California Riding Magazine • July, 2008

Tiny Ambassadors
Head to Hong Kong

American Shetland Pony Club salutes
Olympic host city with two small gifts.

In a gesture of goodwill, the American Shetland Pony Club (ASPC) is sending a gift of two American Shetland Ponies to the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation to salute their efforts in hosting the 2008 Equestrian Olympics. The two Shetland riding ponies were in quarantine in Lexington, KY until June 6, when they then flew from Chicago to Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Equestrian Federation (HKEF) will host a special presentation ceremony on July 10 in Hong Kong to receive the ponies.

Established in 1888, the American Shetland Pony Club (ASPC) is one of the oldest breed registries in the United States. When ASPC Marketing Director, Johnny Robb, read about the efforts that the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation and the Hong Kong Jockey Club put forth to host the 2008 Olympics, she was moved. “In these unsettled times, it was exciting to see one country put forth such energy and resources for an effort that will unite equestrians worldwide. It is an example of the true spirit of the Olympic games.”

Johnny also read that there were only a few ponies in Hong Kong imported by the local riding schools to be used as school ponies as well as six miniature horses reportedly left by a Russian circus. “Our Shetland Ponies have truly been a part of the fabric of American life. I thought it would be so special if we could thank the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation by sending a gift of two of our ponies,” said Johnny. Johnny rallied the support of the ASPC Board of Directors, and Johnny’s friend, Lily Zilo, is a Chinese-American dressage rider vying to ride for Hong Kong in the 2008 Olympics.

The two tiny ambassadors to Hong Kong.
Photos: Washburn

Lily introduced Johnny to her contacts at the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation. Next, Johnny and ASPC director of operations, Zona Schneider, met with HKEF Vice President, Edwin McAuley, while he was visiting the United States. Edwin liked the idea and discussed it with members of the HKEF upon his return to Hong Kong.

President of the HKEF, Simon Ip, gave the green light to receive the ponies in Hong Kong, while Soenke Lauterbach, secretary of the HKEF, became the liaison to the project and things began to proceed quickly. The ASPC purchased two very special Shetland Ponies.
One National Champion riding and driving pony, FMF Imagination, was purchased from Brenda Basham and Jason Prince of Excalibur Training Stable in Illinois. FMF Imagination holds dual registrations. Along with being a registered American Shetland Pony, his unique color pattern qualifies him for registration with the Pinto Horse Association of America (PtHA), an organization that accepts spotted equines from a wide variety of breeds. The second American Shetland Pony heading to Hong Kong is PC’s Karmel Kid, who is trained in dressage and was purchased from Ingram Training Stable in Florida.

It Takes a Village to Care for Two Ponies

The ASPC is proud to honor Hong Kong’s efforts to host the Olympics, but a campaign of this magnitude takes a village. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), gave their full support to the ASPC’s tribute to Hong Kong. “The American Shetland Pony Club is a recognized breed with USEF,” said Johnny, “The USEF’s support of this effort is just another display of their commitment to support their members and the global equestrian community.”

Along with USEF and the PtHA, several other organizations joined in to support the ASPC’s effort. Ozark Mountain Mini Tack pitched in to supply saddles, bridles and accessories for the ponies. The WF Young Corporation supplied Absorbine Show Sheen® and grooming products for the ponies and Freedom Health supplied the ponies with Succeed® a digestive aid, during quarantine and for their transition period in Hong Kong.

Johnny continued, “Thanks to the vision of the American Shetland Pony Club and these fine companies we are able to share our wonderful American Shetland Ponies with the riders in Hong Kong. We are looking forward to July 10th when we can salute our fellow equestrians in Hong Kong and play a small role in honoring their Olympic effort.”

For more information of the ASPC and the American Shetland Pony visit