Mapleshade Baccarat

Breed: Half Welsh
Age: 1997
Height: 13.3 HH
Breeder: Betsy Best
Owner: Gale Salter
Breeding: Cymraeg Rain Beau x Clear As Crystal

I would like to start off by thanking the Witteveens' for continuing the tradition of the "Gold Whip" for Tri County Carriage Association. 2007 marks the third year for this wonderful award that is kindly donated by the Witteveen family and awarded to the annual high point driver at the Tri County shows.

I am sure that although most members of the association know which driver won the award, they may not be aware that one pony has assisted the winners of the past three years. His name is "Mapleshade Baccarat", otherwise known as "Rosco" or "the Rat" depending on which side of the stall he woke on.

We purchased Rosco from Betsy Best of Southern Pines, North Carolina from a video she sent of him. My mother was in the hospital at the time and we could not go to see the pony in the flesh but after many phone calls we decided he was what we were looking for. Rosco was shipped up after all the paperwork was complete and when the IHT van dropped the ramp at our farm I asked the driver where the other 2 inches of my pony was!! It seems that the sellers' 14.1 hands and my new 13.3 hands pony are the same size! Needless to say, I don't recommend buying ponies unless you can go measure them yourself.

Although I was initially disappointed that he was smaller than I wanted, he quickly became a farm favorite with his hot-shot antics and quirky character.

It was a cold and rainy day at the 2004 Tri County show and we learned that Rosco doesn't like getting wet. Despite this discovery, we went on the have a nice dressage test and a good trip around the cross country course. I had been working hard on improving my cones driving and we had our first clear round together. I quickly learned that this pony loves cones, and during our time together we had many clear rounds.

Rosco and I won the inaugural Gold Whip award in 2004 which was a huge thrill for me and I was honoured to receive the lovely pin.

In 2005, Rosco assisted Vicki Cork in winning the second gold pin. Vicki had coached me at the major driving shows during the year and did not have a horse to drive at the fall show. She had won the Spring show at Valen's with Gale Salter's Morgan gelding, Meddo's Morris Pride but he was not fit enough to compete at Witteveens. I was very proud when Vicki and Rosco won the fall show with my friend and neighbour, Lorna Mantle as navigator.

In January 2006, Gale Salter purchased Rosco from me to compete at the pleasure driving shows. I was thrilled to know that he would be staying in the area as he went to live at Vicki's barn and I was glad to know he would have a wonderful home there. I was sad to let him go but was giddy at the thought of not having to be in the wash rack at the crack of dawn to scrub his white coat before every show.

I was pleased to learn that Rosco has won another Gold Whip as he and Vicki were the high point turnout for 2006.

Mapleshade Baccart is a special pony that is very competitive at whatever driving show he attends and always draws a crowd with his gleaming coat and look at me attitude. I am sure he will back at the Tri County shows in 2007 trying his best to help win another Gold Whip.

By Jane Southgate
First printed in the Ontario Driving Newsletter

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