John and Margaret Almond, Loafers Lodge
John is a County District Court Employee and Welsh Pony judge; Margaret is a small animal vet and owner of Shawsville Veterinary Hospital.
How long have you been part of the horse world?
Horses and ponies have always been a part of the family for both John and I. John’s grandfather, Sonny Almond, was a foxhunting legend in Monkton. My parents bred Welsh and Shetland ponies under the prefix Charmsley Farm. I grew up showing and foxhunting with my three sisters.
How did you get started in breeding?
One day at a driving show, a young man yelled to me, “Hey lady, I really like your pony!” The young man was John, and we became a couple and got married. In 1985, we registered the Loafers Lodge prefix with the Welsh Pony and Cob Society of America. John’s grandmother, Isabel Howard Warner, was born in a cottage known as Loafers Lodge, which was located on the My Lady’s Manor property. John’s Grandma Warner went on to use Loafers Lodge for her kennel prefix, so John decided to honor his grandmother by using the same Loafers Lodge prefix for our Welsh pony herd.
What part do you play in the horse world?
We continue to be highly involved with the Welsh Pony and Cob Society of America. I’m a current board member for the society. We show Welsh national champions every year with the help of the whole family, including my sisters, Louise Gill and Alma Rooney, and Louise’s children, Shawn, Emily and Meg Gill. Also, with the help of the whole family, we manage various Welsh shows throughout the year in Maryland. John and I also enjoy foxhunting with Elkridge Harford Hunt Club.
What’s your favorite thing about what you do?
Doing something we love with our family
What’s your biggest achievement in the horse world?
Being one of the top USEF Pony Hunter breeders for many years and breeding multiple winners at Pony Finals and various top Pony Hunter shows across the county. Also, producing multiple Lifetime Achievement Award winners with the Welsh Pony Cob Society of America.
What are your goals for the future with your farm and your horses?
We hope to continue to breed quality Welsh ponies for all disciplines. And, we hope to see Loafers Lodge continue for future generations with the help of our nieces, Emily and Meg.
What is the best thing about your life?
Being able to share something we love with others, and knowing that ponies we have bred over the years have greatly impacted multiple peoples’ lives.
Best kept secret about what you do?
There is no such thing as too many ponies.