BRISTOL STEETLE ------you never know.

Forty years ago when all this began, I could not have imagined what an impact having Welsh and having Bristol Pony Farm, would be on some of our lives, and this is one story. Being young myself, and just starting out on my own, newly married, and with no real financing, Bristol Pony Farm was just in the beginning stages.

I had managed to collect some very old and great bloodlines, because they were on old ponies, and ponies with problems, which were the only kind I could afford at the time. Everything was done on a “shoestring”. To help finance this fledgling endeavor, I taught riding lessons on the breeding and show ponies. I did have some legitimate and paying customers, but the ponies were like a magnet for all sorts of children. Some of these children were hard luck kids, who became the core of my business and the heart of Bristol Pony Farm. There was one girl in particular, Si Bon Shields, who became my right hand helper.

In those days we managed everything ourselves, and there was no better help than Si Bon. She would do anything to be near the ponies, and no job was too tough or dirty. Si Bon excelled at all that she did and always with a smile and great attitude. A very gentle and kind soul, she had some problems at home and my house became her second home. Trading work for pony lessons became the norm for my three “pony girls”, Jackie, Si Bon and Gale. They each had their own story and for them, ponies became the way out. We worked, trained, hauled, showed, and that became a way of life for all of us, and it was our LIFE.

My husband’s job took him away from home most of the time, and I could not have done it without these girls. With experience, they all became very capable and could manage anything and everything to do with the ponies. Many years of fun weekends and summers were spent at my little house and out in the pony pastures, going to the shows, training, and just hanging out with the ponies. A favorite time for all of us was “pony parties”, slumber parties and all night conformation-pedigree-picture sessions.

We did it all, open shows of any and all kinds, hunter shows, trail rides, picnic rides, everything that can be done with a pony, we did. A rag-tag lot we were, but at the shows, in our mostly second-hand clothes and tack, we all looked the part and the ponies won and won and won.

As the girls grew up and went their own ways, we did stay in touch. After Jackie married she still came down and was a big help with the ponies, and did end up with two Bristol ponies, as well as the property at old Bristol Pony Farm. Si Bon owned and rode an old hunter I found for her. Finally she married and moved away. We stayed in touch, but her dream of having another pony has not yet happened, I am sure it will.

The true impact of those years with the ponies and me was not truly evident, till BRISTOL STEETLE was born! Yes, Si Bon had named one of her darling little girls for the pony farm that was so important in her young life. Here is Bristol at twenty years of age. She is a beautiful young woman and I feel a special attachment to her. All her life, her mother has retold the “pony stories” and how it was back then. They live in the mountains in Colorado, and I am sure an equine is in her future.

So you never know, how you will touch young lives, how your ponies, and what you do with them, will have lasting effects. Those little “pony girls” were as important in my life as I was in theirs, and Welsh Ponies were the glue that kept us together. I remain convinced that ponies and the association with them, builds character and promotes responsibility in every way, and that the true love of animals fosters the true love of all God’s creatures including MAN.


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