Film ID: NEFA 20757 Video of NEFA 20757 Best Friends - I Pony BEST FRIENDS: I PONY 1983 Visitor TabsDescription A gallop through the do’s and don’ts of pet care narrated by a plump pony with personality. This children's cartoon was created by celebrated South Shields animator Sheila Graber for a children’s television series that was broadcast around the world in the 1980s. Title: Best Friends (over girl and pony sequence) A mare stands in a grass field with bits of it turning brown looking down at her white foal. The foal struggles onto its hooves to suckle from a mare, his mother. Time moves on. The foal is now 4 years old and trots confidently. Title: I Pony (pony sprawled on lettering) The white pony is in a field with a shelter from the pouring rain and a trough of water to drink from and a small dog for a pal. On cold nights the pony lives in a clean, well ventilated stable with straw on the concrete floor, and fresh water from a sink at the touch of the pony’s nose. The pony drinks from the sink and licks a block of salt lick in a wall dispenser. The pony has company. A mother cat licks a brood of kittens. A little girl opens the stable door and strokes the pony’s nose. She grabs for a hay net. The pony eats from a trough. The girl is mixing together bran, horse mix, flake meat, and sugar beet, to be soaked in water overnight. The horse peers from its stable across the farm yard in the background. The pony is out in the field in cold weather wrapped in a blanket, the girl feeding him from a bucket. Time moves into summer when the pony eats fresh grass as a main diet. The girl slips on a bridles. Back in the stable, the girl mucks out as the pony nuzzles her shoulder. In a wheelbarrow, she pushes the shitty straw outside and tips it onto a manure heap, a little dog tripping beside her. She spreads clean straw on the stable floor. The cross cat and puppy dog watch her. The girl holds the pony’s muzzle affectionately. A photo album is open in someone’s hand, with pictures showing, on the left, a girl taking a puppy dog for a walk, and on the right, a horse taking a girl, cat and dog for a walk. Turning over, two pages show a horse walking and lunging. The pony smiles as her young rider hitches up the bit and bridle, and sticks her shiny black boots in a stirrup to get on the saddle, wearing traditional jodhpurs and hard helmet. She flips over the top accidently. Second time, she manages to get up onto the pony and practices walking, trotting, cantering, galloping, and a jump into dirty water. The pony is groomed, cleaning out stones from a hoof. A blacksmith checks the horseshoe. A stiff dandy brush is used to clean the mane and neck of mud, followed by the softer body brush and curry comb. The tail is plaited. The head and tail are wiped down, a light polish of the hooves. The spanking clean pony and dirty girl smile at each other. The girl treks in the country, hacks in town, and holds the first prize trophy in a gymkhana win. Portrait shot of pony and girl happy together. She runs off and leaves her animal friend. The light is switched off and the pony’s eyes gleam in the dark to close of film. Context Pet care … straight from the horse’s mouth An adorable pony cheerfully dispenses pet care advice to the young. This is one of a series of ten traditional colour animations from the Best Friends television series that delighted children around the world in the 1980s, hand painted by the renowned South Shields-born artist Sheila Graber. As a gifted amateur, Sheila Graber received commissions from the Tate Gallery in London, Tyne Tees TV and the BBC. Her work was broadcast on the 1970s children's programme for Granada Television, Clapperboard, and the award-winning 12 Days of Christmas was shown on BBC Look North in 1975. As a full-time professional animator, Graber gained an international reputation for her 1981 adaptations of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories for Nicole Jouve of Interama, the agent for The Magic Roundabout, who began to distribute the artist’s animations worldwide in 1977, and commissioned the Best Friends series in 1983.