Finding the Perfect Pony

By Nancy Brannon

When Collierville, Tenn. horse trainer Ashley Fant gave birth to her daughter just after the Germantown Charity Horse Show in 2016, friends suspected it wouldn’t be long until she started searching for a pony for her daughter, Georgia.
And it didn’t take long for Ashley to find the perfect pony for Georgia – Rosie, a mostly Welsh, 14-year-old pony (around 16 now). She found the pony through trainer Ashley Morrison in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Rosie already had a reputation as a wonderful kids pony. “Tootsie” Birchfield had received her as a Christmas present when she was around 6 years old, and Rosie just went into the show ring and did the job for her. “Tootsie” outgrew Rosie when she got really good at short stirrup and needed a longer-strided pony.

So in December 2017, Georgia received the fine new pony. Ashley has had the pony for about a year and a half now, and Georgia and Rosie have definitely developed a personal relationship.

Ashley writes in her Blog on Children and Riding Lessons: “The emotional connection a young rider builds with his or her horse cannot be understated. As caretaker to a creature that offers acceptance and companionship, children learn empathy and compassion for another being. As they grow and learn together, they form more than a partnership — they forge a bond that for many could rival any human friendship.”

Ashley says that Georgia rides Rosie about five days a week, unless there are other activities that interfere with this routine. And to keep in shape for the demanding rides from a 3-year-old, Rosie exercises daily on the treadmill. “Rosie is all business when she’s on the treadmill,” Ashley says. And that means: this is not the time for petting when Rosie is concentrating on her exercise.

Ashley says that Rosie prefers small children – especially Georgia. And she has always been a kid’s pony. “She loves that job, and nothing fazes her,” says Ashley. “Georgia can walk up to her in the paddock and feed her a treat or hug her leg” and Rosie is on her best behavior. “Rosie also responds well to even the faintest cues that Georgia gives. Just one cluck and she trots.” Ashley says that Rosie has spunk, too. “She has plenty of ‘get up and go.’”

Rosie even has her stall door lowered so she can stick her head over it like the big horses do.
And speaking of cluck – when George the Rooster comes to visit, he adds to the fun time in the barn. George’s caretaker is Nancy Steiner of Magnolia Manor Farm.

When Ashley is loading the other horses in the trailer to travel to a show, Georgia is often at the ready, asking if Rosie needs to be loaded next. Rosie actually got to travel to the Germantown Charity Horse Show last year to show in the Lead Line class on Wednesday night. Rosie and Georgia will be showing in that class again this year. You’ll want to be there to see them and all the other finely dressed cute riders and their smartly braided ponies!

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