At 13 hands, the six-year-old Welsh Pony stallion Windbrook Starburst is a novelty among the giant warmbloods usually popular in dressage. His rider, Karen Becerra, says that it's a good thing he behaves himself, because they get noticed wherever they go.
But in this case, size doesn't matter. The tiny twosome put in very respectable performances at first and second level at Snowbird's Paradise in Clarcona on January 27-28, with scores in the high 60's. "The footing is hard on him when it's deep," said Becerra. Showing in the sand ring, she found it too deep on Saturday but better on Sunday, after it had dried out. "He loved the shredded rubber footing in the warm-up ring."
While they focus mainly on dressage, and say that they will take him as far as he will go, his rider and owner have not wrapped this pony in cotton wool. He has competed in combined training, winning his first event at novice level. Jumping is no problem: he used to jump out his paddock over a 4'6" fence! He also did a 25-mile endurance ride, in which he placed fifth and was in the best condition (though he didn't get to claim this award because of weight mandates in the sport, which would have been too heavy for him at such a small size.)
"It was a mountainous course and we took it easy going up, but we cruised down the hill, passing all the horses, because he's so surefooted," said Becerra.. Standing at stud at home in Franklin County, NC, the pony breeds between shows, and has even been trailered home to cover mares between classes. His behavior is good regardless. Owner Leigh Preddy said that his offspring is showing promise, but at this point most of them are just being started under saddle. The registered Welsh Pony stallion is approved by the American Sport Pony Division, and all of his offspring have rated well at pony inspections.
By Amber Heinzberger