2017 Miniature Horse World July E-Magazine - Page 26

Arenosa was one woman's dream- to have very beautiful and very gentle small equines for children. Audrey wanted ponies that were just as beautiful and useful as any large breed of horse. That dream was realized - and so much more, producing some of the finest small show horses ever.

Nothing is forever, but as I advance in age, my memories of Arenosa, Audrey, Doc and Nancy Barrett, and the happy times with them, remain crystal clear. I knew the Barretts and the Arenosa ponies years before Miniatures became popular, having first met them in 1968 and seeing the horses at their home in Victoria, Texas. Theirs was a nice, comfortable house with only a small bit of land. Originally, it was on the outskirts of town, but then the town then grew up around them. Most of the ponies were kept in pastures far from home. One pasture, in particular, the J 2 Ranch, was a huge and wild place, the small equines living like Mustangs in the gulf coast brush with coyotes, wolves and all the wild things of the area. I can remember the excitement of driving out on hundreds of acres, blowing the horn to try and find them. And then they would come running, a blur of red and white with manes and tails flying, a sight to behold.

Audrey loved children, and although she had only one daughter, Nancy, her home, and the ponies were like a magnet and children were always there in abundance. I remember her telling me about a little girl whose pony had just died and they came to Audrey for a replacement on her birthday. Audrey said, “Honey go out back and pick out a pony.” Of course, it was a gift, and there were many other gift horses over the years.

Audrey did much in the early days to introduce Texans to ponies. Her flag color guard of children on Shetlands was in all the local parades and affairs, even the huge Cotton Bowl parade in Dallas.

I myself have been a Welsh Pony owner/breeder for 53 years and an equine judge for over 40 years. I was very taken with the Arenosa unique type. In 1988, I judged both the AMHA and the R National Show. And I never saw their equal. Audrey believed in the highest standards for ponies and culled ruthlessly, giving many away that were not up to her standards. She also inbred to set the type for many generations.

Audrey held small shows for the ‘Arenosa people’ in the area who had her ponies and I had judged many of those. Sometimes they were at the local fair grounds and sometimes in her yard, but the quality I saw was always astounding. I became captivated and wanted my own Arenosa pony - just one, you understand. When I went to pick up my precious Rosita filly, Audrey shoved a rag-tag, moth-eaten, little yearling colt into my trailer. I said, “I don’t want that one!” she said, “Oh yes, you are going to take Paposo too.” That was my beginning with Arenosa / Bristol Shetlands. Those horses won big, and their descendants continue to win World Championships to this day.

MY ARENOSA MEMORIES

by Cherry Wilson,

Bristol Pony Farm, New Ulm, Texas