The (challenging) diary of owning a new pony: ‘No such thing as perfect’

  • After 13 viewings of ponies on her hunt to find the perfect one for her daughter, Kate Flynn at last has some luck. But it turns out that owning a new pony has its challenges too...

    Our new pony, Munch, had spent a few days settling in and things were going as well as could be expected. We had put him in a field next door to his predecessor, Sweetie, who frankly, was a tough act to follow.

    Sweetie is a 12hh Welsh Section C mare who had been on loan to Daughter from a friend for around nine months. This is an awesome little pony.

    Steady, calm, an amazing jumper, easy for children to handle — the perfect first pony.

    We loved her for everything she had done for Daughter — she had looked after her, helped her, built her confidence and above all had given her hours and hours of fun. We owed her — a lot. But she was hideously outgrown, hence Munch.

    When Munch arrived though, Sweetie transformed into the sort of flirtatious, teasing, come-hither tart that would have made even Cynthia Payne (God rest her soul) blush!

    Continued below…

    To say it was unsettling for Munch was an understatement, and as much as we loved Sweetie, we realised that the sooner we could find her a new home, the better for all concerned.

    Yes, dear readers, the boot was now on the other foot as the buyers became sellers (I sold Sweetie on my friend’s behalf as a favour). But, as is often the case, the best ponies never come onto the open market, and a friend of mine had expressed an interest following our glowing reports of our beloved Sweetie.

    The potential purchasers arrived one Sunday afternoon, and little Chloe clambered aboard.

    A painfully shy and therefore almost mute little girl, Chloe was tightlipped as she was led around by her Mum. After a few tiny jumps, she set off on her own.

    No contact and an inadequate leg was quickly rumbled by Sweetie who with a glint in her eye turned for home — not something I had seen her do before. Oh God… did I really hear myself saying “she’s never done that before…?

    It was evident Chloe was a real beginner rider, but I expressed a heartfelt confidence in Sweetie that she would do the job they wanted her to do — she had done so for us, after all. A few days later, a sale was agreed and the new owners arrived to collect her.

    Would she load onto their trailer? Would she hell! Had she ever refused to load onto ours? Never! My friend looked across at me mystified as Sweetie time and again refused to load and made me look more of a liar with every refusal.

    Amid the humiliation and physical exertion of trying to load Sweetie, my mind flicked back to all those occasions during the preceding few months when I had looked on bemusedly, even disbelievingly at owners who declared they had never seen their ponies do this or that before.

    Now it was happening to me. Divine retribution?! Hang on, let’s not get too carried away here. See, she’s finally loaded! And with real tears in our eyes, we waved Sweetie off down the lane, confident that they were going to be absolutely thrilled with their perfect new pony.

    Readers, please place your bets now on how long it took before the first phone call came through from the new owners asking for advice and revealing some antics from Sweetie that we would never have dreamt of her displaying in a million years.

    The perfect pony? There is no such thing.

    Read Kate Flynn’s account of finding the perfect pony

    Don’t miss the next instalment of Kate Flynn’s account of owning a new pony, on the Horse & Hound website next Monday (7 December 2015)

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