Archive | 8:40 pm

Looks Aren’t Everything

2 Apr



In the miniature horse world, the desired look is a mini Arab.  You’ve all seen Arabs- they look like the Black Stallion floating across the pasture with tail flying, arched neck and dishy head.  They’re sleek and shiny.

I have a different kind of miniature horse.  He is shaggy and wider than he is tall.  He is often mistakenly thought to be pregnant.  He has a leg at each corner, just like a Thelwell pony.  He’s a red dun with tall black socks and a wide shaggy tail.  It’s hard to tell which end is the front in winter.

Every year, when we take him to the miniature horse show at the Fair, he places at the bottom of the pleasure driving class.  If there are more than six horses, he doesn’t place.  They only give six ribbons.  The sleek, slender mini Arabs win.

But after he leaves the ring, some fair-goer always says something like this: “I thought he was going to win.  He was my favorite.”  or “He was the cutest.  I like him best.”

People come up and ask to pet him.  Kids hug him.  They ask what breed he is and why he looks different.  They ask if he’s a Shetland pony.  People remember him year to year and come looking for him.  He’s cuddly and likes his fans.

My little horse is also good at things that take brains and aren’t judged on type or looks.  He always places first or second in obstacle driving at the show.  He can pivot the cart 360 ( or 270 or any degree) and the cart wheel never leaves its spot.  He can do advanced obstacles, like backing the cart into a box or around a tree.  He can crawl under or go through any fence, too.  He can open tubs of treats with his teeth and push open any gate you leave partially latched.

This is the kind of mini I love.  He’s not in style, but he’ll safely take you over any terrain, and not spook if a giant dump truck passes you on the road.  If the cart gets a flat, he’ll stand while you pump it up with a noisy electric pump.  He’ll get you out of tight corners, and you can count on him.  He will babysit kids and teach them to drive.  He will then test and teach them as they learn.  But he will not hurt them.  He takes his job seriously.

So mini Arabs are pretty, but don’t discount the shaggy old minis of yesteryear.