In memory of...

Charmsley Hi Speed, aka “Speedy” 

by Jackie Swain

On the morning of August 25th, 2012, Charmsley Hi Speed, known better as, “Speedy” passed away at the age of 23. He spent the majority of his life at Miss Louise Hollyday’s farm in Hampstead, Maryland until a recent move to Sarah Gallaghers farm in Littlestown, Pennsylvania.

Speedy was originally purchased for my older sister, but when she grew out of him, he became my pony. Of course, it is every little girl’s dream to have a pony. I was lucky enough to have that dream come true. Outside of the friendship I formed with him throughout the years, he was part of a larger family. He was part of my personal family and was also a part of Maryland Pony Breeders (MPB) and the Shetland Pony Society of North America (SPSNA). 

He spent his life keeping a group of broodmares company, serving as a lead pony in horse-back riding lessons, drinking out of a water bucket only if it was full, chewing on wooden fences, and carrying a girl who eventually grew way too big for him. He loved being ridden in the sunshine, the rain, and the snow. He had many younger riders but no matter how big I grew, he never refused to carry me. 

Hope Holland wrote an article in the Baltimore Sun newspaper a few years ago. The article was about why parents should invest money into a horse or pony for their child. I saved the article and it has not seemed as relevant as it does now. I would like to reword it so it says “Because I grew up with Speedy” instead of “Because I grew up with horses.”

Because I grew up with Speedy I have compassion. I know that I must take special care of the very young and the very old. I must make sure those without voices to speak their own pain are still cared for. Because I grew up with Speedy, I learned responsibility for others than myself. I learned that regardless of the weather I must still take care for those I have the stewardship of. There are no days off just because I don’t feel like being a pony owner. I learned that for every hour of fun I have, there are days of hard work I must do first. Because I grew up with Speedy I learned not to be afraid of getting dirty and that appearances don’t matter to most of the breathing things in the world we live in. Speedy did not care about designer clothes, jewelry, pretty hairdos, or anything else we put on our bodies to try to impress others. Speedy cared about my ability to work with the natural world. 

Because I grew up with Speedy I understand the value of money. Every dollar can be translated into bales of hay, bags of feed, or farrier visits. Purchasing non-necessities during lean times can mean the difference between feed and good care, or neglect and starvation. I learned to judge the level of my care against the care I see provided by others and to make sure my standards are never lower and only increase as my knowledge grows. Because I grew up with Speedy I have self-esteem and an engaging personality. I can talk to anyone I meet with confidence because I have to express myself to Speedy with more than words. I know the satisfaction of controlling and teaching a large animal that will yield willingly to my gentle touch and ignore the more forceful and inept handling of those stronger than me. I hold myself with poise and professionalism in the company of those older than myself. Because I grew up with Speedy I learned to plan ahead. I know that choices made today can affect what happens five years from now. I know that I cannot care for and protect my investments without savings to fall back on. I know the value of land and buildings. And that caring for my vehicle means the difference between easy travels and being stranded on the side of the road with a horse trailer on a hot day. I am fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to learn life lessons from Speedy before I set out into the adult world. And for anyone who reads this, know that all the time and money put into a pony or a horse, is worth all the minutes and all the dollars. There is nothing greater than the bond a human being forms with an animal.

Speedy will always be remembered in all the years ahead.


  1. So sorry to hear of your loss at such a young age for a Shetland. Mine are in their late twenties and I fear for them. My daughter grew up with a Shetland mare too. Very good for her and she loved her always. Bettann Seablade

  2. I remember when the Swains and Miss Hollyday first came to look at Speedy, and then, celebrating the fact that he was going to live with TWO (2) little girls. Thank You ALL for the wonderful care you gave him, this incredible tribute, and the reminder of why ponies are so RELEVANT. Mary H Gordon

  3. J.Miller, Kalmia ShetlandsJanuary 18, 2013 at 1:03 AM

    Speedy was the embodiment of what a well bred, well managed, well loved Shetland IS; trustworthy, intelligent, patient, respectful, companionable, reliable, durable, versatile, and FUN. He was a role model in and out of the ring, and a force to be reckoned with as a competitor. I challenge us all to bring along our own "Speedys" for the next generation to admire and compete with. I can think of no greater tribute.
    With deepest sympathy and respect, J.Miller, Kalmia Shetlands

  4. Thank you all for your thoughts and comments. They all are appreciated, we miss him. We loved speedy competing with you all!!!! The Swains