Introducing "Blue", a new member of the MatchnRide.com Family! Blue is a rescue pony that the owner of MatchnRide saved from slaughter. Now fully recuperated and ready for new challenges, Blue has joined the MatchnRide staff - blogging about everything pony, from useful tips to conducting live interviews with up and coming riders and their ponies.
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Hi Everyone - it's Blue. Welcome to Pony Chat!
I have a great article for you today. It’s all about what to look for when shopping for a new pony. Charles Moorcroft, the trainer who was interviewed, has TONS of experience when it comes to ponies. Enjoy!
Charlie Moorcroft Shares Tips for Buying a Suitable Pony for Your Child
Charles Moorcroft’s specialty is ponies. Based at the Palm Beach Equine Sports Complex in Wellington, Florida, his reputation as a coach, instructor and the trainer of trainer’s kids is legendary in the hunter and equitation world. He knows more than a thing or two about buying and selling ponies. Read on to learn some of Moorcroft’s points to consider when looking for a new pony.
“When I shop for ponies, I consider the rider’s ability first and what their strengths and weaknesses are,” he said. "When you’re shopping, you always have to be realistic about the level of the rider and about goals and about your budget. Rideability has to be No. 1. It’s too hard with kids and ponies. The ponies are too smart. The fancy ones that are not rideable are not appropriate for giving them a positive experience. So, No. 1 is rideability. It’s key to make the adventure suitable so that kids are successful at all levels.”
Moorcroft compared buying ponies to buying cars. If you can afford a Ferrari, then buy one. If you can afford a Volkswagen, you buy a Volkswagen—not a broken-down Ferrari.
He goes on to say, “Green and green never make blue unless you spend a lot of green and then you can make blue.” Translated, this means that a green horse and a green rider are not an appropriate match if the goal is a blue ribbon, unless you are prepared to spend a lot of money in training, and then the rider can earn a blue.
When considering pony breeds, Moorcroft is breed blind. “There are phases and fads and, for a time, European ponies were all the rage, but a good pony is a good pony and it doesn’t matter where it comes from, he said.
When you’ve found your ideal pony, then it’s time for the pre-purchase exam. Moorcroft suggests having the pony measured during the vet check and not relying on the pony card’s listed height.
“Cards are issued for record keeping and they are not a guarantee of size or height or identity,” he said. “It’s really just a piece of paper. When I read ads that say the pony has a permanent card, I know there is no such thing as a permanent card − it’s a standard card. It’s our responsibility as owners, as exhibitors, as shoppers, and as riders to understand what the real height of the pony is and not to rely on the card. Make sure you’re comfortable with the pony’s size.
He also advises that there are no guarantees and that you need to remember that someone’s idea of a “10” could be your idea of a “7.”
“You have to see for yourself,” he cautioned. “Remember that there is a finish line that you are working toward, but without a realistic assessment of your goals, ability and budget, there’s no point in shopping.”
Charles Moorcroft owns and operates Charles Moorcroft, Inc. a show program for serious riders of all levels who is based at the Palm Beach Equine Sports Complex. Charlie’s specialty is teaching children on ponies but has a great group of adults and juniors as well. Charlie’s students have been successful at many major national shows including Pony Finals, Devon, Capital Challenge, Harrisburg and Washington.
His extensive dressage background brings a classical approach to modern hunters and equitation. Since moving to the Wellington, Florida area Charlie has developed a great reputation for starting the children of other professionals. A true teacher, Charlie is happy to teach children or adults of any level as long as they show the right attitude and have a willingness to learn.
I don't know about you, but I particularly like what he said when asked about where to search for a pony! He said, "A good pony is a good pony and it doesn't matter where it came from." As a rescue pony that wants to have his own little person one day THAT meant the WORLD to me!
Hi Everyone - it's Blue, welcome to Pony Chat.
We have a VERY special guest today.
Handsome, built to the nines, and blond!
He’s NOT just another pretty face either! He’s got talent and is a REAL sweet guy. A dressage pony - elegant, respectful AND obedient! Why, he wouldn’t THINK of stepping out of line.
No…I am NOT jealous. I could have all that blond hair - if Mary would stop PULLING it out! Goodness gracious, why does she DO that? Just LOOK at him; that could be ME!
PLEASE MEET: Abercrombie of Deer Haven Farm.
Abercrombie is a 6-year-old, 14.2hh Haflinger dressage pony by Alex NHH x Larissa of Cedar Lane. His goal - to be one of the few Haflingers to make it to the Grand Prix! Oh Yeah…he’s a keeper!
BLUE: Hi Abercrombie, it’s a pleasure to have you at Pony Chat!
ABERCROMBIE: Thank you Blue, it’s a pleasure to be here. I’m a big fan of your blog.
BLUE: I must ask – how on EARTH do you manage a bad hair day?
ABERCROMBIE: I know. So much hair, so little time. The mornings are horrendous! The key is to use quality conditioners and detanglers. They keep your hair healthy AND manageable.
BLUE: Let’s revisit this subject after the interview. I’m really considering hiding the mane pulling comb from Mary.
Tell me a little about your breed. I had never heard of a Haflinger before I met you.
ABERCROMBIE: Would love to! The Haflinger breed originated in the Southern Tyrolean mountains, which is now Austria and northern Italy. And, although there are two "types" or "styles" of Haflingers - the draftier type and the sportier type - there is NO draft blood in us. Our foundation stallion actually had Arabian breeding! During WWII, we were bred to be shorter and stockier to be used for military purposes. Now, breeders are trying to get back to the original Haflinger build which calls for a horse that is 54” to 60”. We are genetically chestnut - not palomino - and our color can range from a light, creamy blond, to a deep chocolate, with white or flaxen mane and tail. And I’m also pleased to report that we are people oriented, intelligent, bold and resilient.
BLUE: Where are you from? Why dressage?
ABERCROMBIE: I was born and bred in the bluegrass country of Lexington Kentucky by Rachel King, one of the most prominent Haflinger breeders in the U.S.. My father was an Amish driving horse most of his life, but both my mother and brother liked dressage. It’s in my genes. I was born with rhythm and LOVE to dance!
BLUE: Do you really think you can make it to the Grand Prix?
ABERCROMBIE: Yes, I do. Now, I’m a husky guy, but I’m really athletic and VERY light on my feet. My work ethic is AWESOME, and from what I hear, I’m quite intelligent. Plus, as you can see, impulsion will NEVER be an issue.
Also Emilie (my partner) and I have been together since I was a yearling. I was a Christmas present from Rachel! We know each other so well I can tell what she’s thinking - which helps us train better and learn faster. AND now that we’re in a training program with Ruth Hogan Poulsen at Bespoke Farm in Florida…The SKY’S the limit!
BLUE: WOW – Sure sounds like you can. I certainly wish you the best of luck! Mary wanted me to be a dressage pony, but I like to jump. And besides, I don’t think I have the temperament for dressage.
ABERCROMBIE: Dressage IS challenging, mentally and physically. There is sooo much to learn. And it gets harder as you progress. I’m only at First Level now, but I’m very enthusiastic and have ALWAYS loved a challenge.
BLUE: I like to learn and I’m very athletic. But I’ve read that dressage horses need to be obedient – THIS is what concerns ME.
ABERCROMBIE: True. You do need to be willing to listen and follow your rider’s instructions. But as we both know, no pony is perfect. Heck, I’ve even been known to just stop and stomp my feet.
BLUE: WELL…aren’t you a rabble-rouser. Stop and stomp your feet? Come ON, man…you’re a pony! Ponies are required at times to make a statement – have you read the pony rulebook?
BLUE: I have to admit you really ARE one sweet guy. Have you ever done anything wrong?
ABERCROMBIE: I’ve been called a Hoover. I’ll eat almost anything. Why, once I even ate my leadrope!
BLUE: What’s wrong with that? Do you have a favorite treat?
ABERCROMIE: I LOVE Peppermints! If I ever WERE to make a statement – it would be because Emilie FORGOT my treats!
BLUE: Abercrombie, thanks again for joining Pony Chat, it was a pleasure meeting with you. Please check-in periodically to Keep us up-to-date on your progress to Grand Prix!
Thanks to all the readers for following Pony Chat!
Oh…one more thing.
See you next week.
Hi Everyone - it's Blue,
Well, it’s December and getting chilly up here in North Carolina. Mary, my BFF, is back in Florida for the winter season and I’m off for a few months. As you know, I’m a rescue pony in training to be a champion jumper pony. Not happy about my time off, but life at Forbes Farm couldn’t be sweeter!
My main concern is what to do with all the time on my hands. Mary suggested I work on my attitude. But personally, I think my attitude is just fine. So, instead, I started a new club called “PONY CHAT.” I’m reaching out to other tech-savvy ponies for some casual chit chat over the winter.
AND we already have our FIRST member!
Please meet – Woodlands Velveteen Rabbit.” (Her friends call her Bunny.) Isn’t she BEAUTIFUL! And just look at those pretty pink ribbons in her rider’s hair - I wonder if they come in BLUE? I’ll have to ask. Bunny said they got them from “Always in the Ribbons.”
Bunny is 13.2hh and is a Welsh/TB medium hunter pony. Didn’t take me more than a minute of chat to know that she was MY kind of gal. Pretty as can be with a little “’tude” thrown in for pizzazz!
Let’s have a chat with Bunny. I’ll use a Q & A format.
BLUE: Hi Bunny. It’s sooo good of you to join Pony Chat and it’s certainly an honor to have you in the club!
BUNNY: Thank you for inviting me Blue, it’s fun being here. I read your blog. I think what most attracted me to the Club was how you and Mary found each other and about how lucky you were. Logan (MY BFF) and I found each other by chance too!
Now, I’m not a rescue pony like you and I’ve certainly had a good life, but still, I was VERY lucky. Logan was showing her small hunter pony, which she was quickly outgrowing, at the 4-H Southeast Regionals in July of 2013. During dinner one evening, she and her mom saw a flyer about ME and decided to come meet me. We met the very next DAY! And just like with YOU - Lady Luck was shining bright! Logan LIKED me and wanted ME as her next pony!
She said I had a very sweet personality and that she loved my “floaty” strides! Not clear on what “floaty’ means, but I sure enjoyed how well she could ride.
BLUE: Great story! I’m TOTALLY into happy endings. So, Bunny, do you have a favorite treat? Mine’s apples, but I like most anything.
BUNNY: Carrots, LOVE carrots.
BLUE: Do you have a trainer? I do - her name’s Ashley.
BUNNY: Yes, I do. Genie Harper. She has a wonderful place in Folsom, Louisiana called Oak Haven Farm. Logan and I train with her all the time. She takes us to shows too. Are we going to talk about Logan and my show record?
BLUE: Yes, we’ll definitely talk about your show record, but I need to clarify something first. When we first talked, I sensed a bit of an attitude, but according to your comment above you said that Logan liked your SWEET personality.
BUNNY: Well you see, I DO have a sweet personality. I’m actually VERY sweet, but as you’ve mentioned in your blog – I am a pony and being a pony carries some responsibility. It’s a pony’s obligation to HAVE some attitude. And besides, I don’t really do anything bad. I like to swing my fanny and can be a little forward when being ridden. And I sometimes sneak in an occasional buck, but that’s all. Logan doesn’t mind – she understands that I’m ONLY being a pony.
BLUE: Understood. A responsibility IS a responsibility.
BLUE: OK, let’s talk about your work and your show record. From what I’ve been told, you and Logan have had a fantastic year.
BUNNY: Yes we have. It’s our first full year together and although I don’t like braggers, I must say we DO make a good team.
I came to live with Logan in September of 2013 and we began training with Miss Genie in October. We started out at local schooling shows, but by December, Logan and I felt we were ready to tackle our first AA rated show and headed to Pensacola, Florida. What an AWESOME time we had. Logan was on top of her game and I was, well…floaty. We were reserve champion of the Green Pony division - qualifying us for PONY FINALS!!
We continued with a successful year in the green medium and regular medium pony hunters AND we finished the year at the Zone 7 Finals in Katy, Texas as CHAMPIONS of the Green Pony division. Currently we’re in first place for the Zone 7 medium green pony hunter division but we have to wait and see how that turns out. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter HOW it turns out. I’m just happy being with Logan and making plans for next year where we’ll be competing in the regular ponies and some equitation.
BLUE: “Champion.” Don’t you just love that word? I’m going to be a champion one day too.
BUNNY: Yes and No. I think you’re losing track of what’s most important. I know you WANT to be a champion, all ponies do, but what if you’re not? Are you going to be any less happy? Think about it – you were on your way to a very bad ending. You have a GREAT life now and everyone at Forbes Farm loves you. Mary can’t wait to get back and see you. THAT is what’s MOST important – if you make it to Champion I’ll be standing by to applaud you. But if you don’t, I’ll be right here to chat the winters away.
BLUE: YowZa, I’m in LOVE! Isn’t she GREAT.
Hope you had a super summer! I sure did.
Great News! As you may know, I’m living pretty far away from most people, but Mary FINALLY found a trainer who doesn’t mind the drive and wants to help me become a champion jumping pony – she promised she would and she did!
My new trainer’s name is Ashley and she IS WONDERFUL. I have to admit, at first I was a little nervous, but she is sooo nice that I can’t NOT like her – that’s her in the picture with Corry. Corry helps take care of me. She’s really nice too. WaaHooza - I’m stepping high and livin’ the dream. Two lovely ladies and they are all mine!
Ashley comes to the farm to see me twice a week AND – get this - I have homework for the days she’s not here. That’s Mary’s job – make sure I do my homework.
Not sure what it is about lunge lines but it seems to be “THE” place to start. Heck, Mary and I have been doing the lunge line FOREVER (I feel a yawn coming on). I even lunge with side reins now – that, by the way, is not really fair – I feel it inhibits my ability to express myself. Ashley, however, seems to feel I don’t need to express myself. She CAN be a stickler about good behavior. She even makes me trot quietly over the cavaletti and poles on the ground. Personally, I find this tedious – I’ve seen the videos – real jumpers do not TROT!
Anyway, Ashley decided it was time for me to get ridden and get moving. Now, I’ve had people quietly slide on my back from the mounting block and just sit there – but they NEVER did what SHE did. She just put her foot in the stirrup, swung her leg up and around and plopped right down on my back. I was shocked! SHOCKED! THEN, are you ready, she asked me to WALK - with her on my back! No one has EVER asked me to do that! Now, I’m a really good guy, but I am a pony and from everything I’ve read ponies DO have opinions. So when she asked me to move forward AGAIN, I just raised my pony rear-end and gave her my opinion! The bad news – my opinion was NOT taken into consideration. AND, guess what? I now walk very nicely with a rider on my back. But, PLEASE keep me in your prayers - I heard Ashley tell Mary that tomorrow she’s going to ride me at the trot!
Thanks for tuning in! As you can see I’m a very happy and much loved pony. At night I still have bad dreams about what could have been – but the past is the past and it’s the future this pony is all about!
Hi, it’s Blue,
Sorry for not getting back with you sooner, I’ve been snowed in ALL winter. Mary, my person, she’s been down in Florida. Next year I’M going with her. I mean, REALLY, how on earth can I become a champion jumping pony if I can’t practice! I did try to keep fit, but did you know that water on the ground gets hard and slippery when it’s cold out? It’s true. It freezes. I understand that now – no more bursts of speed or roll backs to the water can in the winter – EVER AGAIN!
The good news, things are looking up and I’m raring to go. The Bluester is back in action! AND, I can’t stand NOT talking with you for One-More-Minute! WOW have I missed you guys.
Let’s talk SNOWMAN - the horse, forget the frozen water. Snowman is one of the best-known and best LOVED jumpers of the 50s and 60s - and my hero. He was bound for slaughter and rescued in the nick of time - just Like Me! Well, sort of – apparently he was more easy going then me. As a matter of fact, in ONE DAY he won a leadline class in the morning and THEN was a champion jumper in the afternoon! Personally, I was thinking about skipping the lower levels but I DO want to be JUST like him. AND have my own small person one day. So. . . I’m thinking of taking up yoga. Once I find my inner peace, I will be UNSTOPPABLE!
In the meantime, I was hoping you would critique my jumping style – to see if you think I have what it takes to be a Champion. Now I realize that just because we both were given a second chance doesn’t mean I have Snowman’s talent – but I might. No one knew he could jump like that; he was an ex-plow horse. It was his person, Mr. de Leyer, who recognized his talent. Mary is a dressage rider, which could be a problem. I’m just going to have to tell her - I’M a jumping pony!
I have photos of both me and Snowman jumping, but Mary says I can’t use Snowman’s. Something about copyrights. But I have another one and he’s really good too. My friend Emily gave it to me. Let’s use that one.
OK - here we go. I’m the one on the right.
Well look at me! My feet are tucked, my neck and head are stretching down, and my back is about to round over the jump. Just like Snowman! That does it; once I find my inner peace, I’m changing my name to BLUEMAN!
Can’t WAIT to read your comments.
Hi Everyone – It’s Blue,
I’ve missed talking with you! It’s getting cold up here at Forbes Farm and I haven’t been able to practice as much. My people are worried I might get chilled. They DID mention a new word that would help me, though: “clip.” I figured it was about keeping me warm - boy was I wrong! Turns out they’re thinking about taking my HAIR OFF! Listen, you’ve got to help me out here because once they take off my hair my girlfriend says they’ll WRAP me up. NO WAY – it just CAN’T be true.
I have some time, though – first they plan on bringing over the hair machine so I can get used to it. RIGHT, like that’s going to happen – EVER! So here’s what I’m thinking. I hate to do it, but they leave me NO choice. I’m NOT going to let them catch me. Once they let me out in the morning - its back to good old “Race Trackn” Blue. They’ll try to use treats to catch me, but NOT this time – the hair stays!
Speaking of getting used to something – do you remember “The Bear” from my last blog post? The funny looking little guy with the blue hat? I promised I would let him ride me if he brought carrots. Well, he brought carrots, so I did. For some reason, nobody mentioned that he was a “trick rider.” He was ALL over me - hanging off my side, sitting on my neck and, believe it or not, he even ended up on my rear end! Good thing he was strapped on because he couldn’t ride worth a lick. And worst of all he kept singing “What’cha Gonna Do With A Cowboy”! Oy vey, what a day.
Thinking back on my “Race Trackn” days (which are about to return,) I mentioned that my hero was Secretariat. Still is. However, with my new goal of becoming a Champion Pony, I have added another hero – SNOWMAN! One of the best-known and best-loved jumpers of the 50s and 60s, he went EVERYWHERE, even on TV. He was AWESOME! And he was just like me! Bound for slaughter and rescued in the nick of time. My new goal - Champion JUMPER Pony!
Next week, let’s talk more about Snowman. I have some jumping pictures of both of us. If I put them side-by-side, would you tell me if I have a chance? As you know from past posts, I’m a pretty good jumper. And OH MY - if only I could be like him!
Thank you for checking in. I couldn’t be happier. I’m one of the luckiest ponies alive! Well, except for the hair thing. You all really do need to help me out with this. How about leaving a comment about what nice hair I have – I’ll share “The Bear’s” carrots!
Hi – it’s me – Blue,
It’s great to be back talking with you! I must say I’ve had quite an eventful week. AND I have a new friend, her name’s Kelly. Remember last time I mentioned that someone was actually going to sit on me – she’s the one! That’s her in the picture with me
She’s my second Kelly you know – the first Kelly found my new owner for me, now I have another Kelly who’s going to help me become a champion riding pony. A CHAMPION! Oh my, please excuse me, I need to step away for a second and….
Toss my head, and stomp my feet, kick my legs and shout - “Kelly, Kelly, clap and shout, you two gals have SO helped me out!!
Okay - I’m back and I apologize.Sometimes my emotions get the better of me…It’s just I’m such a lucky pony - two terrific Kellys, a wonderful new owner, and a great life at Forbes Farm!
Well, Kelly turned out to be a great teacher, and I overheard she’s really smart too – a graduate student majoring in MATH – must be where she learned this word “desensitize.” Any of you ever heard of it? Personally, I had not. It’s all about birds – lots of birds – flying off a roof when someone is sitting on your back. Apparently you’re supposed to ignore this. I however knew better – the trick in this type of situation is to zig zag so they can’t bomb you. Kelly didn’t agree, but she didn’t get upset with me or anything. She said she saw the birds too - I wonder if she counted them, I’ll have to ask her and let you know.
The next day Kelly came back and I was really happy to see her - that is until I noticed she’d brought along a friend – a scary looking little guy in a BLUE hat named “THE BEAR.” THE BEAR!!! Goodness gracious, my eyes almost rolled right out of my head! He was going to help “desensitize” me. Those darn birds! He walked right in to MY stall and sat down in the corner. I wanted nothing to do with him – that is until I discovered he had carrots. I mean really, who can turn down a new friend who grows carrots out of his head – not this pony!
Next week I’ll be back to fill you in on my adventures with “THE BEAR” – I’m going to let him ride me but he better bring a whole bunch of carrots!
Thanks for checking in on me – I’m lovin’ life.
Hi Everyone – It’s Blue – I’m back with a progress report.
I’m proud to report that I now have excellent ground manners! I stand quietly to be groomed and have my hooves cleaned. The grooming was a snap – turns out I really like to be rubbed on and brushed. The hoof thing - not so much. But guess what, I found out that if I let them clean my hooves I got a treat. No fool am I, up came my feet! The only drawback is once you get good at this they take away the treats! I am now EXPECTED to do this. I have formally lodged a complaint.
I’ve also discovered that I have a talent for going around in large circles. I know this sounds silly but they call it lunging and I’m pretty good at it. I’ve done this before, but I called it “Race Trackn” after my idol Secretariat. Since I’d done this before, I was really looking forward to dazzling my new friends with my speed and agility. I focused in and off I went…I rounded the first corner, lengthened my stride, took the bit and let her rip – I was AMAZING! Or, at least, I thought I was. Turns out – go figure – my person wasn’t impressed. My vocabulary now contains the words “walk,” “trot,” “canter,” and “easy now.” Sometimes you just have to compromise to keep everyone happy. Oh well, maybe if I keep doing it her way she’ll give my treats back when I pick up my feet.
Now that I no longer am “Race Trackn” and move calmly and quietly in all three gaits on the lunge line, I have discovered that I LOVE to jump. I discovered this quite by accident. I was going along on the lunge minding my manners when all of a sudden I was too close to the side of the arena – so I jumped out. Had so much fun jumping out I decided to jump back in. What fun – kinda makes up for having to give up my racing career!
That’s all for now, but I’ll be back next week with an update. Word has it that someone is going to actually sit on me tomorrow. YIKES!
P.S. Thank you for keeping track of me. I’m truly safe now and enjoying my second chance. Life is good! Still want my treats back though.
Hi – it’s me! Blue
This is my first blog post. Ever! I’m a little nervous but I DO want everyone to know how great it was to be rescued and given a second chance. I’ve learned a lot already but I think a good place to start is at the beginning. So here goes…
At the time of my rescue I was considered to be very skittish - but who wouldn’t be? I had no idea where I was or what was happening to me! All I knew was that I was bought at the New Holland Auction in PA, loaded into a van, and taken to a farm for horses bound for slaughter. Slaughter!! Can you imagine! Skittish???....You betcha.
I was lucky though. As it turned out, a rescue organization found me before it was too late and helped me find a new home. A lady named Kelly posted my picture on Facebook and asked people to adopt me. At first no one seemed interested – I guess I didn’t look so good in my photo - but good heavens - I have potential! I just needed someone to realize this. And, FINALLY someone did! The folks at MatchnRide could tell that I was a pony with a big heart just wanting a good home.
After a few weeks in quarantine to make sure I was healthy, I traveled south to a beautiful place in North Carolina called Forbes Farm. I was given a super nice house where I was able to calm down and get my strength back. Here I met my new best friend, a little white pony named Paradise. It was just great! Paradise didn’t care that I was a nobody, she knew I would adjust and make something of myself. During the day we graze together on our OWN pasture – goodness gracious, all the tasty grass!
I love my new owner and she really likes me too! At first I was concerned because she kept putting my food and water in a bucket! I mean really - did she expect me to put my head in there!!! THEN, she actually wanted me to wear a bag on my head, I almost died on the spot! But guess what – I don’t mind the buckets or the bag anymore, I’m gaining weight and this bag keeps the flies off my face and ears. Just wish she could find a bag that fits – my ears aren’t doing much for my new image.
I have been with MatchnRide.com for two months now and am ready to start seriously training for my new career. I am no longer a skittish pony, as a matter of fact; they say I’m very sweet. And if I understand correctly – I have three lovely gaits to boot!
We’ll that’s all for now. I’ll be back next week with a progress report. I hope you will follow my adventures because I’m feeling good and want to show everyone that second chances DO make winners!
Talk with you next week - Blue