by Hope Holland      
In the world of the everyday pony, “just plain cute works” well. Generally speaking, a just plain cute pony with good manners is set for life with two squares, a nice stall and minimal work with a succession of decent tiny people to ride it.
When you reach the upper levels of the pony world, “elegance” works better, much better. In fact elegance is mandatory when you get to the top of the pony world, to shows like Warrenton, Upperville, the National Pony Show in Lexington, KY or any one of several more shows whose names resonate with long reputations for only the crème-de-la-crème of the horse and pony world.
This level of elegance doesn’t get created in a vacuum. It is the life-long pony breeder’s attention to detail, bloodlines and a great pony’s ability to reproduce itself.
In this arena of competition there are farm names that delineate families of ponies that have been being bred for the entire life of one human being. There are breeders whose names are synonymous with great ponies and they are well known in the upper reaches of this nation.
You don’t get to this level quickly or easily. It takes work and finally, after a long time, things start to pay off. It started when Kris and her two children (whom she homeschooled) went out onto the horse show circuit where the two children, a son, Harrison, and a daughter, Jacque, were just as dedicated to the training, showing and making of really good horses as their mother. In fact, they were not only making a living, they were making a reputation.
One of the greats of the pony world, the breeder of the Wynnbrook ponies, invited them to “stop by” and see her ponies if they were ever in her part of Virginia. And one spring day, Kris, Harrison and Jacque did just that. They went out to see the foals and their dams in the farm’s fields.
Jacque, then 12 years old, took one long look at the mares and their foals and pointed to a four-week-old foal. “He’s the one,” she said. Jacque is known as a person of few words but what she says is generally pretty much on the money. Kris knew that they were not in the right tax bracket to be buying Wynnbrook ponies but where there is a will (and a pony) there is usually a way. Kris and Jacque were soon in an agreement to break and train young ponies for the Wynnbrook owner in return for that “one” four-week-old foal at weaning age.
As it turns out Jacque was right. Wynnbrook Arctic Fox, as the gelding is known now, is still owned by them but is regularly leased to be shown by small children on the very best circuits in the east coast. The next pony, another full brother that was also gelded, Wynnbrook Polar Ice, was bought, broke and sold to a very appreciative owner for use on the very same circuits. And the next pony of that same sire and dam cross was Wynnbrook Coup d’ Etat, but this pony was not gelded. Now as a 6-year-old stallion he is welcoming his first foal crop in the spring of 2018.
Wynnbrook Coup d’ Etat (aka Sharky to his friends) was deemed to be stallion material when he went to each of his breed shows and wound up going Supreme Champion many times.
In 2017 Sharky acquired a harem of mares on the Fat Chance Farm that included horses and ponies as well as several guest mares that are known as “outside” mares (mares owned by others and stay at the farm to be foaled) as well as several others, in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, New York and Virginia.
So far there are six Sharky foals on the ground. Every one of them bears the mark of his elegance, no matter whether the dam is horse or pony. Each of them is a vote for the keeping of Sharky as a breeding animal, as is the fact that more and more people are talking to the Morris crew about booking in their mares for the 2018 – 2019 season. But horse people, being the race of doubting Thomases that they are, it is possible that they will wait to see these youngsters in the ring. Or maybe wait until they are beaten by them before being believers in this line of ponies.
One person is a believer in the Morris crew and what they are doing. After 40 years of creating the line of Wynnbrook ponies, their creator has given Fat Chance Farm the right (and this is a great honor and one not often passed along) to use the Wynnbrook prefix on the ponies of this line. It is more than a prefix — it is an imprimatur, a formal and explicit approval and a sanction from a breeder with a 40-year reputation for excellence.
With a believer like that in your corner, a stallion like Wynnbrook Coup d’ Etat in your barn and the belief of the judges who have so often placed him in the position of preeminence that Sharky now occupies, it is worth the remaining long nights in the foaling barn to see those next foals arrive.