It's not every day that we receive an email like this at Bigeq.com: "I have a photo from the Devon show in 2002. Is there any way to get a reprint. My house was recently hit by a tornado, and I found the print, but it is badly damaged. It was of Frankly My Dear, a chestnut."
The email arrived in June from Linda Scherder, of Elite Welsh Ponies in Bowling Green, MO, a name I recognized from 10+ years of working within the hunter/jumper industry on Bigeq.com. I've followed the “Elite” ponies from Linda's breeding program for years, having a fondness for Elite Stormfront and, of course, “Frank.”
On the afternoon of April 19, 2011, a supercell thunderstorm formed near the farm, dumping torrential rains and baseball-sized hail. Linda was trying to finish her barn chores before the rain hit when her husband began to frantically scream to go to the house. From the billowing gray clouds, a whitish whirling funnel had dropped to the ground and it was headed directly for them.
Before descending into her basement, Linda pulled out her cell phone and took a solitary picture of the awesome yet terrible force of nature bearing down on her world. The tornado swept directly through the farm, toppling trees, tearing up outbuildings, twisting and destroying fencing, several tractors, a combine, and viciously chewing away at the family home.
Miraculously, most of Linda's ponies survived the ordeal unscathed. Three of her mares, however, were in a paddock directly in the path of the tornado. Elite Tiddly Winks, a 1993 14-hand bay mare, had lacerations and a severed tendon in her hock. After two weeks of treatment at the veterinary hospital, the mare stopped putting weight on her leg and had to be put down. Tiddly Winks had been a beloved member of the Scherder family. “She was always one of those ponies anyone at any age could ride and enjoy,” Linda said.
For weeks, the family continued to find their personal belongings scattered over the property, including the mud-caked picture of Frankly My Dear. For Linda, this part of the story has a happy ending. I emailed her two digital versions of the photo so she could make as many copies as she wanted.
Linda concluded the tornado “was very devastating, but no one was hurt. The stuff we lost is stuff. It can be replaced. I did lose a wonderful pony that I will miss forever, but I still know we are very blessed.” Linda and her family are looking to the future with optimism as they rebuild the farm. She's already back to work getting their the youngsters broken and started in their training. For those ponies she hopes to sell, perhaps she can add “tornado proof” to their advertisements!
Your best buy- maybe even a ‘tornado-proof' pony- awaits you at Bigeq.com. Finding great show horses and ponies has never been easier with Bigeq.com - we're first in hunter/jumper sales online. Come shop for your next show partner and view photos and video clips... or visit to sell your quality show horses and ponies.
More information on Elite Welsh Ponies
By C Smith, Bigeq.com
article first appeared in the Capital Challenge Daily Update, Oct 2, 2011.