Hunter paces are popular in the U.S. and Eastern Canada but these one-day events at Priddy Farm, located eight kilometres east of Saskatoon, are the first in the region. A hunter pace is a game derived from foxhunting. Friends of varying skill levels and ages are able to ride together – non-jumpers and jumpers alike – while enjoying the spectacular hilly parkland of Saskatchewan. Small teams of two to four riders, attired in English or Western gear, complete a timed ride along a marked trail. A perfect activity for a Connemara Pony!
Before the hunter pace, organizers ride the trail and determine the ideal time based on weather and footing conditions. This time stays a mystery and the team coming the closest, whether over or under, is the winner. Ribbons to sixth place are awarded. Because the ideal time changes for each event - in addition to being a mystery – the goal is to have a fun, safe ride, not a fast one.
The Priddy Farm Hunter Pace and Trail Ride is nearly 13 km of natural prairie trails over rolling hills, open stretches and forest paths. The trail is divided into two loops with a compulsory five-minute break at home base approximately halfway through to dismount, rest your horse and have a drink of water. Natural cross-country fences of various heights are scattered along the trail. All jumps are optional to be enjoyed or avoided at the discretion of the rider. Riders are allowed to school jumps.
Much like a game of golf, teams may slowly pass other teams by asking to "play through" and giving a "heads up". The entire trail is contained within connected pastures with no roads or ditches to cross. Foxes are hidden along the trail to be counted and participants enter the total number of foxes "hunted" into a draw for prizes.
As with foxhunting, a hunter pace/trail ride is very much a social event. Everyone is invited to bring their lunch and "tailgate" at the picnic tables after their ride. Draw prizes are given out at this time.
The 2013 schedule will be similar; hunter paces will be held once a month from June to September. Registration opens on site the day of the hunter pace. Participants can make their own teams but individual riders are always welcome and will be placed on teams. To receive the 2013 dates and other important updates, join the Facebook group "Priddy Farm Hunter Pace and Trail Ride" or email email@example.com.
Battle of the Breeds 2012
This year it was challenging to put a 4 pony team together. Our anchor ride/drive pony, Bien Mallin Rory O’Sullivan went down with a lung infection, and couldn’t compete; then 3 weeks before the big event, Elsie Priddy broke her leg and couldn’t ride her stallion Century Hills Aedan Zondiac. Fortunately Cyndie Crook had a 4 year old mare Kimble’s Sierra Wind who was available to be the second driving pony, and Elsie’s daughter Elan stepped up to ride Aedan. My objective was to win back our entry fee with prize money, but we did much better than that!
Elan and Aedan did a lovely ridden dressage test, and won with the highest score. Cyndie came in with Solaz pulling a beautiful 4-wheel carriage and walked away with the driven dressage component. The turn-out was stunning. In the afternoon young Karter Duke and her little grey mare Devonridge Precious Gem (a.k.a Jewel) had a faultless jumping round and sailed over the 100 point jeopardy fence. Unfortunately Aedan didn’t like the look of the brightly coloured jumps and had refusals.
The obstacle driving was on Friday morning, and we walked the course, which could be taken in any order. Steve Remus had volunteered to drive Sierra, but to say that they had little time to practice together was a bit of an understatement! Thanks to Steve’s excellent and sensitive driving, they had a good score in another 4-wheeler with Steve’s wife Peggy as groom in the back. Cyndie and Solaz scorched round with Cyndie’s husband Byron hanging on the back step, and we had a 4th place finish.
Barrel racing is not Aedan’s forte’, but they did not disgrace us, and with Karter and Jewel’s time we were just out of the ribbons in 7th. At this point we were 4th overall. The trail class on Saturday morning is always very testing. This time it was in a very prominent ring with lots of spectators. A new obstacle was a bank with a 3ft jump-down. This presented no problem to Aedan and Elan who also rolled the big 6ft ball through cones. Cyndie and Solaz (now in western gear) had an excellent round and we placed 4th again. This put us in 3rd place overall, which far exceeded my expectations.
All our 4 ponies were beautifully, and appropriately, turned out for each of the events and were great ambassadors for the breed. We had many Connemara owners from the western Provinces there for support, and with lovely weather it really couldn’t have been a better week.
Bridget Wingate – Team Captain
The National Dressage Pony Cup was held this past weekend (Sept 7-9) in Lexington Kentucky at the Horse Park. Three Canadians made their way down to compete against folks from all over.
The show attracted competitors of all levels, ages and from throughout the US. It is rare to have a show specifically dedicated to ponies of all breeds and levels and riders and it was a well run event indeed!
The National Dressage Pony Cup was combined with one of the regional (horse) dressage qualifiers hosted by the Kentucky dressage assoc. In total there were over 150 competitors (for the pony and regional shows).
The weather was scorching hot with a humidex of 47 on Friday! The skies opened and cold heavy rain with high tropical winds greeted competitors on Sat. morning. While the rain was torrential, the footing held up nicely (If a bit puddly!).
Despite the weather challenges a HUGE congrats to the Canadians who ventured down. Myself (Janet Rowe) with my Connemara stallion Tintagels Tibyl (Hohnhorst Brannigan out of Tintagels Scoth) from Bracebridge, Ontario for being Reserve Champion Open intro. level Pony Cup, res. Champ MSEDA Open Intro and one of the top placing Connemaras.
Jane Southgate, from Poplar Lane Farm, with her splendid German riding pony, Bennos Hit earned Champ. honours at third level as well as special recognition as top German riding pony for the entire pony cup!
Celine Hutchison took down two rare and endangered Nfld. Ponies - Mr. Maple and Sweet Apple Scrunchions. Both braved the weather and showed First Level. Maple was presented with Champion Freestyle Pony honors, top Newfoundland pony honours, Grand Champ. 1st level and Grand Champ. Open First level. Scrunchions was reserve champ. For the entire National Dressage Pony cup (all levels), Celine Hutchison was awarded Reserve Champ. Open level.
It was wonderful meeting so many other pony lovers and so many different breeds! There were two other Connemara ponies at the Cup and a halfbred who was a giant at 16.3 and simply lovely.
As the pony world is active on Facebook and other forms of social media, it was also great to meet a number of people in person who have been "friends" online. Folks we wouldn't know otherwise, but because of the joint love of the Connemara pony are brought together. How awesome!
A big thank you to the organizers of such a fun and successful show! Looking forward to bringing more Connemara ponies down next year!
If anyone has ponies ready for inspection, please let me know. Ponies have to be registered and at least two years of age and passed their vet inspection. We try to gather ponies at farms with suitable facilities, stabling, an enclosed ring with good footing and accommodation for inspectors and owners.
I think Central will be the only region holding inspections in 2012 but if there are sufficient nominations we can consider other areas. We do not have a set minimum number of ponies but do need about 6-10 ponies to make it feasible to travel an inspection team to the area.
Visitors are welcome and we try to make the inspections educational for owners and new members. Most pony owners agree to have their ponies discussed after the inspection and for new owners/breeders this can be a good opportunity to learn more about the breed and what we look for at inspection.
Cyndie Crook has been having a very full and successful summer with her two half-bred Connemara ponies.
Solaz (Bantry Bays Dillon x warmblood) is now 6 years old and has been driving competitively for 3 years. At a combined driving event in 70 Mile House, B.C., they placed first in dressage at Preliminary level and were 2nd overall. At the Eagle Ridge combined driving event, they won the entire event. Solaz is lightening quick in responding to commands. In addition to driving, Cyndie and Solaz also went to a "cowboy up" trailing riding clinic for a change of pace.
Cyndie's 4 year old mare Kimble's Sierra Wind (Avenns Kimble Wind x TB) has been competing in combined driving for the first time this year. Of the three events, she placed second at one and 1st at the other two at training level.
Eve Dedrick, Connemara Girl
Eve Dedrick is a 14 year old French Immersion student at Brookswood Secondary School in Langley, BC. She is a D2 member of the Hazelmere Pony Club, and has ridden almost her whole life.
Eve's first pony was an old Quarter Horse/Welsh cross pony called Rocky that her family acquired when Eve was just six months old. Eve, her older sister Mary, and their two cousins shared the pony and learned how to ride on him when they would visit their Grannie's farm. When Eve was in grade 1, Rocky died and her family was able to lease a lovely little buckskin Section A Welsh pony mare called Sugarlane Almond Joy for the girls.
Sharing Joy, Eve and Mary both did their D and D1 Pony Club tests, attended Prince Philip Games, and took lessons. Mary outgrew Joy very quickly, as Joy is only 12 hands, at which point Eve took over the reins completely. When Eve was 10, her Prince Philip Games team won the 'C' (10 and under) BC Championships which featured Eve and Joy as the anchor riders.
All of Eve's hard work with Joy paid off; although Eve is now too big to ride Joy in most shows, she is squeezing one last year of Prince Philip Games out of her. Meanwhile, Joy has been working with a new young rider called Taylor, who won the Walk/Trot High Point at Rising Stars Youth Dressage Show in 2010, the year that show hosted the Canadian Dressage Championships.
That same year, Eve was able to borrow a Connemara mare called Honey from Margot Watson so that Eve could complete her D2 test in Pony Club. Shortly after that, Eve and family purchased a 4 year old, 14 hand high bay Connemara gelding called Devon Ridge Harris Hawk (by Irish stallion Fairy Hill Hawk and out of a Rory O’Sullivan mare)from Margot. During Harris's four year old year, Eve did a lot of ring schooling and trail riding. Harris went to Pony Club camp and hung out at the Canadian Pony Club National Rally Championships, just to get used to the hustle and bustle of horse shows. Together they spent a lot of time doing field work and popping over logs and other small fences on the cross country field at Campbell Valley Park and Maple Ridge. The pair attended their first schooling show, placing very well. That fall, they were division Kur Champion at the Pony Club Dressage Championships and were third overall at their level; they also participated in a Prince Philip Games demo at Thunderbird Show Park.
Harris's five year old year got off to a slower start due to a long bout of cold wet weather in the spring. Consequently, most of the first half of the year was spent playing catch-up, but later the pair won the Overall Kur Championship at the Pony Club Dressage Championships, competed in their first combined test day, and did extremely well in their hunter classes at the year-end show at M & M Connemaras, never placing worse than 2nd in any class.
This year Harris turns six, and Eve's training program for Harris continues. Fortunately, a very dry and mild winter has allowed for a lot of riding, schooling and showing so far this spring. As well, Harris has added MGA (Mounted Games Association) to his resume, having completed a clinic with Canadian team coach Bill Dunne in October; this March, a clinic with the German team coach is on the agenda.
Plans for the future for this pair include competing in the Pony Club Rally in the summer, and after that progressing to the C level in Pony Club. Long term plans for Eve and Harris include possibly representing Team Connemara at the Battle of the Breeds, maybe at the PNE this year, if possible.
Devon Ridge Rhiannon by Emma Klapstein.
I am 13 years old & have been riding for 5 years. For the last 2 years I have been riding at Devon Ridge Farms,where I lease Rhiannon. My coach is Megan Davies and this year we plan on going to several shows,starting with the Amberlea Meadows Show in February. I love showing with Rhiannon & would also like to compete in some Cross Country Events & maybe even Spruce Meadows this year ! At last years Amberlea Harvest Show I came home with a 3rd, 4th. & 5th. in the 2.9 Hunters & the Equitation Classes. At the annual Devon Ridge Show I placed in the 2.3-2.6 Hunters with 2 Reserve Champions, High Point Pony, a 1st. 2nd. 3rd 4th & two 5th placings !
I would say that Rhiannon is a perfect pony. She always knows how to correct me when I make even the slightest mistake. She has such a good temperament & always tries her hardest. Rhiannon has the potential to jump the moon if she wanted to ! She can conquer anything that comes her way,she is the most amazing pony ever. Rhiannon is 9 years old & by Bien Mallins Rory O'Sullivan & Avenn's Golden Legacy & was bred at Devon Ridge Farms.
I have learnt so much from Megan & Jocelyn & most of all Rhiannon.....she is the love of my life. They have helped me so much in my riding journey & I am so thankful to them all.
Devon Ridge Ms. Congeniality by Talia Amyotte.
I have been riding for 6 years now & first started when I was 8 years old. We bought my first pony Ms. Congeniality when I was 9 & she was an unbroken 3 year old. Breaking & training her has been very rewarding & worthwhile even though it was allot of hard work for me ! There were some days when it was very tough riding a green pony but Genie has taught me so much. She has a wonderful temperament to work with but sometimes she made me work really hard ! Now that I look back I'm happy that she did because it has made me a stronger rider. We learnt together slowly until we got good enough to start showing. Our first big show was at Paramount in the summer of 2009 & I could not have asked her to be any better ! Since then Genie & I have been showing allot. We show mostly in Hunters & have been doing really well. Last August we won Pony Champion at the Anderson Show. We ended last years show season by going to Pony Spruce !
We have already started showing this year & Genie was so good. From now on we are only going to do the Pony Jumpers & I can't wait !Genie is the most important thing ever to me but sadly our journey together will soon be ending. I am out growing her & need to move up, so sadly & reluctantly I will have to put her up for sale.
After months of training, taking it slowly at first, Erin and Peso were ready for their first show in which they took home 2'6 jumper Champion at the 2010 Season Opener at Anderson Ranch. This paved the way for a Championship at every show that summer and their first year end Championship in the .85 jumpers in the Rocky Mountain Show Jumping circuit. One of their special moments that summer was winning the 2010 Sport Horse Magazine $5000 Grand Prix. They were second in the order of go but held on to their lead, even after 72 entires tried to beat their time. In the Fall of 2010, on her birthday, Erin brought Peso to Spruce Meadows for the 2010 French Pony Fall Classic. She celebrated her 13th birthday riding in the victory gallop as she and Peso were Pony Jumper Champions. The pair returned to Spruce Meadows two weeks later to compete in the Oktoberfest and again, were the leaders in the victory gallop, this time in the .90 and against horses. There was no stopping this pair as they entered the 2011 show season, this time competing in the 1.00 m jumpers. They didn't miss a beat, winning multiple Championships in this division and finishing the season 2011 Reserve Champion of the year.
Watching these two together, there is no denying they share a very special bond. You could say that they are very much alike. Peso is celebrating his 23rd birthday this Spring. We've noticed a few distinguished looking grey hairs around his eyes and a bit around the fetlocks, but it's certainly not slowing him down! Peso loves his job and it's very apparent when you see him enter the ring. As he waits for sound of the buzzer to start the course, you can see his signature piaff, not able to stand still, just wanting to go. Oh and you should see him in line waiting for his ribbon, again "piaffing' and looking oh so proud. He is such a character. And sitting on his back, giving him little pats and hugs, his rider Erin, a young girl who, having to deal with some health issues, stays strong and determined to do what she loves. Ride her pony. The pony with a huge heart and like her, doesn't know the meaning of quitting. I think that they truly understand eachother and together have found their wings.
Haleigh has been riding for 6 years, starting to ride with Megan Davies in the summer of 2008, at a barn that Megan would travel to coach it's boarders. After a few shows and a few years later Haleigh moved to Megan's home training facility Devon Ridge Farms where Megan matched up the Rider Pony combination, Haleigh has been leasing Rapunzel from Jocelyn Davies, the farms owner, since.
Riding mostly in the hunter ring. The pair has competed in a few Hunter Jumper shows in the 2011 season. They rode in the Winter Series at Killerney Farms Near Edmonton, the Devon Ridge Farms Horse Show placing 4th in the 2'3" HUS class. Haleigh and Rapunzel wrapped up their year at Rocky Mountain Show Jumping's Mid Summer Series in August and came home with a couple firsts, seconds, thirds, a fourth and a fifth competing in their pony hunter under saddle, pony medal 2'9" classes, and flat classes.
This year Haleigh has her sights on competing with Rapunzel at the RMSJ summer series for 2 of the 3 weeks in August, as well as maybe 1 or 2 Amberlea Meadow shows, and some training shows at local farms Meadow Leaf Meadows, Killerney Farms, and of course the home show at Devon Ridge Farms.
Haleigh would also like to participate in the fall pony show at Spruce Meadows with Rapunzel and her team mates from the farm and their ponies. She would also like to try the jumper ring and if the opportunity comes up to take part in some cross country schooling.
Rapunzel has been a pony that has been able to help Haleigh with her skills at riding. She is true to her breed, is calm, patient, willing, incredibly smart and has a keen sense of what her rider needs. There have been several times that Rapunzel has saved Haleigh from a fall while out on course, she seems to know exactly where her body should be to ensure that Haleigh stays on. The jump on this athletic mare is incredible. It is often said that if only she were taller she would be a super grand prix mare. Everything that Rapunzel has given to Haleigh is the reason that she loves the Connemara breed. There is never a time when there isn't a huge effort on Rapunzel's part to do whatever is needed of her for her rider. They give of themselves full heartedly, whats not to love about that! This breed captures your heart and they quickly become your best friend.
With what Haleigh has learned and with her love for horses and ponies she hopes to one day work with horses in a training program, who knows maybe she will even one day follow in the footsteps of her coach, Megan...someone all her kids would love to grow up to become one day.
Photo Credit: Poly-Gon Photographic & Media Solutions