62 Hu­mor

Fences and peo­ple are no match for this naughty pet.


Fences and peo­ple are no match for one naughty pony.

Ispent a lot of time face­down in the dirt in the early days of my ca­reer as a horse­woman. All be­cause of one rot­ten lit­tle pony. She did have an­other name at one point but soon came to be known sim­ply as Rot­ten lit­tle pony.

She sure earned the name. In her early days, she had a bad habit of siz­ing up a fence and then plow­ing through it with a look in her eyes that could only be de­scribed as wicked. She would then trot away, and al­ways with a few tosses of the head aimed in the gen­eral di­rec­tion of the fence.

I’ve fixed that fence about 1,247,754,962 times over time. I elec­tri­fied it; I dou­ble-fenced it; I gave her time­outs—but noth­ing would stop that pony.

I still have night­mares about the time I first strapped a sad­dle onto Rot­ten lit­tle pony. All went well un­til the turn for home, when she sud­denly kicked into high gear. Look­ing back, I think she may have missed her call­ing as a race­horse; that gal­lop could have ri­valed my thor­ough­bred’s any day. The bucks she threw in at ran­dom didn’t help, ei­ther. But my mind was drawn to a more des­per­ate sit­u­a­tion at the time, so I hardly no­ticed them.

Rot­ten lit­tle pony was head­ing full-bore for the elec­tric fence. Her in­ten­tion was clear: She was go­ing to crash through it at more or less the speed of light. I had no brakes, so the only log­i­cal thing for me to do was to bail.

My plan would have worked, had Rot­ten lit­tle pony had the withers to se­cure the sad­dle. But she didn’t. One mo­ment I was there, stand­ing in one stir­rup, pre­par­ing to jump, and the next se­cond I was still in one stir­rup, only this time I was be­ing dragged along be­hind her.

She ap­par­ently no­ticed the shift of the sad­dle’s po­si­tion and changed course, veer­ing into the or­chard to weave through the young trees. At one point she made a re­ally tight turn, which dis­lodged my foot from the stir­rup and set her free of the weight she had been haul­ing. With that ac­com­plished, Rot­ten lit­tle pony fin­ished her mis­sion and smashed through the fence, sad­dle in tow.

I no­ticed sev­eral fam­ily mem­bers stand­ing out in the yard, watch­ing and laugh­ing. This story is now told around the Christ­mas ta­ble ev­ery year, ex­ag­ger­ated and em­bel­lished in ev­ery pos­si­ble area.

Rot­ten lit­tle pony en­joyed her life as a feral crea­ture in the pas­ture for sev­eral years, and then one day she turned up at the barn look­ing ill. It turned out to be a meta­bolic is­sue com­mon in older ponies.

She still lives with me, en­joy­ing re­tire­ment and mainly stick­ing with the peace­ful way of life now. Age hasn’t stopped her rot­ten­ness, just mel­lowed it some. Oc­ca­sion­ally I’ll hear a crash, and Rot­ten lit­tle pony will emerge from be­hind the barn and head straight for the gar­den, toss­ing her head and snick­er­ing.

Now, as an older and slightly wiser per­son, I see the value of hav­ing Rot­ten lit­tle pony in my life. Stick­a­bil­ity is my strong­est trait in the sad­dle, and I credit it all to her. I can now look a young, green horse in the eye and say, “Ya wanna buck me off? Good luck with that.”

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