Moving house and divorce might be deemed the most stressful lifetime events, but surely the hunt for the perfect pony is a close runner-up... Kate Flynn takes us on the next stage of her turbulent journey to find the ideal 13.2-14.2hh confidence-giver for her daughter
The excitement and enthusiasm that came with the initial search for a pony was seriously on the wane for me and Daughter. Having walked away from our sixth disappointment, I was beginning to consider the whole experience something of a chore rather than a pleasurable experience.
It felt as though some of the sellers were actually learning something from us about their ponies rather than the other way round. One realised her pony was not a good hacker, another that hers would only go out in company.
The line “He’s never done that before…” was no longer humorous to us, rather a death knell for our hopes. I had now stopped telling my friends that we were off to see another pony. I imagined them rolling their eyes at each other, and was sure I was going to get the nickname “tyre kicker” — if I didn’t already have it.
‘I genuinely wanted to find a pony’
Frustratingly, that was exactly what I wasn’t — I genuinely wanted to find a pony and was definitely not enjoying the viewing experience. One thing was for sure, I was becoming an expert at reading between the lines on the adverts. Just because the ad said the pony had been hunting, didn’t mean it had behaved impeccably whilst doing so.
I was also getting a dab hand at grilling owners and by now had lost count of the number of phone calls I had made. So, when I found a sweet looking grey Connemara for sale, I vowed not to leave the house until I had seen videos of it. No less than six were duly sent across and we played and replayed each one with hawk-eyes until we were satisfied it was worth getting in the car for. Oh fools!
Daughter and I set off in high hopes bombing down a near empty motorway to arrive at the yard in good time. As we pulled in, a line of curious equine heads simultaneously popped over a row of stable doors. There was only one grey head.
“Noooo!” wailed Daughter. “That can’t be her, surely?” Despondently we surveyed the ugly little head that blinked calmly at us. Still hoping that there might be another grey like the one on the videos tucked away awaiting our arrival, we waved apprehensively at the smiling family who had assembled to greet us. En masse they surged towards us as we got out of the car, Daughter not even bothering to bring her riding hat with her.
“Come and meet Polly Pocket, she’s dying to meet you,” gushed a wire-haired woman bedecked in an ancient anorak and striped socks.
‘Polly Pocket was no Connemara’
Tentatively, I stuck my head over the stable door. Polly Pocket was no Connemara — more like a poor stamp of a Welsh section D that had been given the most unforgiveable chop with scissors to mane and feathers.
In the midst of my despondency I was momentarily transported away musing over whether Anorak lady had done her own hair with the same scissors. I was broken from my reverie as she ordered her clan to bring the tack. It was pointless.
“It’s OK,” I said. “Perhaps you could just trot her up?” Anorak lady was confused by the request. “I’m not sure what you mean,” she quipped.
After an explanation, the poor unfortunate creature was paraded before us, sporting its unique fashion in equine hairdressing. Short, choppy strides perfectly matched its haircut. Its breeding was another matter entirely and one that would have been pointless to explore with Anorak lady who didn’t appear able to tell the difference.
We set off back home. The speeding ticket arrived two weeks later. Another great pony buying experience. Next!