You hung onto your beloved childhood pony for as long as possible, but in the end you had to admit you'd outgrown him and it was time to move on. Here's what you may have experienced when transitioning from ponies to horses...
1. No more fiddling with stirrup leathers trying to work out if it’s best to ride short, even though that means your knees are up round your waist, or long, so your feet practically touch the ground. Your legs wrap nicely round your horse. Hurrah!
2. It feels a bit like swapping an original 1960s Mini — cute but you can barely squeeze in and it’s a bit of a bone-rattler — for a sleek, streamlined Mercedes. Oh, that beautifully quiet trot and canter — and no more having to yell angrily at it when it stubbornly refuses to change gear, either.
3. Jumping is suddenly a different sensation — you’re up and over in one smooth move, instead of feeling like you are literally jumping over the rainbow. 1.10m, here we come.
4. Your new horse is likely to be less opinionated than your former pony. Your pony had to be the boss of his field — and of you. But you can ask your horse what you’d like him to do, and he’s likely do it, instead of flinging you off into a nearby hedge and legging it in pursuit of the nearest patch of tasty-looking grass…
5. Talking of which, your new horse might cost more to feed, but unlike your old pony, he won’t immediately develop laminitis from looking at a blade of spring grass.
6. His kit may be more expensive, but it’s a lot more sophisticated than the pony stuff, too. You may have loved that pink stable rug with the cartoon sheep on it when you were eight, but admit it, you were slightly embarrassed taking that to Pony Club Camp when you were well into your teens, weren’t you?
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7. Much as you loved him, you were starting to feel a bit paranoid that you were your Pony Club’s answer to the Thelwell pony and rider.
8. You know your fabulous old pony is teaching another child the ropes, and will set them up for a long and happy riding career — just like you. They’re so lucky!