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WWYD if this was your child?

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  • mpsbarnmanager
    started a topic WWYD if this was your child?

    WWYD if this was your child?

    My daughter got a pony for her 6th birthday. She'd been riding my 26 yr old TB and is taking lessons at another farm. She is now WTC and trotting crossrails. This pony was going ready well for her, (see link) until a jet buzzed the ring and scared the crap out of him. I don't blame him at all, but he bolted and after half a lap dropped his shoulder and my daughter turned into a lawn dart. She was not hurt, but was shaken, cried, got back on and finished her ride. She's ridden him twice since (this was 3 weeks ago) and now she won't ride him at all. I suggested she ride him today and she burst into tears and ran to her room. She rides her lesson pony 100% fine. Obviously I want this to be fun for her and I understand her confidence in him is gone, even after I explained repeatedly it wasn't the ponys fault. She is doing a partial lease on her lesson pony so she rides him 3 days a week. The plan was to stop the lease since she was doing well with the new pony. I really don't want her to give up on this new pony bc I see a lot of potential in them as a team. Her lease/lesson pony is 28 and winding into retirement. So my question is do I give her more time to come back around to the new pony without pushing it, it just send the new pony back home (it is a care lease)? I don't see the point to feeding a not easy keeper through the winter for her to NOT ride. I know she is only 6 and I want to be understanding, bit we have all been in that place of being intimidated and downright scared after an incident, and working though it is the only way to get over it. Thoughts? ETA link of her lesson/lease pony in a lesson
    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?sto...00000069618910
    Last edited by mpsbarnmanager; Oct. 3, 2019, 09:55 AM.

  • WildLittleWren
    replied
    Originally posted by MsM View Post
    Getting run off with at an early stage as a rider is usually scary because it removes that feeling that you are in control. Without a lot of tools to cope with such behavior, a rider will feel very insecure. It sounds like your daughter thinks of it as something particular to that pony and that will help her get past it. I still might have a word with her instructor after a while and ask them to pay particular attention to teaching her stopping techniques, so when she moves up to a more energetic pony she has some skill and confidence if it gets quick.

    I do draw a distinction between types of runaways. I had a QH as a teen that I suspect had been messed up with bad gaming training. He ran off with me many times! But he did not run blind and I learned to be philosophical about going in unplanned directions at a high rate of speed until I learned to mostly control him. But another horse at the stable I considered to be a dangerous bolter as he seemed to run blindly even though not afraid. I saw him literally run into a stone wall! No way I would get on that horse. I have had horses spook and run, but fortunately, I either was able to circle and regain control or could point them at a wall - they were not in a blind panic or determined to run.

    I did not have kids to make me more careful. Age seemed to do the trick...
    That works too

    Leave a comment:


  • MsM
    replied
    Getting run off with at an early stage as a rider is usually scary because it removes that feeling that you are in control. Without a lot of tools to cope with such behavior, a rider will feel very insecure. It sounds like your daughter thinks of it as something particular to that pony and that will help her get past it. I still might have a word with her instructor after a while and ask them to pay particular attention to teaching her stopping techniques, so when she moves up to a more energetic pony she has some skill and confidence if it gets quick.

    I do draw a distinction between types of runaways. I had a QH as a teen that I suspect had been messed up with bad gaming training. He ran off with me many times! But he did not run blind and I learned to be philosophical about going in unplanned directions at a high rate of speed until I learned to mostly control him. But another horse at the stable I considered to be a dangerous bolter as he seemed to run blindly even though not afraid. I saw him literally run into a stone wall! No way I would get on that horse. I have had horses spook and run, but fortunately, I either was able to circle and regain control or could point them at a wall - they were not in a blind panic or determined to run.

    I did not have kids to make me more careful. Age seemed to do the trick...

    Leave a comment:


  • Malda
    replied
    Originally posted by RainWeasley View Post

    I STILL have anxiety even though it's been years and years since I was truly bolted away with. I will sometimes randomly picture whatever horse I am on bolting, especially the spook hard sideways then bolt (because I am pretty sure I wouldn't stick it). Getting more solid in my seat has helped a lot with that though, I feel more and more like I COULD go with it if it happened. I've had to slowly build my confidence back up though, I'm finally feeling solid enough to canter my 4 year old out in the pasture some.
    I haven't had the courage to go back to cantering after owning an Icelandic who was a dangerous, random bolter a few years ago. Something was not right in his head, we could be calmly walking along then suddenly he would hit Mach 5, head up, no clue where he was going and me hanging on for dear life. It's the speed and lack of control that's so frightening about bolting. (SOB breeder who sold him gave me a big story about it being his personal riding horse and the breeder was too old to ride. Didn't admit to the bolting until I called a couple of months later. Turned out the horse hadn't been ridden in ten years due to the bolting.)

    If the daughter rides horses she feels confident on, she'll probably get her joy of riding back. She's still young, unlike me.

    Leave a comment:


  • mpsbarnmanager
    replied
    Originally posted by WildLittleWren View Post

    Bolting is absolutely terrifying...

    All I could think of (while I was trying to stop and/or turn her), was, my son will be motherless. I am the only mother he has (I was a new mom, remember).



    I can only imagine how scared I would have been as a 6 year old having a horse bolt with me. Your daughter is incredibly brave to still want to ride, even if it's just not on THAT particular pony. I can totally empathize.
    I can totally relate. Before my son was born (my oldest), I was a heck of a lot bolder of a rider. I still broke my wb baby after the kids were born, but slowly, and he had a good brain. I have had a select few friends hop on here and there, but that's about it. When I started jumping him, he had absolutely no concept of what a "good" distance was. That was 18 months or so ago and thought he ALWAYS goes over, I've had to get really accurate to make up for him having no eye of his own. My former mare had her own eye and she would move up to her spot and all I had to do was follow. So it was really scary for me to be cantering into a line and have no idea of it would be a horrible chip or not, and I would imagine him crashing. My eye is now there 80% of the time, and the other 20 I'll know it's off, but I can't wake my brain work fast enough to make a decision on what to do about it in the time I have left, but whatever. It's getting there. So even at 33, having ridden since I was 11, I still have anxiety of my own to work through, so I do understand to a point how she feels.

    Now in the back of my mind, I think to myself that I have to be "extra" careful, because my kids could end up motherless. Likely, no, but possible. Yes horses are ALWAYS dangerous, but I try to minimize it.

    I used to to very stupid stuff as a teen without much thought. Jump off with a friend and her mom (!!), Cleared 4' on my mare that normally jumped 2'6 (TB's!), Galloping like a bat out of hell in a huge field, super fun! As a mom, all I can think of while galloping in the open is "please God don't let him step in a hole and kill us". I'll still do it, it's still fun, it's just different when you have kids.

    As a teen, there was a cc jump made of 2 tires laid against a wood frame that was maybe 2'6 or Max 2'9. I was always afraid of it, until one day I said "eff it, I'm always going to be scared of it, I'm going to just do it", and I did, and it was glorious. But I was always anxious about that one jump, for no good reason. I didn't have regular lessons, I was the kid that did her own thing to a large extent. If I found that something made me anxious, bit I was 75% sure I could do it, I made myself do it just to get rid of that feeling. I taught myself to work through it and prove to myself that I was capable and didn't need to be afraid, and I felt proud that I had pushed through it. So I guess that's where my "push through it" mentality comes from, even with my daughter.

    As for bolting, I thought back, and I don't think I have ever been taken off with without asking for it. Meaning riding to the back of the 25 acre field, knowing full well my TB was just waiting for my legs to say the word, flying back to the front. But that was (sort of) controlled, and I was ok (sort of) with it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Foxtrot's
    replied
    At 6 we got our kids (3 in succession) a priceless Shetland pony which was about 10:00 hands high. They graduated to a 13.2 hh pony, and that height is perfectly fine for a small adult or teenager to get on and keep tuned. Then came the
    14.2 hh show pony that did wonders for their development and courage.

    I'd also talk to your daughter - and not push her at all. Just give her the opportunity to be hand walked, or whatever she needs to become brave again (if she wants that) but it seems the seed of nervousness is already planted in the pony she is riding and who scared her. The perfect pony is out there who can take care of her.

    Leave a comment:


  • OverandOnward
    replied
    Originally posted by RainWeasley View Post

    I STILL have anxiety even though it's been years and years since I was truly bolted away with. I will sometimes randomly picture whatever horse I am on bolting, especially the spook hard sideways then bolt (because I am pretty sure I wouldn't stick it). Getting more solid in my seat has helped a lot with that though, I feel more and more like I COULD go with it if it happened. I've had to slowly build my confidence back up though, I'm finally feeling solid enough to canter my 4 year old out in the pasture some.
    I can relate to your experience! I can now tell myself reasonably honestly that if this horse does bolt, I can deal with it. And I don't ride horses who are likely to do so, even if some that I do ride are green and scatty.

    The one I ride now who can occasionally be fresh and strong, and often starts that way for the first 10 minutes, has not actually been a bolter to date. When he starts hitting my buttons I've learned to ask myself "Is he really offering to bolt?" To date, the answer has always been "no". At times he may be spooky, may have an over-supply of adrenaline, as is natural to his type, but he doesn't seem to have any real desire to actually leave.

    Leave a comment:


  • WildLittleWren
    replied
    Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post

    Being on a truly bolting, lights-out runaway is the most frightening thing I've ever experienced, and I've had a few life experiences. Even if you just think that is what happened, but others said it wasn't that bad. The fear reaction is that you don't know if you'll live through it, and that you may be seriously injured, and that you are unable to save yourself. It definitely gets inside your head.

    I learned to ride at a riding school that had a lot of cast-offs as lesson horses. Almost every rider out there found out what it was like to be on one that bolted, and some of the kids never came back after riding a runaway. Partly because the worst bolter was the one the head instructor thought every kid should be able to ride, and that scoundrel of a horse ran away with everyone who rode him but one girl - that was before 'liability' was a thing.

    The most common criticism of my riding is "stiff arms". I have to consciously keep them relaxed, even after all these years without a bolt (plenty of big spooks and fresh horses, but no out-and-out runaway bolter). I know it is an embedded reaction to those bolters from early in my lesson learning. The survival part of my brain thinks it is preventing and/or preparing to ride through a bolt. Even if stiff arms tend to be the *worst* thing one can do with an over-energized horse, leading to a lot of bottled-up energy looking for a place to go! But that's the body's instinctive default, and that bit of reaction seems to be hard to remove even so long after working on it for so long.
    Bolting is absolutely terrifying. I was backing a Friesian mare when my oldest son was 6 weeks old (he's turning 14 in November). I went to swing up (from the ground, not a mounting block...stupid me), and she bolted before I even got my butt in the saddle. I lost the stirrup I swung up with so I had no stirrups and I remember watching the fence line rush up on me. All I could think of (while I was trying to stop and/or turn her), was, my son will be motherless. I am the only mother he has (I was a new mom, remember).

    She turned at the fenceline and I came off right into a wooden fence post and cracked 3 ribs. I was thoroughly shaken. I went back to riding my steady eddie for a good few months. And even with him, the process of mounting made me so nervous. And before I had ridden buckers, rearers, one horse that would flip over on you on occasion for no apparent reason (yes, he was thoroughly vet checked by the owner, he honestly had a screw loose), and the rankest of the rank. Nothing phased me and people usually called me if no one else would ride or work with a horse. However, becoming a mom changed that. There are certain things I will no longer deal with. Confirmed bolters (outright, out of control bolters) and horses that rear (actually rear, not just light in the front end).

    I can only imagine how scared I would have been as a 6 year old having a horse bolt with me. Your daughter is incredibly brave to still want to ride, even if it's just not on THAT particular pony. I can totally empathize.

    Leave a comment:


  • candyappy
    replied
    Originally posted by mpsbarnmanager View Post
    I had a talk with my daughter and she she told me she isn't comfortable with the new pony anymore since the fall. She said she doesn't want to ride him anymore. That's fine, so he will go home. Thanks to everyone but Alibi for your kind replies.
    Thank you for listening to what your daughter wants and doing it.

    Let her ride the lesson pony, stress free and grow up to enjoy riding as she wants.

    She can always compete and get a challenging pony in a few years if she desires..

    Leave a comment:


  • RainWeasley
    replied
    Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post

    Being on a truly bolting, lights-out runaway is the most frightening thing I've ever experienced, and I've had a few life experiences. Even if you just think that is what happened, but others said it wasn't that bad. The fear reaction is that you don't know if you'll live through it, and that you may be seriously injured, and that you are unable to save yourself. It definitely gets inside your head.

    I learned to ride at a riding school that had a lot of cast-offs as lesson horses. Almost every rider out there found out what it was like to be on one that bolted, and some of the kids never came back after riding a runaway. Partly because the worst bolter was the one the head instructor thought every kid should be able to ride, and that scoundrel of a horse ran away with everyone who rode him but one girl - that was before 'liability' was a thing.

    The most common criticism of my riding is "stiff arms". I have to consciously keep them relaxed, even after all these years without a bolt (plenty of big spooks and fresh horses, but no out-and-out runaway bolter). I know it is an embedded reaction to those bolters from early in my lesson learning. The survival part of my brain thinks it is preventing and/or preparing to ride through a bolt. Even if stiff arms tend to be the *worst* thing one can do with an over-energized horse, leading to a lot of bottled-up energy looking for a place to go! But that's the body's instinctive default, and that bit of reaction seems to be hard to remove even so long after working on it for so long.
    I STILL have anxiety even though it's been years and years since I was truly bolted away with. I will sometimes randomly picture whatever horse I am on bolting, especially the spook hard sideways then bolt (because I am pretty sure I wouldn't stick it). Getting more solid in my seat has helped a lot with that though, I feel more and more like I COULD go with it if it happened. I've had to slowly build my confidence back up though, I'm finally feeling solid enough to canter my 4 year old out in the pasture some.

    Leave a comment:


  • OverandOnward
    replied
    Originally posted by RainWeasley View Post

    I feel for your daughter. Bolting to me is the most terrifying feeling on a horse. Bucking, rearing, whatever, I'm okay with that. Bolting scares me like nothing else though.
    Being on a truly bolting, lights-out runaway is the most frightening thing I've ever experienced, and I've had a few life experiences. Even if you just think that is what happened, but others said it wasn't that bad. The fear reaction is that you don't know if you'll live through it, and that you may be seriously injured, and that you are unable to save yourself. It definitely gets inside your head.

    I learned to ride at a riding school that had a lot of cast-offs as lesson horses. Almost every rider out there found out what it was like to be on one that bolted, and some of the kids never came back after riding a runaway. Partly because the worst bolter was the one the head instructor thought every kid should be able to ride, and that scoundrel of a horse ran away with everyone who rode him but one girl - that was before 'liability' was a thing.

    The most common criticism of my riding is "stiff arms". I have to consciously keep them relaxed, even after all these years without a bolt (plenty of big spooks and fresh horses, but no out-and-out runaway bolter). I know it is an embedded reaction to those bolters from early in my lesson learning. The survival part of my brain thinks it is preventing and/or preparing to ride through a bolt. Even if stiff arms tend to be the *worst* thing one can do with an over-energized horse, leading to a lot of bottled-up energy looking for a place to go! But that's the body's instinctive default, and that bit of reaction seems to be hard to remove even so long after working on it for so long.

    Leave a comment:


  • M'al
    replied
    OP, another thing you might consider is vaulting lessons for a few months - it's HUGE to grow confidence because it's all about body control in a super safe, fun environment.

    Lunge lessons get boring but vaulting is so much fun the kids don't realize they're learning to let the horse move under them (without clinging and being scared) because they're doing fun stuff like learning to stand up and make super cool shapes with their bodies while the horse trots along. Body control and strength come naturally as a result, which makes it possible to be more effective in the saddle.

    It really helps a ton with making riding less scary!

    Leave a comment:


  • dungrulla
    replied
    I had a similar accident at about 23 which shook me and I'm still nervous about getting on strange horses. I will probably never get on the one responsible for the accident again.

    Take it slow. Maybe she'll be comfortable doing leadline walks on the pony and progressing from there. There's nothing wrong with being traumatized by an accident, but it can take some time to get confidence back. That's okay.

    Leave a comment:


  • RainWeasley
    replied
    Originally posted by WildLittleWren View Post
    I had something similar happen to my daughter about 2 years ago when she was 9. She has always been a pretty darn gutsy rider and would ride just about anything (I was much more hesitant as a mom to put her on certain horses that obviously were not a good match, she’s just always been blessed with a lot of confidence and more natural ability in her pinky than I had in my entire body at her age).

    She had an ex-lesson horse, who we got for a pretty good price because she was getting soured on lessons and having loads of kids bopping around on her. Only certain students could ride her well. Anyways, we had several months. There were some annoying quirks she had, all that my daughter handled with ease and had no problems with. Until one day I was picking out stalls and she was supposed to just be walking around under saddle in the paddock when I heard galloping hoof beats. Imagining she decided to canter, I came out of the stall yelling at her that she knew better than to canter or gallop the horse back to the barn. But instead, I see her pulling with all her might to slow this pony, who was obviously a runaway. I started yelling instructions at her, because I could see this all unfolding right in front of my eyes. The pony was headed to the corner by the barn, and as fast as she was going I knew she was going to take a hard right turn when she got to it as there was no way she was going to slow down. My daughter was just too small to get her stopped. The pony hooked a right, and she came off and flipped head over heels into the fence. After I made sure she was okay (no tears, surprisingly, although she was quite sore for a good week or two afterwards), she said the pony had spooked at a bird that flew up out of the grass, and bolted.

    I made her get back up and hand walked them around the barn yard because she knows the rule, hospital or hop back on the horse, even if just for a few minutes. I put several rides on the pony after that, and my daughter started saying she didn’t want to ride the pony anymore, period. Not in the round pen, not on a lunge line, not being hand walked, she was D.O.N.E with said pony .I didn’t understand why she had come off several times and never been scared to get back on. The bolting terrified her. I am sure you have been bolted with before, and its one of the scariest feelings to be at a total loss of control at such speed. I put the pony up for sale (with full disclosure of the incident), I kept her riding and in shape until I found an adult that ended up purchasing her (she was a large pony at 14.1hh).

    Sometimes things happen. I was worried my daughter would think horses were disposable, but she really doesn’t. It took months to get her confidence back even on other horses and ponies, but she now has it back and I don’t regret selling that pony for a minute. I ended up leasing a smaller (12.3hh) 20yo pony that while forward enough for her liking (she loves to canter and jump, hates a kick ride), was safe and I knew she would be safe on her. She ended up doing riding her at liberty with no bridle/halter in the round pen, playing around on her, doing fun things that kids love to do with their ponies. And she was safe. We had to return the pony after 6 months because she simply outgrew her, but that time was priceless. Now her confidence is back.

    Riding should be fun. At 6 years old, put her on an old saintly packer and let her have fun.
    I feel for your daughter. Bolting to me is the most terrifying feeling on a horse. Bucking, rearing, whatever, I'm okay with that. Bolting scares me like nothing else though.

    Leave a comment:


  • WildLittleWren
    replied
    I had something similar happen to my daughter about 2 years ago when she was 9. She has always been a pretty darn gutsy rider and would ride just about anything (I was much more hesitant as a mom to put her on certain horses that obviously were not a good match, she’s just always been blessed with a lot of confidence and more natural ability in her pinky than I had in my entire body at her age).

    She had an ex-lesson horse, who we got for a pretty good price because she was getting soured on lessons and having loads of kids bopping around on her. Only certain students could ride her well. Anyways, we had several months. There were some annoying quirks she had, all that my daughter handled with ease and had no problems with. Until one day I was picking out stalls and she was supposed to just be walking around under saddle in the paddock when I heard galloping hoof beats. Imagining she decided to canter, I came out of the stall yelling at her that she knew better than to canter or gallop the horse back to the barn. But instead, I see her pulling with all her might to slow this pony, who was obviously a runaway. I started yelling instructions at her, because I could see this all unfolding right in front of my eyes. The pony was headed to the corner by the barn, and as fast as she was going I knew she was going to take a hard right turn when she got to it as there was no way she was going to slow down. My daughter was just too small to get her stopped. The pony hooked a right, and she came off and flipped head over heels into the fence. After I made sure she was okay (no tears, surprisingly, although she was quite sore for a good week or two afterwards), she said the pony had spooked at a bird that flew up out of the grass, and bolted.

    I made her get back up and hand walked them around the barn yard because she knows the rule, hospital or hop back on the horse, even if just for a few minutes. I put several rides on the pony after that, and my daughter started saying she didn’t want to ride the pony anymore, period. Not in the round pen, not on a lunge line, not being hand walked, she was D.O.N.E with said pony .I didn’t understand why she had come off several times and never been scared to get back on. The bolting terrified her. I am sure you have been bolted with before, and its one of the scariest feelings to be at a total loss of control at such speed. I put the pony up for sale (with full disclosure of the incident), I kept her riding and in shape until I found an adult that ended up purchasing her (she was a large pony at 14.1hh).

    Sometimes things happen. I was worried my daughter would think horses were disposable, but she really doesn’t. It took months to get her confidence back even on other horses and ponies, but she now has it back and I don’t regret selling that pony for a minute. I ended up leasing a smaller (12.3hh) 20yo pony that while forward enough for her liking (she loves to canter and jump, hates a kick ride), was safe and I knew she would be safe on her. She ended up doing riding her at liberty with no bridle/halter in the round pen, playing around on her, doing fun things that kids love to do with their ponies. And she was safe. We had to return the pony after 6 months because she simply outgrew her, but that time was priceless. Now her confidence is back.

    Riding should be fun. At 6 years old, put her on an old saintly packer and let her have fun.

    Leave a comment:


  • poltroon
    replied
    Also, OP, I totally get why you thought the pony would work out. It's a thing that happens and sometimes you don't know it's not really a match until you've had them together a bit.

    I remember when I was horse shopping as a kid that my trainer put me on a sale horse for a lesson, we did a really nice course, and she thought she'd found the perfect match. But I told her no, that I really didn't even want to do another course on him. Yes, he jumped around nicely, but I felt completely out of control and really unsafe. Objectively, looking back on it now, maybe that was him just knowing his job better than I did, but that didn't really matter if I didn't feel safe and like I was having fun. So he went back.

    Leave a comment:


  • findthedistance
    replied
    Originally posted by mpsbarnmanager View Post
    So I totally agree that the lesson pony does a lot for her and pretty much all she has to do is sit there. Some people would say that's good, she doesn't have to worry about him and she can focus on her position and having fun. But. That doesn't teach her to control a pony. She doesn't really have to steer, she just has to stay on the rail and use voice commands and that's that.
    I know the thread is winding down, but I just want to throw this out there because we forget. If you've been riding forever, you forget how much work it takes to "just sit there." You're coordinating your muscles and brain and balance to remain upright on a dynamic surface moving three-dimensionally through space. And that's just to sit there, not to make any attempt to influence the pony! I work in the therapeutic riding space, and at that age even kids with no physical involvements are tired at the end of a 30 minute lesson spent mostly at the walk.

    All that to say, there's huge value in her just sitting there on Sainted Pony. Before she can influence the pony, she has to have influence over her own body. It takes time to build the neural pathways and strengthen the muscles and log those movements in muscle memory so she isn't consciously thinking about staying on. And that's okay. We all learn at different speeds, and there's value in the process. One day you'll see her actively ride Sainted Pony and you'll know she's ready for the move-up.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ruth0552
    replied
    I know this thread is winding down but I think she ought to be comfortable riding all the different lesson ponies at the barn before having one of her own at home. If you got a pony at home I would get a completely bombproof 11/12 hand saint of an elderly pony that she can practice on.

    Leave a comment:


  • MsM
    replied
    I wonder sometimes if I would have been more gutsy if I got to ride as a young kid. But, maybe not. I first got lessons at about 11. I was obsessed with horses but I was not a brave kid or rider. I thought maybe it was because I built it too much in my mind reading horse how-to books, but maybe it was just how I am made.

    I did see a "perfect pony" at a local show some years ago. Actually she was horse sized. She was a pot-bellied, lop-eared blue roan with a little peanut of a rider. You could see the people watching dismiss or even snicker at them at first. Of course that mare kept a steady pace and did what was vaguely indicated by her little rider perfectly. By the time she jumped around the crossrails course there were several people at the out gate trying to buy that mare. Fortunately owners knew what a gem they had. Perfect ponies come in all shapes and sizes!

    Leave a comment:


  • OverandOnward
    replied
    I look forward to an update in say about 5 years, OP! And again every 5 years after that. Assuming she's still riding. And, of course, completely horse-crazy by then.

    With pictures.

    Leave a comment:

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