The Plaid Horse Questionnaire with: Siobhan Latchford

Siobhan Latchford
Latchford at the Washington International in the mid-1990s with Jetsetter and Espresso. Photo by Ruthann Smith.

Status: Recently retired Barn Manager for Robin Greenwood, GCPonies

As a horsewoman, I am most proud of being able to keep a barn full of horses and ponies happy and healthy for so many years. Needless to say, I didn’t achieve that alone. I had great help most of the time and it’s been a team effort.

I think the biggest misconception about our sport is how many different disciplines there are. I’ve had people ask me more than once if a pony won its race at the show. It can be hard to explain how multi-faceted our sport is to an outsider.

My favorite part of working with ponies was the relationships I formed with the ponies in my care.

Something I would say ten times a day was “Has anyone seen my phone?”

My favorite horse book is Equusby Robert Vavra. It’s anincredibly beautiful book of photos ofhorses taken with beautiful backgrounds.

My favorite non-horse book is currently the Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley.

The most difficult part of life with horses was how little time there was to do much outside the horse world. I’ve missed many family occasions and vacations, especially in the early part of my working life. But it was usually my choice, I hated to leave the animals!

My favorite part about being a barn manager was the satisfaction at the end of each day when everything was done and the only sound in the barn was the happy sound of munching.

Latchford with Etch-a-Sketch. Photo courtesy of Siobhan Latchford.

The most overlooked part of horsemanship can be how big a role a good groom can play in a horse’s life and career. It’s getting better now with a lot more recognition of grooms, especially at the top level, but a good groom at any level is your horse’s best friend and knows if something is wrong before anyone else.

One of the most important tasks in maintaining the well-being of horses and ponies is routine, and then within that, making allowances for individual needs.

One thing that I did daily for each horse or pony, no matter what, is give them a treat and a pat on the neck.

On my days off you would find me running, and catching up on housework and laundry!

The key to time management is organization, closely followed by the ability to prioritize. You can’t always do everything every day so you have to have a grasp of what’s important and what can wait.

My favorite part of retirement is going for long walks without time constraints.

If I didn’t work with horses, I don’t know what I would have done! There was never really anything else I wanted to do.

One of the best pony names I’ve ever heard is Teddy Ruxpin.

My absolute favorite horse show is Jump for the Children Charity Horse Show in Raleigh to benefit Duke Children’s hospital. Apart from being our local venue, the hospitality is great and Joan Petty, who manages the show, makes everyone on the grounds feel welcome.

My motto is “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

My favorite horse show memory is Jetsetter being champion in the small ponies at Harrisburg with Georgina Bloomberg in 1993. And Centerfield (Bernie) winning the Pony Medal finals in Kentucky with Ada Catherine Hayes in 2017. Both ponies and kids were (and still are) huge favorites of mine!

What I miss most about working with ponies is the day-to-day interaction with the ponies. They have always been my friends and I miss that on a daily basis. And my donkey Patrick!

Latchford with donkey. Patrick. Photo courtesy of Siobhan Latchford.

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