Behind The Stall Door With: Daisy, Lilly Ward’s Pony

May 9, 2016 - 4:36 PM
Daisy is Lilly Ward's very special first pony. Photo by Catie Staszak

She’s the smallest horse to ever be featured in the Behind the Stall Door series, but don’t let that fool you: She may have the biggest job.

Daisy, a 20-year-old miniature horse, is Lilly Ward’s first pony. Yes, of that Ward family—Lilly is the daughter of two-time team gold Olympic gold medlaist McLain Ward and his wife Lauren, who rides in the amateur divisions. Daisy passed rigorous testing to get the job, but she’s done well enough to warrant a promotion, because she’s got the young Ward hooked on horses. The legacy is indeed continuing!

The Chronicle got to know the littlest horse in the Ward string on a recent visit to the family’s winter base in Wellington, Fla., to absorb all the cuteness, which, as even McLain himself admits, might be too much for the internet to handle.

  • Saying she’s bombproof might be an understatement. The first visuals McLain saw of Daisy featured actual dump trucks and hordes of overly exuberant small children.

    “Lauren found the pony from Kate Kocher Bechtel in Pennsylvania,” McLain said. “She deserves some recognition. It was her daughter’s pony. The lady does miniatures and party ponies and things like that. We saw a video of the pony on the Internet, and it was unbelievable. There were kids picking its feet out and brushing it and banging drums next to it, and then a big dump truck dumped a load of rocks next to it, and it didn’t move. We said this was the pony for us.”

McLain and Daisy. Photo by Debra Jamroz

  • She doesn’t look her age. You’d hardly guess Daisy was 20 by looking at her, and she handled the trip down to Florida like a champ.

    “We asked if she was healthy enough to ship to Florida,” McLain said. “Lauren explained that we went to Florida in the winter, and [Bechtel] said, ‘Yes, yes, I know who you are,’ so she had obviously done her homework very well.”

Daisy is small but mighty—and friendly as can be. No need to go to her; she’ll come to you for a visit. Photo by Catie Staszak

  • She gets the same treatment as McLain’s other top mounts. She sports a matching fly sheet in her private turn out field and even has a wood barn at the back of Ward’s Florida property all to herself. 

Diasy has VIP digs in Wellington. Photo by Catie Staszak 

  • She might have the kindest, sweetest eye that’s ever graced a pony. 

Daisy’s expression might just melt your heart. Photo by Catie Staszak

  • She’s proving to be a very suitable mount—and a great addition to the family.

    “The pony has been amazing,” McLain said. “Lilly plays with her all the time and rides her at least every other day. I don’t want to be the pushiest of parents, but I’d like for her to ride, so we’ll see.”

Daisy with Lauren and Lilly Ward. Photo by Debra Jamroz

Want to see more adorable minis? The Finish Line of the May 2 & 9 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse has a whole collection of miniature horses who are living the life as companions in show homes. That issue also has a fantastic Living Legend story about Patty Heuckeroth, a Horseman’s Forum by Kip Rosenthal that continues the debate over legalizing low-dose acepromazine, a Horse Care story about a jumper that broke her pastern then returned to the show ring, and more! See what you’re missing if you don’t subscribe.



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