Amongst the Warmbloods at this year’s 2018 U.S. Dressage Finals was pony Arabian mare, Anna Miriah C++/, competing with her owner and trainer, Ana Digironimo. “I have been her rider and trainer for about four years,” Ana shares. “I had the opportunity to take her from Introductory up through the levels, which has been quite the journey. We initially competed in only Arabian Dressage shows where we also participated in Sport Horse Under Saddle and Sport Horse In-Hand divisions. We did attend one Arabian National in North Carolina where we received a Top 5 and a Top 10. Since then she has received her Supreme Legion of Honor, and we continue to work towards achievements to continue her legacy in the Arabian world!”
Though she is small in size, Ana Miriah C++/, affectionately known as “AM”, has a lot of heart. “AM is an extremely intelligent and insightful pony,” Ana explains. “She enjoys new challenges and always wants to be in the spotlight. She makes the perfect show partner. She has a big personality! She is the queen of the barn, and everyone knows it. She and I have a very special relationship, and we have grown as a team together.”
Growing up riding and training FEI ponies and warmbloods, Ana is no stranger to the dressage world, or the fierce competition inside it. “I knew the level of competition was going to be different and more difficult, but I knew AM could handle it,” she shares. “She is a true competitor; she has a game face and leaves it all in the arena. We get a lot of attention at the open shows because we are different.” A permanent pony card holder, Anna Miriah C++/ also competes in the National Dressage pony classes and the Championship held in Illinois each year. “I show in the open division as a professional so we are truly against the best,” Ana admits. “I encourage riders to step out of the box and try something new. Arabians have immense talent, and the only way to showcase it is to get out there in front of people who do not recognize the breed for all that it is.”
Ana and AM have had a multitude of achievements together over the last four years. “Most recently we won our BLM Championship out of 13 riders with a score of 73.333% in Third Level MFS Open. We were also National Dressage Pony Cup High Score, Third Level Division Champion, Pony Reserve Champion through that Championship held in North Carolina. She had been scoring consistently in the 70’s all season with many judges and different shows. For me this is a huge accomplishment as they can see her training and talent is truly there.”
Their second year in a row qualifying for U.S. Dressage Finals in Lexington, Ky., Ana and AM joined top riders from across America invited by placing and score to compete for the National Title in 2018. “We qualified both 2017 and 2018 for Third Level MFS,” Ana explains. “In 2017 we were ninth overall; 2018 we were 18th overall in a much bigger class. I was thrilled to be there two years in a row showcasing her and advocating for Arabians and ponies. It truly is a special feeling to make it to the biggest competition United States Dressage Federation (USDF) offers.”
One of just a handful of ponies, and even fewer Arabians invited to the show, it’s unsurprising that Ana and AM stood out. “We were surely head tuners at the show!” Ana shares. “So many people ask what breed she is and congratulate us on getting there. I am biased of course, but I also think the Arabians are simply beautiful. I think just her expression captivates people to come over to us and talk.”
For Ana, what makes the journey with AM so special is the teamwork they share. She says, “We have our ups and downs, but as a team we always pull together to be the very best we can be. Training horses is not for the faint of heart. What makes it worth the effort is having a partner that never lets you down when you need it most. I find her loyalty to me and her desire to give it her all make competing so special. I do believe that is an Arabian trait.”
Anna Miriah C++/ is in a full training program with Ana at DQ Performance Horses, based in Pilesgrove, N.J. “We do a combination of indoor and outdoor riding along with hacking and some fun cross training days,” Ana explains. “I do stay on top of my own training and continued education with my long time Olympic trainer, Lendon Gray. She has always been an advocate for horses of different breeds and sizes so I was excited to first introduce AM to her. Since then she has helped to polish and prepare me to perform at our best!”
Ana’s goals with Anna Miriah C++/ are to continue to move up the training scale and develop further strength to train and compete at the FEI Level. “We will continue to showcase all the Arabian breed has to offer in the best ways possible!” she says. “We do plan for a new musical freestyle come 2019.”
Breaking boundaries and proving that Arabian horses can compete at the highest levels in a multitude of arenas, as well as at our breed shows, makes Anna Miriah C++/ an amazing ambassador.
For more information on Ana, AM, and DQ Performance Horses, check out their Facebook page.