Our journey through the POA breed began in the late 70s when a fellow Michigan 4H friend invited me to campaign her family’s POA stallion, Wedel’s Siri Playboy( Tig). After aging out, the usual young adulthood issues prevented me from horse ownership for several years.
Eventually, I was fortunate enough to purchase my first horse as an adult. The focus of the barn we were at was horse trials and 3 day eventing, so that is what we began to train. The graceful beauty and absolute challenge of the dressage phase soon completely eclipsed my former zeal for running fast and jumping high, and for the past 20 years, dressage has been my passion.
In order to gain experience for the jumping phases, we attended many Hunter/Jumper shows for practice. I was always drawn to the pony rings and couldn’t help but remember the amazing ponies that I had encountered at the POA breed shows. Looking for good natured pony projects, we hauled an empty trailer to the International Sale in 2004, and came home with a full trailer! I was fortunate to have made a great new friend at that sale, Liza Hassevoort.
That group of ponies went on to meet their forever kids, and Liza and I kept in touch over the years. It was while visiting her at the International Sale in 2011 that I failed to sit on my hands long enough to escape without a new pony, Illini New Traditions! Although my intent was to make him a hunter pony, I rode him for 5 minutes and jumped right back into the breed shows, head first! That one pony has multiplied into anywhere from 6 to 10 ponies at any given time.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the experiences I have had while traveling to the shows, but the ultimate gift was when Jesse, my middle child, asked if she could start going to the shows! She soon saw how much fun the kids were having and asked for a pony of her own.
We have spent the last 3 years logging hundreds of miles together. She is my navigator, my support team when I am driving white knuckled through construction, torrential rain, mountains ( or all 3 at the same time!), and my ringside
cheerleader. Showing the POA circuit has taught her to set goals, to work hard, to be a good sport, and to make adult decisions. Our road warrior stories and the incredible friends we have made on this special journey will be the priceless relics representing the hours we have spent with these wonderful ponies.
For that, I am eternally grateful.
We would like to wish everyone a safe and successful show season!