In October 2009, Wendy Ihlang of MustaHevonen Farm, sadly passed away in a fatal car accident. It was her dream to have Newfarm Minneola and Newfarm Apple Blossom (full sisters) drive together as a team. She had purchased these two mares as weanlings back in 1998 and 1999 from the Newfarm Stud in Florida. In 2004, I became interested in Fell Ponies and made a visit to Wendy's farm. It was love at first site for me! Small, black and beautiful were the ponies. Newfarm Minneola stood out from the herd, as she was the alpha mare. I liked her presence, intelligence and all that flowing hair. Wendy had offered both Minnie and Apple to me, yet I could only afford one of the beautiful creatures at the time. I purchased Minnie, and had always kept in touch with Wendy. We both put the two girls in foundation training together, and someday, those two girls were going to drive together.
In the beginning of 2008, I get a call from Wendy, and she had asked me if I would at all be interested in selling Minnie back to her. Oh my, I thought. Minnie was my first Fell Pony, and we had a special bond that took a while to create. Minnie just doesn't give her heart to anyone. Since I had grown my herd over the years, and in an effort to balance family life and horse time, I decided to reduce my herd, and sell Minnie back to Wendy so that she could fulfill her original dream of driving the two mares together. So the process had begun, and as soon as Wendy was able to sell a few ponies of her own, she was going to get these two girls into driving training. Sadly a year later, I got the dreaded news that Wendy had passed away in a fatal car accident in October 2009.
I picked up the mares in November, had them vetted, teeth checked and vaccinated, and signed them up for training that December. So here we are today, JANUARY 2010. The two mares are in driving training, and doing really well. The first 30 days have been safety ground work, and this past week, Apple was hooked up to the shafts. Minnie is taking a little longer, and that is because she is the alpha mare, and likes to have her way. Both mares are doing well. Wendy had even put their manes on opposite sides, but looks like we will be putting Apple on the right, and Minnie on the left. So we will need to braid them over on their opposite sides.
My goals are to have these two girls driving together as a team summer 2010. I will announce when the tribute will be, as it all depends upon when these girls will be ready. They are beautiful......
Both girls have been hitched up to the cart and have begun their driving training. They will first need to practice by themselves for a while before they get hitched up together.
Both girls are back home while I wait for a pony to sell...... Bummer! I've had a chance to ride both of them, and not only are they turning into fabulous driving ponies, but excellent dressage ponies as well. Very attentive and responsive. They have learned to bend at the pole, give to the bit, leg yield, turn on the haunches and forehand. They also walk, trot and canter both ways bending well. Yes, they are still a little green at it, but oh my, what a pleasant surprise to ride such two nice ponies.
I've been working on getting Baloo trained this month so that I could have a good pony to sell. He's now well started under saddle and driving. He is one of my favorites! I've been riding the mares at home to keep them in shape. They are maintaining their training and fitness quite well! I got my pairs harness, and to my luck, the tack shop was having a sale. Next month, these girls are going back to the trainer so that they can learn to drive together. Hopefully they will be driving together soon!
Girls are back in training to complete their pairs work. So far they have retained where we left off, so that is very helpful with them being so smart! A definite Fell Pony quality. More to come......