Lexington, Ky.—Nov. 9
It’s hard to miss Wildwynn Wesley when he’s trotting around the warm-up. Warmbloods go bug-eyed when they see the 12.2-hand Welsh Pony (Wynnbrook Starburst—Lanes Snow Queen) strutting his stuff, but that doesn’t bother him or his diminutive rider Katie Miller.
“He doesn’t really think he’s a pony,” said Miller, Belvedere, North Carolina. “He is never panicked by the other horses, but they’re all afraid of him. It is a little intimidating to see some of these horses with these big gaits, but I would say we both have a pretty good confidence. We just like to come out here and prove that it doesn’t matter what kind of horse you have, any of them can do it when you’ve got goals.”
“Wesley” and Miller scored a 65.19 percent in the adult amateur second level championship at the U.S. Dressage Finals to finish 13th after qualifying at the Region 1 Championships (North Carolina). They also finished ninth in the adult amateur second level freestyle (66.66 percent), riding to “Mr. Big Stuff” by Jean Knight.
“I thought it went really well,” she said of her ride on Friday. “He was so wild in there [in the] morning when I was walking. Then he came in here and was very relaxed and obedient and attentive. A few bobbles, but overall I’m very pleased with him. He’s a special pony.”
Miller found Wesley as a nearly untouched 2-year-old. They previously competed at Finals when the gelding was 4 and going training level.
While he looks like he belongs in the USEF Pony Finals hunter ring, Wesley has been excelling at dressage with Miller and help from her Kathy Rowse.
“He was a nothing pony who means the world to me,” said Miller. “Come to find out I knew nothing about him when I got him. I found out he does have some dressage bloodlines. He’s from Windbrook Starburst who was known for dressage several years ago.”
Miller works as the director of an associate nursing degree program at her local community college and has two young children. Wesley lives in her backyard with her daughter’s pony and two donkeys, and she trailers over an hour to see Rowse once a week.
“This is my spare time, but I wouldn’t have anything else,” she said.
“I’ve worked with a couple of small [ponies] before, but usually with children,” said Rowse, who was ringside to cheer them on. “The nice thing about Katie is she’s got such great feel, and she keeps a calmness about her when she’s riding and always gives the horse the benefit of the doubt. She’s really easy to teach. We have a good time, that’s for sure.”
We‘re on site at the Kentucky Horse Park for the U.S. Dressage Finals! Check back at coth.com all weekend for more news and stories. If you’re at the show with a cool story, let us know by emailing Lindsay at firstname.lastname@example.org. Look out for the Dec. 2 print edition of the Chronicle for more from the show.