Claylands Shetland Ponies - The History

Claylands Shetland Ponies - The History

The Claylands Stud (The name was derived from the Clay nature of the Lincolnshire Land where the stud was started and the name of the home of the Arden Family 1n 1968 "Claylands")

The first Shetlands that Mrs. Jeannette Arden, founder of the Claylands Stud, purchased were a group of 3 which she took pity on, as they needed to be re-homed. Their names were Lady, Nigger and Patch. Patch had obviously been trained as a circus pony; he would, on command walk up the field on his hind legs and roll over upon request. These ponies were unregistered but the wonderful nature of the little Shetland's won her heart and it wasn't long before she decided that she would like to get more involved and even perhaps show a suitable pony.

With husband Maurice at the ready with support they purchased their first 2 chestnut show ponies, these were Sysonby, bred by Mrs. V. Houghton (Minna). And this was the start of Jeannette's showing career.

Before long she developed a preference for the standard chestnut pony. This led to the purchase of the much-loved Barley Sugar who became the founder mare of the Claylands Stud. At this time Jeannette resolved to produce a chestnut pony as good as the wonderfully successful blacks which abounded at that time. Barley Sugar produced many wonderful ponies, among them Claylands Candy whom we own to this day at 29 years of age. Candy was the dam of Claylands Calypso, Clayands Crystal and Claylands Captain (now owned by Mrs. Sue Bearcroft), but to name a few of her approx 12/14 foals.

Candy was last shown at a Veteran Horse Qualifying round at Bishops Castle in 2004. She finished 2nd in a class of approx. 25 mixed small breeds. A super result!

He daughter Claylands Crystal needs no introduction, she is referred to in some quarters as "the famous Crystal", she still has her moments of success and at 18 years of age and is still producing wonderful foals.

Candy & Goldcrest's son Claylands Calypso, is still well remembered with many people recounting stories of him with pride "We rode the famous Calypso in the Shetland Grand National". So many jockeys must have outgrown him.

Jeannette Arden, founder of the Claylands Stud and beloved wife of Maurice tragically passed away in January 1998 after a short illness, but what a legacy she left to the Shetland World. It was her wish, that husband and chief supporter for so many years of showing, Maurice should if he was able, carry on with her work with the stud. This he did initially with the help of his brother Ken, who despite his own personal problems at the time, was only too willing to offer his practical help, and a steep leaning curve ensued. Maurice was eventually joined by Shirley Nadin, his partner who has been involved with ponies and donkeys for most of her life; this also involved a move from the stud's home in Lincolnshire to Staffordshire, on the southern edge of the Peak District.

Maurice has always been most grateful for the help and advice he received from friends and members of the society who also did their best to help him carry on showing. As a tribute to Jeannette's memory Maurice named the filly born 3 months after her untimely demise, Claylands Lady Jeannette. This pony is now owned by Allan and Alison Bromwich, who have had great success with her both in hand and under saddle, she is so like her dam, Claylands Candy and just as successful.

Jeannette is never forgotten either at home or in the showing world for her quiet dedication to her aim to produce a chestnut Shetland as good as a black, we truly believe that she did this.

A few Honours' and successes under Maurice and Shirley's guidance

Claylands Captain with his owner Sue Bearcroft had the great honour of being one of the two ponies to represent the SPSBS at the Queen mother's 100 Birthday parade in London and Sue was invited to meet the Queen mother at an evening reception. What a wonderful day that was, with Maurice and Shirley invited by Sue to join the parade as breeders. A day that shall not be forgotten.

Many, many championship wins with Claylands Crystal over the past 9 years, her foals also winning many major championships at County shows including the Royal and Breed Shows.

Senior Stallion Goldcrest of Drakelaw appeared in 2002, at the age of 24 years, at the Veteran Horse of the Year Final at Olympia where he finished 3rd after competing against 8 ridden thoroughbred's, finishing only 7 points out of a possible 200 behind the first placed horse. He also qualified for this final in 2006, possibly the only horse or pony to qualify for the final twice.

In 2005 his son Claylands Captain owned by Sue Bearcroft also qualified for this final and finished a very respectable 5th.

The prizes and championships won with Claylands ponies over the past 9 years are to0 numerous to mention to say nothing of the events that go back some 35 years to the birth of Claylands. It is all such a source of pleasure to Maurice and Shirley and the Arden family. Long may it continue.

A major achievement was the Success of the Young Stallion, Abbotsbury Zak who was Reserve Supreme Champion at the Miniature Horse of the Year Show 2007 held at Arena UK in October 2007. Among the wonderful prizes won by Zak was an exercise carriage. Zak had a very successful year, also being Coloured Champion at the Breed Show, and this result just put the icing on the cake.

Zak is a stallion with a beautiful nature, super to show, he loves being in the show ring, just as much as he loves contact with people. And to boot he is loved by his mares with whom he has never failed and is a real gentleman.

2004,2005,2006 saw him representing the SPSBS at Hoys in the Interactive Feature Area, where he was a great favourite. He was a wonderful ambassador for his breed; he never showed a moment of impatience with the general public even though he was on show for 14 hours a day. In fact he seemed to understand when the stable door opened to enable wheel chair users to have a closer look at him. On one occasion a severely handicapped youngster in a wheel chair was brought forward by her parents to interact with Zak and he just laid his head on the table of the wheelchair, the Childs parents then pushed her hands forward to enable her to touch his nose, and Zak was so gentle he seemed to know. On the other hand a sense of amusement was detected when a very distinguished gentleman in a wheelchair came face to face with Zak and the inquisitive pony decided to investigate the lever situated on the chair arm. This caused the gentleman to cavort around in his chair, much to the amusement of bystanders and the gentleman concerned, leaving Zak with the controls held aloft. Zak regularly gets messages and emails from his HOYS fan club and he also receives Christmas cards.

In 2009 Claylands was joined by Shannon Ferns. Shannon successfully showed the filly, Dabill of the Highlands and 2009 was another wonderful year for Claylands ponies.

We also note that Claylands Prince of Foxt (known as Percy to his friends) is featured on Christmas cards on sale by the society. Percy is now owned by Diane Verity of Bradford and DIane has shown him with great success this year.

2007/8/9 and 2010 were very successfull years for Claylands, winning many championships. Zak had a fantastic season in 2010, starting the season by winning the Senior at the Royal Windsor show and ending the season with the championship win at the Festival of the Horse at Stonleigh. Zak's 3 year old daughter was also reserve champion at the same show and his son Claylands Prince of Foxt aka Percy, won the stallion class at the Great Yorkshire Show. A lovely finish to the season was when Claylands Golden Finale won the National Shetland Champion (her half brother, also sired by Zak) won this title in 2009.

2011 has seen Zak Champion at the Staffordshire County Show at the beginning of the season and 2nd in the stallion with 2 progeny at the Breed Show, Claylands Golden Finale won the coloured filly class. Claylands Golden Finale finished 2nd in the yearling class at the Royal Highland show in July and her half sister Claylands Dabill of the Highlands finished 3rd in the mare class, both ponies are sired by Abbotsbury Zak.

Claylands Shetland Pony Stud comes to West Yorkshire

In 2005 when the Claylands Stud were at the Horse Of The Year Show at the NEC, representing the Shetland Pony Stud Book Society, among thousands of people who visited their stand, was the lovely Diane Verity of The Riding Habit, Queensbury, West Yorkshire. Diane bred part arabs but was much taken with Zak and thought he was beautiful. About 12 months later, Claylands Stud were contacted by Diane who enquired if they had a yearling colt for sale, there were two available at that time and she went and fell in love with Claylands Prince of Foxt, otherwise known as Percy. She wanted him as a companion for her yearling part bred arab Nimo. Diane took delivery of Percy and he proceeded to the win their hearts, so much so that they had Nimo gelded, kept Percy entire and decided to start their own Shetland Stud. The comment by their equine vet that he had never seen a more perfect Shetland, more than made their mind up.They have since, successfully bred foals by Percy.

In the Autumn of 2010, after deciding that Claylands Golden Finale would be the last foal for Maurice and Shirley, they decided to invite Diane and her partner Andy Birdsall to join the Claylands Stud as equal partners. It was a decision that Maurice and Shirley thought long and hard about and they decided that they could not find anyone more suitable than Diane and Andy, to continue the breeding of Shetland Ponies under the respected name of Claylands. They have the same ideals with the welfare and future happiness of the ponies being paramount. They truly believe in the Claylands motto which is

Their Future In Our Hands

One a note of great sadness, in 2010, beautiful Candy suffered ill health and at the beginning of August, the terrible decision was made to allow her to sleep peacefully. Also, in the spring of 2011, her daughter, the wonderfully successful Claylands Crystal became incurably ill at the age of 19 and had to be granted her peace.