Gladstone, N.J.—June 15
Standing center ring aboard Poldy 10 decked out in tricolor ribbons and a championship cooler at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions, Katrina Sadis has certainly come far in the past year.
“Last year I was riding first level, and I was having trouble moving up,” Sadis explained. “I had an Appendix Quarter Horse who didn’t know the upper level movements, and neither did I, and we were just kind of struggling.”
Enter Poldy 10, an 18-year-old German Riding Pony donated by junior rider Bebe Davis to the Lendon Gray’s Dressage4Kids program.
“When Bebe donated these ponies, she talked to my trainer Andrea Landis to see if she had any riders that would have the right size and mindset for one of the ponies,” Sadis said. “So I guess I did, and we brought Poldy home.”
Sadis, Ann Arbor, Mich., won both classes in the USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Championship.
“He was pretty tired from a long weekend, but he really tried his best and gave me everything he had,” Sadis said of her Individual test.
Davis piloted Poldy to victory at the Festival in 2012. Between winning the previous round and her pony’s past competitive record, Sadis had a lot to think about going into her final test.
“It definitely was a lot of pressure,” she admitted. “But I knew we could do it, and we have been working really hard, and I was nervous, but I knew we would have it.”
Reserve champion Jessica Fan and her buckskin pony Madoc Prince Phillip finished third and fifth in the pony classes this weekend, and Fan said her mount is a unique animal, something he demonstrated to the crowds at Gladstone when he spooked during the victory lap and jumped into the dressage arena.
“Definitely he has his own little spunk and quirks,” Fan said with a laugh. “I do jump him, so that was not out of character.”
Show jumping cameos aside, Fan, of Houston, said her pony truly tried his best during her test on Sunday to help the pair snag the reserve championship.
“He pushed it to the limit definitely, even when I wasn’t asking him to,” Fan said.
2014 marks the last year Fan and Sadis can compete aboard their ponies, as both riders are 15 and will age out of the division. Fan already has plans to sell her pony and begin looking for a junior competition partner, but Sadis admits she’s not given the future much thought in the midst of her preparations with Poldy.
“I’ve been so busy building up to this weekend, I haven’t thought about it much,” she said. “I guess I’d like to do juniors later. I’d like to do Dressage At Devon at the end of summer with [Poldy] and maybe get a pony freestyle. That would be fun.”