Welsh pony tastes movie stardom

  • A New Zealand-bred Welsh Section C has found fame in the first film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring

    A Welsh Section C gelding, described by his breeder as “one of the most difficult ponies I have ever handled”, has become a star of the silver screen in the blockbuster, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

    In the film Lorien Clyde, a 14-year-old New Zealand-bred 13hh bay Welsh Section C, is harnessed to the wizard Galdalf’s cart, (played by Sir Ian McKellen), as he arrives in the Hobbits’ Shire.

    Clyde’s breeder, Colleen Rebay, who has been a fan of Tolkein since she first read Lord of the Rings more than 30 years ago, describes seeing her home-bred pony on screen as “amazing”.

    “I chose Lorien as our stud name in 1969 and many of our ponies have been named after characters in the books, including three full brothers named Meriadoc, Peregine and Master Samwise,” she explains.

    “Unfortunately Clyde missed out on a Tolkein name because he reminded us of a miniature Clydesdale when he was born. However, he turned out to be the best Section C we have ever bred.”

    Clyde demonstrated his correctness of type when he claimed the overall supreme title at the only in-hand show he went to, despite leaving the ring and returning to his horsebox on his own.

    A stallion until he was six, even when gelded Clyde could still be difficult to handle from the groundbut was always impeccably behaved in harness and under saddle, according to Colleen.

    “Nothing ever phased him in harness. He was very agile having grown up on our rough, steep bush farm, and would happily drive through dense smoke when we wereburning the scrub.”

    Clyde’s chance of stardom came when the wranglers working on the film approached Colleen to buy Clyde.

    “I hated the idea of parting with him and it took me six months to decide. I eventually agreed as long as I could deliver him and see him settled. I thought he would enjoy film work as there would be plenty to keep him interested and he would be with professional people.

    “When we arrived he appeared fascinated by all that was going on and looked like he couldn’t wait to get started. His handler has called me a number of times since to tell me how amazing he has been.”

    While Clyde’s future is on the silver screen, his bloodlines remain at the stud in his part-bred daughter, who Colleen successfully competes in driving trials.

    “Clyde’s daughter won her driving trials section last weekend and I am hoping to breed from her later so we will keep his bloodline going,” says Colleen.

    Look out for Clyde in the next film of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, “The Tower Towers”, which is expected to be in UK cinemas from 30 November 2002.

  • Click here to read how more than 50 horses took centre stage during the filming of Four Feathers, in London.
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