(Continued from front cover)
Long ago but not so far away lived a little girl named Annie Pigtails, who wanted nothing more in life than to Ride Horses. It consumed her dreams constantly, whether she was sleeping or awake. Annie Pigtails imagined her bicycle into a gleaming Bay Horse. As she pedalled enthusiastically along the road, tires became hooves and a steady galloping rythm resonated in the gravel beneath her. Her bicycle horse and she breathed the same breath, and their hearts beat the same beat.
They travelled in perfect unison. When she rode in the back seat of the car past green fields and rolling hills, she convinced herself that she was flying across the landscape on a robust Palomino Horse. All the while she ached desperately for the partnership of a Real Horse. Luckily for Annie Pigtails she had the best friend ever-- Mary Ponytails. One day at school Mary Ponytails said, "hey Annie Pigtails, you should ride the bus home with me and we can Ride my Horses after school." Well, you didn't have to ask Annie Pigtails twice, and their routine began that day. Annie Pigtails and Mary Ponytails rode through hills and pastures, forests and roads, and the generous Horses took loving care of them both.
Winter came on and the little girls still dutifully wore their proper black rubber riding boots as was the custom of that particular decade, feet freezing in agony in their stirrup irons as the sun went down too early on many a Montana winter evening. But they were Riding! And the pain involved went unnoticed in their enthusiasm. At the conclusion of their rides, the grateful girls would feed and groom the thankful horses and wish them sweet dreams. The horses were snorting in their hay and chewing contentedly when Mary Ponytails' mother, Mrs. Whinny Ponytails, called the girls in for hot supper. Annie Pigtails and Mary Ponytails hobbled quickly to the house on their frozen feet, already reliving the most exciting and important points of their day's Ride and all the while looking forward to tomorrow's adventure.
I was Annie Pigtails. And now some fourty years later, in all of the most significant ways, I still am. "Cholatsi" was the first pony that I had the opportunity to ride and spend time with regularly as a child. He was what we called in those days, a 1/2 Arabian 1/2 Welsh cross. He was a 12.1 hh blood bay with a blaze and 4 stockings. He looked exactly like he stepped out of a Thelwell book. He was beautiful! Cholatsi had the adoration of every little girl in the neighborhood when I knew him during the mid to late 1970's. He belonged to my best friend Mary, and he played a very large part in the all best experiences of our childhoods. As Mary and I grew up and were drawn to taller, more elegant looking horses, Cholatsi happily continued in his responsibility of teaching young children the joy of riding, unwavering trust in a pony, and the honor of having such a friend, whether he was "owned" by a particular child or not. In truth, Cholatsi was owned by all children that knew and loved him. He taught and gave so much to so many. When I saw him again in my late 20's (which was approximately his age as well), he was still going strong and accumulating fans.
Eventually I went out into the world and spent the next three decades of my life training and caring for a variety of breeds and types of horses, which were primarily Arabians. This included working for a handful of some of the more prominent Arabian farms in the US, and I often marvelled at my good fortune in knowing many great and famous horses. When I returned home, and essentially retired from training, it very soon became obvious what my obligation would be: so many hundreds of horses and people had taught and given me so much, I knew that I must give something back to the next generation of young pony enthusiasts by raising a few ponies that would teach and care for them in the same way that Cholatsi had done for me.
As destiny would have it, I have a star broodmare, Prima Silverstar (CR Kiyev x Spring's Request by Sumarai). She is to me an exquisite example of what a great horse is. Although she has never been exposed in the show ring, "Prima" gives a world-class performance each day of her life, as mother to her foals and as friend and partner to me. I was blessed to know, ride or train horses as far back as four generations in her pedigree, and it is immensely exciting to see glimpses of different horses in her that I have known over the years. That also allows me to see where many of her magnificent qualities have come from. Prima's family is populated by extremely kind, forgiving, intelligent and athletic horses; and she is no exception. She is the product of several decades of very careful selection and vision by my mentor of nearly 40 years, Larry M. Bailey. Prima is exactly the kind of mare that I would have hoped to select as a broodmare, had I been able to purchase a mare of her quality. Larry, as well as another very dear friend, Tracy Antonelli knew that I would provide her with a well-deserved home, and contrived a way for me to have her. It is only because of the trust and love of these friends that I have a mare of her distinction in my barn.
I chose as her mate,*Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE/OD (Eyarth Beau Geste x Wedderlie Marianne), a Section B Welsh Pony stallion, owned by Family Partners Welsh Ponies of Riddle, OR. He was imported as a yearling from Scotland in 2002, where he was champion at the Royal Welsh Show. Along with two US National Championships, he and an abundance of his foals have been shown to hundreds of championships, both in hand and in performance in a great variety of disciplines. In 2010, Mardi Gras topped the Welsh Sire Ratings for all Sections of the Welsh breed, and won Sire of the Year. His foals are proving to be extremely versatile and easy to train, as evidenced not only from their extensive show wins including national and regional championships, but also from what their various owners have to say about them. Before breeding to "Mardi", I made the trip to Oregon to meet him and many of his foals, even though I had already decided that he would be The One. He greeted me so graciously, and his beauty and presence were so astounding that the wisdom of my decision was immediately apparent. Meeting his foals only served to fuel my impatience to have some of my own.
Prima Silverstar's sire, CR Kiyev (*Muscat x CR Angel Mist by Pyatigorsk) was a multi-regional and US National top ten, as well as many of his offspring in a multitude of disciplines. Of the first fourty horses in his pedigree, 90% are either national champions or producers of national champions. I knew Kiyev as a two and three year old. He was always so much a gentleman, while at the same time vibrantly expressive and full of life. He was the most willing, pleasant and kind stallion that I have ever started under saddle.
Like Prima Silverstar, her dam Spring's Request (Sumarai x Breath Of Spring by *Rezus++), is also proving herself outside of the show ring. I had the honor of starting her under saddle when she was eleven years old, and her training was probably the easiest and most pleasant of any in my life. Less than a year later, she was thoroughly enjoying herself giving beginner's riding lessons. Prima Silverstar's dam, "Spring" is one of the gentlest, most giving horses I've ever known.
CR Kiyev's sire, the legendary *Muscat (Salon x Malpia, by Priboj) was one of the most well-known Arabian stallions in history. In 1980, *Muscat was the first Arabian stallion ever to be named US National Champion, Canadian National Champion and Scottsdale Champion all in the same year (The Arabian "Triple Crown"). Over a hundred international champion sons and daughters of *Muscat have been used in the world’s most recognized breeding programs, highly prized for consistently representing the outstanding traits of their sire.
I knew *Muscat in his later years, and he was still breeding mares. We would take him, along with his stablemate *Nariadni, to the nearby lake for theraputic swimming, which the elderly stallions seemed to relish like a couple of young boys playing hooky from school. *Muscat's groom was an unusually kind-hearted teenage boy. He had worlds of love and respect for *Muscat, who was considerably older than him. *Muscat seemed to appreciate this boy tremendously, and their bond was clearly evident. It was sheer joy to see him turned out to play and roll in the mud like a youngster, and then to be so meticulously groomed every day when he came in.
Spring's Request's sire, Sumarai (*El Kasaka x Mistical Lady by Tornado) was Scottsdale Top Ten, Canadian National Top Ten, Regional Champion Saddleseat Equitation and won many halter championships. Sumarai also sired numerous horses greatly adored both in and out of the show ring. I knew Sumarai for many years also. The first time I met him, (when I was quite young) I was allowed to ride him; an honor which certainly took my breath away, as I was star-struck just watching him go. I had thought until that point that I knew how to ride... I had never experienced such a powerful trot in my life! We made one lap of the arena, and I was elated not only that I hadn't been tossed into the rafters by this power so new to me, but also that my audience consisted of only one. It could not have been a pretty sight, but "Sammy" introduced me at that moment to the exhilarating thrill of the English horse. Sammy was such a well behaved stallion that he thought nothing of winding his way between crystal laden ballroom tables during presentations, and once even rode in a glass elevator.
Spring's Request's dam, Breath of Spring (*Rezus++ x Shooting Star, by *Bask++) was several times National top ten champion in Informal Combination and English Pleasure and she also produced several US National Champions. "Breathy" was another horse that I knew in her later years. I used to watch her gently and lovingly carry many a young or inexperienced rider ever so carefully around the arena, patiently giving lessons, even though the old lady was fully capable of rocketing any one of them skyward with her boistrous trot!
These are only a few of the truly noble horses that I have had the opportunity to know personally, and who have contributed their genetics to the breeding plan at Chestnutpark. From this gathering of greatness, I strive to produce children's ponies with dispositions faithful to their ancestors; expressing kindness, intelligence, willingness, and affection. They must also posess the conformation essential to a sound, versatile, and athletic pony. The training program at Chestnutpark is low-pressure and long-term, in order to provide the physical conditioning and educational preparation neccessary for anything that the pony is being asked to do. Preserving the pony's physical and mental soundness is of the utmost importance at all times and in all circumstances.
From the beginning, I ride them with abundant freedom and positive reinforcement, to encourage the natural forwardness and lightness of their hearts and minds. (I am fortunate to be surrounded by vast hay fields that my neighbor lets me ride in). My ponies and the way I care for, raise and train them, are a direct representation of what I originally fell in love with as a youngster, even years before I actually had the opportunity to ride. The hope and vision that I have for them is that they will eventually find the little girls or boys who share the same love and desire for horses and ponies that Annie Pigtails did, and forever will.
You may eMail Annie R. Reid ~ Chestnutpark Welara Ponies at: firstname.lastname@example.org