|All rights reserved to Leigh Ellen Ertle.
Contact: Leigh Ellen Ertle
Address: 649 Butts Mill Rd. Pine Mountain Ga. 31822
Phone: (706) 881-2141
|Fergus passed away in July of 2010. He was an An Tostal Hall of Fame Award and Golden Shamrock winner. He was a 14.1 hand
Approved Connemara Stallion who has won many hearts and ribbons for many successful years. This little handsome man goes into
the warm up ring and finds himself in interesting positions. When Fergus started competing at the FEI Level in Dressage, he was the
only pony at that level besides his mother Big Bear’s Katie O’Hara. The bigger horses would trot by and say “How cute.” They did not
take him seriously, at least until he walked into the ring or the scores came up. Soon after that Fergus had fan clubs everywhere.
They all came down to the ring to see this little expressive lovable stallion dance around the ring with pleasure and grace. He inspired
many to become serious about the sport of Dressage. He also caused many to consider smaller horses. Most of Fergus’ life has been
spent in the show ring winning through Intermediare Dressage. In Fergus' last years of competing Leigh Ellen Roberts took him into
other arenas where Fergus continued to shine. He won through Preliminary Combined Training, as well as Championships in Hunter
and Jumper. Then Fergus won Champion Stallion at several USDF Breeders Championships. This was very exciting to see a pony, not
in his youth, go in against these beautiful Warmblood Stallions and win hands down. Fergus has earned the points for his Gold
Medallion in Dressage, Combined Training, Hunter, Jumper, and Halter. Thus he was the first Connemara to be eligible to win the
Golden Shamrock Award. What an honor! Fergus was sound and in great shape at age 25 when he passed away.
Video can be viewed by clicking video.
|Fergus was a 14.1 hand purebred
Approved Connemara Stallion Bloodlines.
He was both typey and very athletic.
Video can be viewed by clicking video.
|Bloodlines in our ponies are
*Tarzan, *Camus John,
*Coosheen Penny Royal,
*Ballinaboy Eamonn, and of
Fergus *Coosheen Penny Royal
*Ballinaboy Eamonn Story Teller Dam's sire Sire
*Canal Clancy Psalm XXIII
Big Bear's Camus Grace
Camus John's Gladiator Christiana Sire Dam
Big Bear's Aurora
Big Bear's Hope
Big Bear's Lauralea
|*Coosheen Finn sire of our
foundation mare *Coosheen Penny
Royal. Penny mares still at Big Bear
Farm are Big Bear's Aura Lee, Big
Bear's Aurora, and Big Bear's
Amazing Love. We also have Penny
grandchildren and great
|*Coosheen Penny Royal
|My Glimpse of Heaven on Earth
My mother, a great mare named Big Bear's Katie O'Hara but everyone called her,
Scarlett, lived at Big Bear Farm. One day she took a liking to a very sweet lady named
“Dukie” that was visiting the owners, Ronny and Mary Ellen Roberts. Dukie
immediately purchased her in foal with me, and away mom and Dukie went to a loving
home in Florida where I was born. I grew up to be quiet a handsome young man and
as I started my riding career it became apparent I had more talent than any other
pony in the world (or so I was told by Dukie!) I learned it ALL! And mastered it ALL!
Dressage was my passion because that was Dukie’s passion. Sadly Dukie passed away
and, wondering what would happen to me and my mom, we got a visit from the
owners of Big Bear Farm. They had come to “fetch” us and that us home. Wow, I
would finally get to see where mom grew up and meet all her old friends. It was a hot
trip back to Big Bear Farm and we stopped a lot for water. I thought we would never
get there! We arrived and it was the most beautiful place in the world. How fitting,
the greatest pony moves to the greatest farm. The grass was so green and the fillies
were so gorgeous. I had never seen so many Connemaras in one place. And they all
were equally excited to see the “new guy”. I received my stall assignment, I must say
it was another of the greats in my life. I had a view of the fillies around the barn, all
looking to get acquainted. Later I would realize I was the right guy for them but at
first observed the other stallions that were seeking relationships. I remained very
quiet for a few days, until I could get familiar with the Robert’s family. They were
quiet and very good to me but not anything like Dukie had been. They loved me but I
was really starting to miss the one on one relationship that I treasured so much. I
became a puzzle to them, they just did not know what to do with me! There was a
young girl that came everyday to ride her horse and I envied him for she treated him
like a true friend. She rode lots of horses but he was her number one pony. His name
was Eamon and he was loud and made it very clear he was the number one guy in her
life and on the whole farm. Time passed (about a week or so, it just seemed a lot
longer!) and I remained quiet. One day I saw the right timing and let out what I
considered a very vocal big guy winnie. When it came out it was more high pitched
and raspy, to say the least, but she did come over and look me over. This was the
beginning of my new life at Big Bear Farm. This tall beautiful young girl looked at me
and it was love at first sight! Her name was Leigh Ellen and so we became the best
friends. You know, the kind that lasts a life time.
Everyday we would go out to ride and she praised my name! She was so excited to
have such a wonderful pony. I taught Leigh Ellen so many “tricks” in dressage. She
called them buttons. She would push one and I would preform with all my heart. All I
wanted was to please her and all she wanted was for me to become hers forever. This
all happened in a short time. Leigh Ellen’s dad, knowing that he could never sell me
without breaking his daughter’s heart, just up and gave me to her! Finally my hopes
and dreams became a reality. I belonged again!
After a fair time of training Leigh Ellen where all my “buttons” were, it was her turn.
She took me out and taught me how to gallop! What a joy in my heart! It was the
most awesome experience to run like the wind. My beautiful mane flowing behind my
ears and Leigh Ellen’s long blond pony tail flowing behind her helmet. We were picture
perfect! If you saw one you saw both. We were a team made in Heaven. Oh, yes, I
know about Heaven. Leigh Ellen made sure my education included God’s love for me
and all the creatures in the world. (of course, I knew I was the greatest of all
creatures!) She even taught me how to dance in praise of our Creator! Those were
the “best of the best” days of my life.
Upon arrival to Big Bear Farm I fathered many great youngsters. I was known in the
pony world for passing on my wonderful movement, disposition and of course my even
more handsome looks! It was a father’s dream to see his children grow up and find
wonderful homes with lots of children to love on them. Being a proud dad was one of
my best attributes. Leigh Ellen would let them into my pasture to visit with me when it
was time to romance their moms. Great days! I even got to help raise some of them
from time to time. What an honor.
In the Connemara world there are standards to preform to earn the high awards.
Well, this became the challenge for us (us will always refer to Leigh Ellen and me). We
decided to go all the way and achieve the Golden Shamrock Award. No other pony
had ever accomplished that achievement before, so it was quiet a challenge. Leigh
Ellen being a 5 foot 11 inch young lady and me being a 14.1 hand older and wiser pony
was a challenge. But we meet the challenge and became an awesome pair. Even the
judges would agree that we were a “pair”. This was such a complement to us, we
loved hearing it! “We were a pair!!” I still can hear the words today. We worked very
hard to prepare and then we went to lots of farms to perform. Now, truly I must
admit, I was the ham in the pair. I loved to perform. Give me an audience and a
dressage arena and I could out perform even the big guys! And jumping, well, that
was just too easy for me, the bigger the better. We took the trophies and became the
team that could not be beat. People would “flock” to the arena just to see us! Leigh
Ellen handled the spotlight with grace and always gave me the glory for the
performance that day. She would take special care of me on days that were long and
hard. I did not ever tell her that it really was not that hard on me. If you love what
you do, life becomes a breeze. And life was a breeze, even those long days. Leigh
Ellen always spent her time at shows with me in our stall. After all, who could resist
my companionship! I got the works, the rub down with the lineament, the bran mash,
the best hay that could be found, the fresh water, the warm blanket in the winter, the
fly sheet in the summer, the leg wraps to protect my strong handsome legs and, most
of all, the love she showered over me. She would take me out for walks on a long line
so I could get a look at the competition. They would look at us, a rather small pony
and a very tall girl, and laugh! The next day we would whip their rumps! It is the last
laugh that counts. Right? That was our life, rejoicing over our victories but most of all
rejoicing that we had found each other in such a very large world. To shorten this part
of our life is to say we won it all! We received the highest awards in all we did,
Dressage, Hunters, Jumpers, Eventing, Driving and my favorite Halter (I really love
being admired!). We received the Golden Shamrock! What a great accomplishment
for a small Irish lad! Later I was honored by the Connemara Society for these
accomplishments. I can’t forget to mention that when coming home from a show that
as we arrived back to the farm, Leigh Ellen would let my window down so I could let
the farm know I had arrived home and that I was the “best in show”! Everyone would
rally to the trailer to see me and my ribbons. I felt 10 feet tall!!!!
During this time of achievement, I must also mention that we got our bachelor
degree with honors. Oh yes, I went to college! I overheard Leigh Ellen tell her mom
and dad that she would only go if I could go, so away we went! I always wondered
how Leigh Ellen got our college work done because she was at the barn with me most
of the time. I guess I was her inspiration! We continued our education at the farm and
we received our Master’s in Family Counseling, again with honors, from a college
closer to home. (I really was a good inspiration, wasn’t I?) Leigh Ellen also said that a
good Connemare, like me, makes the best Counselors. She formed a non profit
organization to work with children that had been abused and made me Head Master. I
always knew we would make the best team in the world and how it was on paper! She
reminded me often that we could have only done this with God’s help. And we should
always remember to pass the blessing of a pony/child relationship on to others who
were not as blessed as we have been.
Then came the bitter sweet part. Leigh Ellen wanted me to retire (totally her idea).
We preformed a beautiful musical dance and announced my retirement. Well, you can’
t keep a good pony down. I still enjoyed my rides and my time in the pasture with the
best little flock of fillies (and some older and wiser mares too) The days were grand.
Green grass, fillies, I got to remain Head Master and Leigh Ellen remained a very large
part of my life, what could be better? Well, it gets better! Leigh Ellen gets married to
a fine young man named Dan. (she did tell me that I was more handsome, even
though he was quiet handsome also!) That was only part of the better! One day I get
to meet the prettiest little baby that I have every seen. Her name was Ellen Elizabeth.
I produced beautiful babies but Leigh Ellen bet me out with this one. She was born
loving animals, of course! I was witnessing the circle of life here at Big Bear. I was
even part of it as Leigh Ellen would put Ellen Elizabeth on my back to sit while I ate. I
would eat slow to savor this time together. Shortly after Ellen Elizabeth came there
was a surprise, John and Josh (one was the surprise, not sure which one!). Blessings
just seem to keep coming! Life is grand! Thanks be to God for He has provided! I
often wondered how Leigh Ellen would do if I were not here for her but now I was not
worried. She now has a family of her own. I wish I could of been around to see her
kids riding the fields with my kids. God has His time and plans. One minute I am
enjoying life on a very green earth with “my Leigh Ellen” and the next I find myself in
His Presence! What a ride I had!!!!!!!
Just a note. I know Jesus talks about riding a white horse but I know when he gets a
look at me he might chose a bay instead. ;-)
Transcribed by Mary Ellen Roberts:
Fergus was a joy to work with, for he knew what to tell me and he commissioned me
to write it down. And if you have ever had a Connemara, you know they talk! He also
made it clear he wanted his life to be celebrated. And finally he leaves to Leigh Ellen a
life time of memories of “the greatest pony” EVER! What a BLESSING to all of us for
sharing our life with such a grand pony named Fergus!