Pony Pizza Treats are “Hoof Lickin’ Good™!”
Originally published in the February issue of Show Horse Today magazine
By Gabrielle Sasse
The failsafe to the age old, “Mom, what are we having for dinner?” Time to call for a pizza. Now, pizza isn’t just for people! Connie Fry has created Pony Pizza, the horse treat business that is delivering pizzas for your pony… or horse, or mini or donkey. Believe us, your equine pal will love it!
Connie has been riding since she was a kid. “I started with my ‘backyard horse’,” Connie explains of her lifetime experience. “I rode like a banshee through the hills, bareback in a halter and lead, no rules or boundaries. Now it is fun to reminisce about!” she laughs. “As a preteen, I went to some fun shows with that backyard horse and caught the show bug. We showed in the boot scramble and musical chairs, flags, poles, anything and everything. That led to better horses, and led to me showing AQHA, which I did all during my youth. I qualified for the first World show in 1974 plus ended up ninth in Youth Western Pleasure at the AQHYA finals. I had a very good pleasure mare, Sugar Bar Sunday. “
Connie went back to her “first love” of hunters. She always had a Quarter Horse or Appendix Quarter horse. “My favorite gelding tragically broke his leg in ’78 and it put me into a bit of a tailspin. I got out of the show pen and just dabbled in horses until my daughter was born in ’87. We bought a three year old when she was six, and it started all over with her. It led me to my current Dutch Warmblood, Nathaniel, my first non-Quarter Horse, who I have had since he was seven. He’s 19 this year, and has done a lot of great things! I was the last to show him USEF Adult Amateurs 3’ hunters, and he is going to go on to teach others to do the 2’6” or 2’9”. We ended up Reserve Champion 2012 for our zone in USEF Adult Amateur 36 and over, behind one of Peter Pletcher’s horse and rider, which was huge! We were just rewarded MOHJO Year End Adult Amateur 2013. I’m now looking for another young one, which I may have found.”
“I love the whole process,” Connie shares, her love of her horses obvious in her voice. “I’m not one of those people who just steps in the stirrup, goes around the show pen and steps off. I love the grooming and caring for them, and have always been that way. I love the relationship and partnership that I have with my horses.”
The idea of Pony Pizza treats first stuck in Connie’s head about six or seven years ago, when someone brought a pizza-shaped spice cake to the barn. “It was in a pizza box and had peppermints. It was so interesting! In January of 2013, a few of the young girls at my barn were making treats and they wanted to sell them, but they just looked like your average nugget treat. I suggested to them that we all get together and make pizzas. We took them to a local show, and we got to selling.”
The trio sold at local shows until April, when Connie talked to some show managers in Memphis, Tennessee. The pizzas made their way to horse shows in Germantown, Tennessee and that is where things got moving. The two girls decided that it was time to bow out, because things got a lot bigger than what they had ever thought. The treats didn’t have a shelf life at the time, so Connie began the search for a baker.
“We were flying by the seat of our pants with no real recipe, but the horses loved the treats!” Connie explains. “I finally found a baker right here in St. Louis called Baker’s Pride, a FDA approved, human-grade bakery that does daily deliveries and works 365 days a year. They took my project on, and we were making pizzas in shifts that were filled in their downtime. It’s now become a real product for them! We had no idea we would be this busy or popular, and it’s continuously growing. We went to Pony Finals, Quarter Horse Congress, and Novice Amateur Championships in Tennessee to give samples. Tack stores carry Pony Pizzas in more than 15 states, we have a Facebook page, Pinterest, Twitter… we’re even the official treat for the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show 2014 this year, which is a huge honor. We just were part of the prize package for a USHJA International Hunter Derby with Queenie Productions here in St. Louis for the Lake St. Louis Winter Equestrian Festival.”
Connie has come up with the two toppings, “Mint-O-Roni™” and “Molasses Sausage™,” and names on her own. She also perfected their “top secret recipe” using what she had learned from the spring and summer. Their 3-inch mini-pizzas, which come in canisters or sample packs, and 9-inch large pizzas, which come in pizza boxes, now have a shelf life. “You can always find a place in your groom bag or tack trunk to fit a can of something!” Connie says of the convenient canisters that house the 3-inch pizzas. “They are about the size of a fly spray bottle or a can of Pepi.”
To read the rest of the article, click here and flip to page 34!