Jaffa: My First and Forever Pony
First ponies, the ones that make you and quite possibly break you (a few times). They filled your childhood with laughs, tantrums and adventures. They taught you persistence, courage and how to love. Whether fluffy balls of stubbornness or perfectly behaved shiny show ponies , they will be a part of your heart forever. The decision on when to move on can be challenging, some of us sell to another pony mad little person and some of us give them a forever home. There are pro’s and con’s to both, believe me, loving a grumpy retired ginger fluff ball is not always fun and games!
Jaff and me have been inseparable for over 10 years. He was never the perfectly behaved lead rein pony or even the stubborn all I want to do is eat or buck you off pony. Jaffa was , well is a one of a kind. He’s cheeky, intelligent, grumpy, feisty and a little monster. He has the brains for mischief ,the speed to scare you for life and he spooks faster than you can blink. He was brilliant at mounted games if he stopped before the fence. He has amazing scope when you finally persuade him that jumping together is better than flying at solid fences at 100mph to stop and turn while I fly over or into the jump. He can even school nicely if leg yielding away from ‘scary’ bushes or jumping dressage boards counts. A few years ago I thought id found his discipline, in hand showing. It all goes well until your demon pony decides to stallion strike at someone’s beloved prize pony and daughter.
Not your typical first pony but the best first pony. I say this now as a twenty year old, 10 years ago when I spent more time in heap on the floor Id of probably had other views. I was obviously blinded by his beauty, I mean his luscious long locks ( fluffy , muddy, soggy , chestnut coat that couldn’t be clipped because even a horse amount of sedation couldn’t stop him from kicking and prancing) were enough to make him any little girls dream pony. He’s a well known pony and he knows it, Im sure he prances round the yard on purpose. The village knew him for eating their posh plants when he escaped his field for the 5th time that week. He was known as ‘loose horse’ at pony club rallies and he is now greeted with ‘has he not calmed down yet?’. At the age of 20 he just about chilled out to the normal pony level until you take in a stubble field then the inner devil is released.
Enough about my pony’s pastimes, back to the point of this blog. Keeping your first pony is sometimes a challenge. They need the same love and care as they did when you had all the time in the world to give it to them. Ok maybe less time when they are no longer ridden but walks out in hand, long grooms and cuddles are still essential. You need to remember work, nights out with friends, university plans etc will all have to revolve around your pony still. The horse always has to come first. There becomes a point when they are too old to loan out or sell on so you can’t change your mind a few years down the line. Keeping two horses as many of you will know isn’t as easy as anyone thinks it’s going to be. Owning two horses in pretty much double the time and money. You need to take this into account when deciding whether to keep or sell your first pony. Your beloved pony still needs shoeing, vets, dentists etc. If you cannot offer this but want something else to ride then it may be a better option to sell your first pony. Heartbreaking for you but the best option for your pony who no doubt will be as equally loved and cared for by someone else.
Finding riders/loaners can be just as as hard. In my case finding people capable of riding him but also small enough to ride him was challenging. He’s not too fond of little people, apparently they taste nice? So lead rein riders are not his thing but he’s also at the age where much to his dislike he needs to take the steady route in life so competent small riders are wanting something younger and probably more behaved. Luckily my younger sister rode so he taught her his mischievous ways and up until recently he’s had two sharers over the past few years too!
I must admit I regret nothing about keeping Jaffa, he has a character to die for and we know each other inside out. There’s no better feeling than his little neigh when I pull up to the yard in the car or his little kiss trick. I was lucky enough to be able to have him alongside another horse in the past and now alongside university commitments due to help from my family looking after him while I’m away for lectures and when on shift. Despite his demon instincts he will always be my little monster and I now wouldn’t want him any other way.
Thanks for reading,
Meg and Jaff