Events/ News


It’s hard to believe we are already into 2013. The past year just flew by too quickly. Our brewery, Grand River Brewing, just kept growing and having a long hot summer sure helped. However, the heat did make showing the ponies not as much fun some days.

Bennos Hit and Bennington both had great successes in the dressage ring in 2012. Bennington didn’t show as much as I would have liked. Due to logistics he didn’t get to go to Lexington for the US Pony Cup and we missed the Silver championships as it was the same weekend I had Bennos Hit in Kentucky. Bennington though had great marks in the high 60’s and low 70’s. He was the Reserve Champion at the London Dressage Association annual meeting for his level. We received a lovely wool cooler for his year end results.
Bennos Hit showed Level Three Open and usually won his classes with scores in the mid 60s. We only showed him at one of the Sport Pony shows and he won the gelding class and was Grand Champion under judge, Paul Richardson. I did make the journey to Lexington and Ben was the level three open champion at the US National Pony Cup. That was really the highlight of the year for us.

Sport Pony shows:
During the year we showed at several Sport pony shows and had three ponies qualified for the Royal. Buckingham won a Dressage Suitability class and Bennos Hit and Barclay both won gelding qualifier classes. Bennos Hit was the Grand Champion at the Milton Show. Several younger ponies placed well in other classes but we got burned out towards the end of the season and didn’t continue to show them.

Welsh Ponies:
At the same time we also showed several welsh ponies during the season. Yswain Joel won all his gelding cob line classes, was Reserve Grand Champion at Erin, Champion cob at Brampton Fair, Qualified easily for the under saddle classes at the Royal, Grand Champion Welsh gelding at the Royal and Ontario Welsh year end Champion – C/D cob gelding (two years in a row)
Stonecroft Disco showed at some of the welsh shows, placed well in the line classes and driving classes and was Ontario Welsh year end Reserve Champion Section A gelding. Bob drove him at the Royal and he placed in all his classes too.

I showed Bulteal Nutmeg at the first Tri County show and she was pony champion. We didn’t attend many driving shows except the Toronto Royal and some welsh breed shows due to conflicts with the Ontario dressage circuit.

At the farm:
I rode two ponies regularily with Cindy Ishoy during the year and it really showed in our results. Most of the time Ben and Benny were the only ponies in the dressage classes. And we had lots of fun in those training sessions. Ben can really passage when he wants to and his changes can be amazing. I have recently started to ride Buckingham and I’m having a blast as he is so smooth.

Kerrie Norcott and Sarah Perras helped with the young ponies and we had some great times playing with the ponies and riding at the farm. Art Alderman came to help with driving the two small pony pairs. Maybe some day we will get to that pony four.

In January 2013 Ginny Johnson has joined us to help break driving ponies and give us a tune up on showing. Watch for clinics coming on conformation and/ or showing. Ginny has a great show record with sport horses, eventing and is an inspector for the Canadian Sport Horse Association. Bob was thrilled to have Ginny join us for awhile. See Wintar Sport Horses for more information.

Reflecting on 2011

Bob and I had planned to spend more time driving our ponies but circumstances changed our direction of showing in the spring.

By the end of May I had shown Bennos Hit at two Gold dressage shows and had his qualifying scores for the Eastern Canadian Championships held in September. I didn’t have time to get to other dressage show during the summer. However, at the Eastern Canadian Championships in September he placed in his two classes but wasn’t his usual energetic self.

In June I had a private driving clinic at the farm with Muffy Seaton which was a great learning experience. I learned more in one day then I had in several years and it got me hooked again in driving. We worked 6 ponies that day and I came away with great training tips for each of the ponies. As usual, our cob Yswain Joel was her favourite and he was amazing when she was behind him in the jog cart. Muffy is an amazing clinician!

Most of the early summer we turned out our ponies as there was no time to work or show them. The brewery took all my attention with Bob off work for awhile.

Later in the summer Robbie Donaldon joined us for the autumn and got all my dressage ponies jumping. He and Kerrie Norcott who rides some of the ponies had many great afternoons working the ponies over fences in my dressage ring while I had to work at the brewery!! Having someone like Robbie at the farm for several months was awesome. We attended some of his shows watching him show his jumpers and realized we had an outstanding horseman with us. We even got Robbie driving one of the smalls that he showed at the Erin Fair and he did some beer runs to Ottawa for our brewery.

Robbie was really supportive of the sport ponies and helped at the sport pony and welsh shows between his own shows. The ponies seemed to be on a winning streak with Rob as the trainer, groom, shipper and supporter. We quickly got Bennos Hit qualified in the Sport Pony division, young ponies placed right behind Ben, our welsh cob Yswain Joel was champion at two summer shows and some young stock were stars too. We had a wonderful time at many summer shows – Cedar Run, Barrie, Milton, Beaverwoods, Arthur and the CNE with many championships.

We had a great time at the fall fairs with the welsh driving ponies. Bob finally was well enough to attend Erin Fair and see his pony Napoleon win a driving class. I had taken over the driving of Napoleon in the summer and quickly realized why Bob loved him so much. Robbie showed Bulteal Nutmeg with first place results and Carl McNichol showed Joel and Hawksview Firecracker on the line to championships.

Robbie returned to the States with his jumpers before the Royal Winter Fair but the ponies went on to great success. Yswain Joel was the Champion Welsh C/D gelding and Reserve Champion Welsh Gelding handled by Beaverwoods Farm. Bennos Hit won the gelding sport pony class, was fifth under saddle in the dressage suitability and overall Grand Champion Sport Pony with Kerrie Norcott.

May 2011

At the recent Gold Dressage show held at Iron Horse, Bennos Hit was the Level 1 combined Open/ Amateur Champion. Over the two days he had a first and two seconds and scores ranging from 64-66% What a great way to start off the show season for 2011. There were some lovely horses and of course he was the only pony. The following weekend we were selected to ride in the Stephen Clark Clinic at Black’s Equestrian. What a great opportunity to ride in front of an FEI Level 5 judge. Stephen Clarke is an amazing coach and he loved Ben so it was allot of fun. We need to see more ponies in the dressage rings.

2010 Dressage Ponies

As the 2010 show season progressed, I was asked more about the ponies I was riding.  Not only are these ponies suitable for juniors but they have the talent and movement to compete seriously against horses.  Several riders commented that they didn’t ride like ponies.  Their movement and suspension was excellent.  In fact some adult amateur riders are considering smaller horses as they are much easier to ride than the large dressage horses that were very popular in the past.  I remember showing my dressage horses Bazarov and  Millcroft  in the early 80’s who at 16.3 hands were allot of horse to ride at the advanced levels.  These dressage ponies are fun to ride and can give you just as much satisfaction and still be competitive at the shows.

Bennington, a bay 5 year old gelding, registered with NASPR and by our stallion Bennos Hit had an outstanding summer on the Ontario Silver Dressage circuit.  Bennington was never lower than second in any of his training level tests.  At three dressage shows in the summer he had the high point dressage score for the day.   At the Silver Dressage Championships, he was the Training Level Champion and again was the high point Amateur Champion for all levels.  And I just learned he was the Cadora Training Level Reserve Champion based on his results for 2010.  Great results for a pony competing against some very talented horses.

Bennos Hit was gelded in July and by mid August we had won at two Dressage Shows and thus had qualifying marks for the Silver Championships.  At the Championships, he was full of himself as he likes to show off.  But he was still the Open Level 1 champion.  And again Ben was the only pony at that level.

 It was pretty amazing to have shown two champions  at the 2010 Western Silver Dressage Championships.  Spectators and exhibitors were really starting to notice the sport ponies at the championships.

South Gates Buckingham, a rose grey 4 year old gelding, registered NASPR and by Bennos Hit ended the year as the Glanbrook Cadora Walk Trot Reserve Dressage Champion with rider Holly Varey.  Well done for a pony and rider in their first year of showing dressage.

Buckwheat Honey, a 6 year old 13.3 hand buckskin mare registered NASPR had an outstanding summer showing Training level and Level 1 with scores in the mid 70’s.  She was the 2010 Training Level Champion for Niagara Dressage.  Buckwheat Honey is a half sister to Bennington and was purchased as a three year old by dressage trainer Linda Reavely of Encore Equestrian.

2010 Driving Ponies

Yswain Joel our welsh cob had limited showing this year but still managed to be the Reserve Champion Welsh Cob gelding for Eastern Canada. 

Stoney Acres Step N High Jess, a small section A welsh mare had great results at Walnut Hill and local county fairs.  Jessie has been an amazing pony who has taught three friends to drive.  When my small pony couldn’t go to Walnut hill, Jessie stepped in at the last moment and ending up with a third and two fourths.  Jess is fast and loves cones!

Rosalind, a black large pony mare that we rescued several years ago, had a good spring in her first year of showing in harness.  She was the Tri County overall champion at their spring show and we had planned to show at Walnut Hill.  However, Rosie had a stroke and we had to put her down in June.

My husband, Bob Hanenberg and friend Anne Jones showed two of our small section A welsh ponies at the local fall welsh shows and the Royal with good results.  The friendly competition between them was great.  We had allot of fun at the fairs showing our small welsh ponies and drinking some of our beers from our brewery – Grand River Brewing – along with Helen’s famous egg salad sandwiches.