Breeding Fell Ponies these past eleven years has brought me one unexpected benefit: meeting other working pony enthusiasts. So many Americans have poor opinions of ponies that I truly value those who love them as much as I do and know that they can do useful work.
One people-pony pair that has come into my life in the past year has been Ginny and her pony Sadie. Sadie is a pony of unknown breeding but very Fell-like in appearance and temperament according to Ginny. From the pictures and stories that Ginny has shared, I’d have to agree! I never fail to smile when I read about the relationship that Ginny and Sadie share. They have graciously agreed to let me pass on a few stories. As a bit of context, Ginny is disabled with post-polio sequelae. Sadie stands about 11.2hh.
“We have no clue to her real background. She is built like a Sherman tank on short legs. She takes an 18 inch collar, a 44″ girth and tapes at nearly 700 pounds! I think her appearance in the summer and her head look welsh to me but there surely is something good and sturdy behind her. The old timers we know call her a draft pony. She has a lovely floating, effortless trot.”
“We only had a small paddock her first winter here and so I daily walked her down the long drive behind us and she enjoyed the time we had. I began training her using my usual methods but began studying Natural Horsemanship after my neighbor went to a seminar in Harrisburg. One day I fell while I had Sadie out and about and she got away from me and went down the road. She fell on the black top but got up and continued to the neighbor’s who has 8 horses. Well, there was no way I could walk down to get her and my husband was working that day. I called her name and she came back down the road, walked right up to me and that was that. She has been like that with me ever since.”
“In the meantime [awaiting Ginny’s knee replacement surgery this spring], Sadie gives me her nose to smell, we have our Parelli games and driving…plus restoring a village style cart this winter. (Oh, I got out of the wheelchair the other day to get something from the tack room. Came out and she had figured out how to turn it on and had the joystick and was spinning the chair around and around!)”
“Sadie was all excited yesterday because the State vet, a vet student and the state poultry tester were all here to test my chickens. She was sure they all came just to see her. She tried to push her way into the shop every time someone went in or out. If you aren’t careful she will open the door and walk in then screw around with all of my husband’s power equipment.”
“It has been an extremely harsh winter here, and I can’t navigate in the snow. Sadie will pick up in the spring right where I left off if she runs true to form.”
Unlike me, Ginny has had a variety of sizes and types of equines in her life and has settled on a draft pony now. Having bred dogs and been around horses her entire life, Ginny is a blessing to me with her frank feedback on my writing, her enthusiasm for my pony-powered garden carts, and her desire to put Sadie to as many uses as she can. I look forward to hearing what they achieve this coming year when winter finally recedes.
© Jenifer Morrissey and Ginny Alexander, 2011