The most recent issue of Equus magazine is a special edition about the race horse Secretariat. I’ve been slow to open it, which is nothing against Secretariat. I followed his accomplishments during the horse-crazy years of my youth. It’s just that racehorses aren’t where my interests are now. So imagine my delight when I did open the magazine to the table of contents and discover an article about a pony!
The story was written by a woman who bought a pony for her son. It contained all the usual stereotypes about ponies: “My trainer had told me that ponies have a different temperament than horses, and she didn’t mean it in a good way… [Ponies] can be vindictive, scheming, devilish, funny, playful, smart, cute, wily and conniving.” (1) The author ended up nicknaming the pony James Dean because he seemed to have a swagger and attitude. To the author’s credit, she grew to love the pony despite her inability to command respectful behavior. Her son, on the other hand, bonded to the pony and they did great things together.
When her son moved on to a horse, the author made a discovery that transformed her relationship with the pony: “He just wants to connect with someone.” (2) This statement recalled a conversation I had recently with my friend Joe about ponies he has known. One pony in particular was a devil for all of his previous owners before coming into Joe’s hands, even earning the nickname Mankiller. “He just wanted someone to relate to him,” says Joe. The pony never exhibited his aggressive manner around Joe or Joe’s wife June who often handled him. Joe introduced me to this pony before I’d heard the Mankiller story. I would never have guessed he deserved such a nickname.
The author of the Equus story had a fascinating twist on why not to buy a pony. “It [isn’t] because ponies are evil, conniving devils. It’s just too hard to watch your child outgrow them.” (3) The author did the wise thing, of course, and taught the pony to drive, giving it a new purpose in life.
As someone who got into ponies as an adult, the ‘outgrow’ problem isn’t something I’m familiar with. Experiencing the joy of multi-purpose ponies, though – now that’s something I totally understand. It’s why I started The Partnered Pony™ and publish The Partnered Pony™ Inquirer (for more info, click here). It’s great that Equus readers now get a chance to learn this wonderful part of buying a pony, too.
- 1) Giglio, Patricia. “The Pony and Me,” Equus, Issue 434 November, 2013, p. 77.
- 2) Giglio, p. 78.
- 3) Same as #2.