Three famous ponies (and small horses) you should know

It seems that many of us enjoy our “small but mighty” steeds. Perhas you might enjoy meeting a few of the Shining Stars both old and new who keep up with the big boys (and girls). 

Allow me to introduce just a few of my favorites:

1) Grand Prix Dressage: Seldom Seen, trained and ridden by Lendon Gray. This 14.2 hd Connemara/TB cross began with Ms. Gray in Eventing, but they soon switched careers to Dressage. Seldom Seen was the first horse she trained all the way to Grand Prix and he won nationally, then she took him to Europe where he acquitted himself well, too. In the USA he faced a fair amount of Pony Prejudice, especially earlier in his career, as people were not used to seeing smaller horses compete in dressage. Those of us with petite mounts say, “Thank you!” to Lendon and Seldom Seen for being ground breakers in the dressage pony movement here in this country!

Seldom Seen and Lendon Gray

Seldom Seen and Lendon Gray

Stories about him say that he was not a spectacular mover, could be a little lazy but he did have heart, and was trainable and kind. If you want to know more, here’s an interesting article from a couple of years ago:

http://www.eurodressage.com/equestrian/2012/03/29/seldom-seen-connemara-crossbred-going-all-way

And a wonderful video of his retirement dance with his rider, well worth watching.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hazRMuWTTI

2) Eventing Pony Forrest Nymph (aka Farrah) is not technically a pony at 14.3 hds, but as a

Forrest Nymph and Sinead Halpin

Forrest Nymph and Sinead Halpin

New Forest Pony, and half-sister to my own Finn, I have to put her on this list. She’s an eventing powerhouse, partnering with Sinead Halpin and currently competing at the Intermediate level in CIC2* events! Those jumps are BIG (3’9″ cross country, 3’11” stadium), especially when your horse is only 14.3 hds. Watch the red head fly over jumps in this video – the girl has Springs!

http://www.horsenation.com/2014/09/24/spectravet-performance-of-the-week-super-pony-forrest-nymph/

3) Grand Prix Dressage: North Forks Brenin Cardi, trained and ridden by Jessica Wisdom is a spectacular Welsh Cob stallion (14.3 hds) whose career I’ve followed with interest for quite some time. It’s a pleasure to watch him move.  In 2014 he won the National Dressage GP Freestyle Final with a score of 71.375%. Check out the ride, it’s wonderful!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKrvmeGdfEE&list=UUdeCXjDl2hOdhs4ksgYwrMg

Cardi the Champion!

Cardi the Champion!

And then there are all the unsung hero horses and ponies we know and love, the ones that may not have silver cups or ribbons ’round their necks,

but they have our love and gratitude for carrying us safely over the river and through the woods on the trail;Edie/Amadeo

round a course of jumps without error or pause; through a dressage test with style; into a crowded arena with patience and good manners. And most of all, for bringing a smile to our

Time never wasted.

Time never wasted.

faces each and every day that we get to be with them. Thank you, we are grateful!

Why my horses keep getting smaller

Ellie loves to jump!

Ellie loves to jump!

In the last some years, each horse I’ve bought has been smaller than the one before. I’ve owned, loved, and enjoyed horses as large as 17 hands, but my current horses are two wonderful and athletic 14.1 hand ponies.

Why would an (average size) adult choose to ride ponies? Because Ponies are the

                                    Sports Cars of the horse world!

They’re agile, athletic, generally sound and healthy, intelligent, trainable, adorable, have Personality Plus, and are fun, fun, fun! At 5’6″ my legs hang a little long on them, but as long as I keep my weight within bounds, they carry me very comfortably and competitively in dressage, over fences, and down the trail. Ponies can WIN against the big horses and will always have a fan club because they have such charm and panache.

Finn showing 3rd level dressage

Finn showing 3rd level dressage

They’re smaller and closer to the ground, which is good in every way.

  • Easier to get the saddle on and off.
  • Easier to mount/dismount.
  • You can see to brush the top of the horse.
  • You can get the halter/bridle on easily. No giraffes!
  • Less far to fall (although I try to avoid falling at all)
  • Spooks and antics tend to be less terrifying. However, be advised that some ponies can be very quick, athletic and catty in their movement, so take them seriously.
  • Usually easier to handle on the ground with some decent training (just smaller, so that makes it easier).
  • Require less feed – much less expensive to feed.
  • Many have great feet and can go barefoot, at least behind

Sometimes, riding my ponies or just being with them makes me feel like a little girl again (and a happy one, too).

So maybe Ponies are the Fountain of Youth? I kind of think so.

My renewed love affair with ponies began at a dude ranch with Ruger, the Quarter Pony. Here we are about to cut some cows!

My renewed love affair with ponies began at a dude ranch with Ruger, the Quarter Pony. Here we are about to cut some cows!