Behind The Flash Teamwork Award

Through the Flash Teamwork Award, one little horse continues to teach teamwork year after year.

By Julie Herman

Each year the United States Pony Clubs awards the Flash Teamwork Award for a special equine, a special event, or a special member or volunteer who had a team-building experience with Pony Club members. How and why was this award founded?

Celebrating the Ultimate Pony Club Mount
Back in 2004, Pony Club celebrated an important anniversary: its Golden Jubilee year. Fifty years of the United States Pony Clubs! Breyer Animal Creations teamed up with USPC for a contest to choose a horse or pony that represented the best of Pony Club mounts. Breyer would produce a model of that horse in honor of our 50th anniversary.

Announcements went out.
Excitement grew.
Everyone had a favorite pony or horse that would make the perfect Breyer model horse!
Entries flooded in.

One entry stood out—Pony Club members, parents, volunteers and coaches from New Hampshire all nominated the same pony: Flash.

All About Flash
Flash was a Morgan horse that belonged to Cathy Aranosian. Flash had come to Cathy following the sudden death of her event horse when she was 15. By 2003, the year of the contest, she was grown up and had become the DC of her Pony Club. Cathy used Flash to teach her Mt. Kearsarge Pony Club members. Flash taught beginners to walk, trot and canter while staying in the saddle. He taught older members to pace themselves in Eventing up to Training Level. He did flatwork. He did jumping. He played Mounted Games. He did it all with a kind eye, and a real love for every one of his riders.

Honoring Teamwork
While all of the horses nominated were special in their own ways, the outpouring of appreciation for this wonderful horse earned him the right to be the Pony Club Anniversary Breyer model horse. An artist was hired; a model was made. Flash came to the USPC Annual Meeting that year in Philadelphia, and to Championships in Kentucky that summer, where he attended every single award ceremony so that members could have their picture taken with him.

Cathy knew that the reason Flash had won was twofold. He was special. And a team of supporters had worked together to bring him to the notice of the contest organizers. She wanted to honor Flash through an award. She wanted to acknowledge the hard work Flash’s team had done and honor the importance of teamwork to the Pony Club program. Thus, the Flash Teamwork Award was born.

The Flash Teamwork Award
The USPC national office at the Kentucky Horse Park houses the beautiful perpetual trophy for the Flash Teamwork Award. Each year the winner is recognized at the annual Equine Symposium and Convention hosted by USPC, and the winning story is shared with Pony Club members everywhere. While Flash is no longer being produced as a Breyer model horse, his sculpture is still the basis for many new models. Look closely at any Breyer model made from the Flash mold and you’ll see his kind eye looking back at you, even if it is painted to represent a different horse.

Pony Club is a team activity. Mounted and unmounted meetings, Rallies, and service projects all give us important practice in being a valued member of a team. Throughout the year, keep your eyes open for people, horses or events that are worthy of nominating for the Flash Teamwork Award!
Find out how to submit a nomination here; entries are due November 4.