|Lexington, KY - Nearly two hundred USEF Pony Finals competitors descended upon the Wheeler Museum at the United States Hunter Jumper Association headquarters for a Welcome Reception designed just for these wee warriors! |
The Ponies through the Decades exhibit was open for all to enjoy a stroll through pony history via collected artifacts, photographs, and even vintage footage of the 1961 Pony Championships in England. USHJA’s lobby and patio were adorned with an array of temptations, including chocolate fondue stations with an assortment of dippable treats. Guest were greeted with a gift of their very own Wheeler Pony to remind them the fun of the pony exhibit didn’t stop once they left, each pony came with a special bookmark that provided information on how to join the virtual Ponies through the Decades online exhibit courtesy of site host Virtual Celebration.
As guests walked through pony history they had the opportunity to meet several of the pony riders featured in the exhibit- such as Nancy Baroody who owned and rode the great 12.3 hand mare Midget. 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. Also on hand and providing impromptu history lessons was Cynthia Weiner, who owned and rode Chimney Sweep, hailed as one of the most talented large hunter ponies of his time. The pair won the AHSA Large Pony Hunter Championships for three consecutive years, 1968- 1970, which was a historical mark for the AHSA. The Chronicle of the Horse magazine featured this remarkable pony on the cover of their April 3, 1970 issue using Wallace Wilson Nall’s painting of Chimney Sweep standing in the All Around Farm courtyard. This cherished framed magazine cover is on display in the Wheeler Museum and Cynthia delighted the young guest with memories of riding this great pony champion.
“We’re excited to welcome so many young, talented and interested equestrians to the USHJA building for the Wheeler Museum exhibit, Ponies through the Decades and to be a part of hosting the USEF Pony National Championships. We wish everyone the best of luck this week!” Bill Moroney, President of USHJA said.
Also in attendance was Bill Rube of Merchantville, NJ, who has been instrumental in the success of the pony exhibit- he literally drove from one donor’s home to another to collect many of the artifacts featured and has promoted both the live and virtual event daily on several Facebook sites.
“The feeling of seeing generations of horsemen from children to grandparents revel in the history of the sport through the memories of the pony ring literally gave me goose bumps. It has been an honor and a privilege, to help coordinate this exhibit and we have already begun working on our next exhibit- Equitation: Foundation for Life.” Rube said.