Breed: New Forest Pony
Breeder: Clifford and Maria Large, Willoway Stud, England
Owner: Drena and Colleen Young
FEI dressage pony, Willoway Nightingale, is a New Forest Pony mare imported from England by Drena and Colleen Young of Wishingwell Farm. Drena says, "Nightingale is as talented and successful over fences as she is in the dressage ring. She wins and takes overall Championships in EC shows in FEI shows against all FEI horses and riders - she is also on the cover of Canadian Horse Journal for this month."
Left: Colleen and Willoway Nightingale's sire, Peveril Peter Piper, taken at Clifford and Maria Large's, Willoway Stud, in England. 'Peter' is the top producing stallion of quality show ponies in the U.K. (pictured here in his mid-twenties).
Drena explains, "We purchased three outstanding mares from the Larges by 'Peter'. He was brilliant in the show ring himself and consistantly produces ponies with his outstanding jumping ability, trainability, temperament, movement and great bone and feet. The Larges are extremely particular about their broodmares. Their breeding program is well thought out and they never breed a mare that is not of the quality and temperament that they want in their foals."
"We also imported other mares from well-respected and long-established New Forest Pony studs. We chose those mares on well-proven bloodlines of top performance ponies (not just in the U.K. but all through Europe, where the New Forest Pony is competative in all spheres and at the highest levels). Size was not a factor for us - Nightingale is a medium pony (our others are large). It was all the qualities listed above that chose Nightingale and the others for us. Colleen has a handsome 4-year-old gelding out of Nightingale who is 14.2hh, who is wonderful in all ways. He already demonstrates the good work ethic of his dam as well as the trainability and fabulous temperament which makes this breed of pony so easy to live with.
"As you can see, Colleen and Nightingale have grown up together. They do not require a lead or reins when walking or trotting together in hand - they travel as one. Nightingale is not just following...they literally move as one. Colleen trots four steps, Nightingale trots four, they turn either way, do a circle and Nightingale is just there. They trot to halt, halt to trot. It is the same when they are riding. It is a pair ballroom dancing in a riding ring."
Nightingale has truly been an ambassador for ponies. Drena says, "When Nightingale is out she is like a magnet for families (at shows and out on trail)... there are small children to older people gathered around her. It is hard to explain why but it must be her kind way about her and the relaxed way Colleen and she interacts. Also, Nightingale is happy to stand very still for hours while people love her."
Drena attributes her great disposition to the New Forest breeding, saying, "The New Forest are a people pony. As a mother I appreciate everything about this hardy breed. These ponies are confident, sure-footed, cool-headed, and athletic with even and consistant temperament. The showing is wonderful and the wins are hard earned but it is the temperament and consistant work ethic that make each show so perfect for us. This mare wins in hand, over fences, on the flat and in the dressage ring but better yet she is happy and makes everyone around her happy."
Colleen has enjoyed success from Walk/Trot to FEI dressage and Pony Hunter with her ponies. Colleen continues to ride with Roanne Tyson (a level 3 dressage coach at Mountain View Farm in Victoria, B.C.) who trains and rides Young's ponies. Roanne's favourite is Willoway Peter's Pin-Up, a mare two years younger than Nightingale and also by Peveril Peter Piper. Colleen loves her too but her loyalty will not budge from "Mighty Nighty!"
"I do gush on," says Drena, "but Nightingale has earned every word. We imported 8 ponies from England but Nightingale just happened to be the one that chose Colleen when she walked off the plane in Vancouver as a yearling. Nightingale is now 9 years old. Colleen is 13 and knows that she is growing out of Nightingale."
Unfortunately, children do grow out of ponies, but something suggests Colleen will likely be involved with New Forest Ponies for a long time to come ...
Drena and Colleen Young
Wishingwell Farm New Forest Ponies