September 26th 2011
Although this isn't directly related to my own horses, I thought it was worth mentioning. I follow/document the feral/wild ponies of Grayson Highlands State Park in southwestern Virginia. I have a facebook page and also a blog for this purpose. This past weekend (Saturday the 24th), the Pony Association that manages them held their annual auction. I was unable to attend this year, and I am now glad I didn't.
Since I follow the ponies year round, I have named many of them and am particularly fond of several individuals in particular. A number of them are colts/young stallions. Unfortunately, the Pony Association believes that selling most (if not all) of the colts every year prevents inbreeding. This year, 13 ponies were auctioned off. I knew most of them by name, but four stood out. They were my favorites. I had hoped somehow that they would be spared -that at least one or two would be allowed to remain on the mountain. But it was not to be.
Upon receiving news that “my” ponies had been sold, I have been quite depressed. I just can't wrap my head around it. I had hoped – in the future – to purchase them myself. In fact when I first leased the pasture, I had done so in the hopes of acquiring a pony or two this fall. But life happens, and plans change.
Today I arose, feeling quite down. I got on the computer, and no sooner had I opened Facebook, when my friend Michelle popped up.
“Hey, want to go riding?”
You know the answer to that one. An hour later, we were tacking up Promise and Cody. Since I currently have only one saddle, I told Michelle she could use it this time. I was ready (or so I told myself) to ride Promise bareback.
I had second doubts as soon as I mounted. Promise is quite rotund, and keeping my balance was difficult at first. I was careful to avoid squeezing her with my calves. She is very sensitive to leg aids. But after a few minutes of working her in the driveway, I gained confidence and announced to Michelle that I was ready.
We hadn't gone a quarter of a mile when I heard the sound children's laughter. As we drew closer, I spotted several kids out in the yard near one of the houses. As we approached they were all in a huddle, eyes lit up with excitement and anticipation. Promise is typically very good with children, but she was still acting kinda antsy, so I motioned toward Cody.
“Y'all can pet Cody,” I said.
The kids flocked to Cody, who stood there with the funniest expression on his face. It was all I could do to keep from laughing aloud. I can best describe it as “quizzical”. He didn't seem upset or annoyed. Just puzzled.
We continued on our ride. I was so incredibly proud of Promise – she walked along quietly, more relaxed than she ever had before. She didn't seem to mind stopping and waiting for Cody, although he did a much better job this time of keeping up.
We stopped where the road closed at the top of the hill (about a mile from the pasture). Unfortunately both horses at that time decided that they wanted to wiggle and squirm instead of standing quietly. We persevered until we got them to stand still for a few minutes before acknowledging that it was getting dark and it was best to head back.
Of course, they were much more enthusiastic going this direction. Michelle even got Cody to trot several times (being that he is quite possibly the laziest horse I have ever ridden this was nothing short of a miracle:)
I will close with a short video taken toward the end of our ride...