In December of 1991, I started working at GlanNant Farm to pay my way through college. In May of 1992, Mollie Butler was diagnosed with cancer. I can not even begin to tell you the unbearable pain this caused. Mollie was one of those people who was immortal. She hadn't aged a day in the 13 years I had ridden for her, and she was still so young at heart. The idea of her dying was absolutely incomprehensible to me.
I am very grateful to be able to say that I was given the chance to share the summer of 1992 with Mollie. I've never been a very religious person, but that summer made me believe in a higher power. Everywhere we went, we won blue. Mollie had never done anything in a small way, and she was going to go out in style. We showed GlanNant Serenade and GlanNant Yellow Brick Road the most that summer. Brick won the AHSA high point championship and both ponies won the national championship in their respective Pleasure divisions. It was as though some one up there wanted Mollie to know that she would be missed and she would be remembered.
I taught for one more year at GlanNant before the farm officially closed. I was still in college, but I had grown so attached to my students, that I couldn't let them down. I went out and bought a few horses, found a local boarding stable and began what was then known as Kelviden Equestrian Services.
My riding career began in the spring of 1980 at Asbury Hill Farm in Lansing New York. Here I took lessons from Lisa Ecklund and Gary Duffy. Very soon thereafter I moved to GlanNant Farm, which was just down the road and specialized in Welsh Ponies.
I began my showing career in August 1980 at the Northeastern Welsh Pony Show (NEWPA) I entered the lead line division on GlanNant Frosty who is now one of the leading hunter pony broodmares in the nation. The following Summer I showed GlanNant Primrose Lane in the Short Stirrup Division. This is Primmy and me at the 1981 NEWPA show.
This is perhaps my favorite picture. This was taken at the New York State Horse Breeders Show. They decided to put in a pair class, and well we entered. I rode Claudia Novak's little driving pony Aquila Saccharine and I hung on for dear life. I've learned to listen closely when people say "Well, she sort of steers!" Needless to say, we were so cute that we won the class. Then I fell off and the rest is just legend!
In 1982, I fell in love for the first time with a little pony named Glynhafan Phoebe. This little pony was not the easiest thing to ride and I think she was the beginning of my love for slightly...well lets say "Special" ponies! Here we are winning the Short Stirrup championship at If Only Farm.
In 1983, I began riding the pony that I will perhaps forever be associated with. And that was the one in a million GlanNant Yellow Brick Road. Even today, people constantly tell me that they remember the cute little girl in pig tales riding that little dun pony. Brick and I had some fun times, and I assure you that she wasn't always as perfect as she later became! Here we are at the PONY show held at the Cornell Equine Research Park.
I rode Brick for 1983 and 1984, in 1985 I moved up to my sisters pony GlanNant Fantasy. She was my sisters pony and I refused to like her.....Well at least for a little while. Fanny and I used to go on long trail rides and gallop for hours. We were both claustrophobic and just a bit moody. Basically we got to be great pals! Here we are at the Eastern national Welsh Pony Show in Quentin Pennsylvania.
I showed Fanny from 1985 through NEWPA of 1987. We sold her that summer to some people from Texas. They seemed like nice people, but my heart was broken never the less. I've since gone to visit Fanny twice (yes in Texas) And she still ran away from me when I tried to catch her.
In 1988, Mollie Butler asked me to ride her young Stallion GlanNant Nauticus. I learned a lot that summer. Some good, some not so good. Last I knew Nauticus had been gelded and was doing quite well on the hunter circuit down south. I remember the days when we couldn't make it around a course without rearing! Here we are modeling at the Elmira Charity Horse Show
I also started riding our Warm blood cross mare that summer. She had a lot of names, so we'll just call her Annie. We just Galloped a lot. Nothing too serious, just a lot of fun. This is a picture of Annie when she was a foal. She's 21 this year and she's been a member of our family since 1984.
In 1989, I started riding GlanNant First Star. She would be my last major project as a junior, and perhaps my most successful. Star and I won numerous national championships from the AHSA and the WPCSA and we had a reasonably successful run in the Green ponies. She was a special pony and will always hold a special spot in my heart. I feel very blessed to now own her sister, GlanNant Banbury Cross. Here we are doing the Large Ponies at the Keerymeade Horse Show in Horseheads New York.