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.”