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Crossroads Arena hosting Shetland Pony Congress

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shetland Pony owners from around the country descended upon Putnam County recently.

Crossroads Arena in Cloverdale is playing host to the 120th National Congress for American Shetland Pony Club (ASPC).

This is the first time the ASPC has done a show in Indiana -- it is also the first national show for the Crossroads Arena, according to co-owner Steve Jackson.

Although people come from all over the nation, the ASPC tries to keep its shows in the Midwest.

The show is free to the public and will take place from Wednesday to Saturday from 8 a.m. and until around midnight each day.

"There are some nights we are getting back to the hotel well after midnight," said Leonard Davenport, ASPC show manager.

Davenport said he runs around 20 shows a year.

"This is a great facility," Davenport said about Crossroads. "In a couple of years, (Jackson) will have a great place with lots of shows. Everyone here has been very friendly. This is a very user-friendly arena."

It is also Crossroads chance to show the horse world what they have to offer.

There will be a film crew from the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) that boasts more than 80,000 members. From the footage, there will be a DVD made.

The show at Crossroads Arena will cover more than 300 classes of Shetland Ponies.

"Having a four-day show really isn't too bad. Some shows are a week long," Davenport said.

This show is also special because two children will be awarded Shetland ponies following an essay contest. The contest was nationwide. It has been judged and decided, but the winners have not been named yet.

The two winners will get one of two ponies. The Classic Shetland was just born recently. The Modern Shetland is a performance pony and was recently named a Reserve Grand Champion at the World level.

"We just hope the winners bring a trailer to take their horse home in," Davenport joked.

"I was at a show once where someone had won a new horse trailer but didn't have a truck to take it home with," Jackson said.

By standard, Shetland ponies are not allowed to be any taller than 46 inches at the withers.

There will be four judges at the show in Cloverdale. Three of the judges will be for the classic ponies, and one judge will be for the modern.

According to an equine Web site (www.smallequine.com), "The Classic American Shetland is more refined than the original imported Shetland pony. The Classic pony is well balanced, strong, and has a willing, gentle disposition.

"It is a versatile, fun pony for equine lovers of all ages and is perfect for any event in the show ring, driving in CDE events, parades, trail riding, or as a family pet with minimal maintenance. A Classic Shetland must have 'A' papers but if too extreme in type may show as a Modern pony.

"The Modern Shetland is a pony that blends the original Shetland pony type with the Hackney pony influence to create a strong, attractive pony that is refined with a lot of natural motion.

The Modern is stylish with energy, animation, alertness, and presence. It is an agile, quick-thinking pony that is bred to perform."

"Shetlands are not that popular around here," Davenport said. "There are only three exhibitors here from Indiana."

The Classic American Shetland Ponies ancestry dates back to the Shetland Islands, where ponies roamed the hills and moors of Shetland as early as the eighth and ninth centuries. Shetlands were brought to this country in the 1800's and first registered in the United States in 1888 by the American Shetland Pony Club.

Since Shetlands are so small, they are perfect for a child. Bred to pull ore carts in coalmines in the mid 1800's, Shetlands have retained an innate driving ability. A well-trained Shetland not only excels at driving but is also sturdy and reliable for any child.

According to the ASPC Web site (www.shetlandminature.com), "A pony makes a great, trustworthy childhood companion who will share many adventures expanding your child's imagination.

Classic American Shetland Ponies have been used successfully in therapeutic programs for the physically and mentally challenged. Pony Hitches have livened up many a parade and are used regularly in a working environment.

The love and devotion a pony can offer is giant sized. Introduce yourself or your child to the world of the Classic American Shetland Pony by visiting a farm or horse show with Classic Shetlands."

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