In this journey we call life, we’re all set to experience multiple highs and lows along the way. And if you’re an equestrian, the same applies to the horses you will own and ride.
When you look back at the steeds who have made up your horsey life — the ones you loved and the ones you kind of loathed — you’ll wonder how you managed to it all in. There will be many, of all shapes and sizes, types and heights, all with varying temperaments and personalities.
Here are five horses or ponies you are likely to have during your lifetime. Which one do you remember the most?
1. The first one
Your first is always one you remember fondly. If you were lucky enough to have a pony as a child then your mount will most likely have been something selected out by your parents. Their challenge lied in juggling safety with a modest budget, and trying to keep you in one piece while your youth and inexperience meant you liked to go fast and jump high. We all know too well that a pony can change its mind from one second to the next, so despite your parents’ best efforts, you would often find yourself going head over neck when said pony would decide it was done with Pony Club games practice and fancied a snack. Nevertheless, this chap probably taught you the importance of perseverance, not to mention he helped you develop the sticky seat you have today.
2. The one that just went wrong
We’ve all had one of these. The horse you bought with so much promise and prospect. You started your journey with him full of enthusiasm and plans, only to be in exactly the same place a year later. He was the one step forward, five steps back kind of horse. You name it, he’d probably get it, meaning another month or so off work. He was always the one who’d get kicked in the field. You’d practically cry with frustration every time you’d look at his regal, handsome head over the stable door, or read about his full brother taking the competition world by storm. By the end, your bank account had been used more times than you’d actually managed to ride him. Sometimes, it’s just not meant to be.
3. The ultimate one
Quite often, this guy would fill the role of a second or third pony or horse. Your riding was still improving but you’d obtained enough experience during your childhood that you could bring some more skills to the table. You just instantly gelled with this horse; you just got each other. You’d be the envy of all your friends, you’d be the ones to give a lead out hunting when needed or the ones to nanny the youngsters out riding. He was a bombproof superstar who could nail a dressage test but could also fly around a cross-country track, before jumping clear in the showjumping. Plus, he had conformation to die for. Everything he did he did with a smile and he’d always give you his all. Alas, the time came when you outgrew him — or he had to retire — and it was time for him to move onto pastures new or enjoy his senior years in the field. But you will always remember him as your horse or pony of a lifetime, and you’re still waiting for another to be just as good…
4. The one that got away
That ‘should I, shouldn’t I’ moment cost you big time when a horse you had your eye on but couldn’t make your mind up on was taken away from your grasp. This could have been a horse you’d scouted out in a field on your daily drive to work, or something you’d seen as a youngster which you thought had star quality. While you let the opportunity pass you by, another eagle eyed equestrian was on the ball, taking said horse to the dizzy heights of stardom. While you’re happy he has become something special, you are kicking yourself that you didn’t take a gamble on him.
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5. The one that taught you the most
Perhaps a youngster you’d bought or a problem horse you decided to take a punt on. At the time it felt like the blood, sweat and tears put into this horse wasn’t worth it, but looking back, this one taught you the most of them all. From the arguments you had about going up the lane first, to the stern words you had trying to persuade him to load into the lorry. While to say he wasn’t easy is a great understatement, the challenges you overcame together were invaluable experiences which made you into the horse person you are today.