Loughlin’s Journey (Ohio), owner Martha Slamer and groom, Sarah Slamer
*Patty’s Look At Me (Virginia) owner, Marian McEvilly and groom, Sarah McCrea Ridgetop Windy City (Virginia), owner Karen McIntyre Welch and groom, Christopher Welch Shadey Hill’s Oscea (Kentucky) Debbie Shade and rider, Sarah Kleintop
Stonybrook Belmont (California), owner Lee Webster and helper, Joan Webster
Rosemont’s Irish Abbey (Kentucky) owner, Fonda Eigel and groom, Meg Dumaine
Tricreek Greystone Riley (New York), owner Mary Lou Thall and rider, Kim Grescheck Wildwych Eclipse (California) owner, Lisa Martin and Max Gerdes and rider, Danielle Casalett Windy Hollow Lilia (Kentucky), owner Amy Plavin and rider, Katherine Short
WEG: Demonstrations in the Village Arena
Ireland is blessed with two native equines – horse size and pony size! The Irish Draught is the native Irish horse, and the Connemara Pony is a native Irish pony, named for the West of Ireland where it originated. At WEG, some of the Connemara Pony demonstration times were shared with Irish Draught horses. The demonstrations were ably narrated and commentated by an Irish Draught enthusiast, Fleur Bryan (Kentucky). Using her cheerful Irish accent, Fleur creatively engaged the crowd with relay races between the Irish Draughts and the Connemara Ponies! Lee Webster, Katherine Short, Karen Welch and Chris Knox wrote and rewrote the script for the demonstrations so each pony was included. Chris Knox (Idaho) helped “pass the baton” as the ponies out jumped and out paced the horses – usually! The driving demonstrations showed the horses and ponies beautifully presented, driving between cones and doing pirouettes. There were musical freestyle dressage demonstrations as well as Caprilli, grid jumping and show jumping over higher fences. The crowd cheered loudly and loved every minute, every day! Thanks to Katherine Short, all the ponies and people were well organized in the barn. During the demonstrations, there were volunteers (19 cheerful volunteers over 16 days) going through the stands delivering brochures from the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society (Ireland) plus a promotional, information booklet created by Janice Meyer (Ohio) and Amy Plavin (Vermont) which included paid advertisements and the ACPS Breeders Directory. Fonda Eigel (Kentucky) was “the boots on the ground for the ACPS”.
WEG: Distinguished Visitors
Everyday brought new faces, pony stories, plus national and international dignitaries to the ACPS Booth in the Equine Village. Janice Meyer wisely created a three ring notebook “Guest Book” for people to sign with their name and address or requests for further information. Now, the public relations and promotion committee can communicate with these people. From the web, Janice ordered emerald green plastic wrist bands with the inscription “I (heart) Connemaras” and the web site www.acps.org. It has been a tradition to collect “pins” from countries, breeds, clinicians and disciplines. The ACPS green wrist bands were a huge hit to the visiting public. The wrist bands were light weight, easy to wear and carry, eye catching and “different”. Pat Parelli had wrist bands for the first time, this year, so we were on the cutting edge!
The Irish Ambassador, living in Washington DC, His Excellency, Ambassador Michael Collins and his wife, Marie visited our booth. The day they visited was perfect timing so they could meet and chat with the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society, Clifden, Ireland, Chair, Dermot Power, and his wife, Carmel. The two couples had never met but instantly had friends in common. Ambassador Collins chose two ACPS Foundation ties and Mrs. Collins was given a scarf.
Jane Beshear, wife of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Steve Beshear, visited our booth the next day. She was given a scarf, too, and chose a tie for her husband, the Governor. As some people may know, Jane Beshear was the successful rider of Mary Beth Fleming’s gelding, Shammer Sandman, in many eventing competitions.
Niamh Philbin, Secretary for the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society, Clifden, Ireland, flew over to volunteer her help in the booth. The ACPS appreciated her extra hands. Undoubtedly, Niamh has some pleasant memories and stories to share!