Deirdre Robinson started her competitive career, when an acquaintance of her mother from the doggy world, who also exhibited and bred German Shepherds like her mother, gave her a three year old part bred Arab named 'Love Parade' but known as Robin to all his friends. He travelled from Birmingham to East Grinstead in Sussex by train, and Deirdre in her ignorance collected him off the train single handed put on a saddle and bridle and rode him proudly home.
Prior to this she had only had an evil gymkhana pony purchased for £75 by her Godmother, complete with saddle and bridle, who had an unenviable record of running away whenever he had the chance and had even managed to overtake the Huntsman of the local hunt much to his rider's mortification!
Robin did everything for Deirdre despite the fact he was only 14.3 hands high. He show jumped and qualified for and competed in The Foxhunter final at The Horse of the Year Show. He had great success in Combined Training at all the London Shows and worked his way, despite his rider's lack of knowledge up the dressage ladder, to advanced level.
It was Robin who gave Deirdre her great love of horses of Arab breeding, Pure, Part and Anglo. From here a large number of the horses she rode were racing discards, all Thoroughbreds (T.B.s) and it was on these that she mostly Evented and Show Jumped.
At the same time she did quite a lot of showing on other people's horses producing winners at The Royal International, Horse of the Year Show and County Shows etc. In the 1970's Deirdre started experimenting with breeding Part Bred and Anglo Arabs with a view to producing horses and ponies of use, who could go on and do a job of work.
Some of the early crosses were Arab, T.B cross Connemara, and Welsh. From this The Fleetmead Stud was born. The stud progressed to having its own stallions, notably the Anglo Seamus O'Shea, who produced winners in the show ring, show jumping and eventing world. Joined later by a pure bred Arab that she had previously won with in the show ring and dressage arena, when she produced him for his owner. Sadly both horses have now passed on to Never Never land.
It is all due to Kitty Lucas asking Deirdre to school Ilean Ceilidh of Westlands that she became involved with Highland Ponies and to her disbelief has now had her life taken over and changed by what she originally thought were horrid little hairy things. Ceilidh changed all that by becoming a prolific winner both showing and dressage and qualifying for Olympia twice.
Deirdre then acquired two mares with a view to crossing them with her Anglo stallion but had not anticipated the highlands determination to do things their way. The older pony Debbie of Mendick never held and so produced no foal and Succoth Sarah totally refused to show any interest in the male sex so not a very good start to her new breeding program.
Alick of Litigan then came down from Scotland as a yearling to join The Fleetmead Stud, with a view to crossing him with Deirdre's Anglo and Part Bred Arab mares. He had to go through the agony of a long journey to the Midlands to be inspected by a panel from the Highland Pony Society before he could get his stallion licence, a scheme which was subsequently dropped. He celebrated by fathering a foal from Succoth Sarah who since then remained faithful to him and became his permanent wife.
Some years later Deirdre had the good fortune to have Carrick Raasay for a few months to show for his owner and whilst he was at Fleetmead he covered an Alick daughter and produced the outstandingly athletic black stallion Ronay. Deirdre has always been interested in trying to breed for a specific purpose and aims to breed free moving ponies who are capable of being good ridden ponies able to do assorted jobs of work. The ones that are ridden and produced from the stud are all good examples of this and three different ponies produced by Deirdre have won the Highland Pony Performance Award. Alick doing so on three occasions before he was retired from this competition.
The stud is now trying to breed ponies that have a strong Carrick influence and Cameron and Jura of Whitefield are two of the stallions that figure prominently in their pedigrees. Life for Deirdre then has almost gone full circle and she's back to the Pony Days as gradually due to old age or through being sold the Anglo Arabs have nearly disappeared and their place has now been taken by The Fleetmead Highland Pony Stud.