Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Pony Years

I attended the year end finals of our local horse show circuit last weekend and saw bits of the pony medal finals class. It started with the small ponies, the little girls (most of the riders are little girls) with their pig tails flying out from underneath their helmets, galloping around those tiny jumps on the small ponies. These were children who rode well, on well-behaved ponies, and who had obviously worked very hard to get to the finals.

But I thought more about how lucky these children were, not because they had parents who could afford to pay for ponies, riding lessons, horse shows and all that gear, but the life lessons many of these kids were learning, lessons that seem to have eluded so much of our nation's youth in recent times.

Riding is a humbling sport. You may be having a great day but maybe your pony isn't. You fall off, you get hurt, your ego is shattered on a regular basis and just when you think you have "mastered" it you suddenly learn there are fifty more things you need to know.  And there is always someone out there who rides better than you, always.  You get sore from all that riding.  You have to wash your pony, sometimes several times in a day at a show.  Your tack must be cleaned after riding, then your boots once you get home.  Then there's the heat and the cold, the rain and the mud.  Ponies must be ridden despite the weather.  The commitment never ends and there really are no "days off'."

The horse shows start early; 4 am wake up calls, finding things in the dark, getting your pony ready to show, braiding and unbraiding manes and tails.  And the days you are under the weather and don't feel like trekking out to the barn, chasing your pony around the field because she does not want to come in.....

There's the love, the relationship that even death can't destroy.  And lucky for us all, ponies live very long lives.  There are days you think the relationship has soured and then there are days when you know you got 110 percent.  Those days make the long hours, the bruises, the dedication and all that hard work pay off.  The love runs very deep.

 (all photos from Pinterest)
Ponies are priceless. They are gifts that live with us as we get older, wiser and we remember them forever, as life gets more complicated, intertwined with commitments, bills, mortgages, work, family and all the baggage we gain as we age. Remember the pony years and hopefully you too can pass on the gift.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...