News and views 

The Late Mrs Alison Mountain

An Open Weekend to view ponies available for sale via a dispersal sale is being held at the Twyford Stud on 22nd and 23rd June 2013, 10am - 4pm. For further details please contact Mrs Joanna Durrant on 01825 740804 or Victoria on 01825 740313.

A memorial for Mrs Alison Mountain was held on 20th May 2013 at Twyford Stud, Horsted Keynes, Sussex at 2pm.

Mrs Alison Mountain of the Twyford Stud, Horsted Keynes, Sussex, who passed away 24th January 2013 represented all that has been good in the WPCS over more than half its existence. She may have thought that she benefitted from having made countless friends all over the world; the WPCS has most certainly benefitted a lot more from her involvement.

Alison's interest in Welsh Ponies began in 1945 when her father Arthur McNaught bought a riding pony for her in Tattersalls Market which turned out to be a registered Welsh Mountain Pony, Wentworth Spotless. Spotless was such a success that they were encouraged to buy some more and start breeding under the "Clan" prefix, Alison buying Dinas Moonstone as a yearling filly for £25 in 1946 from Mrs Armstrong-Jones, mother of Lord Snowdon. Additions to the Clan Stud were mainly from their great mentors Emrys and Dinah Griffiths of the Revel; these included Llwyn Tinwen, Revel Sweet Briar and Revel Heather Lass which they showed with success at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

When Alison married John Mountain and moved to live in Twyford Farm she started up with her own "Twyford" prefix with her father continuing to breed at East Mascalls, Lindfield. Mr McNaught died in 1961 leaving Alison some ten stallions and a similar number of mares but Alison had very firm views on what she wanted to keep and all the stallions and most of the mares were sold in one lot to the Revel. My father was at the Revel when they arrived and he commented that a two-year-old  Clan Pip was the best colt he had ever seen and he had been a member of the WPCS since 1915. But Alison disapproved of the fact that his pedigree contained the Barb Sahara and the Arabs Cairo and King Cyrus and while the rest of UK breeders rushed to benefit greatly from his services, Alison was never tempted to join forces.

The Twyford ponies soon went to the forefront from the mares Dinas Moonstone, Wee Georgette and Reeves Coral followed by Revel Nannie EP (bought from money which her nannie EP left her in her will) and Twyford ponies were winning major awards and progeny groups at the Royal Welsh Show.

The Twyford Stud has had such a big influence on the breed worldwide that a booklet about them was published by the Australian Society.

Alison's involvement with Section B ponies was shortlived but nevertheless again very influential with such as Twyford Signal four times qualifier for HOYS; she gave up breeding Section Bs at the time when the more "modern" type became fashionable. She was always interested in Welsh Cobs and Collen Queen was her first Welsh Cob hunter followed by Madeni Duchess which unfortunately she failed to breed from. Latterly, after several illness, she turned her attention to Section C finding them easier to cope with and Twyford Section Cs also became very successful, especially as performance animals. Even as late as last year she asked me to look out for a replacement Section C stallion for her, and this after losing both her legs but managing to go around the farm in a specially adapted "dormobile".

After joining the WPCS in 1950, Alison was elected onto Council the following year and when it was decided in 1961 to produce an annual Journal, Alison was the obvious choice to be editor and no-one could have done it so conscientiously or devoted so much of her life to producing it. To follow in her footsteps was made so much easier with Alison having laid such a firm foundation. When Lord Kenyon relinquished the chairmanship of Council after 30 years in 1991, Alison was elected and she remained a highly respected chairman for eight years finally giving up her membership of Council through ill-health in 2005.

Alison remained very interested in Society affairs, when she received regular reports she would inform her loyal helper Victoria Williams that she would be occupied for the next couple of hours and Victoria would hear her chuckle as she read. Only last week she phoned me about the WPCS and, despite what she had been through in terms of health in recent times, she was full of enthusiasm for her ponies, farm, Border terrier dogs and the various animals which she had around her at Twyford.

I can honestly say that my life has been a lot the richer from knowing Alison and I'm sure I can say the same for countless other members.

Dr Wynne Davies, Publicity Officer

The magazine article published on Mrs Alison Mountain can be viewed here:

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27th May 2013