The Beginning - Section A Welsh Mountain Ponies
The following was written by request of the Welsh Pony & Cob Society of America,
and presented in its entirety at the convention in Galveston, Texas in 1997.
In the early 1960's San Antonio was still a sleepy, Spanish town, not yet exposed to the Sunbelt exodus, or visionaries like Henry Cisneros. I was a young woman, in college, and working part time for a backyard horse sales/rental stable. Among my duties were breaking and gentling a good number of ponies. My boss, Mr. North, a shrewd, thick spectacled, Santa Claus type fellow, liked "FANCY" ponies because they sold well. The place abounded with pintos, appys, and all other eye catchers. A load of ponies "from the East" was purchased, and in the bunch, one very woolly, very thin, chestnut stud colt. I liked "RED" immediately, but he sure didn't like me! He had been badly neglected, including any sort of training.
Bill Mar Drum Major posing in-hand nearly parked out showing full profile off-sideThe short version of this story is that after much work, feed, and TLC, "RED" the "WELCH", started to come around, and what a little beauty he was turning into. I had to have him for my very own. What could it hurt - just one little pony? The deal was struck, and Red was safely ensconced in a friend's back yard. Now the search began, and after calling the hauler, the auctioneer, the W.P.S.A., the previous owner, etc., sure enough "RED" was a real Welsh Pony! In short order I had not a scruffy, ornery, Welch, but I had "Bill Mar Drum Major", son of the illustrious show pony "Bill-Mar Choice", son of living legend "Criban Monarch", son of the famous stock getter for Heyl Pony Farm - "Criban Shot Again", son of the incomparable Welsh dynamo- "Criban Shot"! The love affair was born.
Thirty five years and six generations later I look back on a pony career that has produced many National Champions, High Score, and Horse of the Year winners. But more important to me than any public recognition, is the personal knowledge that to the best of my ability, and with the resources available, I have stayed TRUE TO THE BREED. it was never my goal to produce mini-hunters, mini-Arabians, mini-Saddlebreds or mini anything else. I learned early on that PRESERVATION is the most precious achievement of all, and that those who came before us has already PERFECTED the product.
Pickwick Star shown in-hand full-profile near-side with handler Pickwick Star walking - shown from nearside front quarter
Second stallion on the scene was PICKWICK STAR (*Coed Coch Sandde x *Shawn Cwilt). Descended from marvelous old blood, and whose parents were both super stars, "STAR" lived up to his name, winning many titles in Halter and Roadster.
My Section A ponies were bred ONE way - CRIBAN x GLYNDWR. The "Criban type" was of an older, usually non grey, before the Arabian infusion , era. The "Glyndwr type" was of a newer, usually grey, after the Arabian infusion, type.
The greatest single influence on my Section A breeding program was the Texas Stud, which is the most fascinating "Welsh" story I know.  It was my great pleasure and good fortune to own many Texas Stud bred ponies. From our two Goodrich imports, *Clan Dilys (Llanarth Squirrel x F.S.2 *Wentworth Grey Dapples), *Twyford Mischief (Dinarth Greylight x Twyford Mistletoe), to B- Texas Daisy (Coed Coch Glyndwr x *Daffodil), Texas Sunrise (*Clan Dana x *Revel Bright Dawn) - Full sister to Texas Bright Light, Texas Ruth (by *Clan Glomadh), Texas Flair (by *Hartmoor Rhymer), Avalon Bonnie Tlws (by *Hartmoor Rhymer), to Quarter Horse crosses by *Revel Gold and *Clan Glomadh.
We owned and exhibited some great geldings: Texas Flint (by Texas Bright Light), Texas Dandy (by *Owain Glyndwr), Texas Swynwr (by *Clan Dana), Western Glow (by *Clan Glomadh), Lone Star Mischief (by *Clan Glomadh), Flymore Star White (by *Revel Gold), all winners in halter and performance.
Bristol Bright Blue shown standing in-hand near-side profile from just behind centerIn those days, many of our top show ponies had at least half Texas blood: Bristol Sun God (out of Texas Daisy), Bristol Bright Blue (by Texas Bright Light), Bristol Wings O Fire (out of Texas Flair) and Half Welsh out of a *Revel Gold x Q.H. daughter.
 
Clan Glomadh trotting in pasture shown full profile from near-sideThe icing on the cake was the acquisition of Texas import *Clan Glomadh. For years our breeding program was to use Criban Monarch grandsons - Bill Mar Drum Major, Hollyrun Sunray, Bristol Monarch's Choice, on Texas or similarly bred mares. The process was then reversed using *Clan Glomadh on our Criban Monarch daughters and their daughters. Also produced were a number of 100% Texas bred ponies, including breeding of original imports. *Clan Glomadh was 26 years and *Clan Dilys 24 years when Bristol Dilly Dapples was conceived, and this was the first Clan to Clan breeding in the United States in many years. Dilly, still in Texas, is a rare bird indeed, being an own granddaughter of Criban Pledge and Wentworth Grey Dapples.
Old Glomadh was quite the character and related to some real blue bloods: *Clan Dash - grandson, *Clan Daphne - daughter, *Clan Marshall - 3/4 brother, Dakotah Glomadh's Pledge - son, Meadowlawn Squire - grandson, *Wentworth Silver Trill - 1/2 sister, and so many others.
I had a passion for collecting old, infirmed, imported mares. At one time I had the oldest average age herd in the U.S. at 24 1/2 years! There were some great ones: F.S.2  *Bryn Mistletoe (by Cenlan Revelry), *Criban Dun Doll (line bred to Bolgoed Squire), *Dyrin Serenade (by Criban Cockade), *Cui Moonflicker (by Clan Duke - full brother to Clan Dana), *Gerryant Black Beauty (granddaughter of Mathrafal Tuppence), *Timbercreek Brynne (by Criban Pebble), bay daughter of Glascoed Mervyn, 4 daughters of *Owain
Bristol Monarch's Lola being driven shown full profile from near-side with cartGlyndwr, including *Revel Ringlet, and my all time favorite - F.S. 2 *Revel Sapphire ("Grandma") linebred to Criban Grey Grit. Sapphire was the dam of Bristol Monarch's Choice (by Bill Mar Choice) who went to Calgary, Canada. His daughter Bristol Me Shell (out of Shelly) went to California. Her daughter Bristol See Shell (by *Clan Glomadh) is still in Texas. These old ponies possessed good, strong qualities, and they bred on down through the generations. Note: One Sapphire granddaughter was Bristol Monarch's Lola who won so much for Lisa Lahr (Conian).
Shelly jumpingFor some reason my pony breeding aims have always been crystal clear, but not due to any extraterrestrial insights of my own. There is no substitute for HARD WORK! That old adage is never more true than when applied to the pony business. In the early days, the ponies were all consuming, which is hard on marriages and relationships. Every night was spent digging, reading, writing, running pedigrees. Every day was spent cleaning, training, feeding, learning. Every weekend was spent washing, schooling, hauling and showing.

In those days there were no pony classes, no pony clubs, no pony shows. We pitted Section A Welsh and Welsh crossbreds against horses, in everything from Junior Jumper at Pin Oak to Open Reining at the Astrodome. We had phenomenal success! These "OPEN" wins did much to pioneer Welsh. Eventually I was able to sell enough ponies in the Houston area, and started the Gulf Coast Welsh Pony Association. Note: The very first pony hunter classes in Texas were put on by Lisa Russell, Nancy Baginski and myself at Randolph, AFB, San Antonio.

Kathy Reese (Smoketree) and I have had this conversation many times - what has happened to the "diggers"? She and I and others used to badger the "old timers" about pedigrees, photos, production records, any tidbit or scrap of information, no matter how trivial. That was our EDUCATION. Of course there is some trial and error involved with any reproduction of a living breathing thing. But when I hear "We thought we'd try Sally on Dan this year to see what we get", I cringe all the way down to my toes. You better be mostly SURE of breedings before you make them. HAVE A PLAN!

Without being too preachy, that's the difference between what I call "master" breeders, and the rest. Master breeders are like Master architects, and without a blueprint, you are dead in the water. It was my great fortune to know some master breeders, and the one who influenced me the most was Leonard Milligan of Aurora, Colorado. In the two weeks spent with Milligan, I learned more about horses than I had in the previous twenty years, and it changed the way I saw ponies forever. Having been a long time, big time Quarter Horse breeder/judge/inspector, Milligan viewed all equines as "livestock", and form to function was EVERYTHING. I always thought Howell Richards, Emrys Griffiths, Robert Goodrich, Leonard Milligan and a few others would have gotten along famously. They were the BEST, and so were their ponies.
 

 

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