Sharing the Welsh Mountain Pony Magic at our farm’s Open Barn
There are many ways to promote the Welsh Mountain Pony but I think the best is to get the ponies in front of people and let them work their magic so we decided to have an Open Barn on our farm in June, 2016.
I was trying to think of some ideas to make the day special when I received a video of a farm tour at the Verdrefawr Welsh Mountain Pony Farm held in the 1990s from Helen Bandy. The day had a definite Welsh style stamped on it and I thought I would base our open barn on their event. It looked like fun and I enjoying trying new things.
Of course, there had to be tea, which is something I especially enjoy so I started planning. Helen sent me several recipes of how to make Welsh Tea Cakes and I picked the easiest, as this was my first try, and they turned out great. Very tasty. I bought some Lemon Curd and Raspberry Preserves to go with them. I also decided to have some pony iced sugar cookies made. Our barn helper’s mom is a fabulous baker and she made them very special. All of my ponies were creamy white with string icing for the manes and tails. They were beautiful. I intended to take some close up pictures of them after the event but they somehow disappeared before I could snap them. The British refer to them as biscuits.
We set tables and chairs with various tablecloths I already had and glass bottles filled with flowers. We set up a pop up canopy at the end of our front sidewalk and covered two tables set up in an L shape with cloths for food and drinks. I set out an English tea service that I had, as I collect English tea cups, for decoration mostly as no one wanted hot tea on such a hot day.
We had a parade of ponies during the tea. People were seated on the lawn comfortably and three handlers brought ponies out one at a time and we told about each pony. Our ponies are very gentle so we brought them through and people were able to meet them and give them pets which the ponies loved. We had a young man, about eleven, Scotty, and a good friend and pony handler, Rochelle who helped Rod with the ponies. Scotty was able to lead ponies and handle them with ease.
After the pony presentation everyone then went through the barn meeting the ponies who were not in the parade. The ponies all had their heads hung over their doors enjoying the pets from little and big hands. We decided not to drive a pony during the event as we were so busy but invited anyone to come back at another time and we would drive for them.
I bought a microphone and amplifier for $39. that you can snap to your belt. It really works well outside for up to 30 feet easily.
I made a 5 x 7 card with our mare’s picture on the front and the order and description of the ponies we had in our ‘parade’ on the back to give to people. It also had our website address on it. We did not have any ponies for sale. The event was for breed promotion and we tried to educate people during the parade about the history and use of the pony through the centuries. It was a fun event for us and now 20 people know a lot more about the Welsh Mountain Ponies.
Recipe for Welsh Tea Cakes
· 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour OR 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour*
· 1 cup granulated sugar
· 2 teaspoons baking powder
· 1/4 to 3/4 teaspoon salt**
· 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
· 1 cup cold butter**, cut into pats or diced
· 3/4 to 1 cup currants
· 2 large eggs beaten with enough milk to yield 3/4 cup liquid
· **Use 1/4 teaspoon salt if you use salted butter; 3/4 teaspoon if you use unsalted butter.
· *See "tips," below.
1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
2. Work in the butter until the mixture is fairly evenly crumbly; a few larger pieces of butter can remain.
3. Mix in the currants.
4. Add the milk/egg mixture, mixing until the everything is moistened.
5. Turn the sticky dough out onto a well-floured work surface, and divide it in half. Shape each half into a thick, 4" to 5" disc. Cover one of the discs with plastic, and refrigerate. Leave the other on the floured work surface.
6. Roll the soft dough into a 9 1/2" circle; it should be about 1/4" thick. Be sure to lift up the dough and flour underneath it as you roll, so it doesn't stick.
7. Using a 2 1/2" to 3 1/2" biscuit or other round cutter, cut the dough into circles. Gather and re-roll the scraps, cutting until you've used all the dough.
8. Heat an ungreased skillet over low-medium heat; an electric frying pan or skillet, set at 325�F, works well here.
9. Fry the cakes for about 2 1/2 minutes on each side, until they're golden brown and cooked all the way through. It's best to fry one sample cake first, to see if your pan is the right temperature.
10. Transfer the fried cakes to a rack to cool.
11. Repeat with the refrigerated dough. Cut the circles, then let them warm at room temperature for about 10 minutes before frying.
12. Dust the finished cakes with cinnamon-sugar or superfine (castor) sugar; or split them, butter, and spread with jam. A pot of tea is the perfect accompaniment.
13. Yield: about 2 dozen 2 3/4" cakes.
· If you use self-rising flour, omit the baking powder and salt in the recipe.
Fortunately we had a breeze as it was a hot day. Grateful for friends who helped show ponies and keep tea and biscuit table.
This page in the future will include stories about ponies who have passed on to their greener pastures. If you have a special one, please send the story with a picture or two. Also we will have conformation information, breeding articles, resources, etc. of interest to breeders. At least one new article will be posted each month. If you have an article of interest please share with us! We are open to suggestions.