When Kristina Morris call The Equiery to inquire about purchasing a cover, she mentioned a cute grey Welsh pony that she felt would make a stunning cover. And boy was she right! The photo taken by Kathryn Southard that graces our March 2019 issue is one of our favorites in terms of colors and subject. But our staff wasn’t just drawn to the cute pony, we were drawn to the handler’s smile. With just that glance at her pony that had just won another grand championship, Wynnbrook Coup d’Etat’s handler and owner Jacqueline Morris just couldn’t help but smile. And so we asked Kristina to tell us more about her daughter and pony and the story behind their special bond just makes us smile too.
A Mother to Daughter Love Letter By Kristina Morris, with photos by Kathryn Southard
(First printed in the March 2019 Equiery)
On a small farm in Harford County, a three-year-old girl is feeding baby carrots to the pretty white pony that lives next door. The pony seems to look forward to the visits from his small friend and gently takes the carrots from her tiny hand. Both the mother of the child and the pony’s owner know, without a doubt, that the little girl is quite safe with this gentle soul.
What the pony’s small friend and her mother don’t know, however, is that this kind pony and his quiet owner are actually fierce competitors! When my daughter Jacqueline Morris and her Section B Welsh stallion Wynnbrook Coup d’Etat step into the ring, they are clearly the ones to beat, and through hard work and dedication, they often walk out of the show ring with top honors.
Growing up with horses, Jacqueline is part of the fourth generation of talented horsemen and women in our family. I grew up riding horses and ponies at my parent’s Sweet Water Farm and have been breaking horses and ponies for over 30 years. After traveling back and forth between Maryland and Kentucky working with Thoroughbreds, I settled in Maryland and our family founded Fat Chance Farm where Jacqueline and her brother Harrison learned the trade from an early age.
Jacqueline, now 25, showed a knack for working with difficult horses and would travel to shows just to ride those that others refused to show. She foxhunted as a child and moved up to first flight when she was only nine years old. Her love of foxhunting was apparent and when she was 14, she was invited to become a junior whipper-in with the Carrollton Hounds.
Besides foxhunting, Jacqueline handles horses and ponies at the top hunter shows such as the Devon Horse Show, Upperville Colt & Horse Show and Warrenton Horse Show. Jacqueline has been asked to handle at the National Pony Finals sale in Kentucky for years and at other elite sales on the east coast.
But her true passion is Welsh Ponies and producing top class show ponies, a love she shares with breeder Sandy Rose of Wynnbrook Farm in Virginia.
Jacqueline, Harrison and I first met Sandy at a show and we all just hit it off so well. Sandy invited us to tour her farm, which started the beginning of a wonderful relationship and friendship.
It was at Sandy’s farm that Jacqueline first fell in love with “Hotshot,” who was impeccably bred with the best Welsh pony bloodlines specifically for pony hunters. However, he was priced to reflect the delightful pony that he would likely become. Sandy, who had already been impressed with our family’s commitment to Welsh ponies, struck a deal in which we would break and train another pony for Sandy in exchange for Hotshot.
Jacqueline started Hotshot herself and showed him, training him up to become a pony that continues to win at AA hunter shows with his lease kid. Because of Jacqueline’s success with Hotshot, Sandy gave us first choice on the next two of his full brothers!
Jacqueline also started the next two colts from Sandy’s on her own. One was bred twice before realizing that he would be a happier pony as a gelding. He was gelded, sold and went on to become a very successful hunter pony. The other, Jacqueline held onto.
When Sandy decided to retire, she wrote me a lovely letter in which she explained that none of her children were interested in continuing her breeding program. She recognized however that Jacqueline shared the same passion for bloodlines and maintaining the Welsh Pony as the versatile breed they are. She told me that she would be honored to give us the Wynnbrook name so that Jacqueline could continue the high breeding standards and traditions of Wynnbrook.
Wynnbrook Coup d’Etat, aka Sharky, was the last in the line of ponies from Sandy’s stallion Clovercroft Polarized and mare Wellen Rosetta. He was born in 2012 and Jacqueline instantly developed an incredible relationship with him. She took over sole ownership when he was a yearling, and showed him on the line at both breed shows and hunter shows, always placing very well.
But as we are all reminded oh too often, nothing in life is easy. When Sharky was four years old he experienced a life threatening accident. Jacqueline worked with veterinarians, and with excellent care and to the astonishment of everyone, most of all his veterinarians, Sharky was back on the circuit within six months, taking Supreme Champion his first show back in the ring.
The following spring, Jacqueline decided to dive into the breeding world because of Sharky’s exceptional bloodlines and gaits, in addition to his gentle temperament. Sharky was bred to several different breeds of mares, so that Jacqueline could see what he would produce and each foal, though different, was first-rate for the cross!
In fact, one of his fillies (out of an Appendix Quarter Horse mare) was the 2018 National Champion Welsh Pony & Cob Society of America in the 2 & Under Half-bred Fillies division! Another one of his foals (out of a Thoroughbred mare) was Grand Champion Non-TB at the 2018 Maryland State Fair at just four months old.
Sharky himself, with a limited show schedule this past year, was the WPCSA Reserve National Champion Welsh B Stallion, missing the championship by a single point. This past season, he also qualified for the Royal Winter Fair in Canada. All of which could not have happened without Jacqueline’s dedication and passion.
Jacqueline is starting 2019 with that missed national championship in mind and hopes that with Wynnbrook Coup d’Etat’s winning ways, and by going to more breed shows this season, they will be able to add the WPCSA national championship to his banner. She also plans to show his babies in order to support and thank the people who have been booking their good mares. Every good placing for one of Sharky’s babies is a win for the whole Welsh line. Just to make life more interesting,
Jacqueline is working to have Sharky ready for under saddle classes too!
To Jacqueline, showing Sharky is not just about showing the pony she has raised, it’s about continuing the Welsh Pony traditions and producing future champions for others to love and cherish. And for this, I thank you, Jacqueline, my daughter. Thank you for showing everyone that it is not just about ribbons, it’s about creating bonds, putting the pony first and giving back to the breed.
And what does Sharky think of all their success? As much as he loves his time with Jacqueline and enjoys what they do together, when Sharky gets home and is turned out in his field, he walks through the gate with his head swinging from side to side as if to shake off the show ring dust and just be a pretty white pony in a pasture again. After all, he has a small friend waiting for him with a bag of baby carrots!