USHJA Unveils New Wheeler Museum Exhibit: Ponies Through the Decades

May 16, 2012

Lexington, KY - Calling all pony lovers, it’s your time to shine in the latest exhibit at the Wheeler Museum, located in the USHJA Headquarters at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. The exhibit, Ponies Through the Decades pays homage to a vital part of both the sport of horse showing itself, and the people and ponies throughout history, who have influenced us all.

A special opening reception hosted by USHJA was held on May 15 and officially debuted memorabilia from some of history’s most revered pony athletes such as, Midget, a 12.3 hand grey mare owned by Nancy Baroody. This pair is one of the most successful teams on record, having won the American Horse Show Association’s (now USEF) most coveted Horse of the Year Award four consecutive years- 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969, and during this era were the highest scoring junior horse or pony in the history of the AHSA awards. Nancy has donated much of Midget’s legacy to the exhibit and shared her insight on the exhibit, “I’m so happy that I can share her legacy with everyone, because from an educational and a historical standpoint this era really was the beginning of the sport with the ponies and it [the exhibit] really shows people how the sport began with these ponies. The attire and the kind of appointments we used. I’m hoping people can see the perspective of it all-where we’ve come from and where we are today.”

Ponies Through the Decades presents the pictures, ribbons, coolers, and trophies that these special and often famous ponies have been awarded. Among these treasures guests will learn about Gremlin’s Delight, the little mare that Marguerite Taylor purchased from Farnely Farm for the then three year-old daughter Marianne. Gremlin would become a champion at events nationwide and in 1961, partnered with Sally Todd produce a perfect score over fences to take the win at the International Pony Team competition held on the grounds of Windsor Castle in England. Gremlin went on to become the foundation broodmare for the highly respected Taylor Made Ponies breeding program. Many of the mare’s prodigies, such as Dresden and Swan Song inherited her championship qualities and continue to be celebrated among the greatest equine athletes. Throughout this exhibit are mementos capturing the Taylor Made Ponies glorious history and influence in our sport.

“Working with the Wheeler Museum Committee to put together the Ponies Through the Decades exhibit really made me understand the importance of our museum in preserving and keeping alive the history of our sport. In the process of putting this exhibit together we built connections with so many individuals who are passionate about our sport and were so excited to have the opportunity to share their memories of special ponies with us, tell us how the Taylor Made line of ponies came about, remind us of the days when ponies and horses competed head to head at the National Horse Show, share their experiences traveling as a team member to represent the US at the International Pony Hunter Competitions and so much more. We have a responsibility and opportunity with the Wheeler Museum to make sure that those new to our sport are aware of its history and I feel that this exhibit has propelled us forward toward achieving that goal.” Shelby French, CEO USHJA said.

The pony loving public is invited to visit and learn how many of our most accomplished riders today started out as pony riders, and take a look at how history has evolved with regard to ponies and their special place in our sport. Grandparents and parents alike, who are horsemen and horsewomen themselves, can both reminisce and share memories. Spectacular sterling silver goblets, gorgeous ribbon displays, specially created Breyer® horses, wardrobe items, and exquisite retired trophies from such prestigious shows as Devon, will be just a few of the items on display. The exhibit opened May 15th at the Wheeler Museum and will continue until September 23rd.

For more information on the Ponies Through the Decades exhibit please contact Shelby French at 859.225.6701.

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