Horse trainer Belinda Mair with her granddaughter Dolce Kelly and apprentice jockey Minonette Kennedy pictured with Shetland pony, Allen. The three-year-old pony was saved from death row but continues to surprise his new owners.
Horse trainer Belinda Mair with her granddaughter Dolce Kelly and apprentice jockey Minonette Kennedy pictured with Shetland pony, Allen. The three-year-old pony was saved from death row but continues to surprise his new owners. Patrick Woods

Death row to cult hero: The little pony making champions

THREE-year-old Allen was destined to be the brightest pony of the pack, but in an unfortunate turn of events found himself with a price on his head and shipping date on the books to the nearest meat-works.

Shunted by his previous owner, the little Shetland's date with death row was fast approaching until a Sunshine Coast couple took interest in the mini mare.

At first, all Mick and Belinda Mair saw was a wild, untamed pony that would take some time being broken in.

But Allen was hiding a secret talent they soon discovered would change the way they trained their horses.

"We fell in love with him straight away," Mrs Mair said.

"He was quite wild when we first got him, he had never been handled...but after a while he changed."

The pair initially bought the pony to help tame one of their naughtier horses, Mrs Mair said. But Allen had other plans.

"We took Allen to his first race on Sunday at Corbould Park and Barney, one of our horses, won," she said.

"It was his second win."

Allen and Barney were fast friends and the pair sleep side-by-side. Sometimes Allen likes to dress up in Barney's race gear.

"They are now inseparable," Mrs Mair laughed.

"There's something about Allen that just comes down the other horses.

"We have this other horse who we have never been able to get a saddle on.

"For the first time, thanks to Allen she let us dress her. He's our tiny little good luck charm."

Mrs Mair said she want to house a barn full of mini ponies, but wasn't sure her husband would approve.

"They really are amazing things, Allen has learnt so fast and is a good influence on the horses we train," she said.

"He is our little angel."

The pair are training Allen so their one-year-old granddaughter, Dolce, can ride him.


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