BY TORI SHEEHAN
Holly Jarrett’s love for her daughter’s pony, Andi, knows no bounds.
“Andi is the best pony ever,” says Holly of the 8-year-old mare. “There’s nothing bad that I can say about her, she’s just amazing.”
There is a special type of admiration reserved for the horses and ponies entrusted to carry and teach children. But to understand the depth of the connection the Jarrett family has for this little 12.2 hh bay Welsh pony, you have to start at the beginning.
It all started when Holly, who lives in Pennsylvania, received a phone call from her friend Amy in Tennessee.
“Amy found this pony at an auction in Pennsylvania that she bought online,” says Holly. “It wasn’t a good auction. It was an auction where no pony should ever end up.”
Holly helped Amy get the pony to quarantine and shipped down to Tennessee, thinking no more of it.
A few days after the pony arrived, Amy discovered the pony had recently given birth to a foal and was probably placed at the auction just after the foal had been weaned. Amy shared pony updates and progress with Holly. Many texts included Amy’s assessment: “Oh this pony is so nice!”
Three years ago, Andi ended up at a farm in Pennsylvania. Holly knew the barn and it wasn’t far from home. She couldn’t resist going with her daughter Reagan to meet this little pony that had captured Amy’s attention.
“We went over there and tried her. Reagan was eight years old at the time and Andi was a little stinker,” says Holly with a laugh. “She ran out at the jumps and I was like, ‘I love her, can we take her on trial?’”
“The first time I rode her, she was running out and I was like, ‘I don’t know about this pony’,” says Reagan, now 11. “But my mom said, ‘I think she’s going to be good. She just
From that moment on, Reagan and Holly committed to little Andi, but it wasn’t always easy. After Andi’s stint at auction, she was still unsure of new situations, and sometimes would take advantage of Reagan, who was still developing as a rider herself. Instead of focusing on the negatives, the Jarretts continued to give Andi stability and worked with trainers to get the mare back on track.
What’s in a Name?
Another rider took the reins for part of Andi’s green year, then Andi and Reagan went back to the Children’s Pony Hunter divisions to progress.
“That’s where I really started to develop my strength while riding her because at this point, she was so good, but she was still running out with me. My trainer Ashley [Hartman] really helped me get through her being a little stinker,” says Reagan.
Reagan focused on her flat work and her mentality over fences, and the pair moved up to the Small Pony Hunters. By this time, the relatively unknown Andi finally got her show name.
“I named Andi ‘Dream Big,”’ says Holly. “I felt it was the perfect name for her.”
At the 2022 Devon Horse Show, Andi’s show name manifested into the mantra it has now become.
“We knew Andi was nice enough to win, but it was Reagan’s first time at Devon,” Holly recalls. “She’s only 11 years old, we knew there’s going to be mistakes, but secretly you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh we could win.’”
Holly’s sister Melanie was Small Pony Hunter Champion at Devon exactly 40 years ago. The image of her smiling aboard her bay mare Why Not flashed through Holly’s mind as she watched Andi and Reagan in the same ring.
“The first day, Reagan was nervous, and I think she got sixth over fences. The second day, I don’t know what happened in her mind, but something clicked, and she just came out and had two beautiful trips and won
Reagan and Dream Big ultimately won Small Pony Hunter Champion at Devon. The team would also take champion at the Hampton Classic and have strong showings at Pony Finals.
The Hunt for Andi’s Heritage
To the Jarretts, Andi was simply a great pony, but her life before the auction remained a mystery.
“We knew nothing about Andi, we knew nothing about her breeding. All we knew is she was a really nice pony. I always felt like she was well bred but I had no proof,” says Holly.
Until they found a clue at a horse show in New Jersey.
“I see this pony and I said, ‘Reagan, that pony looks so much like Andi!’”
That pony was Enough Said, who competes in the Medium Pony Hunters. That night, Holly lay awake, and at two in the morning, she took to Facebook searching the pony she had seen that day. That’s when she discovered the stallion Tradele Belleman, who sired Enough Said.
“I said, this has to be Andi’s father. So, I did a DNA test. When I think of DNA, I think of CSI right? Well, it’s not that easy. You have to have an idea, you have to compare it to a stallion’s DNA. Somehow, I just got lucky.”
Enough Said, the pony that sparked Holly’s search, ended up being Andi’s full sister. Andi’s sire was in fact Tradele Belleman, and her dam was Farnley Nightline—her breeding a storied treasure of American ponies developed before her.
“It’s a really crazy story,” Holly says. “Amy sent me pictures when Andi was at the auction. I still have the pictures. I look at them and sometimes I’ll start to cry.”
A Once-in-a-Lifetime Pony
The one-time auction pony now has a proper home with her family. Reagan spends time just being with Andi in her stall, and Andi lets out the highest-pitch whinny when she hears Reagan coming. The biggest question in Andi’s life now is when she’ll hear her favorite little girl coming down the aisle to get her ready for the day’s ride.
“Andi is a special pony regardless. But I think with her past, it’s hard to describe because it is just so special,” says Holly. “We have such a connection and a bond with her and she trusts us so much. I feel like that’s why both Reagan and Andi have been able to accomplish what they have, because it’s a trust factor between the two of them. People talk about a once in a lifetime pony and she really is that.”
Together, Andi and Reagan bring the best out in each other.
“Andi and I basically have the same story,” says Reagan. “I came into riding not the best and Andi came into it being a good pony but it took her [time] to really develop…putting me into the show ring and helping me. I came from doing Short Stirrup then I had to move back down to the Children’s because I wasn’t perfect, and then we moved back up. I could develop myself on Andi.”
Andi taught Reagan to Dream Big, and Reagan hopes it can in turn help other kids.
“Some kids can get on perfect ponies and do awesome and some can get ponies that are already developed, but I think it’s good for me that I got my own pony,” Reagan says. “I developed my smart riding together with my pony.”
“A pony doesn’t always only need to be from an amazing barn or amazing trainers. I think all that matters is about how you think of your riding and if you think, ‘we’re going to get there, I got my pony and I want to ride well. I don’t care if I don’t win, I just want to be consistent so we will be able to put things together.”
Holly knows what impact Andi already has on her and Reagan.
“You could spend a million dollars for a pony and it doesn’t guarantee that it’s going to be a good one,” Holly says. “To me, Andi is the dream that everyone is looking for.”
Dream Big at a Glance
- Barn name: Andi
- Born: 5/10/2014
- Sire: Tradale Belleman
- Dam: Farnley Nightline
- Has one of the highest-pitch whinnies in the barn. “You can hear it from a mile away,” says Holly Jarrett.
- Very food-motivated
- She’s proven herself to be a trustworthy ride—the same pony even after a week off
Notable Show Results
In addition to several Small Pony Hunter Champion titles, the pair scored an 88 at last year’s Hampton Classic, “That was definitely a wow moment, that was my first ever big score,” says Reagan.
*This story was originally published in the August 2022 issue of The Plaid Horse. Click here to read it now and subscribe for issues delivered straight to your door!
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