Ponies, ponies, ponies
Linell Nash Smith
Linell Nash Smith is the daughter of Ogden Nash, the poet. She edited some collections of his poetry, but was an author in her own right, with several children’s books to her name. It seems likely that she was very familiar with the show ring; her book Auction Pony is full of the shenanigans those determined to win indulge in. She was keen on the Arabian horse, and wrote an autobiography of Witez II. Foaled in Poland in 1938, the horse’s early life was drastically affected by the onset of World War II. After Poland was invaded in 1939 and it became clear horses were counted as spoils of war, the horse was moved to the east. When he and his handler became separated from the rest of the yearlings, it became clear that the horse would not survive unless handed over to the Germans.
Nazi Germany was intent not only on breeding superior humans, but superior horses too, and Witez II was taken to Czechoslovakia to be used in the programme. When American and Russian troops advanced uncomfortably close to Hostau, where the horses were being kept, the head of the breeding programme, Dr Lessing, sought help from the Americans to preserve the life of the horses. The horses were eventually liberated in 1945, and ridden to Bavaria. Many of them were lame by the end of the journey, but all the horses survived, and were sent to Virginia. Witez II stood at stud at the Army Remount Service until 1949, when he was sold to the Hurlbutt Calarabia ranch in California.
Finding the books: Molly’s Miracle is reasonably easy to find both in the UK and USA. Auction Pony is rather more tricky. And Miles to Go, whilst not impossible to find, tends to be expensive.
Links and sources
More on Witez II
Little Brown, Boston, 1959, 99 pp, illus the author
Hutchinson, London, 1961, 99 pp, illus the author
Molly the mare is an “ancient gray mare of uncertain lineage, but with a heart
of gold. She made up in love what she lacked in style.” Molly had no foal of her
own, so when she found Dawn, she adopted him. Dawn was a horse, but like
no horse anyone on the farm had ever seen before.
Little Brown, Boston, 1965, 117 pp, illus the Peggy Bacon
A story about a boy who buys a Welsh pony at auction to sell. Perhaps naively I was a bit
shocked at the shenanigans the show ring opposition indulge in, but the villains are satisfyingly
And Miles to Go -
Arabian Horse Trust, 1986, 237 pp.