IN THE GENES: Keith Robin, of Bredon Stud Farm at Wilsonton with mare Country Belle, has been training and showing ponies all his life.
IN THE GENES: Keith Robin, of Bredon Stud Farm at Wilsonton with mare Country Belle, has been training and showing ponies all his life. Laura Hunt

Ponies leave a lifelong print on Keith Robin

HIS love for ponies began when, as a young boy, Keith Robin would ride his pony to school at Talgai near Allora.

Now 71, his love for the animals has never waned, and Keith is in no hurry to slow down.

The Toowoomba local now resides on 2.4ha at Wilsonton's Bredon Stud Farm, where he has 12 ponies. He is an expert when it comes to training and showing ponies at regional shows and is also a judge for the pony and hack classes at Darling Downs shows.

After watching his father Percy compete (Percy had champion ponies at both the 1926 and 1927 Ekkas) Keith has continued the family tradition his whole life.

At this year's Royal Brisbane Show, Keith returned home with both Champion Australian Saddle Pony under saddle and Supreme Champion Welsh Pony, among other awards.

It was his last stop on the show run, which begins in February at Allora and continues through until August.

"I've been doing the shows non-stop for the last five years," Keith said. "There is about one a week."

Keith grew up at Talgai before moving to Toowoomba when he was nine.

His family ran Opaline Stud at North St and Greenwattle St, breeding and breaking-in ponies, before selling them on.

In 1995, Keith began working for the Turners at Wilsonton, where he still lives.

When asked why he loves the animals, Keith was at first lost for words.

"I've always had a love for ponies.

It's my father's genes, I guess," he said.

"They're very intelligent - a little too intelligent for some people."

And good genes they are too.

Keith's father Percy lived to the ripe old age of 102.

Every day, Keith wakes early and begins his jobs, which include feeding the ponies and cleaning their stables.

With help from two young handlers, Keith hopes to continue training and showing for many years to come.

"I want to continue doing it for as long as I can," he said.