Looking back, there are a few things we wish we’d known when we were 13...
1. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall off… it’s the getting back on that counts
Not only do you bounce more when you’re young, you get back on a lot quicker. Laugh at the mishaps and forgive your pony for ditching you for his mid-afternoon snack — literally.
2. Don’t be in a rush to move on to horses
It is well known an adult’s biggest fear is being in a jump off up against a 14.2hh pony that can turn on a sixpence.
3. Try everything at least once
Gallop along a beach, try hunting or take on your first hunter trials — enjoy being fearless before the wiser, perhaps more sensible, adult in you kicks in.
4. Make the most of Pony Club while you can
Your summers spent at rallies and Pony Club camp will be some of the best summers you ever have (despite the dreaded tack inspection when you wish you’d spent that little bit longer cleaning your bridle the night before).
5. And remember mounted games are a lot easier on a pony than a horse
You may find that you don’t have the same springs in your feet when it comes to trying to vault on to a 16.2hh.
6. Don’t be disheartened when you try and try but your plaits still end up resembling golf balls
Your plaiting skills will improve with age… Or you’ll be able to bribe a good friend into helping.
7. Wear those bright, funky patterned jodhpurs at every given opportunity and wear them with pride…
…Because once you are over a certain age they aren’t quite so appreciated by the horsey community.
8. Never complain about having to ride
Once you are grown up and working full time you would give anything to have an extra few hours in the day to spend in the saddle, or to be sitting on a hay bale at the stables with your best friends giggling about your pony taking off in your lesson whilst your exasperated instructor shouted after you to sit up and stop that pony.
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9. And finally, don’t take things too seriously
Enjoy being young and have fun with your pony… Dress up with antlers and jingle bells for Christmas, paint on glittery hoof oil, try your hand at the handy pony course at the local gymkhana. Before you know it you’ll be an adult and paying the livery bill.