MHIB Recognizes National Champion Pony Sire

The Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) presented its January Touch of Class Award on Saturday (Jan. 21) to Blue Rain, the U.S. Equestrian Foundation's (USEF) National Champion Pony Sire from 2004 to 2011, during the Horse World Expo in Timonium. Blue Rain--who is now 23 years old--lives at Springdale Pony Stud in Frederick County and is owned by Allyson Coluccio and Lisa Gordon Carr, who were on hand to accept the award. Blue Rain's son, Blue Fox, who is 10 years old and also lives at Springdale Ponies, was on hand to accept the award for his dad.

"The equine industry in Maryland is not only critical to our state's economy and conservation efforts, it is also extremely diverse and goes well beyond horse racing," said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Mary Ellen Setting, who helped present the award. "Blue Rain and Springdale Ponies represent one of the many facets of this important Maryland industry. We are very pleased to be able to recognize them for achieving and maintaining national championship status for eight years."

Blue Rain, a Welsh pony/Thoroughbred, was originally purchased at age 2 for a small pony hunter show career; however, an eye injury in the pasture a year later kept him out of the show ring. Instead, Blue Rain became a pony stallion who has produced more champion hunter ponies than any other pony sire in history. Hunter ponies are bred for sport, such as jumping, cross country and fox hunting; however, they are also bred of the show ring.

"Blue Rain's reputation within the pony sire sector is nothing short of legendary, but he is hardly a household name in Maryland," said MHIB Chairman Jim Steele. "It is out hope that this Touch of Class award will bring attention to the exceptionally high quality of professionalism within Maryland's horse industry and to give long overdue recognition to two Maryland champions--Blue Rain and Springdale Ponies."

The MHIB established the Touch of Class Award in September 2011 to honor Maryland horses, individuals, teams, organizations or events that demonstrate the highest standards of excellence in the Maryland horse industry. The award is named after Touch of Class, a Maryland-bred mare who won two Olympic show jumping gold medals and currently holds the Olympic record for number of clean jumping rounds in an Olympic competition.

For more information about the Maryland Horse Industry Board, visit

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