The Proof is in the Pony
Having a pony after so many years is amazing. It’s better than I ever imagined. Having a pony like Ferrous? Priceless.
I know it’s easy to take for granted things in life. Having a horse is not one of them for me. I can’t imagine after 40 years of dreaming of having my own horse, that I will ever take it for granted. My dreams came true.
I rode Ferrous, a lesson pony at Lancaster Equestrian Stables, for perhaps two or three months prior to buying him. He was an adjustment after two years spent with the deliciously athletic Delight, whom I love. Delight and I were at an impasse at the time because I kept backing off after I broke my ribs, and he was pushing my boundaries in return. We were completely out of sync.
I lessoned on several other horses, but Ferrous was one that I had never ridden previously. He was a barn favorite and the owner was very careful who was allowed to ride him. So I was a little surprised when I got the green light. In fact, I took it as a compliment.
Ferrous is a confidence builder. He can be stubborn and he has a brain, but he is willing and forgiving. So as I regained my confidence with him, he seemed a perfect fit for my family. I love a horse with personality.
And he remains so. From lunging to nervous little girls on him bareback- whatever I ask, he gives. We have built a bond of trust, love, and respect that I had always dreamed of having with my pony.
And yet somehow, I am still occasionally surprised. Why is that?
My recent trail ride is a perfect example of my pony prooving to me over and over that he is perfect for us.
Ferrous loves trail rides. Normally quiet and responsive, when he realizes we are hacking out he picks his head up and lengthens his stride. Not fast, but happy. Most of our trail buddies are off-track thoroughbreds that we inevitably outpace each time despite the difference in size. My pony prefers to lead or walk beside but gets frustrated if made to follow. This is something that I am working on for when the kids take him out with their trainer. But for me, I do not mind at all.
Because Ferrous loves trail riding, a squeeze of the leg or any forward encouragement takes us straight from walk to canter, and he has to be held back in a trot if that is the required pace. He gets excited, but never out of control.
At the end of our ride, we were heading home up the trail when the flies became worse. Ferrous shook his head vehemently and his ear bonnet loosened, hanging off one ear. Unperturbed he continued walking while I leaned forward to remove it fully. In doing so, his bridle came off one ear as well.
I couldn’t reach his head enough to fix it in the saddle and frankly didn’t want to take the risk. The only other option was to dismount, which I did. Ferrous stood quietly with his bridle half hanging over his face. I fixed it quickly and easily while he stood calmly, but then I realized I had a bigger issue. Getting back on!
I’m incredibly short. When I meet people in person more often than not they comment, “I thought you were taller”. I guess I don’t live up to the hype! But I don’t mind being small. In fact, I quite like it. The problem is that I’m also inflexible, especially in my hips and very clumsy.
As a result, mounting my 14.2 hh pony from the ground is not easy for me. Albeit, much easier than if I was riding the 16.3 Earthy Delights!
Luckily, I had the foresight to tack up with my western trail saddle and the stirrups were quite long. While my trail partner looked on, waiting patiently, I led Ferrous to a fallen tree branch. My sweet little pony was happy to stand and munch on some plants while I climbed on the branch and successfully mounted again!
I was very proud of myself. Seriously. This was the first time, ever, I had successfully mounted from the ground on a trail at my barn. Usually, I’ve had to receive a leg-up from my trainer, which is quite pathetic. Having someone else dismount to help me because I can’t do it myself? Ugh. Facepalm.
I was very proud of myself and my pony. Ferrous once again showing me that I can trust him, and me proving to myself that I can do something if I want it enough. I did NOT want to walk him back to the barn.
The proof is in the pony. I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful partner that I can count on and that can count on me. I can only hope that I give him what he needs in return for him giving me so much.