A few weeks ago, I taught a clinic in Easton, MD at Close Up Show Stables owned by Julia Jesu. During the clinic, I had the pleasure of teaching the brother/sister duo of Hannah and Daniel Irons. These two are obviously naturals in the saddle, and I was very impressed with their riding and grasp of everything I had them doing. I interviewed their mother, Polly Irons, about these two, as I think they may just be the next Doug and Holly Payne!
1. How old are Hannah and Daniel now?
Daniel is 11. We got Neda when Daniel was 9. He started taking lessons weekly when he was 8. He rode Paela but we felt she was too big for him…he took some big spills and he became intimidated. We then got him Neda. Neda was 4 and only broke to the harness. We sent him to training for 2 months making sure he was safe/ sane. Daniel, with the help of his sister and instructors has taken him to where he is today. Daniel has always loved riding ponies!
Hannah is 13. She started taking weekly lessons when she was 8. She started with a larger pony that proved to be too large and do well suited for riding outside the ring. Hannah originally planned to do hunter but got tired of jumping in the ring and wanted to ride in the fields. We found her Paela (4 years old and under saddle for 3 months) , a quiet pony that was low key outside the ring. To our surprise Paela was in foal….July we were blessed with a Gypsy cross colt. We still have the now 3 year old gelding that Hannah hopes to do FEI pony and Eventing.
Please note, we bought young green ponies because the kids took weekly lessons and we had good instructors that guided them along the way. Riding green ponies/horses are huge commitments especially for kids. Hannah and Daniel have learned so much from this. It may take them longer to reach their goals, but once they are there, they will be masters at what they do.
3. What are their favorite things to do while riding?
Daniel – Jumping big jumps…Neda prefers the bigger jumps; Galloping in fields and racing with Hannah and Paela, Trail riding on Neda looking for birds. Daniel loves eventing, and when he sees the 3* and 4* jumps he gets so fired up. “ I can’t wait to jump those jumps!”
Hannah – Riding and jumping bareback; trail riding – galloping and racing Neda and Daniel, and of course, dressage. Hannah originally planned to focus on Eventing until I took her to the World Equestrian Games and had the privilege of watching Edward Gal ride Moorlands’s Totilas in the Dressage Freestyle. Her focus changed to dressage that night and Paela became her Dressage partner. Hannah will always enjoy jumping, but not at the 3* or 4* level. She thinks Daniel is crazy to want to jump that level.
4. What pony club do they belong to? Eastern Bay Pony Club, Delmarva Region. We started the club in 2010.
5. Who do they currently train with?
Daniel rides with Mogie Bearden Mueller. While Mogie is in Aiken, he works on his dressage with various trainers.
Hannah rides with Mogie Bearden Mueller and has worked with various dressage trainers. She has started working with Kelly McGinn at KLM Dressage and will continue to work with both Mogie and Kelly. Hannah owes much of her confidence buiding to working with Tommy Turvey and Kenny Harlow.
6. Tell me a little bit about each of their ponies.
Neda is a 7 year old Dartmoor Pony – 12.2 hands with the heart and courage of a 17 hand thoroghbred. What a gem he is! He is so in tune with Daniel and they are an amazing team. Neda lovessssss to jump and go fast…he has a go button! Daniel is realizing how important dressage is and that it makes for better scores in eventing and makes for a better jumping pony. We have seen great improvement in Neda’s jumping from all the Dressage work. When Daniel outgrows Neda, Hannah plans on using him for driving…she may give combined driving a try. Neda is the kind of pony you just want to hug. We are so blessed he has come to our family.
Paela is a 8 year old Welsh / paint, 13.2 hands. Peala would make a fabulous hunter pony…except Hannah changed her focus to dressage. For 2 years Paela was Hannah’s dressage pony and stuck out the hard moves of dressage. Paela does anything you ask of her and with heart. 2.5 years ago she had her first foal…a surprise to us. Hannah has trained this foal (now a 3 year); My Lucky Charm, is a keeper. Hannah has outgrown Paela in Dressage, and is moving up to a larger 5 year old Swedish Warmblood which she will train up the levels. Hannah continues to ride Paela for eventing and trail rides. Paela is used in Hannah lesson program. (Hannah has 4 little kids she gives lessons to). Paela is the type of pony you can jump on bareback with just a halter and go for trail rides , gallop fields or pull it together for a dressage test. She has been a huge confidence builder for Hannah. Paela is simply amazing!
I am just the mom along for the ride and learning a bunch. It is so important to allow children to follow their dreams and provide the structure for the dreams to become reality. Both are homeschooled with much time focused on riding and horse management.