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showing horses

A love of Welsh and part-Welsh horses has seen Dr Simonn Mansley of Ottaway Dental in Launceston, Tasmania, show her horses in competitions around Australia.

“I live on a 40-acre (16-hectare) property with nine Welsh and part-Welsh horses. They’re a lovely breed with a gentle temperament. Welsh and part-Welsh ponies are versatile, have a long working life, and are suitable for many different pursuits. Little kids or small adults can ride Welsh mountain ponies and bigger adults ride Welsh Cobs. 

“I’ve broken in a few ponies and sold them to families with children. Breaking in a horse is all about pressure and relief. You teach them how to accept a bridle and the other riding gear. I teach them how to go forward, stop, steer and walk, trot and canter. If I work with a horse every day, it takes about four to six weeks.

“I show my horses at breed shows, agricultural shows and royal shows. We competed in the International Welsh Show in Sydney a few years ago. There were six international judges and over 400 horses in the competition. The judges are looking at how each horse measures up against the breed standard.

“There’s a lot of preparation before a show. We plait the horse’s mane and sew in a row of little rosette-style plaits. We pull their tails, a painless procedure that simply gives it a nice shape for presentation. The horse needs to be absolutely spotless and we even use a little eye makeup on them sometimes.

“I recently competed in the Victorian All Welsh show and won champion ridden show pony. That was with my pony Shiloah who’s very special to me. She is the first pony I broke myself. I trained her and we’ve been competing together for seven years. I feel like she would walk over broken glass for me if I asked. She’s just retired and has gone in foal to have a baby at the end of this year. 

“Showing horses is an intense experience that creates a real relationship between you and your horse. People with a pet dog or cat will understand, though a horse and rider really work together as one, so the relationship is stronger.

“I’m very passionate about showing horses. It’s a lot of hard work, but also heaps of fun. Most of all, I just love having the ponies in my life. I’m certain they’re good for your mind and body. I can’t imagine life without horses in it.” 

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