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Ode to the greatest "accidental" pony hunter ever! (LONG)

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  • Ode to the greatest "accidental" pony hunter ever! (LONG)

    I'm really loving all of my horses right now. Today was a jumping day for 4 of them, and I just had to express how much I love my pony who impressed me beyond belief (even more than my green OTTB taking his first solidly built 4'6" fences under saddle!) So here's his story.....

    I moved to my own farm 5 or 6 years ago. At the time I had my AO Jumper gelding and that was it. So I decided that I should get him some sort of a companion. Since I knew I'd be having kids in the not-too-distant future I opted to look for a pony. I found a cute small through a broker friend of mine, but decided against it because right around that time a friend offered her aged retiree as a companion. The broker called me to say that the owner was pulling the pony off of the market because he was in the process of foundering and my "save the poor thing" instinct kicked in.

    And that's how I "accidentally" ended up with Chico the 8yo borderline founder pony for basically the money it cost to ship him to me:
    (this was 2 months after he arrived and he was already down 150 lbs)
    He wasn't actually foundering, but he was in awful shape at 950lb (he's just shy of 12.2h). My farrier ended up resecting a large portion of his hind hooves because of a bad infection (http://family.webshots.com/photo/226...94686761xIabmL), and he was on a very closely monitored trimming schedule for the better part of a year as well as a structured diet that reduced his weight to a little under 700 lbs within 4 months.

    I didn't have high expectations of the pony. I seem to recall my broker friend telling me the pony had jumped 2'6" with a kid at some point, but who knows what that really means. As long as he was a decent companion for whoever I needed him out with at the moment it didn't matter what else he was (or wasn't).

    So for the last 5 years he's been my pony-ride pony whenever the nieces and nephews come over. He's been good and bad and everything in between, but generally his attitude has been better than your average horse (let alone pony). He's a pleasant guy who really doesn't want to fight, and he'll give in to a dominant person immediately (with the exception of getting wormed, though it was an easy work-around with the EZ Wormer "bit" apparatus). I have a 4 1/2 year old son who's been on plenty of rides around the ring on him, but really has no interest, so he just hasn't been handled much.

    So that leads us to this year. I had a little girl in January 08 and she was fascinated by the horses from day one. I started Chico up this last January with the idea that it would be fun to see what he can do and not a bad plan to start getting him ready for my daughter's eventual start on him (though I figured that would be another few years out). We've slowly been building up stamina and strength and oh my god this pony just gets better and better! I've recently learned the following:

    Chico does flying changes. I don't think he was ever taught how, but he naturally just gets it and changes his lead when his balance changes. In the last week he's started doing them "properly" through an engaged and strong hind end.

    Chico jumps. And he doesn't "just jump." He'll jump anything you put in front of him without questioning it for a second. He'll chip it if he has to, he'll go long if you ask, he'll lengthen or shorten a surprising amount if asked, in short he's as adjustable as my big jumpers! I've only coursed him around at 2', but considering we've only been jumping for a few weeks, I'm pretty dang impressed! Especially considering the fact that he's packing around my 135lb a$$ And in addition to being such a game little thing, he jumps in perfect pony form every single time! He's the "typiest" jumper I have on my entire property....how's that for a surprise?!

    Chico loves his little girl. My 18 month old daughter "rides" Chico every day after he's ridden by either my nanny or myself. He holds his body so carefully while she's on him (someone's always holding on to her too), and he trots in this slow, unjarring speed. Okay, maybe it's really that he likes the graham crackers he gets after she's done, but whatever the case this pony is a dream!

    And the icing on the cake is that after buying Chico on a whim and not planning for anything show-related (or even remembering what the heights were for the different sizes), it turns out that Chico is 12.1 7/8ths. So he's actually a top of the line small. And now that I know that he can jump the height AND get the steps I'm becoming excited about getting him into the show ring as an honest-to-goodness small pony hunter

    I've always really liked this pony, but lately I've been feeling like I won the pony lottery

    Here he is with his little girl:
    And with a friend's daughter:
    Flying F Sport Horses
    Horses in the NW

  • #2
    Wow, what a little chunk he was... but he looks great now! And he sounds like a gem. Good ponies like that are awesome... congrats. (:
    "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

    Graphite/Pastel Portraits


    • #3
      That is so great! It's wonderful when all the horsey stuff just aligns perfectly! Good for you for "saving" him, and he looks GREAT now.


      • #4
        CUTE pony !! what a fantastic turn around and a lucky little pony! he looks great now

        ponies like that are totally priceless.

        Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3


        • #5
          He is the cutest thing!


          • #6
            I LOVE happy pony stories! Your Dd looks adorable up there and is showing tons of talent LOL!!! but all kidding aside, he is adorable and you have given him a great home, I am do glad you will get to reap the rewards for doing so!
            If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.


            • #7
              Gosh he's cute!


              • #8
                What a little squish! And your daughter's adorable, BTW. Now you've got my pony clock ticking. I have two girls and no ponies. That's just not right!
                Trinity Farm LLC
                Quality hunters and jumpers at Midwest prices
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                • #9
                  They are adorable together!!! Good for you for taking this cute guy in and fixing him up. Good job.


                  • #10
                    What a wonderful story!!!!! Thanks for sharing. Chico is adorable and I'm sure very grateful to you for saving him. Your little girl is very lucky.


                    • #11
                      Braid him up and put him in the ring!
                      The armchair saddler
                      Politically Pro-Cat


                      • #12
                        Such a cutie (kid and pony)! Good on you.
                        Nobody puts baby in a corner


                        • #13
                          I miss my little girl and pony days! Hold all those memories in the making close. He looks awesome, BTW.


                          • #14
                            I love stories like this! Adorable!
                            ...for there are wings on these hooves, the speed and power of foam-capped waves...
                            Proud member of the artists clique


                            • #15
                              You did indeed hit the "pony lottery"! Sounds as if he's worth 10x his weight in gold.
                              These babysitters are amazing, the instincts they have.