here in MN. My sister (and trainer) started Tru, and I was the second person to sit on him. We had a few years apart while he was growing up and while I went to grad school, but eventually found each other again and in our first year of competing (during the pandemic, nonetheless!) made it to Regionals after just one show together. He’s my dream partner—the most playful, curious, talented friend, and reminds me every day to keep training fun and playful.

Pony power!!  This month on YourDressage, we are celebrating ponies of all breeds.  Dressage riders who choose ponies as their mounts are eligible for many Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds Awards as there are several pony organizations on our Participating Organization list.

We recently asked our social media followers to share photos of their ponies, and let us know what makes them so special. Below, you can see some of their photos and stories.  Keep an eye out for the second part of this gallery at the end of May 2021!

Do you want to share a photo of your pony? E-mail us at yourdressage@gmail.com for your chance to be featured!

Stay tuned to YourDressage all month long as we celebrate #PonyPower, with photo galleries and exclusive stories from pony enthusiasts across the country!

Submitted by Alyssa H. – Outrageous 14 year old GRP about to debut at I1 in 2021! He has been my dance partner for 4 years and earned me my bronze, silver, and now onto my gold medal. Ponies might be small, but they are mighty! Photo credit: Hannah Spector (fellow pony mom)
Submitted by Amy D. – Payday, my Quarter Pony, has been teaching lessons with me for 14 years, and he still thinks he is handsome, apparently! Also, he has a book (coming out this summer!) written about him which you can check out here: Payday the Pony
Submitted by Amy P. – I needed a companion for my Oldenburg weanling so I adopted Bongo from the local shelter in Dec 2019. When Covid hit I began riding and training him out of boredom. He made me laugh with his wiley pony attitude and reminded me of my childhood riding ponies for fun and no other reason. Then in the fall of 2020 I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and began 6 months of chemo. Bongo was my little friend during that time. I was able to ride Bongo between treatments because he is small and easy to handle. Being able to ride, even if it was only 1 or 2 days every 2 weeks kept me positive, and he’s so darn cute you have to smile when you see him. And I enjoyed covid shopping online for “ pony things” so cute and teeny compared to what my horses use. And that made me smile too! I finished chemo 2 weeks ago so now begins the monitoring phase. This summer I plan on doing a few shows with Bongo for fun. I’m looking forward to going to shows that are out of town- it will seem like an exotic vacation to me. Read Bongo and Amy’s story – Marching to the Beat of Our Own (Bongo) Drum!
Submitted by Angela R. – My $800 Craigslist pony, Juno, and I competed in our first PSG test this weekend. We have been together 12 years
Submitted by Angie M. – Laurel, 14y GRP owned by Dressage 4 Kids and leased by London Morin. She is a sensitive and forward pony that has taught London so much about riding soft and correct and subtly and patiently. Laurel and London have a very special relationship together. They compete in the FEI Pony division. London spends hours at the barn every day with Laurel. Laurel’s breeder still follows her progress through London’s page and keeps in touch with London to see how Laurel is doing. London and Laurel have made tons of progress this year and hope to secure a spot at FOC in the Dressage Pony Cup later this summer.
Submitted by Ann S. – Sadie by Burberry, 14h, 5 year mare is beginning her riding career. Easiest horse I’ve ever seen go under saddle – ponies are awesome
Submitted by Beth B. – 8 y.o Holland Bird riding Delaroche Brillanz, her 13.2h British Sports Pony, at a dressage schooling show. Holland started with Brill a month ago and wants to compete in the junior division at recognized shows.
Submitted by Beth N. – Here is yet another fabulous photo Susan Stickle captured of my first show at Saugerties this past year. Kynynmonnt Aidan O’Sullivan and I have only just begun our journey together. This year we were awarded Adequan®/USDF All Breeds award champion for First Level American Connemara Pony Society. I was lucky enough to find him because his previous owner outgrew him! I told the seller I was done growing. This past year has been the best year in my equestrian life..love you Sullivan
Submitted by Briana C. – Amazing, developing Gypsy Vanner stallion pony owned by Phyllis Setter!
Submitted by Caitlin A. – This is Silver Lining (Chase), a welsh/tb owned by Nearfield Farm and used to be Jenn Chin‘s who is also in the comments!! He’s an incredibly special boy who helped teach me A LOT about riding classically, and now he’s teaching a few Rutgers Dressage students! I got to do some of my first recognized showing on him and his pasture-mate, Roy. Without him, I would not be the rider I am today. Him and I also were both born June 1st, 1999, so we‘re birthday twins!!! Read our featured story Shared Birthday – Shared Experiences!
Submitted by Caroline G. – Divine, a coming 12 year old 14.2 hh German Riding Pony mare who is ridden by Caroline Grosso (16 years old). Ever since I was little, I have had a dream of competing the dressage FEI pony level, and when I got a 7 year old green Divine when I was 11, I realized I had gotten my hands on the pony that could fulfill my dreams some day! Divine and I have worked up the levels over the years together from Intro A to our awaiting FEI pony debut at the end of this May, and we hope to attend the Festival of Champions this August. Divine is so special for being the most kind hearted and forgiving pony-and despite her toughness, she has taught me how to be patient and considerate, always!
Submitted by Christie H. – In My Feelings is a 26 year old dressage pony of unknown breeding. He is the 2020 US FEI Children’s Reserve Champion and winner of the Individual Test at Festival of Champions with Maren Fouché-Hanson. In 2021 they also won their first USMGA mounted games division and moved up to FEI Pony division. He is now training bridleless and bareback too. Just an incredible boy!
Submitted by Denise Z. – This is Etch A Sketch, my dressage unicorn! In addition to dressage he enjoys trail rides, jumping, obstacle courses and anything else that sounds interesting! Why let kids have all the fun with ponies?!
Submitted by Elizabeth & Jack B. – This Magnito II – he is a Trakehner Mustang mix. We went to Regionals together and were successful in DSE and have been invited to participate in the dressage seat equitation finals. We are working through children’s #powerpony now and look forward to competing this year!
Submitted by Elizabeth M. – AppleJax the Welsh X is special because of the smile he puts on his little girl’s face.
Submitted by Emily B. – Some of my young ponies. All New Forest Ponies, my favorite breed as they are athletic but with the best temperaments. The future of ponies in dressage is looking bright!
Submitted by Emily M. – This is Muffin! USDF registered name “The Muffin Man” He’s a 14.1hh 2016 BLM mustang gelding from South Steens HMA. He’s gone from a horse so feral that he had to be anesthetized to do his first few hoof trims, to a cuddle bug of a pony that was a perfect gentleman at our first show, which was yesterday! (Pictured)
Submitted by Emma K. – Tonka aka Mein Liebling an American Warmblood registered pony. He was rescued by his previous owners. Tonka has some serious pony power and a personality bigger than the barn.
Submitted by Grace K. – Elite Gossip Girl aka Molly. She is a registered Welsh Pony, Section B. Got her off of Craigslist when I was in college (and neither of us were very familiar with dressage!) and now we are going for my gold medal. We got our first two scores two weekends ago at our I-1 debut!
Submitted by Heather L. – Chloe, 13 year old Welsh Pony has taken her junior rider from jumping to dressage and she is a beautiful (sometimes fire breathing) unicorn
Submitted by Irina R. – My rescue pony, Sunny, pretty sure Spanish Mustang out of SD.
Submitted by Jen F. – Winterlake Tristan, WPCSA sec C Welsh cob stallion. Now competing GP with his new mom……. but this was him showing off with me as a 3 yr old in the championships
Submitted by Jen J. – 2007 GRPxWelsh. 2019 reserve champion third level National Dressage Pony Cup annual show.
Submitted by Jenifer S. – Castleberrys Contender is my 2006 14.1hh Section D Welsh Cob gelding. He’s on his third career now, starting life as a combined driving horse and then we evented for a while before switching to dressage. I’m a 5 foot tall adult and I’m just not as comfortable on full-sized horses, and I’m also friends with his breeder who consistently turns out amazing quality ponies, so I’m excited to see more publicity and opportunities for ponies in dressage!
Submitted by Jenn C.- This is Dora the Explorer, owned by my trainer Alexandra Tomson. We don’t know for sure what Dora is, but we think she’s a Morgan/Haflinger, and we think she’s about 18. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to learn from Dora over the past few years, and she’s taught me so much! In 2019 I earned my bronze medal, and we’re currently schooling 4th/PSG. In 2020 we ranked 3rd in the USDF AA Third Level MF division, and I qualified for US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan for the first time ever. What I love about Dora is that when you look at her on the ground, you think that she’s just a lazy kid pony. It’s when you start working her that she completely transforms into a little powerhouse. I couldn’t ask for a better partner, Dora tries her heart out in everything we do and I’m so incredibly lucky to be able to ride her.
Submitted by Jessica M. – Adelynn (12) and 14.1hh Livin Large FLF (5), Le Andros out of the Incredible North American Sport Pony Mare, Fox Trot. Livin Large FLF is special because he is kind, intelligent, and brave. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body (and he has the cutest ears)! He tries so hard even when he is scared. On Saturday, they debuted their very 1st show together and took home a blue ribbon. Adelynn is new to the equestrian world (just about 1.5 yrs). She donates her Christmas so friends and family provide donations toward the Snowflake Station at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. Adelynn has always wanted to try riding lessons so mom guilt took over and I gifted her one riding lesson. Well, little did I know, she was meant to do this. She says Livin Large is her perfect match because he has so much spunk. She also says he will one day be her prom date. I think he would look super handsome with a bowtie.
Submitted by Jill M. – Favory Tukwila, my 14.1 Lipizzan. He is special because he was not started under saddle until he was 13, now he is 18 and schooling 3rd level.
Submitted by Julie F. – Valencia, a 14.1 hand Sulphur Mustang, bred in captivity from two great examples of Sulphur Mustangs. Has shown Third Level, schooling Fourth. Photo credit: Joanna Jodko
Submitted by Karen L.  – *Smaragaid Cliff, ACPS inspected Premium Connemara Stallion imported from Germany. His rider/trainer is USDF Gold Medalist Amber Clark. Cliff has done exceptionally well at USDF sport horse and dressage shows through the years, but is currently retired from showing. Now we just enjoy him at home. Even though Cliff is only 14.3h, he sees himself as at least 16h and has never been intimidated by schooling and showing alongside much larger horses. He also has a very expressive personality and isn’t shy about telling you exactly what he thinks about any given situation. Cliff is a joy.
Submitted by Karyn S. – Zanzibar. Morgan Holsteiner cross. Now showing Third Level. He brought me all my scores for my bronze but more importantly gave me back my joy in riding after I’d lost all my confidence on a previous horse.
Submitted by Kim J. – Nicole Josey and Tuxedo. Tux is a Welsh Paint that chose his kid. These two are inseparable and will do anything for each other. Tuxedo was Horse of the Year in Training Level in 2019 and Horse of the Year in Western Basic in 2020. This pair is very versatile and competes in ranch and hunters in addition to dressage. We are so lucky to call this amazing pony our own.
Submitted by Kimberly D. – My AQHA former reiner turned dressage pony, Chic in Tinseltown aka “Edie”. Hitting the USDF ring this summer!
Submitted by Kirsten W. – Pepperponi aka Roanie eating up the training level! She is only 14 hands, but makes everything seem small!
Submitted by Krista Z. – Lily aka Bright Eyes is a 13.1 hh POA mare. She does ridden dressage and driven dressage as we compete in combined driving events. I’ve owned her since she was a 2.5 yo rescue. She’s the first “horse” I’ve ever started from the ground up myself (under the guidance of professionals). She’s taught me soooo much over the years and even though I got her as a project to sell, I fell in love. The right amount of sass and a heart of gold. Before we found driving a few years ago, I would get lovingly teased about keeping her for myself as it was the intention to sell her as a kids hunter/dressage pony. I even listed her to appease my father, the barn owner, but I marked her up 150% knowing no one would come. I would also joke back that I was holding on to her to be my “kid’s pony” (I wasn’t even married at the time!) Fast forward 11 years and Lily is expecting her first Ziec child this June! She knew I was pregnant before I did. While I take some time off from driving while growing the little one she’s staying in ridden dressage training and I’ve been long lining her to keep us both moving. PC: Pics Of You
Submitted by Kristen Y – Bred from my OTTB mare that I evented. By Alladin’s Denver. Elsbeth’s Shiloh is literally my child. He’s a registered half bred Connemara. He is the first one I’ve trained from the ground up. We started as eventers, but I quickly realized I had a talented dressage pony! So, we embarked into the dressage world. He’s now 14 yo competing PSG! We rode in the last Land Rover Kentucky 3 Day Event Connemara Demo. PC Lisa Dean
Submitted by Laura F. – LVG Prydar 2014 Norwegian Fjord. In 2019 we were Training Level Open All Breeds Champion. This year we will be showing Third Level. He has been such a pleasure to bring up through the levels and can’t wait to see what the future holds for my little man! Photo credit Carol Hill
Submitted by Leana T. – Sunniva is a 13.3 Fjord pony powerhouse! We used a “Gifted” grant from the Dressage Foundation this year to start learning flying changes- hoping to try Third Level this summer! Read Leana and Sunniva’s story Sunni Side Up!
Submitted by Lindy T. – N’Tempo SSH1 (“Beau” or “Pony”) is a 2009 Haflinger gelding. I got him as an unstarted 3 year old and last season we did our first PSG together! He’s been a handful, to say the least, but he’s captured the hearts of many people. He’s got a huge personality and you can’t tell him he’s “just a pony”. He’s taught me so much on our journey together and I feel lucky to be his partner (PC: Kathleen Bryan). Read about Lindy and Beau’s journey in My Little Horse of a Lifetime!
Submitted by Lisa M. – Cadet is a 10 year old, 14hh, grade pinto pony mare. After retiring from a career in education and setting long distance running aside, I took up riding. Cadet always greets me with a friendly nicker and adorable “ears forward” face. Ponies don’t get much cuter and she doesn’t judge. She knows quality of life for me means not only participation in sport but also being an energetic person in everyday living. Her outlook mirrors mine. See you soon on the centerline.
Submitted by Vicky W. – Flash (aka Pants or flashy pants)is my 15 yr old NASPR… I’ve had him for 4 years and have gone from training level to PSG, earning my bronze and silver medals. We have qualified for US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan every year together and have earned numerous awards. Before me he did some eventing/pony club and mounted archery (so he’s very well rounded and much braver than me!). Photo by Susan J Stickle

Go to Part 2.

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