Educating ‘our babies’ is something we find incredibly rewarding: from gaining the trust of young foals in the field; to halter breaking; building confidence to load in the lorry; teaching good manners; training to compete at shows - leading, washing, stabling etc. We don’t mollycoddle our ponies - just use patience and a common sense approach . . . how lucky we are to lead this life.
The fact that most of our ponies here at Tawna have won Championships or Reserves fills us with immense pride. But showing isn’t everything - we sell Shetlands for all sorts of purposes, so we love hearing success stories of Tawna ponies from other owners - not just from the show ring, but breeding, driving, as companions, as children’s ponies, as pets, even a gentle pair who help vulnerable people by doing valuable therapy work.
It is a natural progression of breeding to compete with home-bred stock, and we enjoy pitching our animals against others, especially at affiliated shows. Living on this long peninsula we tend to confine our outings to Devon and Cornwall, but as there are a great number of excellent studs, and shows in the South West the competition is very keen! Naturally we are pleased when our ponies do well, but don’t take it too much to heart if a judge doesn’t favour them. . . . there’s always another day!
Over the years we have had enormous fun with the ponies including umpteen light-hearted carnival entries, educational displays and fund-raising events. We have made many friends through the Shetlands, and enjoy sharing the extraordinary addiction that these great little equines create . . . but have not succumbed to the facebook/twitter brigade . . . yet!
The Tawna Shetland Stud is run by an aunt/niece partnership. It was started in Cardinham in the early 1960's by Audrey Runnalls, who has lived here and kept horses all her life. As she has become older, the equines have become smaller! In her youth, she worked with Shires and Thoroughbreds, followed by Arabs and Highlands. She bought her first Shetland over fifty years ago for her niece - Fiona Hammond (nee Russell). Having grown up amongst the Shetlands - as well as various other horses - Fiona is passionate about the breed and is a S.P.S-B.S. life member and a senior Panel Judge. Additionally Fiona’s talented husband, Andrew, takes care of maintenance of fields, hedges, fences, stables etc; ‘holds the fort’ at home on show days . . . and also built this website!