Monday, July 16, 2012

Adventures With Ponies

I started riding when I was twelve.

My trainer had me jumping within a half hour, before I knew how to canter a horse and right after learning how to post. Don't get me wrong, it was wonderful. I loved every minute of it.

At twelve, I believe I was pretty short. Like, looks right on and 11hh pony short. My trainer had given up riding, and her daughter, who did ride, was six feet tall, so they were pretty excited to see tiny little me.

Immediately began the parade of ponies who hadn't been ridden in a while. First, Pacman, who was lazy as could be until he saw a jump, then he would get super excited, stop acting his age (21) and act like a five year old. He was a welsh pony cross, gray, and only 11hh tall. There was no way anyone could get hurt on him... well, unless they looked down while jumping.

I did... once.

Then there was Elsie. She hadn't been ridden in three years. Elsie was the name I called her. My trainer called her something else entirely. A word I wasn't supposed to say.

She was a cute little saddlebred/shetland cross, which meant she was hot, willful, intelligent, stubborn... She was quite a character.

We actually really hit it off. She liked me, because I adored her. (It's a mare thing.) I had a bunch of mishaps with her, which included crushing my leg between her, the fence, and another horse. Then, there was the time she smashed through the arena gate with me, shattering the heavy wood in half, because she was late for dinner.


Then there was Cricket. It was a disaster from the start. She was a four year old green pony. I was a new rider. It had been raining. Puddles were scattered here and there in the arena. Most of the footing was fine, but there were random spots where the sand gave way to clay.

Right before one jump was one of those spots. Cricket tripped, stumbled over the jump, and bolted.

We flew around the arena, until I lost my seat. I landed, hard, on my elbow, slid eight feet (trainer measure it later), broke the bill of of my helmet, and skinned myself up pretty badly.

My arm really hurt, but I did what riders have to do, I got back on, jumped the course again, ended on a good note, and then went to Urgent Care with my parents.

It wasn't a bad break. Actually, the bone bruise was probably worse than the actual hairline fracture. I had a sling, though, and happily used it to skip PE for six weeks.

The worst part was not riding for six weeks.

I have always gotten along great with ponies. We short folks have to make up for stature with personality. Perhaps this is also why stallions absolutely adore me.

Mares don't, but that's another story.


  1. I honestly loved every minute of it. I would have done anything to just have one more minute around horses. To this day, there is a part of my heart and soul that feels a strong connection with them.