Snelsmore Miniature Shetland Pony Stud

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A little help from our friends at Newbury Show

Roxanne-for-WebWow! What a busy week; from TV star on Tuesday to showing champions on Sunday.

The week started with filming for Meridian television. The news team approached us to be part of a short piece for the local news about the preparation needed to compete at the Royal County of Berkshire Show. We were interviewed along with other livestock owners to show the effort that goes into preparing the animals for a big event. It was great fun and certainly something different to look forward too; I only wished I had found time to dye my hair! Nevertheless when the cameras started rolling I was more concerned about the questions I might be asked and how best to answer them. I’m not quite a film star yet but really pleased with the finished result which aired on the Friday evening before the show.

Mid-week we competed at the Thame & Oxfordshire County show. In the past we’ve taken our horses for the show jumping classes however this was the first year they have held classes for Miniature Shetland ponies. To show our support, we made the fairly easy hour-long journey with two ponies, Snelsmore Jasper and Snelsmore Oasis. The classes were well attended and the competition strong. Mr R Marks from Worcestershire was our judge and he placed Oasis third in the three year-old and under class. Jasper was chosen as his winner in the four year-old and over class. No Shetland championship for us this time but we look forward to more classes and a separate Shetland championship in 2015. Next time we must remember not to park so close to the loud speakers though!

The Royal County of Berkshire Show on the Sunday has always had that special buzz for us. We often have show jumping friends to stay in the few days prior and it’s our last and nearest county show of the season. Despite only being ten minutes around the corner we still had an early five o’clock start.

There is always a feeling of autumn at Newbury Show thanks to a chill to the air, dew on the grass, wet bottomed trousers and ponies with slightly woolly coats; this year was no different. Our busy day started with Snelsmore Nevada coming second in the stallion class, not a bad start. Thanks to Gemma and Stuart we not only had family cheering us on but also helping hands to hold our ponies in between classes. Sarah and Mel were brilliant, reacting amazingly as we threw them in the deep end showing Kindy Heidi and Snelsmore Quedesha at a moment’s notice when we didn’t have enough handlers; this dream team managed to keep the ponies moving on time.

Sarah and I made a good partnership and won the Brood Mare with Foal at Foot class with Heidi and Snelsmore Roxanne. Snelsmore Lalique and I performed next and even though she was a little over excited, she added a third win for team Snelsmore. Four down, two to go. With not much between our two yearling fillies we decided to show them both, so Cliff and Mel took to the ring with our last pair in a strong yearling class. We had a fantastic result and were delighted as our two fillies were placed first and second. Thanks Mel for beating Cliff, we’ve got to keep him on his toes!

The main classes were done but the day wasn’t over yet for us. All four of us had a pony in the championship so we lead our Snelsmore ponies in the ring to battle it out against strong opposition. This time our judge, Mr Bailey, chose my favourite pony Lalique to come out on top and take the Miniature Championship. Our strawberry roan filly foal Roxanne also took a busy week all in her stride, one minute a TV star and the next Reserve Junior Champion at Newbury Show; what an experience for our little baby girl.

Thank you to everyone who helped us out, I think it’s time we slow down and look back on one of the best showing years we’ve had.

Kington Show: Never to far from a cow-tastrophe

Kington showKington show is a well-established county show in the beautiful setting of Wales. This year the organizers decided to put on Shetland ponies classes, so we thought we should make the long three-hour journey to help support them and it was a great excuse to get out for a fun day out somewhere different. We were all loaded and left the stables by six o’clock. Even though Cliff is a very careful driver the last bit of our journey was very twisty and I felt a little sorry for our ponies in the back, but we arrived in time to give them a good rest before completing. It’s a shame we couldn’t relax too after a telephone call from home saying our cows had escaped from their field! Knowing this made it very difficult for us to enjoy our usual coffee and chocolate croissants. We really needn’t have worried though as it turned out not to be our cows, but a neighbour’s Dexter herd on the rampage. Never work with children or animals they say.

Somewhat relieved our day continued. Mrs Davenport was our judge and she chose Snelsmore Querl, our bay yearling filly, to be our first winner of the day. Then Snelsmore Oceana, our three year filly, followed with a second win for us. Snelsmore Madonna came next in the mare class but on this occasion could only manage a second place, never the less we were still delighted with her performance.

Our final pony to compete was Snelsmore Nevada in the stallion class. It seemed a very close run thing but he manage a first place and went on to be Miniature Champion. My best memory of the show will always be Cliff and I joining in the grand parade of all the animals entered at the show. Luckily I didn’t see a single Dexter cow to remind me of the morning’s unnecessary panic. Then again Madonna and I were positioned in front of a huge pedigree Hereford bull which kept us both on our toes. From the beginning to the end, today our hearts would be pounding thanks to cows!

Snelsmore Pinocchio becomes a man at the BMHS Show

10636341_10204774425586411_618378543002457899_nOn Saturday 30th August we decided to make the journey down to Bridgewater Somerset to attend the British Miniature Horse Society (BMHS) Show. With a section for shetland ponies, I’m sure it will become popular in the future. The venue was good and the organizers were welcoming.

As usual, we endured the early start, although as the day progressed it became clear that there was no need to rush, we could have spent an extra hour in bed! Our judge Mrs Cozen-Cook unfortunately had a breakdown on the motorway which set the start time back by one hour. Ah well, more time for croissants and tea in the lorry.

First to go was Snelsmore Jasper who had an unlucky second place. Snelsmore Madonna followed and upped her game, achieving one better by winning the mare class. Snelsmore Oasis was next and performed well but on this occasion could only gain a third place rosette.

Oasis then had to sit back and watch as it was the turn off her little brother, Snelsmore Pinocchio, to have his first show experience. With an unsure exit from the lorry, it didn’t take long for his confidence to grow and let every to know he had arrived in the collecting ring; the shy little 28” boy suddenly became a big man, thinking he could take on all the black standard ponies in one go. With still plenty to say for himself, he entered the ring to show off his skills and although a little naughty, his presence and personality shone through and earned him his first red rosette.

Finally having given Snelsmore Quick Silver some more time to mature, we felt the time was right for him to come back to the show ring. His experience as a foal was obvious and he was better behaved than his mate Pinocchio; thank goodness! I think two naughty boys would have been too much for everybody. He went on to show that you don’t need to be loud to get a first place and I was delighted to see our patience with him had paid off.

As the age classes had come to the end, all that was left for us was the championships. Madonna took to the stage first and was chosen as the judge’s Reserve Senior Champion while little Pinocchio transformed his first red rosette into his first Reserve Junior Championship. What a day for the little boy with a loud voice!

On the way home we couldn’t stop smiling about Pinocchio’s first outing, A small boy with a big attitude;  he must have been so exhausted by the end of the day but he definitely enjoyed himself and I’m sure he will be back for some more in the future.

Practice makes perfect: Showing at Cadham and Edenbridge

Oasis and QuerlTwo shows in the one weekend is hard work, especially cleaning and preparing so many ponies beforehand. Some think us totally mad but we were committed to a Sunday show and decided at a later date that the Cadham Shetland show on the Saturday was the perfect small venue for our novice two year colt, Snelsmore Pavarotti. It just so happened they were the same weekend. We ploughed on through regardless.

Considering it was the bank holiday our journey to the New forest on the Saturday was a lot easier than expected. The day started off well with Snelsmore Oceana wining her class. Snelsmore Pavorritti was next to the ring. We were pleasantly surprised with how much he had remembered from his first two outings, he concentrated more and kept himself nicely balanced, despite a slight downhill first run. He stood much better for our judge, David Sykes, to have a good look at him. Our patience paid off as he won the two and three year-old colt class and went on to be Reserve Junior Champion. Mission accomplished, a great practice and result!

Unfortunately our two older ponies in the afternoon didn’t do quite as well despite both performing great; that’s showing for you I guess!

Looking on the bright side we were home by mid-afternoon and able to prepare another five ponies for the Edenbridge and Oxted show the next day. I had already bathed them all a few days before so it was a fingers-crossed moment to see if they had kept themselves reasonably clean.

The next morning, we were relieved to have a much later start than the 4:00 am before. We left our yard at 11:00 am for a 2:45 pm start in the afternoon class. We were right to be slightly worried about the notorious M25, traffic was very heavy but with no queue getting into the show it gave us time to let the ponies have a rest while we had our usual coffee and croissants before we took to the ring.

First up we had our two yearling fillies Snelsmore Q-Me and Snelsmore Querl;  Q-Me in the Novice and Querl to follow in the yearling class. Both ponies have progressed well though the season and went on to win their classes. Two down, three to go.

The next class was the two and three year-old filly, in which we had the lightly shown bay filly Snelsmore Oasis entered. As the class went through the motions, we were delighted to receive a third win of the afternoon.

The classes kept coming however our winning streak didn’t quite hold out long enough for Kindy Heidi as she came second in a very strong mare class, a brilliant finish considering the quality of the ponies she was up against.

Finally came the Championship and with just the two of us to lead Cliff and I decided Oasis and Querl were perhaps our best options for the title. Our luck must have returned and we couldn’t have hope for a better ending to our day. Snelsmore Oasis took Junior Champion and her full sister Querl Reserve Junior Champion. Thinking that was the end of a successful day, we were elated when Oasis took it a step further and went on to win Reserve Senior Champion as well.

It may have been a busy weekend but we certainly cant complain that it was a waste. A worth while practice for some on Saturday while others took previous experience and pushed themselves to the top on Sunday. Although both exhausted, it’s times like this that we can really say ‘practice makes perfect’.

An unexpected result at The National Pony Show of Wales

NevadaThe National Pony Show of Wales held at the David Broom Equestrian centre is one of our favourite shows of our year and this year was no exception. In fantastic sun shine, we completed on a great all-weather surface appreciated by both ponies and handlers. Classes in four rings ran well considering the large amount of classes put on for us, with only a few minor clashes. We took Snelsmore Nevada and Snelsmore Madonna to compete in the four to six year old classes, along with Snelsmore Orchid, Snelsmore Querl and Snelsmore Jacqueline for the age classes in the miniature ring. Snelsmore Jasper competed in the coloured ring.

We were delighted with the start of our day in the Miniature ring; Mrs Cowell was our judge and she chose Nevada and Cliff to win the four to six year old male class and placed Madonna second in her class. Jacqueline followed on to win the large Yield Mare class and both Querl and Orchid came fourth in very strong classes. Jacqueline, Orchid, Madonna and Jasper were all well placed in the coloured ring under Mr Boustead.

The day was going well but the icing on the cake was to be enjoyed later on. As everything was drawing to a close, Nevada stole the show for us with his totally unexpected result, taking the Miniature Championship and then go on to be Reserve Supreme of the show.

Another set of great results, another worth-while day; all these wonderful shows keep us going, motivating us through the hard work and winter ahead.

For sale: Loanin Sadie

sadieWe bought Loanin Sadie as a foal from the Shetland Island sales many years ago, so it has been a hard decision to sell her. However with our herd numbers increasing year-by-year, we have now reached over 70 ponies and need to start selling some of our original mares. Hopefully reducing the stud size will give us a little more time to enjoy the ponies rather then constantly working.

At the moment Sadie is running with Kington Zazarac. This is her first time with him and could be an interesting outcome as I believe them both to carry the mushroom gene (although not tested). She will continue to run with him this summer until sold or weaned, hopefully resulting in a bouncing bundle of joy in 2015.

Sadie is, and always has been, a healthy mare, good foaler and caring mum. She has a skewbald filly, Snelsmore Ruffles, at foot by Merrylees Talisman. She is for sale with or without Ruffles, available around Sept/Oct. As usual with any of our ponies, a 50% deposit secures.

With our stud reduction in mind, if there are any other ponies within the Snelsmore Stud that anyone would like to enquire about, please contact me. I am looking for good homes for a selection of mares and youngsters.

A little help from my Mum in West Sussex

MadonnaI can’t believe it is just over a year ago since my mum died. The 21st of June would have been her birthday and I know she would have wanted me to carry on as normal and show our ponies. So with her in the back of my mind, we took four ponies to the NPS Area 20 Summer show held at the South of England show ground inWest Sussex. It turned out to be a long hot day but well worth it.

Our first class of our day was for miniature ponies aged three and under. We got off to a good start with novice filly Snelsmore Oceana who was placed second and Snelsmore Orchid following on in fourth.  Our next class, the four years and over, was immediately after and gave us little time to swap ponies.  Luckily our horse box was park nearby and we returned slightly out of breath with our filly Snelsmore Madonna and stallion Snelsmore Jasper.  With two of our nicest ponies in the same class we didn’t know who would come out top. Madonna moved beautifully and continued her recent form taking the top spot; I can’t help but enjoy it when a filly beats the stallions, especially when I’m leading her! Cliff lead Jasper, who looked fantastic and gave our judge, Mr A Bell, a very tough decision to make when it came to the remaining places; with the competition strong we were happy with a close third.

With no miniature championship Madonna and I had to battle it out against the highest placed standard ponies for the Overall Shetland Champion. Madonna took it all in her stride and trotted her way to the winners spot, taking Supreme Shetland Champion and Best Miniature rosette. we now had an opportunity to go forward much later in the day for the Supreme In-Hand, competing with all the other breed champions.

Five hot hours later Madonna and I did our show in the main ring against some beautiful other breed champions. Madonna was still full of spirit and floated around the ring with a little more energy than me; it seemed a very long way round! The judges were very complementary about her and gave us a fourth place. We were so pleased and a little part of me knew my mum would have been too.


For sale: A pair of adventurous geldings

461118_10151456055828775_497839325_oOur two geldings Snelsmore Nelson and Snelsmore Napoleon have returned to the stud and our looking for a new home. These boys have been very lucky so far and had two lovely homes where they have been much loved by everybody. However sadly both times for reasons beyond their control, it has not worked out for them. Ideally they would love to stay together but would separate if they could have new friends.

These boy’s would enjoy showing and they are big enough to be ridden or driven. Both would  make idea companions  for a horse or happy to be  pet’s.

Please contact me for more pictures and information.

The lows and highs of showing: South of England and Chiltern Group

OceanaAfter a really disappointing day showing at the South of England on the 6th June, our two hour journey home on the busy M25 seemed longer and hotter than usual. The best result we could manage all day was a second place in the first class at eight o’clock with Snelsmore Quaffle; it was a promising start but we soon learnt it wasn’t to be our day . We couldn’t really be disappointed with our ponies, they looked well and all performed to their best. Showing is a matter of personal preference and on this occasion our miniature judge Mrs Elliott seemed to prefer the traditional black ponies instead.

A week later we put all our negative thoughts behind us and entered for the Chiltern group show.  I had a really badly bruised, possibly broken toe, and running was proving to be quite painful so we were unsure of how the day would go.  In the first class we had two real babies out for the experience. Snelsmore Querl and Snelsmore Q-Me were placed second and third behind a more mature winner and we couldn’t have been more pleased with them. It was a real boost and helped me push on through the pain in my toe.  Snelsmore Oceana made her second showing appearance in the two/three old class and she took second place. Another great result. She went on be Reserve Junior Champion later in the day which really put us on a high.

Keen to give Snelsmore Nevada an interest, we entered him in a mixed standard and miniature stallion class. He behaved really well considering how naughty he can be at times and was placed third. Finally the day ended with Snelsmore Lalique and myself winning the mare class. What a difference a show makes, showing is so up and down, you never really know what you’re going to get. I suppose that’s why we do it, for the thrill!

Roll on the Welsh Breed show!

June update: one foal at a time

IMG_3483Cliff and I are having a busy time at Snelsmore right now. We’ve hired out one of our fields for dog agility training sessions with agility World Champion Lisa Frick from Finland. People are coming and going all over the place however it’s nice having so much hustle and bustle; the ponies are having to share their fields with over excited dogs and caravans for a few weeks but seem to be taking it all in their stride.

Foaling has now finished with a late flurry of new arrivals. I was really pleased to have delivered Halstock Cassandra foal. Cassy has never been one for making it easy, so true to form she had a red bag foaling; fortunately I delivered Bubbles, a bay filly, safe and sound for our friend Alan.

In total seventeen Snelsmore foals have joined us this year. In the past few weeks Benston Gloria had a piebald filly who we have named Snelsmore Rag doll; both Cranford Cherry Blossom and Snelsmore Meringue had colt foals called Rooney and Raphael and lastly Snelsmore Mystique had pretty little chestnut filly by Snelsmore Infinity called Rumour.  Mystique is proving to be a wonderful first time mum and I’m so trilled with all our mares.  As far as the foaling year goes we have been really lucky, just one bad luck story for poor Snelsmore Nightengale. She is a maiden mare and foaled unexpectedly in the field, unfortunately losing her baby. She is doing really well I am always so amazed the way the ponies seem to get over these horrible situations. Now we sit back and look forward to a relaxing summer.

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