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Core Values & Key Concepts

Jasmine with Riley

Personal Ponies is first and foremost about caring. That IS the Personal Ponies message for all times and places! Personal Ponies’ mission is carefully defined and The “Commandments of Leadership” are to be ever remembered and followed.

Those of you involved in Personal Ponies create a physical place, a “personal” place and a place of joy for ponies and differently able people. That is the core purpose of Personal Ponies.

The program, entirely volunteer — no salaries, no big buildings, no fancy offices, no anything except the caring and determined efforts on the part of everyone to love and hug on our ponies and insure their care and safety while performing their jobs.

Key Concepts

Love with Hunter

Personal Ponies was founded by Marianne Alexander on November 3, 1986 and was originally created to benefit a small, differently able child. It is a well known saying that “the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man”. At the time there seemed to have been a very real lack of attention to the needs of young children with special needs and there was an absence of suitable small-sized equines bred just for them. Surely “the outside of a small pony would be good for the inside of a small child who is differently able.”

Personal Ponies is now represented around the country and our dream is that every community will have access to “Personal Ponies” through therapeutic centers who can provide safe, loving, supervised interactions for our ponies to work their magic. These "special needs people" could be children, seniors, at risk teens, persons in drug recovery programs, veterans-anyone for whom these magical ponies can bring smiles & joy.

Below are some key concepts about our program:

  • Personal Ponies is based on the concept of CARING.
  • The Personal Ponies program is based on community service.
  • Personal Ponies  will continue to be an advocate in educating the therapeutic community and the public about the value of a small pony in the lives of special needs humans. While horseback riding  plays a valuable role in therapy work, there is also therapeutic  value in being able to look into the eyes of a pony  across a hospital bed, from a wheelchair and to be able to groom, lead, bathe and sometimes just talk to a kind, patient, nonjudgmental pony face. We've seen the magic that can occur during these interactions.
  • The Personal Ponies program is committed to promote the breeding, registration and disbursement of information about the UK Shetland Pony and manage and maintain our The Shetland Registry (TSR) database for all ponies and their caretakers.
  • The Personal Ponies program is based on a high bar of excellence and included in that is superior care for every pony in our program. All aspects of pony-keeping are a priority at all times. It is incumbent on us to be their keepers and advocates. As part of our agreement, there is no allowance at all for anything other than the above. When care is lacking, our ponies will be removed at the National Director’s discretion.
  • Personal Ponies is a 100 percent volunteer organization which means no one is paid a penny for what they do. That means ALL contributions to Personal Ponies go to running our programs in breeding, training and offering these special ponies to the therapeutic community.
  • Our breeding centers are the foundation for our being able to maintain and provide these unique UK Shetland based on the Londonderry lines with their kind, intelligent temperaments and robust health. Unlike the "miniature horse" they are built and behave more like tiny draft horses vs. high stepping show ponies. For more detail, see our Breeding and why UK Shetlands? tabs.
  • Personal Ponies is a LEARNING ORGANIZATION. We have been and will always be a learning organization. This means that at times our decisions will show themselves as being wonderfully crafted and at other times, we have lessons to learn and need to find a better way. We will keep learning and growing.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciate of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson