Louise E. Hol­ly­day II

An ac­com­plished horse­woman who was the founder of Ponies for Chil­dren, which taught how to care for an­i­mals

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - OBITUARIES - By Fred­er­ick N. Ras­mussen

Louise E. Hol­ly­day II, an ac­com­plished horse­woman who was the founder of Ponies for Chil­dren, which taught how to care for the an­i­mals, died May 10 from mul­ti­ple melanoma at Spir­iTrust Lutheran at the Vil­lage of Shrews­bury in Shrews­bury, Pa.

The for­mer Hamp­stead res­i­dent was 92. Louise Este Hol­ly­day II, who used “II” at the end of her name to honor a rel­a­tive she was named af­ter, was the daugh­ter of Guy Til­gh­man Orme Hol­ly­day, pres­i­dent of Ti­tle Guar­an­tee and Trust Co. and head of the Fed­eral Hous­ing Author­ity un­der Pres­i­dent Dwight D. Eisen­hower, and his wife, Louise Este Fisher Hol­ly­day, a home­maker, was born in Bal­ti­more and raised in Tow­son and later on the fam­ily farm in Sparks.

Miss Hol­ly­day at­tended Roland Park Coun­try School and later trans­ferred to the War­ren­ton Coun­try School in War­ren­ton, Va., where she spent her se­nior year and from which she grad­u­ated in 1946.

“Rid­ing was part of the reg­u­lar cur­ricu­lum for a year,” said her friend of more than 40 years, Betsy S. Wil­gis of Tow­son. “The rid­ing in­struc­tor could not cope with the young stu­dents and Louise was asked to take over for the bal­ance of the year and found she loved teach­ing the young ones.”

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from War­ren­ton Coun­try School, Miss Hol­ly­day trav­eled to Som­er­set, Eng­land, where she stud­ied rid­ing and man­age­ment of horses for sev­eral months.

She re­turned to Bal­ti­more and worked along­side two vet­eri­nar­i­ans while ex­er­cis­ing thor­ough­breds at area race­tracks on win­ter morn­ings.

In 1957, Miss Hol­ly­day es­tab­lished Ponies for Chil­dren Inc., which taught boys and girls the proper way to ride and care for ponies.

“Cut­ting cor­ners was not al­lowed,” Mrs. Wil­gis wrote in a bi­o­graph­i­cal pro­file of her friend. “Ev­ery­thing was geared to how to treat the an­i­mals and how to be a bet­ter hu­man as well as how to treat oth­ers.”

Sharon Louise Flem­ing, for­merly of Hamp­stead, was 7 years old when she be­gan tak­ing rid­ing lessons with Miss Hol­ly­day nearly 50 years ago at her Sparks farm.

“She was very strict and took no non­sense and made sure you were do­ing ev­ery­thing the cor­rect way. She loved her stu­dents and what she did,” said Ms. Flem­ing, who now lives in Fort Laud­erdale, Fla. “Af­ter a les­son, we’d stay on her farm and help with chores, and we would go to horse shows with her.”

Pam Flem­ing, who is Miss Hol­ly­day’s sis­ter-in-law, is a res­i­dent of Ham­p­den’s Stone Hill neigh­bor­hood.

“She was a very friendly and out­go­ing per­son and her stu­dents were very im­por­tant to her,” Ms. Flem­ing said. “She de­vel­oped close re­la­tion­ships with them. They still would visit and write to her. They stayed in touch with her.”

While Miss Hol­ly­day ex­uded a wel­com­ing de­meanor, she also main­tained an in­de­pen­dent spirit.

“She was a very, very in­de­pen­dent per­son, and I think that started when she was quite young,” Ms. Flem­ing said. “Her life was work­ing with horses, and she liked be­ing free of any­one else’s ideas or re­stric­tions. She liked do­ing things her way.”

Ms. Flem­ing said while her sis­ter-in-law dressed like a tomboy when work­ing, she “liked get­ting dressed up and had quite the fem­i­nine touch.”

“She was a true force who lived a very in­de­pen­dent life with her beloved ponies and a dog al­ways by her side, to­gether with a num­ber of young chil­dren in tow teach­ing them about how to be good rid­ers, how to take care of ponies, and lessons about life,” Mrs. Wil­gis wrote.

“She had a great sense of hu­mor and a keen mind that strived to per­pet­u­ate the good­ness in peo­ple but with a dose of re­al­ity,” she wrote.

In 1991, she moved from the fam­ily farm to one on Beck­leysville Road in Hamp­stead, where she con­tin­ued her teach­ing and breed­ing Welsh ponies.

Miss Hol­ly­day was a mem­ber of the Welsh Pony and Cob So­ci­ety of Amer­ica and was a founder of the Mary­land Pony Breeder’s As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica.

In 2005, she was named Mary­land Horse Per­son of the Year by the Mary­land Horse Coun­cil in a cer­e­mony held at Lau­rel Park in recognitio­n for her hav­ing spent 59 years teach­ing chil­dren ba­sic horse­man­ship.

“She was a leg­endary lady in the large lo­cal horse world,” Mrs. Wil­gis said.

Miss Hol­ly­day re­tired from teach­ing in 2010 and moved the next year to the assisted-liv­ing fa­cil­ity in Shrews­bury.

She en­joyed trav­el­ing and vis­it­ing Walt Dis­ney World in Or­lando, Fla. She was also a rail­road fan and liked to ride steam­pow­ered trains, Ms. Flem­ing said.

A memo­rial ser­vice for Miss Hol­ly­day will be held at 2 p.m. June 14 at St. Ge­orge’s Epis­co­pal Church, 2434 Cape Horn Road, Hamp­stead.

In ad­di­tion to her sis­ter-in-law, she is sur­vived by her brother, Guy Til­gh­man Hol­ly­day of Ham­p­den; and many nieces and neph­ews.

Louise Hol­ly­day spent 59 years teach­ing chil­dren ba­sic horse­man­ship.

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