Winning a Pony

The ultimate dream for many a pony mad child was getting a pony, and some lucky souls achieved it by winning one. Judith M Berrisford's fictional Jackie did it in Jackie Won a Pony by winning a competition in Horseshoes Magazine.

People did it in real life too: Pony Magazine, in its earliest days, ran Win a Pony competitions, which required some dedication. It wasn't a question of whipping a quick essay off or doing a few questions: you had to enter twelve separate competitions over a year. Here's one from September 1950, in which you had to complete the story by filling in the blanks with names from the list of well known horses and ponies supplied.

This is the winner (or at least I assume it is: the competition presumably ran into 1951). Carolyn Brown won Mr Murphy, and this is a photograph of them, reunited, in 1958.

Dragon's Win a Pony competition in 1966 was rather less taxing: matching attributes to characters was all that was required. The competition was held to publicise their launch, with Mary O'Hara's My Friend Flicka being part of the first tranche of books. There are still lots of those two part Flickas about. I wonder if many of them were bought so their owner could have a go at winning a pony. I bet they were. I was only 4 at the time, so the competition passed me by (though I was already pony mad. There was a riding school at the end of our garden. Despite being comprehensively bitten by one pony, nothing stopped me from spending hours hanging over the fence at the end of the garden, stroking whatever pony would wander up to me.)


Unknown said…
I see the prize for the Dragon competition is a three-year-old colt. That doesn't seem like a very good idea - givng a young colt to a child, and most likely one who's never owned a pony before.

I guess the organizers hadn't read J P-T's 'The Prize Pony'.
Fiona said…
Wasn't there a case of neglect when a pony had been won in such a competition that lead to such competitions being discontinued?
Jane Badger said…
Gillian, I completely agree about the three year old colt, which I hope wasn't broken! At least Pony seemed to take their competition seriously. They did stop doing win-a-pony competitions during the 1960s, as they decided there was a risk. I blogged about it here:

Fiona - do you know when it was? Pony was running competitions again in the 1980s, and I remember W H Smith doing them in the 1970s.
haffyfan said…
Horse and Pony magazine did them from 1987 to 1990 and I think they reurrected it later in 90's on a one off basis too. If you ask me they were a big fix (the 1990 winner was a runner up the previous year and also won a competition that involved a lesson/riding Karen Dixon's horses so had appeared in the Mag before) but maybe It's just sour grapes because i never won lol!

Your Horse mag has also done similiar comps over this time scale (they use to be linked I think) up until very recently.
Fiona said…
I don't know I just sensed there was something that had made them stop them.
Susanna Forrest said…
I think I've come across ponies being given as prizes at country fairs in the USA today, but goodness knows where I put that stuff.
Aha - in the filing cabinet. In 2007 there was a Barbie competition to win a pony for a year. And ponies as bingo prizes in Sweden. And at the American Shetland Pony Congress.

Clearly I need to move countries to maximise my chances.

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