Runners in the Trafford 10k were surprised to be joined by an unusually hairy competitor last weekend, when a Shetland pony escaped her field and gatecrashed the race.

Thirteen-year-old Mildred joined the run at the 7k marker, and ran a further 2k as part of the pack before she was eventually captured.

“The farmer next door phoned me and said my Shetland had joined in the run — I thought he was joking!” said Alison Edwards, who has owned Mildred since she was a seven-month-old foal at foot.

Mildred kept with the runners all the way from Alison’s Reedhouse Farm in Warburton to the 9k marker, when a man managed to get hold of her.

“I’d hopped in the van to follow but the stewards wouldn’t let me out of the gate — they said they couldn’t stop the race but pointed and told me the pony had gone that way with the runners.

“I had to drive all around the houses to follow her and then I had to walk her all the way home and I could hardly hold on to her,” Alison said. “Thankfully she had a headcollar on, or I don’t think she’d have stopped till the end.

 “I can laugh about it now but the rain was lashing it down — I wasn’t laughing on Sunday morning!”

Mildred had only been in the field it was thought she “couldn’t get out of” for an hour when she made her bid for freedom.

“We’re not sure how she got out. There was ewe fencing and we don’t know if somehow she squeezed through with her thick coat,” Alison said. “She’s never escaped as such before, but she has been known to come on to the yard, eat a few feeds and then put herself back in the field again.

“We also find her in with the geldings when she’s supposed to be in with the mares — she’s a proper little Shetland terrorist.”

Competitors in the race were mostly amused by Mildred’s antics, with one runner – Aidan Grant – posting on Trafford 10k’s Facebook page: “Thanks for a great race today — what a fast field! Well done to the marshals who caught the runaway pony. Being overtaken by it was probably the most surreal thing that’s happened to me during a race!”

While Mildred’s current job on the farm is as a “meeter and greeter” for new horses, in the past she did have some success showing in hand with Alison’s son Tom.


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“She won quite a lot but even then she could be a monkey,” said Alison. “One day I left Tom in the ring with her and turned my back for a second. She bit through a baby bit and ran off into the equitation class in the ring next door. There have always been Shetland-like antics!

“She’s not got a nasty bone in her body though,” she added. “She’s just daft.”