2012 began in the worst possible way for us here at Tyrcanol. In December our mother Sylvia was taken into hospital unexpectedly, where she remained for ten weeks, until her death in February. For fifty years she had been the presiding force in the stud, and its incredibly difficult to imagine having to manage without her. The ponies were an incredibly valuable part of her life, second in importance only to her love for her family. Sylvia worked first as a research chemist, then as a physics lecturer, so perhaps it was her scientific training which explains her especial interest in the art of breeding – always attempting to improve the ponies, while maintaining the characteristics of our best and favourite ponies. She believed that the only way to breed top-class stock was to use the very best stallions, no matter how far away they were. So, it wasn’t unusual for us to travel hundreds of miles in a rather temperamental Bedford lorry – to Shropshire, to Sussex – and several times to be brought home on the AA relay. It was the ponies that she most admired which dominate the pedigrees of Tyrcanol ponies – amongst them, Revel Choice, Revel Springsong and our particular favourite Coed Coch Planed for the section As, Solway Master Bronze for the section Bs, and Lyn Cwm Coed, Parc Welsh Flyer, Parc Sir Ivor and Nebo Bouncer for the section Cs. Sometimes it took many years to establish the cross – she remembered seeing Twyford Gamecock as a yearling at the Royal Welsh, but it was nearly fifteen years before we were able to use him. Nonetheless, it was, as she has expected, a lucky cross – Gamecock’s first foal for us was Tyrcanol Shcharansky, for many years our senior stallion, and the sire of many outstanding brood mares. In the summers we would go to many shows and, although she loved the big shows, she particularly enjoyed the village shows in West Wales – Teifiside, Llangeitho, Nevern and Fishguard were some of her favourites – where we could enjoy a family day out (and maybe stop off to see a castle or a cromlech on our way home). In those earlier days, my father was generally working, so my mother would show the ponies herself, perhaps with one of us children leading the foal. In the past few years, it was a source of great pleasure to see Jeff’s two daughters Emma and Lucy showing their ponies in hand and under saddle at the Royal Welsh. Once my mother was persuaded to judge, but she didn’t enjoy it, so chose not to repeat the experience. Through the ponies, my mother made many warm and lasting friendships, and those of you who knew her will understand how hard it is to say goodbye (and those of you who didn’t get the chance to meet her, you missed a treat!)