School Ponies

from Waler Data Base @ FaceBook. Image: A Prize Pony. Argus, 25th November 1922

Here are a few old newspaper photos of school ponies in Gippsland, Victoria.

“School Ponies” was a popular class at shows, but ponies were also used for simply going to and from school.

Images left to right: Eileen Olsen and Larchie Gooch (1st prize School Pony). Weekly Times, 15th March 1930, Warragul Agricultural Show (Looks like a Timor Pony.)

Jack Kenney first prize, and Connie Sheehan 2nd prize, School Pony. Weekly Times, 15th December 1928, Trafalgar Agricultural Show

Showing Before the Judge. Weekly Times 15th December 1928, Trafalgar Agricultural Show

Images left to right: School Ponies. Weekly Times, 20th December, 1930, Trafalgar show

Weekly Times, 8th March, 1950

Weekly Times 3rd April 1926, Yarram Show.

Images left to right: The Age, 26th November, 1933

How they go to and from school in the country… The Australasian, 9th May, 1914, Toora state school

Uralla Show, The Land, 8th March, 1935
Uralla Show, The Land, 8th March, 1935

In this post about school ponies in Gippsland, Elaine and Fay saw a photo of their Grandad’s pony with their three aunties as children aboard. It had won. The image is the feature image for this post.

Looked in archives and found a few more photos for them. Great to see – Owen Martin was certainly an excellent horseman and even more exciting, breeding the sorts that sold as Walers.

He won “Best stallion to get Remounts” class a few times and importantly “Best mare Calculated to get Remounts” classes too for example at Leongatha show in 1916 (his Flying Star also won the Roadster class at this show). Roadsters had no studbook organisation and were a mixed breed themselves, often with Welsh Cob and Cleveland ancestry and a touch of TB as it was then. Some were developed into the Hackney.

Flying Star, his Roadster stallion, always gained high praise. He was black, with good bone. He won reserve in 1911 and champion at Melbourne Royal in 1913, 1914, 1915 and 1916.

Images: This illustration shows Flying Star which was awarded the main championship in the roadster class at the Melbourne show. Flying Star is owned by Mr Owen martin of Leongatha. He is a black horse by Emulator. Weekly Times, 14th October 1916

Mr Owen Martin’s Maori Queen. Table Talk, 27th November, 1923

Owen also won pony high jumping with his 14hh pony mare Maori Queen (pony jumping classes were in height divisions up to 14.2hh yes, we call that a galloway these days). These high jump classes were very keenly contested and attracted giant crowds. Prize money was huge. At this show such famous jumpers as Thumbs Up competed. Martin’s pony was top class.

In 1914 his aged jumping horse Sandy – well known on the jumps circuit – broke the Australian high jump record – clearing 7 feet 2 and a half inches! (7′ 2 and 3/8″ also given as the height). Sandy was 20 years old. Sandy was used for hacking, stock work and ploughing at home. In 1913 he’d also broken a record at Euroa. Can’t find a photo of Sandy – anyone who’d like to share one in comments, most welcomed thank you.

He also won tandem jumping – very skilled – and his Roadster stallions won many prizes including at Melbourne Royal and several other shows including Traralgon, Euroa, Leongatha. Roadsters were an important influence in the creation of the Waler (or Australian horse as some may prefer to understand it). He won hunter classes many times. Members of the family at the same shows won buggy pairs, school ponies, girl rider and other classes.

Mr Owen Martin’s tandem pair, Jimmy and Royal Prince. Australasian, 3rd October 1914

In 1913 Owen Martin’s veteran jumper named Sandy was written about – aged 19 he was still clearing the high jumps at Melbourne Royal.

His cob named Lancer won Gentleman’s Cob in 1918 at Melbourne Royal, at the same show winning “Mare or Gelding under 15.3 hh driven in a buggy in tandem” class.

Obviously Owen had been breeding and competing good horses over many years.

We are always interested to hear about horses captured in the Snowy Mountains region so we can check DNA/photos and history for possible recording on our website.

Posted by Enoch Waler

Waler gelding purpose bred to help educate and advocate for Walers, in person and via Facebook and Instagram.