Hackney Pony ~ The Old Mare At The Fair


At 37, Flirt Still Struts Her Stuff At County Fair


Richard Nixon was President and polyester leisure suits were all the rage when Flirt, a high-stepping Hackney pony, made her first appearance in Ohio at the Lorain County Fair.

She’s still going strong.

Flirt once again won top mare in the fine division for ponies, as the only entrant, according to John Barber one of her owners.

At 37, Flirt may be the oldest animal exhibited, fair officials said.

A champion from the start — the Hackney pony won First Place in the fine division for ponies at the Ohio State Fair 36 years ago.

Flirt seems to enjoy fair week, according to her admirers. “She’s just delightful,” said ticket taker Snow Wiech, “She’s a little long in the tooth and has a sway in her back, but she’s adorable.”

John Barber, 43, was just a little kid when his father brought the pretty pony home for his mother.

“When she was young, she was quite the ornery one,” he said.

His father once raised dozens of ponies and exhibited at five to seven fairs a year.

Now Flirt is the only show pony they have.

The judge gave the pair a break: Flirt did not have to demonstrate the graceful, piston-like trot which is the signature of Hackney ponies.

John’s mom no longer goes to the fair, but her children and grandchildren are keeping the tradition alive.

He wouldn’t put it past Flirt to make it to the fair next year.

“She’s stood the test of time,” he said.

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That is just too cool. I’m always glad to hear of older horses who are going strong still (and just who can resist a name like Flirt?)

    My old gelding was 32 when we put him down. He had no clue he was that old, though, as he still had the heart and mind of a three year old. Arthritis, dimming eyesight and the like finally moved me to end his life in a more dignified manner than having him age and struggle…

  2. Hi desperatehorsewife,
    “Flirt” … one can imagine all kinds of behavior on that one!

    That must have been very difficult for you to say good-bye to your gelding. I’m sure you gave him the best life possible.

    Last year, I had to say good-bye to the love of my life after 25 years of riding together. He was 30 and arthritis was making his life miserable. I kept trying to cure old age.

    I’m not over it yet. Thought we’d be together forever.

  3. wow! 37yo?

    I have even more hope now for my old guy of 28 🙂

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