Zen and the Art of Pony Maintenance

22 Jan


Ponies get a bad rap.  The underlying problem is that ponies are not small horses but are a unique species.  Almost.  Though technically members of Equus caballus (horses and ponies),  they are in the process of evolving into a new species called Equus rocketscientist.  If people studied ponies close enough, they would find ponies are nearly there.

Since ponies look like short, wide horses with incredibly cute faces, it is hard to believe they are not horse-like.  No indeed.  We happen to have a nice pony– the kind you can take to shows and win blue ribbons with.  She has never dumped her kids, though she has dragged them wherever she wants to go.

At shows, people come over to pet Gypsy, the nice pony, and relay a story of some evil Shetland that ruined their life as a child.  Usually the stories involve broken bones or getting strategically scraped off under a low-hanging branch.  There are so many evil Shetland stories in the world that we have yet to take Gypsy anywhere and not hear one.

If you make a horse mad or scared, they will usually run.  If you make a pony mad, they will look at you and start thinking.  The result will not be good.

For example, Gypsy came with a trailer loading problem.  She refused to go in horse trailers.  We eventually got her in.  One day we were at a 4-H clinic.  Gypsy refused to go in the trailer to go home.  The clinician picked up a broom and headed for Gypsy.

“That’s not a good idea,” I said, my voice too quiet to have an effect on the determined trainer.  Just as Gypsy was thinking that her trailer loading game was going well and was about to step in, the trainer wacked her on the butt with the broom.

Gypsy’s head went up.  Her pony lip jutted out and her big pony jaw set.  She turned and sized up the trainer with an I-can’t-believe-you-just-did-that glare.  Gypsy planted her feet and refused to move.

The wacking, dragging and yelling went nowhere.  Eventually, near dark, we led Gypsy into the trailer.  Truth is, you’ll never outwit a pony with those kind of tricks.  A pony will up the ante and outthink you.

This may be why when people sell miniature horses, they advertise that minis are not ponies but small horses.  Who, after all would want a pony?  If you could get an actual horse personality in a small, cute package that would be much better.

Or would it?  Since having had ponies for years now, I like them.   Ponies own the world.  They are puffed-up little Napoleons.  A pony will teach you many things.  Patience is one of them. A pony mare will teach you to stand up for yourself, be honest in your dealings and not take any guff from anyone.  They will also dismantle your ego and humble you.   So if you want to be a Zen master, you should get a pony.


2 Responses to “Zen and the Art of Pony Maintenance”

  1. Kiri January 22, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    Your story about Gypsy makes me smile and I agree. I volunteer at a rescue center where there are three mischievous little Shetlands and they get into everything! I remember quite distinctly, however, that one of them will stand and start falling asleep when I groom burrs from his coat and braid his mane. I wish I could expose more people to them – take them out of my pocket and show them off and say, “See? Ponies are wonderful plucky little equines (and masters of strategy).”

    Thanks for sharing!

    • A New Path January 22, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

      Thank you for reading. The ponies are lucky to have you! I think more people would appreciate ponies if they got to know them.

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