“In the 1940’s a Chincoteague pony and his rider, Claire Taylor, won many riding and jumping championships and trophies, becoming quite well-known among the mid-Atlantic horse set. 

Baby was purchased at the 1940 Firemen’s Carnival after he swam the channel from Assateague to Chincoteague. He rode back to Prince George’s Country, Maryland, in the back seat of a car. His early life was tumultuous. Not caring to be ridden, he would rear up defiantly and twirl on his hind legs until he unseated anyone who tried to ride him.

Claire Taylor began riding ponies early, riding bareback when she was just six, but she found her true love riding Baby. Hew as originally bought for her two older brothers, but they quickly outgrew him. Claire wanted to work with him, and when she was just ten, she began to do just that. Baby tried his usual tricks with her, but her brothers encouraged her by shouting "grab a handful of mane, hang on and don’t dare fall off!” Baby finally decided he didn’t mind Claire or the exercise, and his career as a show pony began. 

Baby and Claire competed in horse and pony shows in Maryland and Virginia. Although standing only 12.3 hands, Baby often competed in junior and horse classes where his jumping prowess was something akin to awesome. He was a solid four-foot fencer and jumped four feet eight inches in a high jump, and a four-foot-high, six-foot spread triple bar in a pony open jumper class at  separate shows. Baby could also perform on the flat, hacking on voice command and picking up gaits just by hearing them spoken. Claire and Baby capped their show career in 1949 in Madison Square Garden, winning three second place ribbons and having their picture on the front page of the New York Herald Tribune.“

Photos and text from the Chincoteague Museum of Chincoteague Island, VA.