Dear Friends of Personal Ponies,
This certainly has been a winter to test our endurance in so many ways. As most of you know, our shetland ponies are from the Shetland Islands which are only 30 miles south of the arctic circle. Our ponies history is not an easy one having to forage for food in subzero temperatures and truly their mere existence was a story of "survival". Many of our ponies that are the core of our breeding program are first generation off the Shetland islands and do not find any difficulty in dealing with this weather. This is especially true because unlike being on the Shetland islands, no matter how frigid the temps, there is hay, water and a shetler to keep them out of the elements.
And they are grateful. You can see it in their eyes. One of the reasons this breed was chosen for our program was because of their character. They are survivors. They are hardy and willing to deal with whatever comes their way. Many of you are aware that, in addition to surviving sub zero temps, they were also the ponies used in the coal mines in England and then later imported here in the United States to be used. Again, another testament to their willingness, ability to do whatever is asked of them, and very resiliant nature. During this time, the ponies were often sent down into the mines and kept in there for months at a time with little food, no air, and no light. The never complained. Sad as it was, once the mines became mechanized, there was very little need for the true UK Shetland pony. The true UK Shetland pony is small, wide, round, hardy, short legs, very docile, and very kind hearted. Once they were no longer needed in the mines, they were bred to other breeds of ponies to create a pony that would be admired in a show ring or sold for money to the privledged children of the UK or even here in the US for showing. A new type of pony emerged that was more high spirited and of a different nature.
There are several bloodlines of the "true" UK shetland that date back to the 1800s and earlier that still have that willing, kind disposition and are very much still the hardy pony of the coal mines. Those are the bloodlines and ponies we have aquired over the years to build our program and make sure that the children we serve have a companion with this temperament. A pony that is willing to stand for hours while a child that may be awkward on their feet, leans on them and grooms them. Or a pony that willing stands and listens while a child that needs a friends talks about their struggles in life. This is the pony we have for our program.
Although this report is to share with you how your very valuable donations have helped us over the quarter, I felt it was worthy to share with you more about who our ponies are and why they were chosen for our program. In this very frigid winter, even though our ponies are hardy and do not mind the cold, we have had families that have needed extra help this winter with hay and feed for their ponies. Several families needed extra support this winter as feed and hay bills are nearly double a normal winter. And having the donations through Global Giving has been a wonderful source of assistance.
We hope you will share our program with others and let them know that every dollar you donate goes to helping one of the children whose life is changed by having the opportunity to be part of our program. Do read the story below from our Blog.