Once upon a time, I had a blog over on blogspot.
I think I started this one just after I had began high school, and I’m now so glad I didn’t delete all my ramblings when I abandoned it sometime in 2011. They give me a lot of insight to myself, and I find them endearing/amusing to read. So, I’m going to share this post I made at 15 years of age in all of its unedited, naive, teenage glory, along with comments/questions from 23 year-old me in bold.
Well, this will probably be the start of a long list of posts about my little pony, but since I haven’t been to the barn for a few days, I’ll write about how/when I first got my first horse.
Spoiler: this was the only post I made about Peanut. Fail. BUT, I like 15 yo me’s ambition.
I’ve had Peanut, a grade Quarter Pony, since I was in 5th grade, which is hard to believe seeing as I’m now a freshman in high school. It was just after the barn I was at changed ownership, which is an entire story in itself, but I digress. Anyways, the stable had just changed ownership to one of the borders, and three other men. None of them were very horse savvy, and me and my father had the most experience of the lot, which is not saying much.
By experience, I mean at this point I was 11 and had been riding for all of two years, and my dad had worked at a horse farm in high school. The three men had all of zero experience, and the boarder’s experience was limited to about a year’s worth of her daughter’s riding lessons. But yes, you all hardly know each other so this is a great idea.
Anyways, the main owners, whom I shall call the Mainers, had a daughter, whom I shall call Little Mainer.
My creativity is off the charts. Mainers, because, they are the main owners. Also, prepare yourself for an over-embellished story of a tween rescuing a pony from certain death.
Little Mainer had just gotten back the first pony she had ever had; Peanut.
The Mainers had given Peanut to the previous owners of the barn who had neglected her and thrown her out in the back fifteen acre pasture that was entirely brambles and weeds. I saw her once in the pasture, and though her feet were overgrown, I was of course none the wiser and saw nothing wrong. She was fat enough, at least. Fast forward from that time to then, when they brought Peanut in from that pasture. She had lost quite a bit of weight, and her hooves were horrid! (this is not overly embellished – all of the horses left looked like shit, and leading up to the owners skipping town, two or three horses had died on the property) She looked around with big eyes, she hadn’t seen this barn in months. The last time she was inside was sometime the last winter when Little Mainer had owned her and convinced me to get on her and try to make her go forward, because she couldn’t get her to. I did succeed in getting the ornery little pony to move around the arena one lap, and then they promptly told me that that was enough. And so she went into that pasture… Look at me talking like some all knowing horse-whisperer. More likely than not, I was watching my peer longingly and they took pity on me and allowed me a few minutes of saddle time.
So now, as Little Mainer (who is two years younger than myself) stared in disgust (doubtful, remember this is embellished) at the pony she had thought was gone for good, she rolled her eyes to the right longingly so that she could see her new horses stall. The big, sixteen hand sorrel, registered, Quarter Horse. I don’t remember her registered name, but we called her Peachy. Her eyes then shifted with what seemed an internal sigh back to the problem in front of her, and she spoke to me in a bored voice, “Do you want her?”
Me: “Well… actually, I think I’m kind of looking for something I could event with later… and I’m not sure if I could afford her”
“She’ll jump. And you don’t have to pay board if you and your dad work. Otherwise we’ll probably take her to the auction since I’ve got Peachy”. This part actually happened, and I totally did think an auction was the worst possible fate ever (not 100% wrong there). In all reality, neither this 9 year old or myself had any control over this situation, but it all seemed very serious and weighty, and I totally believed that I was the only one capable of “saving” the derpy pony in front of me, despite her not being the “eventing” type I was looking for *eyeroll*.
This, somehow, sent off little bells in my head. Auction = slaughter. Auction = bad owner, which means another auction, which means slaughter. Auction = Baaaad.
Mother and Father = Don’t want a horse.
“I’ll take her.”
And so, I was a horse owner. (I was totally not a horse owner. Thanks for actually working that out later, Dad) I had no clue about her age, or her breed, or her height, but I owned her. Yes, this seems like a great idea. Like a box of chocolates!! As my dad came back in, sweaty from fixing a fence, I gloated to him; “Dad, we’ve got a horse! They gave me Peanut!” I think I saw him go a few shades paler from his current farmers tan, but maybe my minds playing tricks on me. Now, fully armed with a pony and tack also given to me, I was ready to ride… or so I thought.
Peanut was not to happy about leaving her semi-feral state. She wanted to play wild horses when I, being the scaredy cat rider I was, wanted to simply learn. Hah. Bet you can see where this is going! I didn’t ride nearly that entire summer. It took my dad going out to the pasture, grabbing her halter, and having her mighty 500 (probably like 800; I have no idea how she was skinny out in that pasture, unless it was literally weeds and dirt) pound self drag him up into the air and toss him like a rag doll for a few minutes to get her caught. I was terrified. Also happened – but, my dad is like 5’5″ and it wouldn’t really require much to get anyone in my family off the ground. This was not exactly an eventing horse here… sure she was the fastest horse on the property, outspeeding the ex-racehorse (that was a lumbering Standerbred trotter…), Quarter Horse, POA, and Paint horse when they went on their nightly laps around the pasture (competition was fierce y’all), but did she ever jump anything? Uh-uhhh. It also started to click in my head that there was no way she could be fourteen point two hands… although it took another year for me to actually measure her. I did believe Little Mainer when she said, quickly, that her age was “just 11”. When I did ride my pony, it was breifly. I was down-right scared of her. Though I managed to stick out a two minute bucking session on Peachy and nearly had made it through a bucking fit on their new Paint mare Abbey just a few minutes earlier, I was scared of a little pony. (almost I tell you, almost did I ride that mare through her bucks! I don’t think it was very good of them to put me on that Paint mare for her first time in the outdoor arena though… of course I couldn’t resist :) It didn’t matter that she had nearly ripped off Mrs. Mainers thumb when they had gone to trailer her her… but I digress again). Wow, I don’t sound conceited or patronizing at all. I had all the confidence in the world, except with my own little 13 hand pony. She was totally too much pony for me at the time, and for a while I resented her, and the barn owner’s daughter, who had not one, not two, but 5 decently trained horses to ride. Jealous tween probs.
Even though I didn’t ride her much, I watched her that entire summer, seeing as we went out there every single day for my dad to work, I had plenty of free time. Watching her was one of my favorite things to do. Still true; I would love to have another summer morning of opening the stall doors and watching the rag-tag herd high-tail it out the end of the barn and through our makeshift chute to their pasture where they all played with the sun coming up and dew still sparkling on the grass.
She was such a gorgeous little thing, with so much pride. She was the silent leader of their little band, and it was quite obvious. She was never truely mean except for the first week Lady, the ex-racehorse, came into the pasture, when she simply would not let her near her ‘herd’. Whenever that sixteen some hand tank tried to kreep up, she was run around the pasture for a good ten minutes to learn her lesson. After that, Lady, and the others, did not mess with Peanut. And, this entire time, I spoiled her. Spoiled her with treats, though she never did get greedy or nippy. She always, and still does, gently nibble it from your hands, keeping her teeth far from fingers even if they are stuck right up into her mouth. (Don’t ask.) Finally, that fall, I mustered up the courage to ride… really ride her. I was ready to go… and so was she.
That’s all for tonight, I’m tired :) AH THE ANTICIPATION!! What will happen next?!
reminder: I never wrote another post.
What I take away from this? I totally had a mild savior complex at the time of writing this, and the people who bought this barn, while certainly inexperienced, were triers. They had good intentions and, unlike previous owner, actually cared for their horses. They wanted this place to return to its former glory that was chronicled in our local newspaper a few years before, but just didn’t have the experience and time to fully rehab and promote a 20-acre boarding facility. Nonetheless, the two summers I spent nearly 8 – 10 hours a day out at this place are special, full of lessons and stories that I can only appreciate after the memories themselves grow hazy.