Speaking of PoAs…

In addition to Tolanka and her babies, there were two other PoAs around the farm.

Penelope came in as a youngster, and to be honest? I don’t even know if she was ever saddle trained. When she came out of the pasture – which was rare – it seemed to only ever be for pony petting time. Granted, I wasn’t out there all the time, but for this cute of a pony, it seemed something of a shame.

Of course, thinking about it – I seem to recall that most of the cuteness was on the outside

She only had a few flecks of white on her butt when she arrived, I remember that; I was actually kind of surprised to realize when I took this photo just how much she had roaned out.

Twister was a set of peculiarities all his own. He was registered, but some time after he got his papers, he outgrew the pony category. He’d been abused at some point in his past; according to my instructor, some idiot took a 2×4 to his face, which had a peculiar bump on his nose that’s hidden by somebody else’s tail in this photo. He was pretty laid back, despite the past abuse, and was great for the kids to love on.

There was one big problem with Twister: holy crap, did that horse like to put his mouth on things. He didn’t seem to chew unless it was food, and he didn’t crib – he just seemed to want stuff in his mouth. Including lead ropes. Including cross-ties. Including – and this was his favorite trick, and I suspect why he didn’t get ridden often – the reins, if you happened to be standing still, walking, had enough slack on the reins for him to suck back and nab one…

Bear

My last instructor had a single Thoroughbred, in her sea of Quarter Horses and PoAs and miscellaneous whatsits. I actually rode him for quite a while, fell off of him once, and always kind of felt bad for him, sweet horse that he was. I’m not a gelding person, but he was generally a nice guy, and I always felt like he deserved better than being a lesson horse; he needed a little girl of his own to love on him all the time.

We called him Bear. I haven’t the slightest clue what his registered name was, but I know he had one; he was tattooed with the Jockey Club and had a three-race record. I don’t remember if he won any of them, and I never got confirmation on whether his bum leg was why he didn’t race more, but it seems like a reasonable guess.

I can never remember which leg it was that he’d limp on – and he was a clever limper; sometimes he really hurt and sometimes he was clearly just trying to get out of work – but I’m guessing by the funkiness of his left knee, it was probably that one. He was usually a bit thin in comparison to the horses around him, and I think I only saw him get “up” and put on speed once. The rest of the time, he was more than happy to stand around or plod around.

As for the fall – it was more hilarious than anything else, especially in comparison to previous falls I’d had. He spooked at something – neither my instructor nor I saw what it was, but talking later, we figured it was probably a rock thrown up by a passing car – and did a teeny buck and half-bolted.

The funny part? It wasn’t that bad, but for some reason, I just kind of stopped riding, tried to wrap my arms around his neck, and just kind of came off. Whoops. I landed on my right hip/thigh, with one arm on the fence; either he accidentally nicked me on the way by, or I whacked my shin pretty hard with my other foot. I think my first words to my instructor after I landed were, “Well, that was stupid.”

The best (worst?) part was, this was while I was in college – and in the morning before a full afternoon of classes. The fall was around 9 or 10. By the time I got home around 5:30 that night, the outside of my right thigh looked like I’d had an unfortunate encounter with an usually large eggplant: purple from knee to hip. It didn’t hurt that badly, but damn, did it look ugly. My shin and upper arm weren’t too much prettier, but had vastly smaller bruises.

Poor Bear seemed quite embarrassed about the whole thing, to be honest.

Sunny No-Tail

Her name was just plain Sunny, but my mother gave her that nickname…

It was sadly apt.

The story we were given is that one of her previous owners had put a rubber band around her tail, with sadly predictable results. She had a little nublet of a tail – three, maybe four inches long. (This was an early lesson very firmly pressed into my mind: rubber bands go around hair – never, ever around the tailbone.) There was one memorable evening where some of the six or seven inches of tail hair she had got stuck in her butt; it took us forever to figure out what was wrong, and I still kind of feel bad for laughing at her once we realized what was going on…

To be honest, I don’t remember much about riding her any more – nothing, that is, but the wholly disasterous show we did.

Yeah, that show.

We were doing a single dressage test, and the silly mare completely flipped out about the trailer the judge was sitting in at the end of the arena. She just lost it. I ended up leaving the arena, because I didn’t realize I could speak to the judge and get instructions, and came back in at the end to do the test again… this time much more successfully. No score, of course – I gather I wasn’t supposed to leave the arena – but at least we completed the test!