Wayne, Ill.—Aug. 21
While many of the competitors at the U.S. Dressage Festival Of Champions were specifically bred for the flashy, lofty gaits of dressage, this year’s USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Champion had a very different purpose in his former life.
Slip And Slide, a 17-year-old Quarter Horse-Haflinger cross of unrecorded breeding, got his start in the reining world. He then ended up at an auction in Canada, where he was purchased as a dressage project. Four years ago, Abby Fodor bought him, and they started working their way up the levels together.
“His owner in Canada taught him a little bit, and then I added more to his knowledge when he came to the U.S.,” said Fodor.
This year marks the pair’s third time competing at Festival. They were winners in the inaugural children’s championship in 2017, and in 2018 they were reserve champions in the pony division. This year they stepped it up to win the title after topping the FEI Pony Team Test (70.23%) and finishing third in the FEI Pony Individual Test (66.21%).
“I thought yesterday’s test was a lot better than today’s test because I thought he was a little tired today,” said Fodor, 16. “And then I also changed my spurs before I went in, so I think that screwed me up a little bit. I think he was a little [more] tired today than yesterday, but I was still happy with it.”
Watch Fodor’s winning FEI Pony Team Test from Thursday, courtesy of USEF Network
Fodor, Bloomsbury, New Jersey, took a break from the pony classes to compete at third and fourth level with Slip And Slide. She decided to take another spin in the ponies for her last year of eligibility. They showed three times to qualify and prepare themselves for Festival, and Fodor said it felt good to be back in the ring.
“I have had a good year with him, even though I have only done [three] shows,” she said. “I missed coming to the shows. I like the night check drives; I like seeing all the people I haven’t seen in a while. It is nice to recognize everyone.”