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My little Pony! A Cautionary Tale.

Updated on April 4, 2013

The Free Pony

Please Daddy

May I have a pony? My friend Jill has one that she needs to retire from show jumping so she would be almost free and we have a big orchard that you have to mow all the time, think how great it would be if you didn’t have to do that, think of all the spare time you would have.

After deep consideration, Daddy agreed to give the old mare, Honey a good home in the orchard. I was thrilled and glowed with pleasure. We had to buy an electric fence so that she didn’t gorge on the grass and get Laminitis in her hooves, a very painful swelling caused by too much lush grass.

Please Daddy, may I have a crash helmet and some jodhpurs so I’ll be safe while riding Honey. Daddy arranged for me to buy the riding clothes at the local Saddlers. “ I expect you’ll need a saddle and bridle too so you can ride Honey “, said Daddy. I could hardly contain my excitement. After a very expensive shopping spree we staggered out with the aforementioned Saddle and Bridle and a host of extras the proprietor of the shop suggested we would find essential for the safe keeping of the pony, a head collar and lead rope, fly fringe and two buckets, one for water and one for her pony nuts. He gave us a hoof pick.

The bucket looked very empty so I suggested that a visit to the feed shop might be a good idea. Daddy helped me load the bag of nuts, a bale of hay and some vitamins. The salesman also recommended a strangely smelling hoof ointment too, “ So good for strong feet” he said, “makes them real shiny”. We realized we didn’t have any grooming kit so back we went to the saddle shop. Expensive Dandy and body brushes, combs and other accoutrements a well turned out pony needs joined the free hoof pick in a natty basket pointed out by the helpful salesman.

The night Honey arrived, it started to rain. The whole family looked out at poor Honey standing miserably under a sparse apple tree with her tail clamped between her hind legs. It didn’t need to be said, she needed a shelter. We set out for the wood yard where they sold modular stables, “Very good price, Sir” said the salesman. We struggled home with the assorted planks tied to Daddy’s trucks, it was then that we realized we would need a concrete base. “Know just the chap” said the salesman.
Next day a huge rotary concrete mixer truck turned up at the house. It was so big that it had to be driven over the lawn, already made soft by the rain, to reach the orchard. It took several days for the base to set which gave Daddy time to arrange for the ruined lawn to be returfed.

The stable was a great success. Honey wandered in and out of it. “Straw!” I shouted, “she needs straw to be able to lie down”. So back to the feed store we went to buy a bale of straw. The proprietor promised to deliver the rest of our purchases the next day. More hay, a haynet more straw and essentials like a pitch fork and shovel for mucking out. We arranged a site for the muck heap near the vegetable patch. He stocked saddle soap to clean her tack and oil of citronella to keep off the flies. He also sold us a neat first aid kit, “just in case!”

“Now we have everything covered” said Daddy with a sigh as he stacked up the receipts for everything we had bought so far. It was when I was picking out Honey’s feet with the gift hoof pick that I noticed that she had lost a shoe and her feet looked very long. “ That will be $80.00 “ said the farrier straightening his back, “I’ve knocked a bit off the price as it’s the first time” “Oh “ groaned Daddy as he wrote the check. “Every six weeks is a good interval between visits” shouted the farrier as he drove off in his brand new truck. Daddy groaned again.

Honey just looked very content, looking down at her newly manicured hooves. Nobody realized just what was entailed in keeping our gift horse in the orchard. But it was too late, we had all fallen in love with our beautiful pony. She whinnied with pleasure when anyone appeared and gazed expectantly at the house if she heard a noise. Otis the dog loved her and the cat sat on the stable door and kept her company while she slept. Daddy’s eyes just rolled in disbelief every time he looked at the “free” pony!


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    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      I am glad my writing brought emotion to you. That is what writing is all about. This is fiction, my dad never bought me a horse. I bought one myself with my first wages.

      It is very easy to spoil our children, isn't it? Thanks for the kind coment.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 8 years ago from UK

      To a father like myself, that is a really moving story. I remember taking my children to riding lessons and my eldest boy falling in love with horses, wanting to spend all his time, free or otherwise at the stables, looking after the horse I bought him. I remember returning from a business trip to Argentina with a lot of excess weight because of the saddle, the leather riding boots and other equipment I had come across and could not resist, thinking of my son's face when I surprised him with them... It all backfired..... :-))

      To him, it all became a right, not a gift of love. That's why your own memories are very touching to me,a s a father.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Thank you, stars. They are so precious but so many people enter into horse ownership without thinking it through. Hence the title, "A Cautionary tale" Thank for stopping by.

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 8 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Merry Christmass and what a lovely hub about your dad and your pony. Horses and ponys are so beautiful. We loved our horse Gladis. God Bless You.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hi Anne, wise words indeed. People usually have no idea what they are letting themselves in for! Glad you enjoyed my cautionary tale. Thanks for the comment.

    • Anne Coyle profile image

      Anne Coyle 8 years ago from Bronxville, NY

      I had to laugh out loud, reading this. How many times have people acquired a horse only to discover, through trail and error, the myriad needs these gentle giants have that must be fulfilled? Of course, every daddy is a sucker for an adoring daughter, pleading with fervent desire for her first horse. And the folks at the tack shop are sure to see him coming a mile away! He might be better off making his riding equipment and riding apparel purchases online, where there are fewer distractions for his darling daughter!

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Thank you Feline Prophet and Alexander Mark for your kind comments.

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Sounds like your free pony could have been replaced by a new riding lawn mower and to pay a kid to keep the orchard trimmed and you still would have been ahead! But your heartwarming story tells me she was worth a lot more. Great hub.

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 8 years ago

      Honey sure is a lucky pony...and I'm sure Daddy would agree! :)

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Funny you should comment when I was reading your hub! Isn't it fun! You are very wise for a girly girl!

    • girly_girl09 profile image

      girly_girl09 8 years ago from United States

      Awwwww! Thumbs up! I always wanted a pony growing up, but got a horse instead. I think my mother wanted him more than I did. hahaha We had absolutely no room for it because we lived in the city and my poor horse, Aramus had to live in a boarding stable for horses where I took riding lessons (about an hour away). We eventually had to sell him because my allergies continued to develop as I got older. :(

      Anyways, I love ponies and Honey is beautiful! I loved the line where you said the shop owner "gave a hoof pick for free". ahaha How generous!

      Hopefully, I will get to ride again someday as my allergies have improved since my teen years.

      Great hub! :)