BY GEORGIA ANN SMITH
Sally Steinmetz, owner of Rosehaven Farms has been involved with Welsh ponies for many years, dedicating herself to the breed and enjoying every minute of it. As a small breeder, only producing about two foals a year, Steinmetz never saw herself obtaining a lifetime award. Her stallion, Rosehaven Talisman won not his first, but second Order of the Dragon award in February.
“I never had even intended on breeding a stallion or having my own stallion. It just kind of worked out that he was nice. That’s when I got into breeding. I think the evolution of starting out, having a couple of fillies, and going to a few shows—getting involved with the breed—got me hooked. Years went by and all his offspring have also won different lifetime awards,” said Steinmetz.
There are different lifetime awards including the Award of Excellence, Award of Distinction, and Order of the Centaur. But the Order of the Dragon is one of the top accomplishments that a horse can gain through the Welsh Pony and Cob Society of America (WPCSA). According to WPCSA.com, individuals need 10,000 points or win an individual AOE and a sire or dam AOE, sires need 25,000 progeny points or three progeny with an AOE, dams need 15,000 progeny points or two progeny with an AOE, and breeders/owners have to either be the breeder or the last recorded owner at the time and need 15 LOM or 10 AOE or 4 OD.
Talisman won the Order of the Dragon award during the Welsh meeting in Syracuse, New York. His progeny winning ended up being over 25,000 points. This was a huge accomplishment for Steinmetz as she put a lot of sweat and tears into all parts that went into this award from foaling babies, keeping blankets on them, traveling to shows, and “using mountains of Quicksilver.”
“Back when I started, the idea of getting an Order of the Dragon was just so far-fetched. I mean, I didn’t even think about it. I was just like, well, that’s for somebody else. I didn’t think that I could possibly do it,” said Steinmetz.
Steinmetz starting getting involved with Welsh shows in the 80s and initially became intrigued when USEF offered adult riding classes. After being involved with breeding for a couple of years, she registered the prefix Rosehaven with the Welsh society. It was out of pure luck that she received the name she wanted because it can be very difficult to find a prefix that is not already used.
“I actually started as a kid with ponies but then moved on to horses going to hunter shows in 1988. I made my way back to the ponies though,” said Steinmetz
Today, Steinmetz shows three or four of Talisman’s offspring each year. She presents the younger ones in in-hand classes and rides the older ones. It is definitely a group effort though, she said. There are people who get the horses ready, some people show in the in-hand classes, and others help with the breeding aspect of things. Even though Rosehaven is a small farm, it takes a lot of passionate people to get the job done right.
“Everyone in the Welsh Society become very good friends and it’s a very nice show environment. It’s been enjoyable,” said Steinmetz.
Steinmetz is committed to promoting the Welsh breed. The growth is not yet at the level of other breed associations but Steinmetz foresees it growing larger and larger each year. When she was helping at Pony Finals, she became ecstatic that 30% of ponies were registered with WPCSA. She cannot wait to see who wins the Order of the Dragon award next and hopes there will be more and more competition to come.
“I am very proud of Talisman,” said Steinmetz.