I am fortunate enough to not only have the privilege of owning Hope, but to also be able to call three other horses mine (well, technically 2 horses, one is a pony).
Gwyneth is a spunky 12.2hh, 2001 Welsh mare, and the first horse I ever owned. We first met in 2010 at a local fair; she was the demo horse (or demo pony) that was being used by a farrier in a shoeing demonstration. I happened to remark to my Mum as we were passing her pen “That’s the kind of pony we need!”. I had been begging for the past year for my own horse, and my parents had finally relented a couple of months prior. However, we had as of yet been unable to find a suitable pony, so when I saw Gwyneth standing among the hustle and bustle of the fairgrounds, standing as calm as could be and looking as if she didn’t have a care in the world, it just slipped out of my mouth that we needed a pony like that. At that very moment, the farrier’s head popped up from behind a magazine she was reading and said “She’s for sale, you know”. I just about dropped down dead on the spot, I couldn’t believe it! I scurried over to her and gazed in awe at this fairy-tale looking pony.
The farrier pinned up her for sale ad, and I eagerly read through it. It said her name was Peanut (“That would be the first thing to go!” I thought to myself), and that she was previously a gymkhana pony, but was now being used as a trail horse in a nearby horse camp.
We set up a time to try her, and I spent the next few days daydreaming about owning this breathtaking chestnut pony. When we went to see her, I absolutely adored her (how could I not? I had fallen in love with her through the previous days spent fantasizing about her). Needless to say, we bought her, and she came home a week before my 12 birthday. A pony for my birthday! Every horse-crazy kid’s dream.
I only rode Gwyneth for a couple of years before I outgrew her. In that time, she helped me to develop as a rider. Not in the show ring, for I never once showed her, but in my level of determination. For, a more obstinate pony undersaddle I have yet to meet. Her favorite activity was stubbornly refusing to move, despite my pony club kicks and undignified flapping. We were, eventually, somewhat successful in establishing forward motion, so she would throw in the odd buck, just too keep me from getting cocky.
She is now retired, and living out her life quite happily as a princess and diva. Despite our rather bumpy riding career, I genuinely appreciate what Gwyneth taught me, determination. The ability to stand up after being unceremoniously dumped on the ground, and to dust myself off, smile, and try again.
Max is a 32″, 2008 miniature horse (yes, he counts as a horse!). I unintentionally acquired him in 2013. His owner was leaving on a holiday, and needed to board him somewhere while she would be away. She had brought him to the stable that I rode at, but none of the fences there were suitable to contain such a small horse. My Mum spotted him, and immediately fell in love with him, and before she could stop herself she blurted out “He can stay at our place!” (our fences were mini proof, as Gwyneth would stick her head between any fence board that didn’t have wire on top of it, so all of our fences were practically escape proof). I stared at her, and my mouth fell open. As we already knew his owner, she was completely fine with that and hauled him up to our place that very afternoon.
Although I was slightly hesitant about having a mini on the property, I found that I too quickly fell in love with Max. When his owner returned from her holiday, she asked if we wanted to keep Max at our place for a little while, and I could learn to drive on him (I had previously expressed some interest in learning to drive). I was overjoyed, and with that, my driving adventure began.
A year later I purchased Max, for having gotten to know and love him, I just couldn’t let him go. He is the sweetest little guy, and never puts a foot wrong. He is so chill and relaxed, but will eagerly gallop through the fields when I ask, and happily runs around his paddock bucking and squeaking (he doesn’t squeal, he squeaks). He is a really nice change of pace from the more spooky and hot horses I ride.
We now compete in CDEs (combined driving events), and are having a tremendous amount of fun.
Aeras, standing at just a hair taller than Max, is a 2006 33″ mini. His personality is as colourful as his markings, and he is as energetic as Max is relaxed. These two are pretty much polar opposites. Whereas Aeras is slightly spooky, Max is calm and relaxed. Aeras loves attention and to be fussed with, but Max would prefer to get down to business and work (unless you have treats, then he’ll be happy to hangout with you). Aeras loves to be kissed and cuddled, but Max thinks that he is too manly for that degree of affection. Even though their personalities are quite different, they love to play together and make excellent companions for one another.
I got Aeras in 2013 as a free lease. Basically he was just supposed to be a friend for Max, and a companion for when I had to take another horse off the property, and someone else was left on their own. I have done a couple of the in-hand miniature horse shows with Aeras, but they weren’t really my thing. Aeras much prefers being a companion and snuggle bug.
In 2014, Aeras’ owner gifted him to me, and he’s been here ever since.