Handy Pony

I’m starting to think that all horses and ponies should at some point be ridden by teenagers. To teach them some tolerance; to get on with anything.

This morning I rode Matt in the school and decided to lead Otis out from him afterwards. So I rode Matt into the large American Barn and stopped outside Otis’s stable. I picked up my hi-vis from the hook outside and put it on, reins under my knee. Then I picked up his headcollar, put it on Otis while he nibbled Matt’s neck. Matt didn’t move. 

Turning my schooling whip upside down, I leant over and pushed the hard handle and on the kick-bolt, pinging it open. I discarded it by my grooming box and then leant over and undid the top bolt of the door. Making sure I had hold of Otis, I then had to open his stall guard and manoeuvre Matt back to open the door before turning and walking out the barn with Otis in my left hand, ready to go out on the road. 

There’s not many horses who would let you put their headcollar on from another horse, let alone outside the stable. And there’s not many horses who would tolerate the close proximity of another horse in their stable space. On the other hand, not many would stand still while their rider leant around and another horse used their neck as a chew toy!

I put it down to Matt suffering the teenage me. Having to do impossible gates; having to participate in the annual Christmas gymkhana; patiently waiting while we raced Around The World, or struggled to do Full Scissors. Or even swapped horses without dismounting. Galloping up the field bareback. Leading five ponies from him up the field (in gallop!). Jumping bareback, without reins or stirrups. Fancy dress. Walking over tarpaulin …

When I think about it, it’s no wonder Matt tolerates most things! Otis had the older teenage me as a youngster, so whilst he has some experience of our madness he also had the slightly more sensible grown up approach to the majority of life. 

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