Tales from Windsor: 31-year-old dam of elite dressage pony achieves Windsor victory

  • Welsh section C mare Merioneth Salandy Fly (Sali) won the senior mixed age in-hand horse and pony class at the 2021 Royal Windsor Horse Show.

    31-year-old Sali, who is by Fourwinds Flyer out of Chalkhill Dragonfly, won her age group and achieved the highest placed marks overall across the sections. She was handled by Samantha Watson for owner Jean Smith of the Jebeth stud.

    “The older animals were looking incredible, with three of the top four placed ponies being aged between 28 and 31,” said Jean, who has owned Sail for seven years. Sali was based at the Twyford Stud for several years but after founder Alison Mountain sadly passed away she was in need of a new home.

    “Alison had one of my yearlings so I went to pick him up,” continued Jean. “Alison would have never wanted the older ponies to go to market so I gave Sali and another mare a home.”

    During her career as a broodmare Sali has bred 16 foals, five of which reside at Jedbeth. One of her off-spring is now Jean’s leading stud stallion. Sali bred her last foal at age 25 and has also previously competed at the Royal Welsh as a ridden pony.

    “A few years ago I tried to buy one her foals,” said Jean. “This pony turned out to be the dressage star Twyford Salamander, who’s competed up to prix st georges. Sali’s a clever old thing really. She has a real character and she’s got her little ways, but we wouldn’t change her for the world.”

    Sali was also a champion veteran at South of England prior to the pandemic. When asked what the secret to keeping her so youthful and full of vigour is, Jean says she pays attention to the small details.

    “She comes in at night and goes out everyday, even just for a few hours,” she said. “We put a fly rug on her to stop her coat bleaching and we watch her diet. Mainly, it’s about keeping her comfortable.”

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