A little hairy Welshie
Last weekend we went to a Jubilee Bank Holiday Horse Show in a neighbouring village where competitions were running all day from an early start. There were the riders, some young, some old, some not so old, all of whom were doing their thing on horseback with parents, friends and helpers looking on. We toured the grounds of the show and watched some of the events in jumping, showing and dressage. It was all very British.
What caught my eye was one junior show in which youngsters of about four years old upwards were jumping over one foot high fences. The age of the kids varied, the height of the fences was the same for all. The name of the game was to compete in front of a small crowd. Rosettes were given out to all with gay abandon. There was lots of laughter and ample good will.
One pair caught my eye in particular. A young girl say four or maybe five years of age maybe almost 12 hands high from sole to the tip of her riding hat, crop in hand, dressed in all the finery of hat, riding boots, back protector gloves and tweed sports jacket, mounted on a hairy Welsh section B came into the ring and made her way over to the start.
She looked around then gave the pony a tap with the heels and off they went at a brisk trot towards the first of the twelve fences. The pony knew its job. Trot, trot, trot, it went with the young rider rising up and down in perfect unison - then the couple came to the fence of crossed poles at which point the pony slowed to a walk and gently stepped over the poles, one leg at a time. This process was to be repeated over the remaining eleven obstacles. The pony was being very careful not to dislodge the rider as it ‘jumped’ the bar.
At first I watched in amazement, but then I started to smile. By the time the couple had reached the end of the course, I was laughing so much. The pair had earned its clear round - or rather the pony had. All the rider had had to do was to keep bobbing up and down and steer the pony which could not read the numbers on each obstacle so had to be shown the way. Perhaps the mini horse could not count.
The pony no doubt is worth a fortune. Its obvious concern to keep its young rider safe was laudable.
Who had trained it I wonder? I watched a beaming youngster ride back to the gate of the field, rubbing the neck of the little hairy cob which by now was making its way, nose high, out of the ring at the very brisk short length, pony trot which can be so uncomfortable for us older folks. One thing is for sure that miniature rider is heading for great things in the horse world as she grows older.
Personally I had reached the age of 38 before I discovered the sport of horse riding. Looking back to when I started to learn how to ride, I could have done with a grown up version of that hairy Welshie.