Where Are They Now? featuring Woodlands Love-n-Happiness

Woodlands Love-n-Happiness and Katelyn McCormick. Photo by C.A. Pinard Photography.

BY Emma Gosselin

A good pony is worth their weight in gold, and then some. We trust our ponies to cart around the tiniest riders, show riders how to ride through pony shenanigans, and even teach students the ropes in the show ring.

Woodlands Love-n-Happiness, a 1996 Welsh Pony mare, was just that- a teacher and showstopper- and is now living out her retirement in New Hampshire.

Woodlands Love-n-Happiness, known around the barn as “Annie”, was bred by Woodland’s Ponies in 1996. This gray mare, partnered with Victoria Birdsall, began competing in 2002 in Ocala. During her first show season, Woodlands Love-n-Happiness boasted several top 10 finishes in the Children’s Hunter Pony classes. Birdsall and Annie continued to be a successful duo, traveling around the country and placing above much of their competition. 

Every pony kid’s dream is to compete at the USEF Pony Finals, and Birdsall and Woodlands Love-n-Happiness did just that. The duo competed in the Small/Medium Green Hunters at the USEF Pony Finals in 2003, placing 7th in the model and 3rd in the under saddle out of 122 entries. In 2004, the pair returned to Pony Finals, where Woodlands Love-n-Happiness was 1st in the Medium model, 5th over fences, and 10th under saddle, placing second overall. Woodlands Love-n-Happiness and Birdsall were also the recipients of the 2004 Virginia Pony Breeders Trophy that is awarded to the high score Virginia bred pony annually. 

Woodlands Love-n-Happiness and Victoria Birdsall (Right), winning the Virigina Pony Breeders Perpetual Trophy. Photo courtesy of the Birdsall Family.

In 2005, with a new rider in the irons, Woodlands Love-n-Happiness continued her hot streak in the Medium Pony Hunters, earning high placings at Devon and Lake Placid, among other venues, before returning to Pony Finals. With Taylor Land in the tack, Woodlands Love-n-Happiness claimed 2nd in the model, 6th under saddle, and 10th overall out of 107 ponies. 

In 2007, Lillie Keenan took over the reins, having many top 3 finishes with the pony mare.

The McCormick’s, a family from southern New Hampshire, later bought Woodlands Love-n-Happiness. She gave their daughter, Katelyn McCormick, the opportunity to start her show career.

Woodlands Love-n-Happiness and Katelyn McCormick. Photo courtesy of the McCormick family.

“She’s still the most beautiful mover!,” says Kristen McCormick, Annie’s owner. “She’s very well loved and adored here.”

Woodlands Love-n-Happiness is now 27 years old and retired with the McCormick’s.

If you know of a pony who was once a superstar in the pony ring and now has a new job title, whether Short Stirrup King or Retirement Queen, send us an email!