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The American Shetland Pony Club Salutes Hong Kong for Hosting the 2008 Equestrian Olympics

Morton, IL- In a gesture of goodwill, the American Shetland Pony Club is sending a gift of two American Shetland Ponies to the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation to salute their efforts in hosting the 2008 Equestrian Olympics. The two Shetland riding ponies are currently in quarantine in Lexington, Kentucky awaiting their flight to Hong Kong scheduled for June 6th. The two show ponies will fly from Chicago to Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Equestrian Federation (HKEF) will host a special presentation ceremony on July 10th in Hong Kong to receive the ponies.

Established in 1888, the American Shetland Pony Club (ASPC) is one of the oldest breed registries in the United States. When ASPC Marketing Director, Johnny Robb, read about the efforts that the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation and the Hong Kong Jockey Club put forth to host the 2008 Olympics, she was moved. “In these unsettled times, it was exciting to see one country put forth such energy and resources for an effort that will unite equestrians worldwide”, said Robb, “It is an example of the true spirit of the Olympic games”.

Robb also read that there were only a few ponies in Hong Kong imported by the local riding schools to be used as school ponies as well as 6 mini ponies reportedly left by a Russian circus. “Our Shetland Ponies have truly been a part of the fabric of American life. I thought it would be so special if we could thank the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation by sending a gift of two of our ponies”, said Robb. Robb rallied the support of the ASPC Board of Directors. Robb’s friend, Lily Zilo is a Chinese American Dressage rider vying to ride for Hong Kong in the 2008 Olympics. Mrs. Zilo introduced Robb to her contacts at the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation. Next, Robb and ASPC Director of Operations, Zona Schneider, met with HKEF Vice President, Mr. Edwin McAuley while he was visiting the United States. Mr. McAuley liked the idea and discussed the idea with members of the HKEF upon his return to Hong Kong.

Mr. Simon Ip, President of the HKEF, gave the green light to receive the ponies in Hong Kong. Mr. Soenke Lauterbach, Secretary of the HKEF, became the liaison to the project and things began to proceed quickly. The ASPC purchased two very special Shetland Ponies. One National Champion riding and driving pony, FMF Imagination was purchased from Brenda Basham and Jason Prince of Excalibur Training Stable in Illinois. FMF Imagination’s holds dual registrations. Along with being a registered American Shetland Pony, his unique color pattern qualifies him for registration with the Pinto Horse Association of America (PtHA), an organization that accepts spotted equines from a wide variety of breeds. The second American Shetland Pony heading to Hong Kong is PC’s Karmel Kid, who is trained in the Olympic discipline of Dressage and was purchased from Ingram Training Stable in Florida.

With the help of International Racehorse Transport’s Simone Glennie, the flight to Hong Kong was arranged. The two ponies will fly from Chicago on June 6th. They will have several weeks to adjust to their new home prior to their presentation ceremony on July 10th in Hong Kong.

The American Shetland Pony Club is proud to honor Hong Kong’s efforts to host the Olympics, but a campaign of this magnitude takes a village. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the National Governing Body for US Equestrian Sports, gave their full support to the ASPC’s tribute to Hong Kong. “The American Shetland Pony Club is a recognized breed with USEF,” said Robb, “The USEF’s support of this effort is just another display of their commitment to support their members and the global equestrian community.”

Along with USEF and the PtHA , several other organizations joined in to support the ASPC’s effort. Ozark Mountain Mini Tack pitched in to supply saddles, bridles and accessories for the ponies. “We were uncertain if there would be tack and equipment small enough to fit the ponies in Hong Kong”, said Schneider, “We are grateful to Ozark Mountain for ensuring the riders in Hong Kong will have everything they need to enjoy these fine ponies.”

The WF Young Corporation supplied Absorbine Show Sheen® and grooming products for the ponies and Freedom Health supplied the ponies with Succeed® a digestive aid, during quarantine and for their transition period in Hong Kong.

“Thanks to the vision of the American Shetland Pony Club and these fine companies we are able to share our wonderful American Shetland Ponies with the riders in Hong Kong,” said Robb, “We are looking forward to July 10th when we can salute our fellow equestrians in Hong Kong and play a small role in honoring their Olympic effort.” Visit http://www.shetlandminiature.com to learn more.


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