Talkin' Horses - Live Discussions

Josh Pons Author/Farm Owner

Thursday, Nov 15, 2007

Josh Pons got one A in college. In English. In short-story writing, to be precise. He took that as a life sign to stick with the short narrative form. A day at a time is all he can muster. His first published work, not counting seven years as a reporter for the Blood-Horse magazine, was Country Life Diary: Three Years in the Life of a Horse Farm.His second book is Merryland: Two Years in the Life of a Racing Stable.His writings have earned two Eclipse Awards. Both books are published by Eclipse Press.

He lives with his wife, Ellen, a professional photographer and artist, on Country Life Farm near Baltimore, Maryland. They have two sons, Josh and August. His grandfather, Adolphe A. Pons, founded Country Life in 1933. It is Maryland’s oldest Thoroughbred breeding farm. Merryland Farm is the state’s oldest Thoroughbred training farm.

Los Angeles, CA:
What is up with Sheik Mohammad retiring all these brilliant horses at such a young age? Why would a breeder retire great horses in hope of producing another once in a lifetime horse? I don't understand this logic and as a breeder can you enlighten the rest of us real racing fans on what is going on?

The most exciting racehorse in my lifetime was Secretariat. I was 19 years old when he won the Triple Crown, and I remember watching Mrs. Tweedy before the Belmont Stakes. She was eating Rollaids like they were mints. And he was retired after the end of his 3-year-old season. So was Man o' War. It's not really a new thing in racing. There's that old saying, 'If you keep leading them over there, eventually they'll get beat.' Sometimes a horse has proven himself beyond doubt.

The second most exciting racehorse in my lifetime was Cigar. He ran until he was six years old. Billy Mott led him over for 16 straight wins, and his popularity soared with every victory. What a horse for the sport! Allen Paulson owned and bred Cigar, and he inscribed the fine book that Jay Hovdey wrote about the horse. Mr. Paulson scribbled: 'Cigar. What a champion!' It's almost poetry, it's so indisputable.

Yorba Linda, CA:
Do you believe over-breeding is a problem in the horse industry? By some estimates 40,000 foals are born each year. A great many of these never race. Many end up eventually going to slaughter.

There are a lot of four-horse fields at tracks around the country. I'm not sure we're overbreeding racehorses as much as under-breeding racehorse owners.

Best of Talkin HorsesTo read the complete transcript of this chat, along with many others, check out Best of Talkiní Horses.

Best of Talkin’ Horses features provocative “chats” with some of Thoroughbred racing’s most prominent names. Adapted from “Talkin’ Horses,” the popular weekly online chat series hosted by, this edited collection provides additional insights by Ron Mitchell, editor and moderator of “Talkin’ Horses."


Editor's Note: moderators retain editorial control over Talkin' Horses discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests; guests may decline to answer questions. Opinions expressed by guests of Talkin' Horses are those of the guest and do not represent the opinions of Blood-Horse Publications, its employees, associates, or affiliated organizations. Guests, dates, and times of Talkin' Horses discussions are subject to change.