For the past decade, show jumping spectators in Western Canada have been watching a once in a lifetime pony in the local jumper rings. Born in 1995, standing 14 1/4hh, the Canadian Connemara pony Jewel (Bally’s Friar Tuck x Sea Me Two) has enjoyed a storied career with unprecedented success.
Between 2008 and 2016, the grey pony dominated the jumper divisions in Western Canada—from two-time Canadian Pony Jumper Champion to 1.20m Alberta Champion to being the media darling at Spruce Meadows as the first pony to compete in the International Ring against the horses with a fifth place finish on national television.
Jewel spent most of her career competing against horses. In a seven-year period, she won 43 championships of the 55 shows she attended. In 275 classes, she had an astounding 211 victories. That is a 77% winning percentage! She competed up to the 1.20m level at Spruce Meadows and at other world class facilities such as Thunderbird Show Park and Rocky Mountain Show Jumping.
Jay Duke: What is your favorite memory of Jewel?
Karter: In 2009, my five-year-old sister did up her noseband way too loose and we went too fast in the jump off and flipped. I had to go in the ambulance and then we went to Subway for a meatball sub, which I spilled on my white breeches. Upon returning to the show I learned that I still won the class because nobody else qualified for the jump off and I had to take my championship picture with a meatball sub stain on my pants.
Halle: Trail riding, Jewel loves it.
JD: What is Jewel’s favorite treat?
Halle: Strawberry yogurt chewy bars and Welch’s fruit snacks.
JD: What International Grand Prix horse is Jewel most similar to?
Karter: Hickstead, she never has a rail and she always wins.
JD: What is your biggest victory?
Karter: Placing 5th in the International Ring at Spruce Meadows in the Double Slalom against the horses and making the front page of the Calgary newspapers.
Halle: Jewel only likes leading the victory gallop, she pins her ears and tries to get to the front if she is not the winner.
JD: What made Jewel such a winner? What is different about her than other horses or ponies?
Halle: Jewel loves horse shows and to compete. She loves being applauded. She is very confident and fearless. Jewel likes to take care of you.
Karter: She is ultra-competitive. She is also a great teacher. As I became a better rider, she would not let me make as many mistakes.
About the Author
Canadian Equestrian Team member Jay Duke is a clinician, judge, trainer, and coach. He trained famed Regular Hunter, Mindful, as well as USEF Horse of the Year award winners King Davide and Caymus. Duke has coached two riders to medal-winning performances at the North American Young Riders Championships.