2011 Stars of the West Sport Pony Finals

Stars of the West is an in-hand show series started in 2011 and continuing annually. It is designed to encourage sportpony breeders and owners in western Canada to show and evaluate their ponies. This is a sister series to the Sportpony Star Search Challenge Cup, which takes place in eastern Canada and the United States. That series culminates in the Final Sportpony Star Search Challenge Cup; the current purse is $2500 at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto.

Sportponies attend shows that host qualifying classes throughout the season. Sportponies placing first in any of the four age divisions qualify to move on to the final where the age division Champions and the Grand Champion are awarded, and gain publicity through press releases sent to several equine publications including Gaitpost, Canadian Horse, and horse sport magazines, as well as many local publications.

Our Stars of the West Challenge Cup here in Alberta is going strong and is consistently gaining in popularity. We have also received inquiries from the United States to participate. There are shows in Red Deer, Didsbury, Edmonton, and Bluffton where the first place ponies in each age division qualify to go on to the final. This year's final is being held at Rocky Mountain Show Jumping. In the near future, we would like to expand our qualifying classes to Saskatchewan and British Columbia. There is also the possibility that we will introduce under saddle classes, which would include dressage suitability and hunter suitability.

Sportponies are not required to be inspected and registered with the NASPR (NorthAmerican Sportpony Registry); however, the prize money in the final goes only to sportponies registered and inspected with NASPR, and their owners must be members in good standing. NASPR sponsors a $500 prize, which, if not claimed, increases yearly. The NASPR sportpony, Alvesta Brianna, owned by Karen and Dean Chorney, was the Grand Champion in 2011. They won the $500 NASPR Grand Prize plus the PTF Challenge Cup.

Stars of the West is currently run by Dallas Grubenmann of Pferde Traum Farm and Melany Moore. Both are passionate about their sportponies. Their aim is to promote educated breeding and evaluation of sportponies in western Canada. Dallas and Melany aim to create an atmosphere where breeders and owners can work together in friendly competition, with the common goal of improving the quality of their sportponies. Dallas breeds New Forest sportponies. In addition, she coaches and competes primarily in eventing. Melany has an extensive background in owning horses and sportponies. She has been involved in racing and has extensive experience in driving and dressage. Melany is the president of the Chinook Carriage Driving club and past vice president of the Alberta Carriage Driving Association. She currently is the proud owner of a First Premium NorthAmerican Sportpony.

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