"The Forgotten Breed"
I took a long ride out to the dusty Palomino Valley last week to visit Michelle Winans-Gomez with "Trinityglen Highland Ponies". A friend (thanks Michael Artemis) told me that she was breeding a special type of pony that is quite rare to find. So I was all ears and wanted to find out more! When I arrived at her 40 acre ranch, Michelle had all her ponies, four mares and two stallions, groomed and ready to go! I was amazed by their beauty and couldn't wait to take their photos and tell everyone that she's got something really special. She told me that the Highland Pony originated from the Highlands of Scotland and that they are listed as vulnerable on the endangered species list. There are less than 100! on the Northern American Continent, and around 3500 in the world.
Michelle is a big advocate in promoting and preserving this breed. With less than 70 registered stallions world wide, she has two in stud! She loves to educate people about this strong, sturdy and compact pony and tells me they love to pull carts, are used for low level hunter/ jumpers and show well in dressage. They are great with kids and can carry adults with no problem.
We first go into the pasture with her four mares.They all chill and look like the are chatting about their day until...
Looks like they didn't quite agree on something :)
Here are some very interesting facts about the Highland Pony!
- In the 1300's in the days of the "Braveheart" era, the Highland Pony was ridden by King Robert the Bruce!
- Queen Victoria was known to have ridden this pony during her excursions where carriages couldn't access the land.
- The Scottish cavalry used them in World War I and World War II to carry the soldiers to the battle lines. The wars severely depleted this beautiful breed.
I must admit, I absolutely fell in love with this mouse dun mare. Her rich colors just showed beautifully during the sunset, I couldn't take my eyes off of Sandby Opal. I never seen a "mouse dun" pony before!
This is her beautiful mare Brownbread Queenie.
Some more pictures of her foal and mare. And the hawk is a hobby of Jose's, Michelle's husband.
This is one of her stallions, Lieutenant of Whitefield and comes straight from the well respected Whitefield stud in Scotland. What a pretty boy to look at!
And this is "Whiskey" her cream dun stallion: Ch. Circle H Glen Livit
This weekend Michelle is traveling with her companions to the Draft Horse Classic in Grass Valley, NV (Sept 22-25) to showcase her very special breed. If you see her, please stop by and say hello. You will see that she always has this glow in her eyes when she talks about them! Good Luck Michelle and thanks for welcoming me at your ranch!
For more information please visit her website www.trinityglenhighlands.weebly.com and check out her facebook page www.facebook.com/TrinityglenHighlandPonies.