Kathy Sparks spent her younger years growing up in northern Indiana, but studied abroad as a teenager, living near Antwerp Belgium. It was living in the Belgian countryside that her love of equines increased and after returning to the US to attend Purdue University, she was able to finally have horses in her life full time.
After moving to Washington State with her husband Tim, she began a teaching career and earned graduate degrees. Daughter Faye was bitten by the horse bug and after Tim’s retirement from the Navy and subsequent relocation back to his parent’s farm in south central Indiana, Kathy was able to focus on Connemara ponies.
After retiring from a 29 year teaching career, educating nursing and health care workers in anatomy and physiology, she has been able to enjoy her grandsons and travels as often as she can.
She has served as an Inspector since the late 1990s, and has been active in the ACPS as Awards Chair, Inspection Committee Chair, Internet Chair as well as a member of the BOG, VP and President. Always an educator, Kathy has been a Pony Club examiner, DC, and developed a children’s history program for her local society. She has been a judge at several ACPS Region Shows, as well as a judge in Clifden Ireland. She has competed in Three Day Eventing, Competitive Trail and Combined Driving. But now just enjoys a simple ride through woods and trails on her property.
Kathy is the author of a multitude of articles for the American Connemara as well as in other national magazines focusing on fiber arts and is the author of three books. A popular clinician, she has taught at many fiber arts venues over the years, and loves to create color on fiber using historic dye plants and other materials.
Slippery Elm Shoot Farm is home to 10 retired Connemara ponies and one halfbred. Her philosophy is simple: the importance and continuation of the attributes of the Connemara should be shared with everyone.
The Inspection program insures that the Breed Standard is maintained and that breeders, owners and admirers of the Connemara Pony appreciate the wonder of our breed. She received the Crestwood Award in 2012.