P.O. Box 425
Boonville, CA 95415
or phone Gwendolen "Wendy" Rowe at (707) 376-8331
September 2, 2006 Mountain & Moorland classes offered for the first time in California!
The Welsh Western Nationals provided Mountain and Moorland owners the opportunity to show under UK judge Simon Bigley. Mr. Bigley is on the M&M judges panel in addition to the Welsh breed judges panel. We exhibited our Highland ponies both in-hand and under saddle, and donated a prize for the ridden championship. The M&M classes had an excellent turnout and were enjoyed by exhibitors and spectators alike. We are thrilled to finally have a show venue for our ponies here in California and look forward to seeing these classes expand in the coming years. Many thanks to the Welsh Pony and Cob Association of California and Kathryn Rayner Freeman for organizing such a wonderful event.
This was a new and different experience for us, participating in a show of this size! The Brookside Equestrian Center in Elk Grove, CA is a very well laid out show grounds with several rings and shaded spectator seating. I believe there were around 150 ponies on the grounds. It was a real treat to see so many beautiful animals in one place, both Welsh and the the other M&M breeds which were represented; Connemara, Dales, Fell, Highland, and Shetland. I hope next year we'll see some New Forest, Dartmoor, and Exmoor ponies joining us as well.
We entered our 2 year old filly Ceol Beag Lismore, 10 year old stallion Quartz of Croila, and 4 year old mare Circle H Highland Mist. Our good friend Ann Siri very generously took three days of her time to help us at the show, driving 5 hours each way her in truck and trailer to get the ponies to and from the show, and working on everything from mucking stalls and tack cleaning to pony washing. Ann breeds Shires, so the ponies had quite a luxury ride with lots of room to spare in her draft horse size trailer rather than being squeezed into our little trailer.
photo by Kim Qualls
Best of breed championship class, Lismore in foreground, Mist in background.
All the ponies were very good about the busy show grounds and settled right in. It was around 11PM by the time we had the ponies all tucked away in their stalls and our stuff organized and we were exhausted. We found what looked in the dark to be a perfect camping spot, only to be woken up by a downpour coming in the sides of the trailer when the automatic spinklers came on before 6AM.
Saturday morning Lismore and Mist had their first experience with a wash rack style bath. Thanks to hard working pony clubbers Emily and Stephanie who volunteered to help wash the mares, it all got done in good time. Even the stallion had a bath in the wash rack and minded his manners. We opted not to wash the ponies at home before the show, mainly because we don't have enough water here this time of year. Turned out it would have been wasted effort if we had, because when I checked on them in the trailer just before getting on the highway they were all coated with dust from head to toe after the 3 mile trip down our dirt road!
The 2 year old filly and the stallion both went to the M&M show in Oregon earlier this year, so this was their second time out in a show setting. But this was the first time away from home for 4 year old Mist, and she was absolutely as good as gold. Totally calm about the whole business; I think I only heard her whinny once the entire weekend.
photo by Kim Qualls
Lismore with her reserve breed sash.
We had entered Lismore in the 2 and under class, and Mist and Quartz in both the 3 and over class and the ridden. Things were busier than expected here during the past month and practicing for the show didn't happen nearly as much as I hoped. I have to say I'm amazed how good Lismore and Mist were with so little preparation. Lismore had not done any trotting in hand or conformation pose practice since the show in April. Her most recent handling was when she had her hooves trimmed a couple of weeks ago; she literally came staight out of the pasture and onto the trailer for the show. We had ridden Mist and Quartz the week before the show, but hadn't done any in-hand practice with Mist. I was pretty much expecting to scratch Mist from the ridden class since Peter wasn't too thrilled about riding/handling a very green pony for his first ever show experience, and I was counting on showing Quartz myself. But things always work out a little differently than planned--we ended up scratching Quartz at the last minute instead, so I showed Mist in both classes.
photo by Lisa MartinQuartz waiting in the warm up arena before his class. photo by Lisa Martin
He was looking very handsome.
Lismore and Mist both trotted well and stood up nicely in their in-hand classes in spite of zero practice. Both classes were large, I think there were seven ponies in the 2 and under class and twelve ponies in the 3 and over. Stallions, geldings, and mares all competed together. Lismore trotted out beautifully, but when it came to the placings her lovely movement didn't make up for being less mature than the other ponies. There were some absolutely gorgeous young Fells, very filled out and nicely proportioned--if I hadn't known their age I would have guessed them to be 3 and 4 year olds. We had several compliments on Lismore from people watching the class and were pleased that she made a good impression.
photos by Lisa Martin
Lismore shows off her beautiful movement in the M&M 2 and under class.
Mist exceeded all our expectations with a fourth in the 3 and over class, quite an acheivement for a young broodmare. The judge asked about her and on hearing that she was only 4 and had just weaned her first foal, he exclaimed how well she looked. But the best was yet to come--Mist came away with third place in the ridden class!
photo by KIm Qualls
Mist's nice working trot in the M&M ridden class.
She stood quietly in the line up, showed off her lovely trot, cantered on the correct leads in the group and in the individual show, and best of all she had an absolutely fantastic gallop. She doesn't have a clue how to flex at the poll yet; I don't start asking for that until a pony has at least 60 days under saddle. At this stage I just want them to go forward freely and willingly and she did that 100%. Until I saw the other ponies doing their individual show I had no idea that a rein back was expected at the end of the gallop. I had never asked her to back up before. Again not something I teach until after the pony understands flexing at the poll at a standstill, so that they don't confuse the two cues. So she was understandably a little sticky on the rein back, but amazingly we did get a few steps in reverse.
Ridden class: Mist on left, MGRM Brigadoon on right. Part of the line up in the ridden class, Mist on left.
All together an astounding accomplishment for a pony at Mist's level of training, and this was at her first show, competing in a big class against some seasoned ponies. I would have been delighted with her performance even without a ribbon but to place so well in very good company, needless to say I had a smile from ear to ear. Brigadoon, the stallion that won the ridden class, is quite famous in pony circles on the West coast and has won just about everything that a pony can win in 3 day eventing, driving, and hunter competition. The second place pony was a gorgeous Dales mare ridden by a professional trainer. I was surprised to see that I was the only owner/rider in the prize list for the ridden class. I certainly hope we will see more owner/riders in future M&M events.
Mist posing with her third place ribbon after the ridden class.
Once I got home I had to go look up Mist's training records just to see if my memory was correct as to how little training she actually had. I keep a very detailed training log which comes in handy when I need to look up specifics about the training progress of our ponies. I was thinking she'd had around 30 days under saddle in 2005, but it was actually even fewer rides than that.
I started Mist under saddle back in January and February 2005. She had exactly 17 days under saddle that year, and only 5 of those training sessions included some canter work. She was bred in March 2005 and was not ridden again until her foal was weaned in July 2006. As of the show date she'd had a total of 26 rides, only 11 of those training sessions included canter work, and only 2 rides right before the show included a gallop. Most of her early riding sessions were very short because I was working with 4 other green ponies at the same time, so all this added up to around 12 hours riding time in her entire career prior to the show.
I am completely floored that this pony could perform the way she did with such minimal training. I knew Mist was a good pony, but I had no idea just how special until now. If her behavior at the show was any indication, she's not merely good, but one in a million. I may have a hard time being persuaded to put her in foal again any time soon since it looks like she has such an oustanding performance career ahead of her!
photo by Kim Qualls
Mist during the conformation assessment in the ridden class
Peter and I managed to forget our digital camera at home, so we didn't have a chance to get pictures of any of the other ponies in the M&M classes. I would love to add photos of some of the other breeds to this page, so please email me if anyone else has some they'd like to see here. Photo credits will be listed and website links can be included too.
Below are the complete results from the classes:
Mountain and Moorland, 2 years and under:
1.Laurelhighland Rose Petal, Fell
owned by Rene Bender, Fell Legend Farm, Lincoln, CA, handled by Tomas Herrera
2.Braeberry Anne, Fell
owned by Rene Bender, Fell Legend Farm, Lincoln CA, handled by Jamie Jo Porter
3.Laurelhighland Venus, Fell
owned and handled by Johanna Gilbert, Jagarts Emclave, Grass Valley, CA
4.Stonecreek Spencer, Fell
owned by Elaine Dunson, Auburn CA, handled by Steve Benham
5.Stonecreek Majical, Fell
owned and handled by Elaine Dunson, Auburn, CA
Mountain and Moorland, 3 years and over:
1. Colliery Alick, Dales
owned by Kelly Davidson, Davidson Dales, Clayton CA, handled by Adrianne Grasso
2. Bickerdike by Design, Dales
owned by Kelly Davidson, Davidson Dales, Clayton CA, handled by Roger Clevery
3.Glenormiston Ameila, Connemara
owned by Lisa & Max Gerdes, Redbud Ranch, Browns Valley, CA handled by Max Gerdes
4.Circle H Highland Mist, Highland
owned and handled by Gwendolen Rowe, Lone Tree Farm, Boonville, CA
5. Telynau Royal-Ascot, Welsh
6.Thunderhead's Little Tex, British Shetland
owned and handled by Ceci Grahm-Widby, Creature Comfort Farm, Jackson CA
Mountain and Moorland, Supreme Champion: Colliery Alick, Dales
Reserve: Laurelhighland Rose Petal
Mountain and Moorland, Ridden
1.MGRM Brigadoon, Connemara
owned by Joan and Larry Ervin, MGRM Manor, San Martin, CA ridden by Michelle Cihak
2.Bickerdike By Design, Dales
owned by Kelly Davidson, Davidson Dales, Clayton CA, ridden by Roger Clevery
3. Circle H Higland Mist, Highland
owned and ridden by Gwendolen Rowe, Lone Tree Farm, Boonville, CA
4.Telynau Royal-Ascot, Welsh
5. HK Eagle, Connemara
Owned by Featherstone Connemaras, Wilton, CA, ridden by Robyn Ong
6.Colliery Alick, Dales
owned by Kelly Davidson, Davidson Dales, Clayton CA, ridden by Adrianne Grasso
Ridden Champsionship Reserve: MGRM Brigadoon, Connemara
owned by Joan and Larry Ervine, MGRM Manor, San martin, CA ridden by Michelle Ciak
Best of Breed Awards:
Best of Breed, Connemara: Glenormiston Ameila
Reserve: HK Eagle
Best of Breed, Dales: Colliery Alick
Reserve: Bicerdike By Design
Best of Breed, Fell: Laurelhighland Rose Petal
Reserve: Stonecreedk Spencer
Best of Breed Highland: CircleH Highland Mist
Reserve: Ceol Beag Lismore
Best of Breed Shetland: Thunderhead's Little Tex
photo by Lisa Martin
Lismore expressing her opinion on showing!
For the first time ever, an opportunity to show Highland ponies within a day's drive from us! UK style mixed Mountain & Moorland Classes were offered at the West Coast Welsh Show April 29 and 30, 2006 in Roseburg, Oregon. We sponsored a class and donated a prize, and hope others will do likewise so that the M&M show opportunities will increase in the future.
The photos below are of us practicing with Quartz for the Ridden M&M class in April 2006. I think we had only 4 days without rain in the entire month before the show! No place to canter or even trot here at home when it's that wet without the horse's feet going right out from under him, so we kept Quartz at the local boarding stable for the month prior to the show in order to have a sand arena to practice in. The footing there is good even with rain coming down in buckets. We were out there in our rain gear every day. Thank goodness for synthetic tack! Peter has a Wintec Isabell and we love it. On my wish list; one in my size too. Maybe next time we sell a pony. I can manage in Peter's 18" but a 16" would sure fit a lot better.
Quartz had to learn to gallop for the ridden M&M. Not something he had ever needed to do before for trail riding or dressage. It took him a little while to get the concept and he wasn't terribly enthusiastic. But we sure did get a good gallop in the ring on show day! Nothing like having unfamiliar mares around to liven things up a little. Overall we were pleased with how he handled his first time in a show setting. Quartz was reserve champion M&M in hand and Lismore was first place in the M&M youngstock class.
What we expected to be a 10 hour drive to Oregon turned into a 17 hour ordeal with breakdowns, driving all night and finally arriving at the show grounds at 5 AM. Both ponies handled the long trailer ride O.K. and still showed well in spite of it all.
The lighting was unfortunately a little dim in the huge indoor arena where the show was held, so most of our photos came out blurry. We splurged on one photo of Lismore taken by the show photographer. She got some nice ones of Quartz as well and I hope to order one or two later when we can afford it. Paying off the van repair is the first order of business!
Quartz modeling his reserve champion ribbon at home after the show.
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