The Mia Allo Memorial Trophy has been generously donated by Katie Whaley.
Katie writes, “Mia Allo was a well-known pony team driver from Belgium, who competed all over Europe and England for more than twenty-five years. Many in the carriage-driving world knew Mia as the ultimate host: always with her French fryer, grill, and kegs of beer. Mia always welcomed other drivers and grooms into her tent with open arms.
“My first meeting with Mia was at the 2003 Pony World Championships in Austria, although I had been watching her for many years as she competed and won at Windsor with her wonderful palomino ponies. I was really kind of a stalker, but she never knew it. I competed a team of ponies in Austria, and so did Mia. She was very nice when Bill Long introduced us and always had a smile during the event. Unbeknownst to me, during that championship my wonderful and sneaky mother asked Mia if she would come to the States and give me lessons. She agreed, and so began our friendship.
“Mia was extremely generous with her time and her knowledge, and I can attest to that, as she took me on as that ‘crazy America girl.’ She loaned me the best two ponies out of her team (leaving her with no spare) so I could show a pair at Windsor in 2006. The smile on her face when we were both presented with our winning rosettes was priceless. Mia was the ultimate competitor; she hated to lose but was always gracious, except the one time when a judge wrote that her ponies were running across the ring at the extension. Later, Mia saw the judge as she was eating an ice cream cone and said, ‘I want to shove than cone up her nose.’ I still cannot look at that judge without laughing.
“Mia and I spent many hours in her training field. She was actually very quiet until she could not stand it anymore and would yell ‘do something!’ She looked like a stern little man, but in truth was far from it: she loved to laugh, she loved to help people in the sport, she loved her ponies, and she loved her friends.
“Her loss is immeasurable to me and to the sport of driving. But her legacy will live on in this trophy, to be awarded at the Kentucky Classic CDE to the deserving person(s) whom my mother and I have observed, throughout the year, epitomizing Mia’s spirit.”