Brynarian Eiddwen Comet, 1984 - 2007
Welsh Section D Stallion
(Llanarth Maldwyn AP Braint x Llanarth Malen)
By Alana Longman
On July 29, 2007, Brynarian Eiddwen Comet was laid to rest in his paddock under the trees overlooking the riding arena. It marks the end of an era at Kelly Acres Welsh/Cherry Hill Equestrian Centre.
Comet came into our lives in the fall of 1985. We had visited with Tom Davis while on a week long wagon trek, and were discovering Welsh Cobs after breeding Welsh Ponies since 1966. As it was time for me to move off my Sec A gelding, Kelly Acres Twinkle, we were looking for a special large pony. We found that in Brynarian Nia. Mom and Dad (Nita & Boyd Wilson) travelled out to BC again in Sept, and while there, decided that the gangly, unhandled yearling Comet should make the trip to our farm as a future herdsire.
The first few months that Comet was with us were a real challenge. He was truly afraid of people, and not ready to be civilized. However, he finally decided that he could tolerate our presence and we started to prepare him for training. Mom started driving Comet as a 2-year-old, and he loved working! His first career was in combined driving. After cleaning house in Saskatchewan as a single driving horse (he was 14.3 ½ hh, and so had to compete as a horse), Comet and Nita travelled to Ontario in 1991, and the highlight of that trip was highest placing Canadian Single Advanced Horse at the Can Am Driving trials. (pictured below)
After that win, Nita retired her whip except for the occasional pleasure outing. Comet had also been started under saddle as a 3-year-old, and was amazing - his extended trot was a work of art! He was however picky about his riders, and a very sensitive horse - he hated it when a new rider pushed the wrong buttons! He was good at dressage, and since we were always up to a challenge, we tried jumping as well - at this he was a rock star! He got me out of some really bad spots that only a young rider can get a horse into.
With his work ethic he would always work very well on the flat, but he truly came to life when there were jumps in the ring. In 1992 we were invited to do demo rides for the Welsh team at Spruce Meadows, and I hadn't planned on jumping during the demo. The whole group of breeds was in the ring doing a hunter hack demo, and after doing the rail work, we had the option to take the single 3 foot jump in the middle. As expected, the Warmblood stallion took it with ease. I waited for others to go, but the ground was a bit slick from rain and no one else was going. Finally I thought "Well, 3 feet isn't very big, so what if we haven't been jumping lately, let's go for it!" I kind of forgot that I had put spurs on (just for correct attire) and when he slowed down a bit on approach, I was worried about a possible refusal and sunk my heels in. Comet, always sensitive and never needing more that very subtle aids, took that as a bit of an insult and basically cleared the standards. There was no mistaking how big he really could jump. Unfortunately Mom stopped the video camera as she thought I was about to get turfed in front of the huge crowd at Spruce Meadows!
As there were very few places that we could actually show (since juniors can't show stallions at many shows), we did a lot of demos at various venues. Comet was super polite at all public appearances, most people thought he was a gelding. There wasn't a better ambassador to the Welsh breed! He loved the attention. I will never forget the occasion at Agribition when a whole bunch of school kids on a tour stopped by our stall. All the kids wanted to pet the beautiful black stallion. One young man held back a bit and waited for the crowd to clear and very politely asked if he too could touch the horse. I said of course and then he told me he was blind and asked if I could guide him. I took him into the stall, and he proceeded to feel Comet all over. Now Comet was always fine with people petting him (haughtily expecting it actually!), but he was always a little careful with people he didn't know. This time however, he stood like a statue and allowed this young man to discover what a horse looked like through his fingers. Both the boy and I had tears running down our cheeks at the end, him because he got to realize a dream, me because I had witnessed something truly special! This all went on while heavy horse hitches, crowds of people, balloons etc. where going by not two feet away. Time seemed to stand still.
In 2003, we were invited to join the Welsh Team for Battle of the Breeds at Spruce Meadows. Comet stepped up to the plate and won a third place ribbon in Precision Driving (cones) with a tie for the fastest time. That was the first time I had ever driven a cones course! Comet always managed to add that extra bit when it truly counted.
His last public appearance was at Agribition in Nov 2006. I have retained Mi Bare Essentials (Sec C) to continue Comet's stallion duties. Comet got to live the last year of his life with my old pony, Kelly Acres Twinkle - they were best friends. Comet was a prepotent stallion, truly stamping his 85 registered offspring with his good looks and athletic ability. His offspring are scattered all over North America, and continue to excel in their owners' lives. Our family was very lucky to have such a wonderful partner and friend for 22 years. Rest in peace old man, till we meet again. You will live forever in our hearts and memories.
Alana Longman, Cherry Hill Equestrian Centre