I DON'T KNOW -- 2000 AHSA Horse of the Year in the small-medium green pony hunter division, "Romeo" is out of Chelsea and by Theodore. Bought by Massachusettes trainer Linda Evans at the Pony Finals sale (where his brother, Karacter (below) placed 8th out of over 80 ponies),

SWEET LIBERTY -- By Theodore out of Little Bit of Luck (see below), this gray filly has started making her mark on the rated circuit in the childrens hunter pony division, finishing the 2002 season 70th out of 330+ in the highly competitive, Zone 2 award race.

KARACTER -- WEF Tournament of Champions reserve champion in the small pony hunter division, "Wellington" was showed widely and with great success under top Virginia junior Evan Coluccio in the mid-nineties. Karacter made headlines when young Evan took him through easily a 3'6" triple combination in the warm up ring at one show.

LITTLE BIT OF LUCK --  A.M. also showed successfully under Vermonter L.R. Davison and then out of Snowbird Acres in a variety of divisions before being sold to New Jersey trainer Nancy Urban, under whom she earned good ribbons at the prestigious Pennsylvania National Horse Show and was well-ranked in the highly competitive Zone II awards race.

BRECKEN -- Bought by the Coluccios at the Pony Finals sale, Breckie was leased to teach Bert Firestone's granddaughter the ropes and also showed successfully at WEF in the short stirrup division, sometimes competing against his brother, Karacter.

LITTLE KAY -- sold to new pony breeder Sissy Arbogast of Grafton, WV, "Kay" did a few parades in harness before settling down to produce pretty babies.

KOHLER -- although she looks like her aunt "Kay" (above), this filly was sold to a New Jersey family as a yearling.

CHELSEA'S MAYBE -- Congratulations to Stacey Gallagher of Newtown, CT, on her purchase of this wonderful pony hunter prospect. Look for her in the mediums soon! UPDATE: Maybe is now with Orion Farm
in MA, the same farm that produced "I Don't Know"!

CHELSEA'S REPLICA -- Now known as Out of Character, or "Chubby," our "Repo," once thought lost forever, has been recently rediscovered, thanks to the wonders of the internet. His career has included success as an equitation mount and in the Children's hunter division.

SAINT ROBERTO --Purchased sight unseen by trainer Jan Vesuvius of  Ann Arbor Therapuetic Riding, Robbie has become a true star and is now being aimed toward a
career in the pony hunter division, too.

SOLID THEORY -- Sold as a two-year-old to a
North Carolina family, he'll probably do local showing an/dor the short stirrup division.

THEODORE O'CASSIDY -- Bought by eventer Jeanette Ford, "Cassidy" had already schooled Preliminary level
fences as a five-year-old and has been placing well in his first events at Novice.

CHELSEA'S RENAISSANCE & FOXWORTHY COLONEL -- Bought at the 2004 Pony Breeders Production sale by a New England trainer who says Renny will probably enter the show ring instead of returning to a broodmare band and "Cortez" will definitely find himself in the show ring!

THEODEN -- Sold to Lindsey Cobb of North Carolina, "Caleb" proceeded to champion at one of his first shows, only weeks after being broke to ride. He has since been resold and has started a career as an event pony.

ZOLCOR! -- Congratulations to Idlewild Farm of Zebulon, NC, on their purchase of this talented hunter pony, another who went grand champion in his very first show!

COOPER -- Sold to Mary Carole Harsch of Georgie with many thanks to Olympian eventer Imtiaz Inees from India for sheperding the process through smoothly and continuing to assist with Coop's development.

CODA -- Somewhat insincere congratulations must go to noted eventer Christan Trainor on her purchase of this colt from the Kodachrome Partnership. Christan, you better do my sweet boy some good or I'll be after you with a stick!

THEO (Catahoula) -- Leased to USEF long-listed driver Vivan Creigh and taking aim at the next single pony driving world championships!
Choosing the "pony" in sportponies: Why not Welsh?
I'm arguing with my fellow breeders. It's my opinion that the curent sportpony registries aren’t doing what they could (and, IMO, should) do to help establish and promote that market. Some have provided anecdotal evidence of a strong market for registered sport ponies, but my perception of their market is that it is a “Welsh sport pony” market, which does not really help support the concept of a sport pony (itself somewhat problematic because that concept isn’t yet widely agreed upon, in part due to some registry confusion).

In updating this, I have to agree that there does seem to be a nascent "dressage pony" market evolving, but unfortunately, that remains a market flimited to ponies trained, not bred, for the job. As a result, even with the influx of European-bred, non-Welsh pony stallions, and the expanding development of so-called sportpony inspections and approval processes, there remains 1.) an inconsistency in the type and talent of the ponies being approved and/or recieving inspection scores, and 2.) only a (comparatively) weak demand for the stud services and young offspring of those stallions.

I continue to greatly, greatly admire the Welsh pony--especially the hunter-bred Welsh pony, so please don’t take this as breed bashing. The problem is that, for obvious as well as somewhat selfish reasons, I do not want the sport pony market to piggyback on the Welsh one, even though I can see how (and have actually invested in) the blood of certain hunter pony Welsh lines could contribute greatly to increasing the elegance, correctness and length of stride of many sportpony breeding lines. TheDownland line in particular has clearly made its mark in producing exceptional athletes in pony breeding programs in Great Britain and Australia as well as the U.S. However, I continue to feel obligated to point out that unless someone registering sport ponies without a Welsh tie-in can attest to the "health" of a sport pony market and the value of registering with a sport pony registry, I will keep arguing for BETTER promotion of the type and its potential.

Indeed, I must admit to great concern about
the dominance of the Welsh type in sportpony breeding programs, especially the riding pony type (not necessarily the Cob or the driving type) in the so-called “success” of the sport pony market (indeed, I dare say the Welsh dominates ALL pony markets--and as an outstanding type of pony in general, perhaps that is justifiably so). However, this is compounded by the fact that one cannot deny the dominance of the Welsh and welsh-cross in the hunter ranks, a high-valuing market which does de-value (i.e. place a lower monetary value on) the sport pony “type.” But the hunter market’s perspective is only logical: just look at the big-dollar hunter pony’s way of going and it becomes clear why the sport pony type is not desireable.

The best of the best hunter ponies--maybe 80% of whom have a significant amount of Welsh blood, BTW--go with a topline that is long, reachy and somewhat flat or even downhill. A watcher’s eyes are not attracted to what the back and hind end are doing, but rather to the front. The temperament is that of independence and sensibility, not necessarily traits that will react suitably to the demands and complexity of the aids in upper level dressage and/or the kamakazee courage required when jumps become more physically challenging. Lastly, and most importantly, the ability to rock back on the hocks and compress the topline, a trait which is absolutely mandatory for upper level competition in any of the sport disciplines, is by no means a valued or tested trait in the breeding and competition of hunter ponies.

Of course, all of this is based on my personal perspective that
the sport pony should be more than a kids, driving or lower-level, small-adult mount. (Indeed, my spiel is that they are the alternative to warmbloods for the small adult). Nevertheless, this is why I feel I must continue to argue these points to breeders and to the registries: The distinction needs to be made loud and clear. The “Can Do” potential of the sport pony type must be established and it must be heralded (again, like the VPBA’s support of successful hunter ponies) before the sport pony can become a valued type that is independent of the popularity of any particular breed.

Moreover, I will not support registries until they show an understanding of and willingness to address the
niche marketing needs that the sport pony requires. Indeed, I can't support them (because they don't offer anything my business needs, and I am seriously in business--not "at play"--with my breeding program: I have no rich husband, parents or other relatives to allow me to make sentimental decisions or basically do whatever I please regardless of the expectations associated with professional business standards). So, no, I won't invest any efforts in that direction until there is a registry (or association) that shows an appreciation for reaching-out marketing principles instead of  the reaching-in insularity of the current spate of inspections, specialized competition and awards.
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