Lit­tle pony’s se­cret skill

Chang­ing the way horses train

Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - NEWS - Sarah Barn­ham Sarah.Barn­ham@sc­news.com.au

THREE-year-old Allen was des­tined to be the bright­est pony of the pack but, in an un­for­tu­nate turn of events, found him­self with a price on his head and a ship­ping date on the books to the near­est meat­works.

Shunned by his pre­vi­ous owner, the lit­tle shet­land’s date with death row was fast ap­proach­ing un­til a Sun­shine Coast cou­ple took in­ter­est in the mini horse.

At first, all Mick and Belinda Mair saw was a wild, un­tamed pony that would take some time to be bro­ken in.

But Allen was hid­ing a se­cret tal­ent they soon dis­cov­ered would change the way they trained their horses.

“We fell in love with him straight away,” Mrs Mair said.

“He was quite wild when we first got him, he had never been han­dled ... but af­ter a while he changed.”

The pair ini­tially bought the pony to help tame one of their naugh­tier horses, Mrs Mair said. But Allen had other plans.

“We took Allen to his first race on Sun­day at Cor­bould Park and Bar­ney, one of our horses, won,” she said.

“It was his sec­ond win.” Allen and Bar­ney be­came fast friends and the pair sleep side by side. Some­times Allen likes to dress up in Bar­ney’s race gear.

“They are now in­sep­a­ra­ble,” Mrs Mair said with a laugh.

“There’s some­thing about Allen that just comes down to the other horses.

“We have this other horse who we have never been able to get a sad­dle on.

“For the first time, thanks to Allen, she let us dress her. He’s our tiny lit­tle good luck charm.”

Mrs Mair said she wanted to house a barn full of mini ponies but wasn’t sure her hus­band would ap­prove.

“They re­ally are amaz­ing things. Allen has learnt so fast, we are al­ready mouthing him af­ter just 11 days of train­ing. He is a good in­flu­ence on the horses we train,” she said.

“He is our lit­tle an­gel.” The pair is train­ing Allen so their one-year-old grand­daugh­ter, Dolce, can ride him.

There’s some­thing about Allen that just comes down to the other horses — Belinda Mair

PHOTO: PA­TRICK WOODS

HID­DEN TAL­ENT: Horse trainer Belinda Mair’sgrand­daugh­ter, Dolce Kelly, with shet­land pony, Allen. The three-year-old pony was saved from death row but con­tin­ues to sur­prise his new own­ers.

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