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Famous Pony Visits Children's Hospital

Media Contact: Mary Colliver 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 5, 2010) Kentucky Children’s Hospital patients received a visit from Little Black, the hero of Walter Farley's "Little Black, A Pony." The famous pony came with Tim Farley, the author's son.

The young patients were happy and excited to meet the pony and Farley and receive their very own copy of one of Walter Farley's books — "Little Black, A Pony," "Little Black goes to the Circus" or the classic "The Black Stallion."

"The love Kentucky has for our children, books and our horses is the perfect match for the Black Stallion Literacy Program featuring the classic books from Walter Farley," said Mollie Jameson, a volunteer with the project. "Our volunteers have been delivering the books to first graders with a live pony, Little Black, and our experiences have been heart warming and unforgettable. The program is here to stay."

Rowdy is a black miniature horse registered with the American Miniature Horse Association (AMHR). His registered name is First Edition Rowdy, better known as Rowdy, aka Little Black Pony.

Rowdy is 34 inches tall at the withers, and was foaled in Kentucky on May 23, 2001, making him almost 9 years old.

"I saw an advertisement in the newspaper for Rowdy in 2001 and decided to go look at him," said Don Vizi, executive director, Rocky Mountain Horse Association. "I found him in a barn, running over pallets and other farm equipment. He was young and frightened, and I was very concerned for his safety. I decided to go home and think about the purchase. By the time I was home, I had decided to rescue him from his current situation. I already had one miniature horse that I knew Rowdy would make a good companion for my miniature gelding, and he was. They became fast friends and wonder our 13 acre farm with two full grown horses."

Vizi says Rowdy was handled daily and given plenty of affection. He is gentle, curious, and loves attention.

"I would go out to the pasture and he would come over to see what I was doing, and let me know he wanted attention," Vizi says. "In the beginning of this year, I was in the process of changing the breed of horses in my barn and decided to no longer keep miniature horses. Since my office was located at the Kentucky Horse Park, I asked Kathy Hopkins, director of equine operations and education, if she would like to have a black miniature stallion. She told me that this was the exact horse that she was looking for. Kathy and one of her assistants came to our farm, took one look at Rowdy, and said we will take him. Several days later they came and picked up Rowdy. The rest is now history."

According to Vizi, the horse park has taken great care of Rowdy.

"Mollie Jameson and her group of volunteers have also done a great job with Rowdy in the Black Stallion Literacy Program," says Vizi. "I did see one visit Rowdy took to a school; he helped deliver books and greeted the children. He loved being with the children and they loved touching and petting a real horse. As soon as the children were given their books they immediately started reading about the 'Little Black Pony'."

Visits to children's hospitals, schools and communities are part of The Black Stallion Literacy Foundation (BSLF), an innovative partnership of educators, businesses, volunteers, education foundations, and staff members focused on promoting literacy through the winning combination of live horses and books by Walter Farley. The program is based on the classic books of Walter Farley and the natural connection between children and horses. The foundation's mission is to help children discover the joys of reading and the excitement of learning through the wonders of live horses and Walter Farley's Black Stallion books.

"We are so pleased to be involved with the Black Stallion Literacy Program," said Loralyn Cecil, manager of communications and publications, Office of Development, Kentucky Children's Hospital. "The children love Little Black and they really enjoy reading the books."

The project was conceived in 1999 by Farley’s son, Tim, and Mark Miller, owner of Arabian Nights Dinner Attraction in Kissimmee, Fla. Friends for more than 30 years, Farley and Miller share a common interest in encouraging children to read.

Farley knows the influence his father’s books have had on millions of children, and Miller grew up and remains in the company of horses – a winning combination for a program designed to motivate children to read. The BSLF began serving children in 2000. Since then, more than 400,000 children across the United States have participated in the reading programs.

For more information go to The Black Stallion tribute website or Arabian Nights.

For more information about the children's hospital, go to Kentucky Children's Hospital or contact Loralyn Cecil at 859-257-1106.

Page last updated: 6/6/2014 11:30:36 AM