Big winner with little horses
—by Lyn Vande Brake
Standing about 38 inches high or less, the small ponies Ryan Palas shows are all big winners. Over the weekend Ryan, 16, of Story City, came away with a line up of trophies and purple ribbons.
Son of Barb and Greg Palas, Ryan was awarded Champion Miniature Horse Obstacle Driving, Champion in Hand Hunter, Champion in Cart Class 38” and under, Champion in Miniature Horse Halter, Champion Pony Halter Reserve, Champion Cart Class over 38” and Champion Pony Halter.
“My husband and I grew up on a farm and wanted this kind of life for our children,” said Barb. “There are so many life lessons to learn. Success isn’t always about winning. It’s about accomplishing. Even when one doesn’t do well, it’s not fatal.”
The couple have three children; Alyssa (21) and Justin (19) along with Ryan. Alyssa and Justin have both won National Youth Pony of the Year. Alyssa did so two years in a row. All have competed on National levels winning championships.
“I learned how hard work really pays off. My grandpa taught us how to set goals,” said Alyssa.
The family also hosts special needs students from area schools at their farm for pony cart rides and working with horses.
“It’s our way of giving back to our community,” said Barb.