• Fran Cleland

Barbie's a pint-sized class clown whose most important job is 'best friend'


ABOVE: Eva Robinson and her hand-me-down pony Barbie. Picture: MOSS & IVY PHOTOGRAPHY

WHEN Stacie Robinson bought the little black and white Shetland Pony Lynvale Lodge Barbaro from the Vicary family she didn’t realise what a superstar she had welcomed to the family.


Barbaro, named for the champion American racehorse of the same name, has become just about as famous in his own country as his namesake.


He won the foal futurity at the All Shetland show and went to Barastoc Horse of The Year under saddle for a top 10 newcomer placing for his breeders.


He gained the stable name of Barbie when he came to the Robinson family, and he has been with them for 11 years building an amazing CV.


Stacey’s daughter, Tahlia, started out riding at local agricultural shows with him successfully but liked speed, so she turned him to barrel racing.


The little pair fairly scorched around the courses and were the Tiny Tot Victoria barrel racing champions in their first season with speeds of 12.2 seconds.


Then they started to compete in extreme cowboy racing where the 10hh Shetland and his eight-year-old rider dominated the young guns division. They moved on to the junior section and were also dominating against riders up to 17-years-old on Quarter horses.


ABOVE: Tahlia and Barbie practise some skills.

Tahlia and Barbie won five buckle championships including state and national titles, which led to Tahlia to be officially invited to compete at the world championships in the US. (They weren’t able to go as Stacie was pregnant with Barbie’s next rider, Eva, at the time.)


The achievements didn’t end there though. Barbie and Tahlia also competed in navigation rides up to 25kms, and as Tahlia loves her western training, Barbie showed he could also do the moves! He soon established his side passing, spins, sliding stops, two-time lead changes, could lay down on cue and bow and also competed in loads of games, cross country and jumping.


Barbie is now living a quieter life and recently started three-year-old Eva off in her Topsy ring events. As new best friends they now do trail rides in the bush where he is at his happiest, although Tahlia has her eye on him for a Shetland steeplechase in the near future.


Despite his reputation for speed (just ask some of his Quarter Horse opponents) he is totally peaceful as Eva’s partner in crime.

When asked to describe the pony, Stacie struggles for words.


“Oh it’s so hard to describe him,” she said. “He is such a character – he chats to you as soon as he sees you and lifts his head up so it’s horizontal to be acknowledged. He is super quirky. He has joined us for family barbecues.”


Stacie said Barbie was a massive part of their family.


“From the youngest to the oldest member, we’ve have all had such great moments and laughs with him,” she said.


“He is like the class clown that doesn’t pay attention until it’s game time and then he blows everyone away with his talent.


“He would put his mind to anything but the best gift he has given is being the best friend to two little girls – one who is now 15 and still as much in love with him as the day we met him.”


ABOVE: Barbie the wonder Shetland shows his versatility as a jumper, trail pony, taxi, ambassador, barrel racer and photographer's model. Photos supplied.


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