Elkton, MD: The Seldom Seen Trophy is presented annually at the USEF’s award dinner to the highest placed purebred or halfbred Connemara ridden by a junior in USEF Dressage competition. This year it went to 11 year old Macenna Sylvia and Kynynmont Laney. It was the second year in a row that a Kynynmont pony had won the award. The award is named after Seldom Seen, Lendon Grey’s fabulous halfbred Connemara who set records in the Dressage arena, setting new standards for other Connemara owners and competitors to aspire to achieve.
This trophy has a more direct connection to the Connemara breed though – it was created by a Connemara owner and lover. ‘Pony Power’ was created by sculptor Jean Clagett as a tribute to Connemaras, honoring her life long admiration of the breed. As early as her college years in the Pacific Northwest, Jean traded portrait drawings for riding time on one of the Connemaras at Woodbrook , home of the Woodbrook Hunt Club. They had several of the famous Jiminy Cricket line of ponies and later she watched Custusha’s Cashel Rock compete in Open Divisions ridden by Connie Tuor. When travelling in Ireland for sculpture commissions, she visited the Connemara region to see the ponies first hand so this model represents many of her fond memories of outstanding representatives of the breed internationally.
Although Jean is best known for her life size sculpture of Bruce Davidson on Eagle Lion at the Rolex arena at the Kentucky Horse Park, she is also fond of doing smaller pieces of specific individuals such as Pony Power. Her work is done primarily on commission of specific horses and/or riders but Pony Power was not done as a specific commission – it was done because of her love for and wanting to honor the breed and this award was an adaptation of one casting of an edition of eight. Each casting is done individually by the artist herself so patina colors or specific details can be modified to suit the customer.
Through all of this work, Jean still takes the time to enjoy her own Connemara, ‘Promise of Summer’, by Scottsway Bali Hi and out of Tre Awain Etain and her other OTTB mare who she calls ‘Southern Belle’. She is planning a move soon to a location where her beloved Connemara and Tb can be at home with her and her studio so who knows??? ….maybe she can breed them both to Connemaras for future sport ponies!
Anyone interested in seeing more of her work may see her website at www.atelierwest.com, which also has her contact information.