The Flash Teamwork Award is given out annually to a person, equine, club, center, or region who displays as much teamwork as Cathy Aranosian’s club members did when writing about Flash, the horse, for the Breyer model. Abigail Guillemette, C-1HM, Flat, D-3 Traditional member of Monadnock Pony Club in the White Mountain Region shared with us her story of a horse named Ashland Tudor who, like Flash, has had a great impact on many Pony Club members
I remember the first time I took Teddy cross country schooling. He refused most every jump, and to avoid going through water, he hopped onto a six inch retaining wall and then leapt across the water complex. My trainer certainly had her doubts about Teddy’s potential. Yet, four years later, Teddy has saved me, my sisters, and my Pony Club friends countless times.
My family bought, Ashland Tudor, “Teddy,” when he was six years old. I loved him from the moment I saw him. He had been owned by a young woman who also had been in Pony Club throughout her childhood. Teddy’s kind eye and gentle demeanor made him perfect for our family. Teddy was the perfect combination of safe but with enough pony sass to teach you to really ride. I think most of the White Mountain Pony Club family now knows Teddy. Many have ridden Ted at mounted meetings, rallies, and other assorted events.
Two years ago when we were preparing for Tetrathlon, my friend was concerned about jumping her pony. Her pony could become quick and unpredictable. I suggested that she ride Teddy. Although my youngest sister and I were riding Ted, we knew he would happily pack us all around. All three of us rode clear that day at Tetrathlon. In some ways, I think he was quite proud and enjoyed hearing everyone say what a good pony he was.
Last year, when it was time for one of my younger sisters to test for her D-3, it was autumn. The changing fall temperatures and the windy season affected her and her pony’s success. Every time they were on the cross country course he would get excited and start bucking. My sister decided that with her pony’s unpredictable attitude, it might not be the best idea to test on him. Of course, she rode steady and sweet Ted. Even though this was a last minute decision they both did an incredible job; and passed their certification with flying colors!
When I tested for my C-1 this spring, one of the girls came with a pony that was lame and she was unable to complete the riding portion of her certification. With the permission of the examiner, we both rode Teddy for our C-1 certifications. Both of us had the joy of passing our certification. Teddy remained un-phased as the long day passed. He happily perked his ears forward and swished his tail as he completed the tests. At the end of the day, he loaded back onto the trailer, expecting nothing in return for saving another day.
As a final example of how Teddy has become the best Pony Club pony, this summer my sister and I qualified to compete at USPC Championships in Tetrathlon. My sister hoped to ride her own pony at Champs, but the jumping portion of Tet was proving to be too much for him. My sister ultimately qualified for Champs in Tetrathlon on Teddy. When July came, we trailered with friends for two days down to Kentucky. The experience was amazing. The best part of the week, was Teddy. One would never know he was so far from home. He gave Sarah and I each two perfect, clear rounds. I was so fortunate to receive the girl’s Tetrathlon Equitation Award, but really it belonged to Ted. He was the hero of the week, and there is no other pony I would have wanted to share it with.
Teddy has taught me many things through the years. He has helped me and my Pony Club friends in so many ways. I feel like I could continue to offer story after story. While I think he is pretty perfect, he’s also taught me to sit a buck with a smile on my face. He’s taught me how to ride in the ring, gallop through fields, and that trail riding bareback is the best way to enjoy an afternoon. Teddy has carried me, my sisters, and some of our friends through rallies, three phase events, dressage tests, and on more trail rides than I’ll ever remember. When someone doesn’t have a pony to ride, I always know Teddy will happily give them a ride; and they know he will teach them something while keeping them safe. We have been eliminated, won first place and everything in between. There really are not enough words to describe what a special pony Teddy is and how lucky I am that he is my best friend. At the end of the day, Teddy has taught us to be better riders. He’s taught me and so many others what the love of a horse feels like, and we will all be forever grateful for Ted.