Small but Mighty


By Dale Downs

A cremello, gaited, grade pony was born in Midland, Michigan. Bought before he was three years old by Dr. Dawn Wietfeldt, whose plans to break him for buggy changed when children began to ride, jump, and show him.  He was named Powder, after a film about an albino boy with special powers, and the children chose Marzipan as his show name.

The white pony with black spots on his pink skin and one blue eye wore his name well.  Powder was noticed and admired by many.  He was quite a show pony.  In the arena, he was excited and energized by being with other horses, and always took care of his rider.

Powder endured and overcame injuries, including a tear to the left hip, and being broadsided by another horse, resulting in the rider being thrown and causing lameness in Powder’s right shoulder. He was off for six months receiving holistic, acupuncture, and chiropractic treatment.

After moving to Kentucky, children continued working with Powder, jumping and showing him.

Always loving horses and dreaming of owning my own, at the age of 58, I bought a 7-year-old, 15 hand Quarter Horse named Elijah Bleu (Eli), and began taking lessons with hopes to show. I suffered injuries to both hands while unloading Eli and was unable to work as a hairstylist for six weeks.  Unfortunately, during this time, Eli fell lame due to equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM).  

Still wanting to continue riding, I was introduced to Powder in 2015.  I preferred small horses, but this 13.2 hand pony was not quite what I expected.  Powder was, in fact, special.  This white, gaited, western-broke pony had become a hunter jumper, walk-trot-canter pony, and was now on his way to becoming a dressage pony extraordinaire.  

Having a fear of men and always difficult to catch, he became quite the escape artist, even escaping his stall at the Kentucky Horse Park.  He is definitely a one person horse, and we have developed a trusting bond.  We can go anywhere alone.

Powder and I began dressage lessons, schooling shows, and a few hunter paces (one of our favorite things).  In 2019, beginning with dressage instructor/trainer, Carrie Harnden, we worked hard and Powder gave his all.  In 2022, seven years into riding dressage, myself, 67, and Powder, 21, encouraged by Carrie and with the support of others, we did our first Kentucky Dressage Association (KDA) competitions at the Kentucky Horse Park, and Ole South in Central Tennessee, earning a Rider Performance Award at Training Level.  Showing at the Kentucky Horse Park and receiving this award was beyond my dreams of just being a part of all this.  Some comments from judges that we have received are, “Compatible pair, nicely matched, talented horse.” And my favorite, “Small but mighty.”

I could have never achieved this if not for the support and patience of family, friends, and coaches.  I would like to thank Carrie Harnden for believing in, and never giving up on, us.  Also, appreciation to Dawn, owner of Powder, who has devoted her life to caring for horses and giving them a second chance, including her involvement in the Lipizzan Rescue.  A special thank you for allowing me to love, care for, and ride this white, smart, beautiful, and yes, “small but mighty” pony, Powder.

Powder and I plan to do lessons and clinics this fall and winter. We will continue in the spring doing Training Level in hopes of starting First Level, and who knows, maybe jumping. 

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