Welcome to


Shetland Pony Stud

Stud proprietor; Maurice Arden & Shirley Nadine

tel; 01538 266 086

email; gorsty@mamore.plus.com

Gorsty Croft Farm,

Parknook Ipstones,


ST10 2NG

Claylands Shetland Ponies – The History Updated ~ scroll down for added history

The first Shetlands that Mrs. Jeannette Arden, founder to fhe Claylands Stud , purchased were a group of 3 which she took pity on, in 1965.  Their names were Lady, Nigger and Patch.  Patch had obviously been trained as a circus pony, he would on command walk up the field on his hind legs and roll over upon request. These  ponies were unregistered but the wonderful nature of the little Shetlands won Jeannette’s heart and it was not long before she decided that she would like to get more involved and even show a suitable pony.

With husband Maurice and her brother Phillip Rowbotham keenly involved, she purchased their first 2 chestnut show ponies, they were Sysonby, bred by Minna Houghton And she soon developed a preference for the standard chestnut pony. This led to the purchase of the much loved Barley Sugar who became the founder mare of the Claylands Stud and became Maurice’s pony, who was“Her Majesty in the Ring”as she knew what she was about, she was a wonderful mare as good as the very successful blacks which abounded at the time.   Barley Sugar produced many fabulous ponies, among them Claylands Candy.  Candy was the dam of Claylands Calypso, Claylands Crystal and Claylands Captain owned by Mrs.Sue Bearcroft, but to name a few of Candy’s numerous foals.  Her last foal at the grand old age of 24 was Claylands Sugar who was sold to the Shetland Isles and is still in the capable and loving hands of Jackie Syme (Schiehallion Stud).

Candy was last shown at a Verteran Horse Qualifying round at Bishops Castle in 2004 and finshed 2nd in a mixed small breed class of 24.  A super result we think.

  Her daughter Claylands Crystal needs no introduction, she was referred to in some quarters as “ the famous Crystal”. When Crystal appeared with foal at foot in the grand parade at a Staffordshire County Show, the applause of the crowds around the ring as we passed by was a real tear jerky, such a beautiful pony.

Candy and Goldcrest of Drakelaw’s son Claylands Calypso, is to this day remembered and many 30year old plus young people come up to us at shows to recount stories of him and tell  us with much pride, “I rode Claylands Calypso in the Shetland Grand National, so many jockeys must have out grown him.

  Jeannette, beloved wife of Maurice, mother of Andrew and Martin, tragically passed away in January 1998, after a short illness, but what a legacy she left to the Shetland World, it was her wish, that husband and chief supporter for so many years of showing, Maurice, should if he was able, carry on with her work with the stud. This he did initially with the help of brother Ken, who was only too willing to help and a steep learning curve ensued. Maurice was eventually joined by Shirley Nadin his partner who had life long experience with ponies and donkeys.  This involved a move from the studs home in Lincolnshire to Staffordshire on the southern edge of the Peak district.

Maurice had always been gratefull for the help and advice received from friends and members of the Society who encouraged him to carry on showing. As a tribute to Jeannette’s memory, Maurice named the filly born 3 months after her untimely demise, Claylands Lady Jeannette. This pony is now owned by Allan and Alison Bromwich, who had great success showing her in hand and under saddle and is still a super brood mare. Lady Jeannette is so like her dam Candy and just as successful.

  Jeannette is never forgotten either at home or in the showing world for her quiet dedication to her aim to produce a chestnut pony as good as the best of  black’s, we truly believe she did this.

One of the proudest and most memorable moments shared by Shirley and Maurice,  has the be the invitation to take part in the Queen mothers 100th ;birthday parade in London. Claylands Captain owned by Sue Bearcroft had the honour of being one of the 2 ponies to represent The Shetland Pony Stud Book Society in the parade and were the only animals allowed to remain in Horse Guards Parade for the ceremony.  Maurice and Shirley took part as the Breeders, with Maurice bearing the SPSBS banner. 

In 2000 we retired our much loved Goldcrest . But in 2002 at the age of 24 he qualified for the final of the Veteran Horse of the Year at Olympia, where he finished 3rd after competing against 8 ridden thoroughbred’s and finished only 7 points out of a possible 200 behind the first placed horse.  He also qualified for the final in 2006, we think at the time the only pony to qualify twice.  And in 2005 Goldcrest son Captain also competed in the above and finished a very credible 5th

  That year we bought a new young stallion Abbotsbury Zak, Zak proved very successful both in the show ring and also as our Stud Sire. He was so easy to show and loved contact with his many admirers and to boot he was loved by his mares with whom he never failed and was a real gentleman 2004,5,6 saw Zak representing the SPSBS at Hoys in the Interactive Feature Area, where he was a great favourite He was a wonderful ambassador for his breed, never showing a moments impatience with the general public even though he was on show for 14 hours a day. In fact he seemed to understand when we opened his stable door to enable wheel chair users to get closer.  On one occasion a severely handicapped youngster in a wheel chair was brought forward by her parents, Zak approached the chair and laid his head on the table of the wheelchair, the child’s parents then pushed her hands across the table to touch Zak’s nose, the beautiful radiance that spread across the child’s face will always be remembered, Zak was so gentle he seemed to know. On the other hand a sense of mischief was detected when a very distinguished gentleman in wheelchair came face to face with Zak and the inquisitive pony decided to investigate the lever situated on the chair arm.  This caused the gentleman to cavort around in his chair, much to the amusement of bystanders and the gentleman concerned. At this same Hoys show in 2005 one of the visitors to Zak’s stable was Diane Verity who had visited the show from her home in Yorkshire to see everything but Shetlands, but upon meeting Zak it was love at first site. Diane bred part arabs and about 12 months later contacted us to see if we had a yearling colt for sale to be a companion to her yearling part bred arab Nemo. She came to see us and fell for the beautiful colt Claylands Prince of Foxt otherwise known as Percy. Over the following months our little boy worked away at their hearts to such an extent that they had Nemo gelded and kept Percy entire and that was the start of the Claylands Stud Yorkshire.  The comment made by their Equine vet at that time was that he had never seen a more perfect Shetland pony

Early in 2007 we were delighted to be joined by young handler Shannon Ferns, the daughter of local friends.  She showed our filly, Claylands Dabil  of the Highlands (Bella) with great success right from foal stage .

  2007/8/9 and 10 were very successful years for us with Zak again being an absolute star winning many important championships as well as the wonderful success of his progeny.  Unfortunately Maurice suffered minor strokes in 2009 and 2010 which resulted in our showing seasons being cut short.  Although with the help of some very good friends we were able to go to the Breed Show in the Shetlands, where our yearling Filly Claylands Kirsty won the yearling class then ran off against the winner of the yearling colt class and was declared coloured champion yearling, another winner by our beautiful Zak. Zak had a wonderful season in 2010, starting the season by winning the senior class and championship at the Royal Windsor Show and ending the season with the Championship win at the Festival of the Horse (formally the Royal Show, Stonleigh).  Zak’s 3 year old daughter was also reserve junior champion at the same show and His son Diane and Andy’s pony Claylands Prince of Foxt (Percy) won the stallion class at the Great Yorkshire Show. At the International Shetland Breed Show at Hickstead in August 2010 Claylands headed  a large entry in the progeny class to win with our 3 sired by Abbotsbury Zak, Percy, Bella and Kirsty.

 Also in  November 2010 Claylands Golden Finale (Lexie) won; the National Shetland Foal Championship, her half brother, also won this in 2009 (both sired by Zak). In the autumn of 2010 after deciding that Claylands Golden Finale would be our last foal, we decided to invite Diane Verity and her partner Andy Birdsall to join the Claylands Stud as equal partners.  This decision was taken in view of our advancing years, at this time Maurice was 76 and Shirley 70 years of age. We did not think that it was fair to go on breeding and increasing our stock as we got older, although we were both fit and were still enjoying our showing. We thought long and hard about the situation and decided that we could not find anyone more suitable than Diane and Andy to continue the breeding of our beautiful ponies under the respected name of Claylands. They have the same ideals as us with the welfare and future happiness of the ponies being paramount. And they support our stud motto, which is, Their Future in Our Hands.  Diane and Andy are continuing to breed on our lines with their Claylands bred stallion Claylands Prince of Foxt (Percy) and though they lead an extreamly busy life running their equine store The Riding Habit at Queensbury Yorkshire they still find time to breed and show these beautiful ponies

  In 2011 with regret we had to decide to part with our much loved Abbotsbury Zak and he went to live in the South of France with the Shetland division of the Scott Allman Arabian Stud where is much loved and is helping produce some lovely foals.  But in his final year he was Champion Shetland at the Royal Windsor show, Champion at Staffordsire County Show and Ashbourne Show. On a note of great sadness, in 2010 our beautiful mare Claylands Candy suffered ill health at the age of 32 and we had to make the terrible desision to allow her to go peacefully.  Also in the spring of 2011 her daughter the wonderfully successful Clayands Crystal became incureably ill and we had to grant her her peace. In 2012 our adored old stallion Goldcrest of Drakelaw suffered a twisted gut and at the age of 34 we had to let him join Candy and Crystal. 

  Now Jeannette Arden and her beloved Candy, Crystal and Goldcrest are together, we are sure, in heaven, God Bless them all and keep them safe until we meet again.

  2012 saw us up with the best with many championship wins.

  2013 We were very proud of our young filly Claylands Golden Finale (Lexie) when she won the junior class at Royal Windsor then went on to be overall reserve champion. And she and her stable mate’s Stirling & Bella continued throughout the season chalking up successes.  At Claylands Yorkshire Diane was now riding and Jumping Percy as well as carriage driving him in between his stud duties.

  2014 Saw Lexie doing us proud, but Maurice had to journey to show’s on his own as Bella went down with Colic in the spring which necessitated an operation at Liverpool, with Shirley at home all season nursing the invalid back to health.  Lexie never finished below 3rd  place at any show all that season.  Also in 2014 Diane and Andy’s adorable foal Claylands Nordman out of Claylands Chloe. Percy also won the National Shetland Foal of the Year Championship  Earlier that year at  the Shetland Pony Stud Book Society Breed Show Nordman was best foal of the show..

  2015 Claylands were supreme starting the season with Percy finishing a good third at the Stallion Show in Edinburgh and getting Reserve Champion at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, at the same show his son Nordman was best yearling.  Claylands Stirling (gelding) was Champion at Stafford County then went on to be Reserve Reserve Supreme M&M. At the Royal Welsh, Lexie won the mare class and went on to be Reserve Champion, Percy won the Stallion class and young Nordman won the yearling class and went on to be Junior Champion. Bella now totally recovered and more beautiful than ever, was Champion at Derby County, Caerwys, and Newport shows with other wonderful results throughout the season..Unfortunately, Maurice suffered a series of angina attacks which ended with a recent operation, but he is doing well and looking forward to bringing on our gelding Stirling to drive the Bennington carriage which we purchased in the spring with the hope of taking part in carriage driving competitions next season. Although Maurice is nearly 81 and Shirley a spritely 75 we are still very fit and looking forward to the 2016 season. 

  One of the things we enjoy most about showing our ponies that we can say with pride, they are all home breed.  Apart of course for the occasional imput from our acquired stallions over the years.

  As well as continuing our quest for  the chestnut Shetland pony and including the broken colours, as showing would be the poorer without them. We at Claylands are continuing our efforts to promote separate classes for the geldings, be they, standards, miniatures, black or coloureds.  By trying to encourage organisers to give them their own classes instead of lumping them in with Mares and Stallions where in many cases they feature down the line, organisers please note. If these most useful of equines are treated with more respect the entries will improve and to this end the Claylands Stud is giving nice trophies for gelding class’s or for the best gelding. The Royal Cornwall. The Lincolnshire Agricultural Show, Mini Mania, The Red Rose Show, Caerwys Agricultural Show and The Shetland Pony Stud Book Society Breed Show have already supported our cause present the trophies we have donated. 2016 will see a gelding championship and Claylands Trophy at the Royal Norfolk show and in 2017 we hope to do the same for the Staffordshire County Show.


  Claylands (The Next Chapter)  (Diane Verity and Andy Birdsall, Claylands Yorkshire)

  When Maurice asked us to write something to add to the history of the

Claylands Shetland Pony Stud, I asked myself “how, on earth, did we arrive at where we are now?”

It seems like a lifetime ago that I was kneeling beside “Hiedi”, the vet had just left.

  The day began with a bright beautiful blue sky and now it had turned grey, almost dark, as if the weather could sense the sadness. My heart was broken, I decided I would never breed another pony again.

  Hiedi’s stable was now occupied by “Prince” the horse that belonged to a friend and neighbour, a lovely old chap who was too old to travel to their new home in France so it was decided he would see the rest of time with us. He enjoyed his retirement for a couple of years before he passed on (he was well into his 30’s). Shortly after we lost “Misty” our 11:2 Welsh mountain pony, who I rescued some 26 years earlier. This left us with “Echo” Hiedi’s full sister, “Isis” who was well into her 20’s (and retired) and her daughter “Nemesia”.

  The stable block was starting to look empty! The pain of loosing Hiedi was beginning heal  and the intrigue of breeding started to emerge again. We had,always, bred ponies for ourselves to enjoy the mares we owned or bred, so when “Nemo” arrived he was our 4th generation and first,ever, colt. After much deliberation we decided to keep him entire and as weaning approached he needed a companion, this is when our first Shetland pony came along. We had been offered various ponies looking for a good home on loan we even considered rescuing one ( or 2) when a chance meeting with a rather charming man Mr Maurice Arden, came about and an even more charming Shetland pony stallion “Abbotsbury Zak”.

  I had never seen a more beautiful Shetland, it was love at first sight, not to mention the photographs of the many, adorable, foals he had sired, companion pony problem, solved. An easy to keep no frills M&M that would survive with very little input from us!! How wrong could we be?  to say Shetland ponies have changed our lives for the better would be a massive understatement. By the way, we passed the rigorous Claylands “inspection” process with flying colours. It was never our intention to do any showing with our new Shetland pony, however, we agreed, with some misgivings, to take Percy “Claylands Prince of Foxt” to the Newark and Notts. County show. We were hooked from day 1. The day was sunny and warm Percy was a dream to show he travelled like an old pro, it was hard to beleave he was just a yearling, and not a minutes trouble from start to finish, and he won his class! Perfect.

  Many shows have, since, followed. We always enjoy meeting new people, travelling to new places and learning the art of showing Shetland ponies.

  The best part, for us, is the preparation, it starts weeks in advance getting our ponies fit (not too fat) and, hopefully, looking their best on the day.

  Nemo and Percy hit it off from the start, even today both 10 years old they stable next to each other. Nemo was gelded at 2 years old (lets just say he wasn’t cut out to be a stallion) Percy was, simply, too good to geld so the idea of our own Shetland stud was born.

Shortly after the breed show on the Shetland isles in 2009 Maurice and Shirley asked if we would consider joining the Claylands stud as partners.
We did so with little Hesitation. It was a great honour

Maurice Arden and Shirley Nadin Claylands Shetland Ponies (Claylands Staffordshire)

Together with Diane Verity and Andy Birdsall  (Claylands Yorkshire)


To Gerry Hart, Thank you......this should have been included in our "Claylands history" but not until we were washing and cleaning those lovely awards that you put together for us ALL, that we suddenly realised that we had not included our lifetime Achievements Award which you and your Committee did for us.


During your presentation, Shirley and I sat there listening to what you were saying and about three parts through your delivery, we started to feel that there was some resemblance to us and finally confirmed that yes indeed at was us to whom you were referring and were delighted to be honoured in such a way along with others who had gone befor us.  We look at the picture on page 17 of the Society magazine of 2008 with extra pleasure once again.  Many thanks Gerry, your Dinner's and presentations were always excellent and know from our own past experiences that such events do not come about without a great deal of effort.

Claylands Candy- 011718- 24th April 1978 to 1st August 2008

Claylands Candy was one of the founder mares of the Claylands Stud, out of Barley Sugar-463B by Ilya of Balfour-002151.

She excelled both as a brood mare and in the show ring for most of her life and in doing so produced many prize winning offspring such as Claylands Calypso, Claylands Captain, Claylands Cheiftain and Claylands Cameron to name just a few of her twenty odd foals. Many has been the time over the years that young ladies have found us at shows and informed us that yes, they had indeed been the rider of such and such a Claylands pony and what fun they had had.

Also our beautiful Claylands Crystal now 18 years of age and she can still give a good account of herself in the show ring, she is also out of Candy, by Targe of Hutton-004016 (now in Denmark)Her last foal was Claylands Sugar, at the age of 24 and is now in the Shetland Isles in the capable and loving hands of Jackie Syme. Schiehallion Stud. So life goes on.

As a two year old Candy was being shown at the Crowland Show by the writer and Judged by Mr Tom Jones, Stud Groom of the Chatsworth Stud who pulled us in to second place and on presenting us with the rosette informed me that”if that pony were Black, it would be b….y priceless” indeed as history went on to prove the wisdom of Tom’s eye for a good pony her results over the years were such that his words spoke volumes and she produced many many wins in the show ring, much to the delight of the Arden family.
 She was of course “priceless” to us, she loved her foals, she loved showing and was indeed the lightest pony on the end of a lead rein that one could wish for, she was just lovely.
Candy was shown for the last time at Bishops Castle a couple of years ago in a mixed Mountain and Moorland class of some eighteen veterans and finished second, which was fine result and we were delighted for her, as she only went along as a companion.

She suffered ill health this summer and at the beginning of August we had to make the terrible decision to let her go in peace.Above is a picture of her as Champion at the Ponies of Britain Show at the East of England Show ground in 1990, shown by the late Mrs Jeannette Arden, founder of the Claylands Stud, who sadly was lost to us in 1998.
Now Jeannette and her beloved Candy are together in heaven, God Bless.
Maurice Arden and Shirley Nadin.
Claylands Shetland Ponies.