Do you remember that sitcom theme song? If you do, you know that it ended with the lyric, “Unless the horse is Mr. Ed.”
None of the horses you’re about to see are Mr. Ed (Mr. Ed should be so lucky). They can’t talk, but they sure are beautiful to look at. So – take a beautiful horse, add beautiful Mackinac Island scenery and a great crowd – and what do you have? The Mackinac Island Festival of the Horse Breed Show!
I almost didn’t include the show in this year’s covereage of the festival because I’ve shown it for the last two years. But how can I pass up the opportunity to show off the island’s most important creature . . . I just can’t!
The Breed Show took place in the Burrough’s Lot below the Grand Hotel in an arena set up for festival events. Thanks so much to the Grand Hotel for allowing the festival to be held on their grounds!
I’ll give you as much information on the horses as I could gather this year – more on some than on others – but that’s just the way it worked out. Here we go . . .
Blaze is a small Halflinger - not a pony, but definitely on the smaller end of the Halflinger breed.
Blaze is everyone's favorite 4-H training horse. He spends the entire year on the island and pulls a sled in the winter here. His new digs are at the new community stable, and he's being ridden by Sarah Growney.
Emma is a Norwegian Fjord, and is handled by owner Shannon Schueller. Emma is 14 years old, and her breed dates back to the first horse, the Przewalski, which lived over 30,000 years ago.
Emma is the only Fjord on the island. She spends her winters in Wisconsin, where she continues her training. Her mane grows straight up and has to be trimmed every two weeks.
Topaz is a pinto pony and lives just up the street from our condo. This sweetheart has been giving pony rides to family and friends for three generations of the Fisher family. He is being ridden by Fisher grandson Aidan Oogle and handled by Barb Fisher.
Topaz is about 24 years old, and his favorite food is peanut butter toast. He has no problem being the family lawnmower.
This Pinto is Isabelle, and she is handled by Gretchen Colman.
Isabelle is a training horse at the new Mackinac Island Children's Riding Academy at The Little Barn on Mission Hill.
Image is an American Paint Horse (quarterhorse) and is pulling his owner, Ann Levy. Image has unique markings, including a moon shape on her side, a heart shape on her neck under her mane, and white eyelashes.
Image loves people and is a very cooperative companion. She spent last winter at The Driving Training Center in Washington state, where she learned to pull a carriage.
Duncan is a 20-year-old Welsh Cob gelding. He was born in Oregon, has lived in Alaska and Mississippi, and has exhibited in Europe.
Duncan has won the turnout at the world renowned and prestigious Walnut Hill Carriage Show, and won Live Oaks in Florida also. He is owned and loved by the Shea family and is ridden here by Katie Osborn.
Ibn is a registered straight Egyptian Arab, owned by Candice Dunnigan and her daughter Claire (ridden by Candice). This is Ibn's 12th summer on the island, and he is 26 years old.
Arabs are sensitive, highly intelligent and sincere horses. They have a durability in bone, foot, and bloodlines that have made them the number one breed to improve other strains, such as the Thoroughbred, Standardbred, Welsh, Trakehner, Hannoverian, and Morgan. Ibn was the 4 Year High Point Winner in Jumping and Trail of the District 7 Michigan High School Equestrian Team. He has been a member of the Waterloo Hunt Horse Team and Pony Club. He was used for the 4-H riding program for 8 years, and on Mackinac he loves the trails best of all.
Island's Grey Skye is a 15-year-old Thoroughbred owned and ridden by Trish Martin. He was bred to the track, but never raced as he had trouble with the starting gate. At two years of age, he was basically put out in a field and left for two years. In 2000, when Trish was looking for a new horse, she met Grey, and his life changed dramatically for the good.
As a 4-year-old, Grey put on several inches in height, and with a nice jump, he became a good Fox hunter and an excellent trail horse. He spends his summers on the island and has a sociable personality and sweet disposition. Over the last eleven years, he has become a favorite horse to visit by the neighborhood kids, who call him Ol' Grey - even when he was much younger.
Skip is a Standardbred, owned and driven by Dr. Al Sibinic, the island veterinarian. Skip is 12 years old and is pulling a typical jog cart, used to exercise and train Standardbreds.
Skip was trained as a sulky race horse and has a Freeze Brand on his neck for race identification. On the island, Dr. Al teams him with his other Standardbred, a mare named Taz, for buggy driving. Taz and Skip can also be used for saddle horses.
I apologize for not having a lot of information on the horses and riders in this picture or the next. The three horses presented in the two pics are Foundation Quarter Horses. I believe this is Tex and Strawberry.
This is Dusty.
Puzzle is a registered Appaloosa/Palomino and is owned by the Dunnigan family (ridden by Candice). The gelding is 12 years old and is the 5-time Blue Ribbon winner of the Waterloo Hunt Hunter Pace. Puzzle has the mottled colorings found in the Appaloosa, but unlike most Appys, who have sparse manes and scant tails, Puzzle inherited the better from his Quarter-Palomino breeding. He can be ridden Western or English and loves water - so much so that he doesn't object to having baths here on Mackinac - right in the lake.
Drummond, a Tennessee Walker.
Drummond is owned and ridden by Penny Barr. Black Tennessee Walkers are not common. Please make a little note in your mind about this horse, and notice his one white sock. He will play a big part in tomorrow's blog!
The Grand Hotel Hackneys
Hackneys are part of the Grand Hotel logo and figure importantly in their brand marketing. This pair are full brothers named Joker and Jester. They are hitched to a Bachelor Brougham carriage and are driven by Tony McCarthy.
An upclose look at a Grand Hotel Hackney - minus the carriage. This is Duke, handled by Ben Mosley, stable manager for the Grand Hotel.
Even in hand, Duke's Hackney gait is evident.
- Miss Minnie – the Hackney pony I introduced you to a month or so ago.
Miss Minnie has grown a little since you saw her last, but she won't get much bigger. She is owned by the Mosley family and handled here by Shelbie Mosley.
Atty is driven and owned by Lin Sheppard. She is 7 years old, summers on Mackinac Island and winters in Florida. She is believed to be a Standardbred/Percheron cross. Little is known about her first two years except she was born on an Amish farm in Michigan and started as an Amish family driving horse. She is now being trained for saddle.
Atty is used strictly for pleasure, pulling the family carriage on occasion and as a trail horse. She is a quick learner who aims to please. She is a very spoiled member of the Sheppard family.
The work horses of the island . . . this beautiful Percheron is John, handled by Katelyn Gerdes . . .
. . . and this gorgeous Belgian is Toby, handled by Judy Bishop.
Both Toby and John are owned by Carriage Tours and spend their days hitched with one or two other draft horses. Without these gentle giants, Mackinac Island . . . well, it just wouldn't be Mackinac Island without them.
This is Ringo, an Appaloosa/Friesian cross owned by Lisa Brock and handled by Billie Brock.
Ringo is trained for saddle and driving. (Ringo is one of my favorite horses on the island - other than the Friesians, of course. But then, Ringo is part Friesian. So there you go.)
Shortcake is a 7-year-old dwarf miniature horse. She is shown by Abigail Ostman, who has owned Shortcake for four years. Shortcake enjoys being groomed and going on walks. She pulls a sled during winter and grazes the fields with any type of horse. While grazing, the bigger horses protect and care for her. Abigail shows Shortcake in county fairs.
You read all about Seymour, the burro . . . .
. . . and Miwok, the mustang, in yesterday's blog on the carriage parade.
Our last horse of the Breed Show is Nokona, a 16 year old registered Appaloosa. He is owned by Abigail Ostman, who also owns Shortcake.
Abigail and Nokona enjoy barrel racing, trail riding, and Western equitation.
Tomorrow a great human interest story about a lady and her former horse. You will love it!