The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Pony Rescued From New Holland Auction

Cupcake, Pamela & Elita

By Tatum Mitchell

A trip to the New Holland auction and $500 dollars later, Maria Bogdanova-Peifer brought home the pony of a lifetime, Cupcake.

Bogdanova-Peifer, who also goes by Maria “BP,” has her own farm in Pennsylvania, where she breeds horses. Eleven years ago, She took the day off work and went to the New Holland auction with her friend, Margaret Monnier, searching for a pony to gift her daughter Elita for Christmas. 

Upon arriving at the auction, BP and Monnier were informed there was a pony worth looking at. They were directed toward Cupcake, a small black pony with a little white star. 

“He was absolutely terrified being there,” says BP. “But he’s got these big, beautiful, huge brown eyes. I knew there was something good-souled in that pony.”

BP looked around at other horses, and when she turned around, Cupcake was gone. The pony was going through the auction. 

“It goes so fast. I could not even keep up with [the auction] or see who was bidding and how much. I couldn’t understand what the auctioneer was saying,” says BP. “All of a sudden [Margaret] turns over and she goes, ‘He’s yours. $500.’” 

Elita and Maria fell in love with their new pony. Cupcake taught Elita how to ride, and after a few tough lessons and some bumps in the road, the pair began showing.

“[Cupcake and my daughter] started competing, and pretty much every competition they were either champion or reserve champion going forward,” says BP. 

Photo by Ceara Rahne Photography LLC.

Elita eventually outgrew Cupcake and handed the reins to Pamela Iswalt. At 27 years old, Cupcake is currently helping Pamela learn how to ride and babysitting foals weaning from their mothers on Maria’s farm.

“Cupcake splits his duties right now between foal-babysitting and teaching Pam the ropes of riding,” says Maria. “He literally takes care of her. He just puts his soul into that, he tries to be careful.”

In 2021, Pamela and Cupcake won their class of 36 at the Colonial Classic Horse Show, and the pair will be returning this year to attempt a repeat. Maria says she has lost count of how many champion ribbons the pair has brought home. 

“Cupcake is really sweet, funny, and very much a good friend,” says Pamela.

Cupcake & Pamela

Pouring his heart into everything he does, BP says Cupcake is the gift that keeps on giving. 

“Cupcake is an amazing pony, a gentle soul who has given us so much love, memories and taught my daughter the value of patience,” says Becky McNichol-Iswalt, Pamela’s mother. “We are so grateful to have him in our lives.” 

In the future, BP hopes Pamela and Cupcake will show in the short stirrup. BP says finding Cupcake was meant to be. 

“He’s absolutely the best blessing,” says BP. “Best $500 I’ve ever spent.”

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