A yearling Shetland filly will be making an epic trip from her birthplace on Orkney to California, where she will help found a new stud.
Hools Elberry’s purchase will be the most significant export in the history of Hools Shetland Pony Stud, which is celebrating both its 60th anniversary and the 95th birthday of founder Ivy Cromarty this year.
The black filly, bred by Ivy’s granddaughter Kelly Peace, has been selected to go to the US thanks to her rare bloodlines — combining the Hools stallion Hools Rising High with the dispersed Westpark Stud’s Westpark Ebony Rose.
“I was approached last year through our website by Deneb Davis who was looking to start her own stud in the States — she already owns some Fells so I think she’s a fan of British natives,” explained Kelly. “We’ve been in contact for over a year seeing what foals we had coming up for sale and what lines she was particularly interested in.
“I’m always happy to talk about the breed and answer questions but in the beginning I took her interest in buying a pony with a pinch of salt — you always think these things are never actually going to happen. But now it’s really happening.
“I think what attracted her is that there are not many of the Westpark line remaining and Hools Rising High is establishing himself as a good ridden performance pony,” she added.
Elberry will begin her long journey this week, being picked up from her door by transport company ETA.
“I’m not worried about her making the trip at all as she’s the ideal pony. She has so much presence and character and is very confident, a real people person” said Kelly. “I have her whole itinerary including her flight number and I can track her flight online, so on the day I’ll probably be doing that!”
The pony will travel from Orkney to her first rest stop at the Scottish borders, then journey via Birmingham to Dover, Calais and Amsterdam before catching a trans-Atlantic flight to Los Angeles.
“It’s amazing she’ll be going all the way from a tiny little island to America — there are a lot of Shetland studs and could have picked any one of them. My granny exported a pony to Denmark and one to Holland many years ago but never this far away,” Kelly said.
“It would be lovely to go over and visit one day once the stud is up and running.”
The unusually hairy competitor kept up with runners from the 7km to the 9km marker, where she was eventually caught
The 66-year-old has just returned from the latest in a series of adventures
Hools focuses on producing black up-to-height ponies (the maximum for a Shetland is 42”) who will be able to find a job in riding or driving, and Kelly breeds five or six foals a year.
Elberry’s sire Rising High is being produced in England by Debbie Barr and has qualified for this year’s semi-finals for Olympia, as well as winning the confined novice and pure novice ridden at the National Pony Society final championships in Leicestershire.
“All our ponies have gone down the performance line — it’s nice for them to be doing something,” Kelly added. “I believe as a breeder, your responsibility to find your ponies a job they’re good at.
“We’ve never gone with fashions and have always focused on quality. All of our ponies are big and black and it seems to be what people are wanting at the moment — we’ve actually had to turn away quite a few people looking for ridden ponies as we don’t have enough ready.”
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In this week’s magazine, out 19 April, don’t miss our special report from the British Dressage Winter Championships, plus full analysis from the Grand National — including expert comment, pictures and more. Read our report from the dressage and showjumping World Cup finals, and in this week’s ‘vet clinic’ we discuss the facts about fitness.