The plan for Glenhaven Audrey is all coming together for Dan Short.
The elegant chestnut mare was sent to him last year to be sold, but she caught his eye, and he ended up buying her himself. The decision paid off, as Audrey topped the 4- and 5-year-old division of the North American Pony Futurity at the Old Dominion Horse Show on July 18 in Manakin-Sabot, Va.
Taylor Brown catch-rode the pony for Short at the show. “She was really easy, and she had a great canter and an awesome jump. She just cruised right around and loped down the lines. She was very simple for a baby,” Brown said.
John and Suzanne Moody, of Glenhaven in Unionville, Va., bred Audrey, who is by the Section B Welsh stallion Downland Rembrandt and out of a Thoroughbred mare.
Now 5, Audrey is 14.1 hands and has a typey Thoroughbred look to her. “She has a great jumping style and a tremendous canter. She just covers the ground so prettily between the jumps,” Short said.
Short and Carlin Savage, 13, brought Audrey along slowly for the past year. They took her to a few horse shows just to hang out, soak in the atmosphere and participate in the under saddle class, then showed her over fences just a few times before the futurity.
Savage wasn’t able to travel to Old Dominion for the futurity, so Short was on the hunt for a rider. “By networking through Facebook of all things, I found Taylor Brown and asked her to ride the pony,” he said.
“She’s such a nice girl and a fabulous rider. She jumped on my pony and jumped a few jumps, and it was the most amazing thing I’ve seen. She floated the reins at her, and the pony said, ‘Wow, this is great.’ Audrey just loved her. Carlin was thrilled the pony did so well, and it’s really a testament to the homework she did with her.”
Audrey won both over fences classes and was third in the under saddle to take the overall 4- and 5-year-old futurity title. “She started to peak at the right moment,” Short said.
Short shipped Audrey to the Deep Run Hunt Club show grounds for the futurity from his farm in Salisbury, Md. Heavy traffic due to an accident made the trip a seven-hour one, but fortunately Short was staying at a friend’s farm close to the show grounds.
“This pony likes the comfort of her stall, and she likes time in turn-out,” Short said. “She spent the night at the farm, and in the morning I was able to turn her out for 20 minutes. Then I put her on the trailer and went to the horse show.”
Short concentrates on raising and showing ponies in hand, and he likes the idea of the pony futurity, which is modeled after the successful International Hunter Futurity for horses.
“This is an idea whose time has come. We don’t have many options in terms of marketing young ponies and getting them seen, so I think this will really take off,” he said. “When I found out that Audrey’s sire was nominated for the futurity, I thought it was a logical step in marketing this pony.”
Short plans to take Audrey to Lexington, Ky., for the American Pony Hunter Classic auction, held during the USEF Pony Finals in August.
Picturesque Bow Tie Dresses Up Nicely
Patti Foster shares Short’s enthusiasm for the North American Pony Futurity. “I’m really a fan of the futurity. There’s no place to take young ponies to get seen besides standing on the line. I have a ton of young ponies—next year I’ll probably be there with five of them,” she said.
“I think it will get people coming and looking at young ponies, and it’ll help with sales and marketing. You can only tell people so many times that you have a nice pony—they want to see it at the horse show, winning,” she added.
Picturesque Bow Tie was there at the futurity, winning for Foster. The flashy gray topped the 3-year-old performance division and earned the best young pony title on the line in just his first horse show. TCF Spice Girl, whom Foster bred, also topped the yearling filly class.
Foster bought Picturesque Bow Tie, whom she now calls “Bubba,” as a 3-month-old at an auction. “He just looked at me that way they do,” she said ruefully. “I wasn’t looking to buy a baby, but there was something about him.”
Kristi Willwerth, of Picturesque Farm in Warrenton, Va., bred Bubba. He’s by Picturesque Formal Attire (by Farnley Magic Flute) and out of Picturesque Pretty In Pink.
Foster didn’t show Bubba on the line at all. “When he was a yearling, he was a little bit gangly, but he’s grown into himself beautifully. In the last six months, he’s really become quite beautiful. He surpassed my expectations. He’ll end up a top-of-the-line small pony,” she said.
She broke Bubba at her farm last year, then turned him back out.
“He’s really only been under tack for two months before he went to the futurity. And he’d never jumped a course. He left me in awe. I thought, ‘Wow, he is that nice.’ He’s quite flashy, and he’s beautiful. He moves great and jumps great. There’s not much he did wrong at the horse show,” she said.
Brooke Kemper showed Bubba at the futurity.
“She rode him twice before the show. I don’t believe in working them too hard!” Foster said. “He’s a very fast learner. And he gets to hang out in the field again until next year. We’ll see what the future holds,” Foster said.
Three years ago, Foster moved from Long Island, N.Y., where she had a training business, to Louisa, Va., to fulfill a lifelong goal of starting a pony breeding business.
What’s The North American Pony Futurity?
For a number of years, pony enthusiasts discussed the need for a showcase for the breeding stock of North American pony breeders. The North American Pony Futurity, co-chaired by Ellen Shevella and Suzanne Moody, is in its infancy and made its debut at the Old Dominion Horse Show (Va.) on July 18.
With a stallion and foal nomination system and incentive fund awards for owners, breeders and stallion owners, the NAPF has been modeled after the International Hunter Futurity program. There are currently 16 stallions nominated to the NAPF program.
“Our future plans include pictorial stallion listings [free to all stallions nominated], pony classifieds, a stud service auction, fund-raising activities, and, hopefully, in years to come perhaps an auction to follow our Saturday Pony Futurity classes,” said the NAPF website. “As a 2009 startup, the NAPF will strive to achieve the same benefit of publicity for breeders, owners, trainers and riders of young ponies that the IHF has done.”
For more information, see www.ponyfuturity.org.