David and Gail Smith spent their days in the office, and evenings and weekends spend showing and training ponies that competed at the highest levels of competition in Ontario and in the U.S. Dave started in the insurance industry working in partnership with Gary Pottruff, and Gail was employed by Ontario Hydro.
Gail grew up with ponies, her parents, Ross and Marion Harrison bred Welsh and Hackney ponies, showing at the local fairs, the Royal Winter Fair and Canadian National Exhibition.
Dave became interested in showing ponies and over 35 years developed many young ponies, as well as preparing winning ponies for other exhibitors. In 1981, he opened his own insurance brokerage in Leaskdale, which allowed him to align his business with his hobby.
Entries from the Harrisons in the early 1970s included Bil-dor's Sir John, Cambridge Orbiter, Bobcaygeon Jubilee Attraction and Dun Haven Captivation. Under the banner of Pottruff and Smith Insurance, ponies such as Debbie's Fashion, Laudydale Rajah, Reedann's Tom Tom and the Royal Winter Fair stake winner Fernwick's Brown Jet. Duane Miller became associated with Dave and Gail, along with his ponies Flyer's Sensation, Flyer's Last Edition, Mark of Canterbury, Merrywill's Shamrock, Reedann's Star Supreme, Mr. Remarkable and Debonaire's Dizzy Whiz.
Jane Newman then placed her Cathy Coed and Little Miss Muffin with Dave, and Rag-A-Muffin, Rhyme Nor Reason, Silent Partner and Canadian Brass from the ABC Farm followed.
The busy schedule of customer ponies and Gail enjoying showing and young daughter Trish showing as a junior made a change in the number of ponies in the barn. The numbers dropped to one or two being shown, and developing young ponies or older established winners that benefited from Dave's talents would be their future entries. Debonaire's Moonraker, Debonaire's High Time, Brass Band, Reedann's Tribute, Heart to Heart, O What a Pzazz, Flyer's Country Squire, DJ's Maggie May, Cotton Ginny, and My My American Pie were presented to their exacting standards.
Dave and Gail also were very involved with the Society and Associations, Gail serving as president of the Canadian Hackney Society, Dave spent many hours on Ontario Hackney Association projects, including the horse show held at Markham, Barrie, and in Toronto. He was a long serving director and president.
With any hobby or business, there comes a time to step back. The insurance business was passed to their son and daughter-in-law, and the last few ponies were sold to friends. Dave and Gail retired to summers in Ontario, winters in Florida, with plenty of time for golf, motorcycling and grandchildren.
The Canadian Hackney Society is very pleased to include David and Gail Smith into the Hall of Fame to acknowledge their outstanding contribution to the Canadian Hackney. (Inducted April 2018)