2021 Flash Award Winner Runner-Up: “Sugar”
Submitted by Liberty Oaks Pony Club for Sugar
We want to tell you about an amazing pony named Sugar. She spent the last 10 years teaching Pony Club riders to be brave, and changed their lives in the process.
Sugar made her debut at Liberty Oaks Pony Club in the Sierra Pacific Region in 2012 at the age of 21. In her previous life, she was trained to drive, ride western, dressage, jumping, trail riding, everything. She was a purebred Morgan named Rumbrook Immortal Spirit foaled in 1991 by Rumbrook Immortal Command out of Orcland My Darling. If you’re not familiar with Morgans, that means she was fancy, even at just 14.1½ hands.
Some horses are old at 21, but not Sugar. She was just getting started. She met 12-year-old Miranda and spent two years eventing, taking her from her D-1 to her C-1. During their time together, Sugar helped Miranda find the confidence she would need to later take on 2-L* eventing. Sugar then had a brief career at Gateway Farm, where Liberty Oaks practices, to be used as a school horse that members could ride in lessons. Sugar rebelled as a school pony, but luckily, Elizabeth Jenner, the barn owner and founder of Liberty Oaks Pony Club, realized that Sugar just wanted to have her own special person. Sugar was passed down to another Liberty Oaks Pony Club member, 13-year-old Emilynn, and took her from her D-1 to her C-1 in eventing.
As Sugar neared her 27th birthday, Emilynn knew Sugar was ready to have a lighter workload, so she gave her to another Liberty Oaks Pony Club member, 11-year-old Juliana, who did dressage with her and earned her D-1 and D-2 in dressage. Don’t be fooled by that last owner— she did dressage only at first because Sugar was so powerful over jumps that it made her nervous!
Sugar was an amazing team player. She was called upon frequently at mounted meetings, ready at any moment to be the model for a bandaging lesson or a demo horse at a standards and certifications clinic. She could play games, jump cross-country, and go for a bareback trail ride all in the same week. She was an excellent partner for her riders and a pony that the whole club was safe learning with.
You could see how Sugar responded to her owners and the love was unmistakable. She taught her girls about the tenderness of bare feet, body clipping her shaggy winter coat, and the importance of a stud chain when there is fresh grass nearby. She attended dozens of Pony Club rallies, camps, clinics, and horse shows, giving her riders her whole heart every time. Her Pony Club owners recognized when it was Sugar’s time to move on, and put her in the hands of another Pony Club member that she could bring up through the levels. It was an honor to meet her in the last decade of her life. Those who knew her were touched by her kindness and her willingness to teach her riders trust and bravery.
It is an honor to be able to love and care for animals in the final years of their lives. But Sugar, what a life! Sugar died at home, surrounded by Juliana, Emilynn, and two Pony Club graduate moms who are in awe of what a pony can do for a child.
The Flash Teamwork Award was presented to Deer Creek Pony Club at the 2022 USPC Convention in Norfolk, Virginia. 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. 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 for the Flash Teamwork Award here; entries are due November 4.
Meet Flash and learn more about the Flash Teamwork award in this blog: Behind The Flash Teamwork Award.