The unexpected partnership of Wayne and Sybil Humphreys' Welsh
pony Cefnoakpark Bouncer with driver Suzy Stafford in the summer of 2005 turned out to be a stroke of luck for U.S. Driving
. With just a little more than two weeks to prepare, the pony and driver duo won the Individual Gold medal at the FEI Pony Driving World Championships
at Catton Park in Devonshire, England.
Stafford, of Bear, Delaware, was originally selected to the U.S. Team with Beverley Lescher's Morgan
pony, Courage to Lead. But the mare pulled a muscle, only days before she was due to be shipped. Bouncer was already in England and without a driver for the competition, so Stafford and the Humphreys applied to the United States Equestrian Federation
for a substitution, in accordance with selection procedures. After all the arrangements were complete, Stafford made the trip to England, where she had a limited amount of time to get to know the pony before the FEI Pony Driving World Championships
With the combination of Stafford's expert guidance and the pony's talent, the pair overcame the odds, and became the first entry from the U.S. to ever win an FEI Driving Individual Gold medal. Additionally, Stafford and Bouncer earned the top score out of Single, Pairs and Four-in-Hands at the World Championship out of 81 entries from 16 countries. Stafford again drove him to a Team Bronze Medal at the 2007 FEI Pony Driving World Championships
after Sybil Humphreys had qualified him.
Stafford recalls, "He's not very complicated. You tell him what to do, and he does it. If you don't ask for anything, he doesn't give you anything, but the more you ask him, the more you'll get. The other ponies that I usually drive are brilliant, but complicated. He was refreshing."
His owner agrees, "He definitely has presence. He's serious about his job and loves working and is willing to give his all to you," said Sybil.
Though his Gold medal cemented his place in the history books, Bouncer was not without a list of achievements before his FEI Pony Driving World Championships success. Also in 2005, he was the Grand Champion and First Place Single Pony at Southern Pines CDE in North Carolina and later, following the World Championships and again with Stafford in the driver's seat, he was the Grand Champion and First Place Single Pony at the Fair Hill International CDE in Maryland.
Bred in Wales by F. K. Bozward of Cefn Farm in Dyfed, Bouncer was foaled in 1996. The 13.3-hand black gelding with striking white markings is registered as a Section C Welsh
Pony of Cob Type and is by Tireve Tywysog Du out of Cefn Maryanne (by Cefn Maestro). The Humphreys purchased him in England in November 1999 and imported him in January 2000.
Sybil Humphreys competed Bouncer under the expert guidance of Larry Poulin, and won and placed in numerous CDEs before she and her husband decided the talented pony deserved a chance to excel with a professional. Muffy Seaton then took Bouncer's reins and qualified him for the FEI Pony Driving World Championships
before their partnership ended just after the Royal Windsor CAI (England) in May 2005, opening the door for Stafford to have the opportunity of a lifetime.
Sybil, who passed away in October 2011, had said that Bouncer is a forward-moving pony and loves to work. "I've been having him ridden, and he enjoys the driving more, but I know that his rider would like to show him in dressage," she said, noting that the cross-training is good for his driving dressage as well.
In 2011 on the Florida winter circuit Sybil (at age 68) and Bouncer won 3 of 4 events they entered, including the last event of their long partnership the top rated driving show in the USA, Live Oak International CDE. Sybil and Bouncer also won the Hanzi Award (top horse or pony in the show - ie grand champion) at Live Oak in 2008. Sybil drove and competed Bouncer almost exclusively from the time he was purchased until she passed away.
"This honor is bitter sweet for me, as my wife passed away suddenly and unexpectedly from pancreatic cancer in October 2011, only 6 months after their Live Oak win. " said Wayne.
"Bouncer has been our family's focal point to raise awareness and funds to help fight pancreatic cancer," remarked Wayne. "Bouncer, driven by world class drivers, including Suzy Stafford, performed exhibitions between Florida and Virginia in front of up to 40,000 people in 2012 increasing awareness of this dreaded disease." As a result of the Humphreys' and Bouncer's involvement along with many others dedicated to gaining help and research to fight this disease, President Barack Obama signed a bill in January of 2013, which was passed by Congress to increase resources and focus on the fight against Pancreatic Cancer.