Horse of the Week
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Welsh PonyNapoleon's Royal Mirage (Nappy) is a black, 13.2 hh, 14 year old registered Welsh Pony with a big heart and big doe eyes. He is owned by Sandi Birkland and lives at Spruce Lane Farm in Orillia, Ontario.

Here is Nappy's story as told by Sandi:

"Nappy is very happy, but 3 years ago this wasn't the case. Nappy was severely foundered, his feet were like elves' shoes and the veterinarian suggested he should be put down.

Kate Romaneko, a barefoot specialist at wanted a chance to save this adorable good natured pony. So she started a rehabilitation program for Nappy. During his rehab, a 6 year old girl and her mother had a chance to lease him and fell in love with him. It took 1 1/2 years for them to convince Kate to sell them this sweet, honest pony.

The deal came with very strict instructions (Nappy had worked his way into Kate's heart too). Nappy had to continue his program with the bare foot trimming and had to be allowed to be a natural horse 24 hours a day 7 days a week! The new owners quickly agreed to these easy requests that Kate set out. After all, their other two horses Jack and Baylee were already natural horses.

Thanks to Kate and the natural care that Nappy's owner - 8 year old Breanna - offers him, he has a new lease on life!! In turn Nappy has given several people a new lease on their riding passion by being an honest, easy going, reliable mount. His quiet, good natured demeanor has this calming effect that allows people to gain confidence in their riding ability.

Pony and his girlNappy is so laid back that sometimes during a lesson with Breanna or during a natural horsemanship clinic he would live up to his name and take a little nap. When it comes to feeding Nappy he is your typical pony but with manners. Oh yes, Nappy is very modest because he doesn't like his picture taken but didn't seem to mind posing for his photo shoot.

Nappy surprised us one day in February this year as Breanna was riding him outside. There were some poles exposed and Breanna asked her mother if she could jump them. So her mother set them up in an X shape 4 inches off the ground figuring Nappy would give a little less than energetic hop over them. So mom stepped back and watched her daughter and her safe little steed go for it, well go for it Nappy did!!!!! He leapt into a canter (which we didn't even know he was capable of) and jump this thing like it was 3 feet high. Mom was shocked and Breanna was giggling as she came half out of the saddle but managed to stay on. Mom suggested right there it was time for lessons for the two of them and spoke to Katherine and they started immediately.

Nappy has found himself a home with Breanna until the day comes when he passes on to the real horsey heaven. Until then this is Nappy's heaven on earth."

Congratulations to Nappy for being our May 4th, 2009 'Horse of the Week'!

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