You know how you've got over a hundred bucks outstanding on that vet bill, about 200 hay bales that aren't paid for, and a credit card debt for a new saddle, and you've decided to be a responsible adult and not spend any more money, but then you do anyways… because it was what you had to do?
Well I just did that.
And I'm not even calling him my Bad Idea Pony because… he's not a bad idea. He's good. He's just a good little guy. And also because of this face!!!!
I will admit that for purely logical purposes, he may not have been a bad idea but probably a kind of dumb idea. I was looking for a pony between 12hh and 13 hh, so something small but big enough for me to ride. I need to keep these guys tuned up and keep an eye on potential bad habits developing. (Y'know, because I'm all perfeshnul and I'm such a great rider, I never accidentally train bad habits into a horse. That was sarcasm.) This pony is all of 11hh. His back is at waist level to me. And I'm not quite 5'1". He is a very small pony. I fired off the email a couple weeks ago and then wondered what the heck I was thinking. I looked at the ad five times a day and saw clearly what I was thinking: a happy looking pony with a little girl on his back in an arena. One child on the pony's back with another child leading him. Child leading pony while kid in the saddle throws her arms in the air in pure exuberance. Pony in little english saddle with ribbons on his reins. Cute pony in field. Child riding pony in field.
When I talked to the owners, I felt like I was auditioning for the position of pony's new owner. I'm totally on board with that. They wanted a good home for him with other horse friends, kids to play with him, a field to run in. I wanted them to feel like this would be a worthy home for him.
We went to see him on a Saturday evening. He trotted up to the fence. Stood like a little gentleman when she slipped the halter onto his head. Walked into the barn nicely. Stuck out his muzzle for me to pat him. Did I need anything else? Nope. I was pretty much sold.
He is not perfect. His top line is not good, mostly because he has a broken crest. The top edge of his neck flops over to one side. It still wasn't enough to turn me off. The family had gotten him like that three years ago and it doesn't cause him pain and sure doesn't slow him down any. The danger is that this condition often goes along with an old case of founder. He was likely obese at one point in his life, and the crest drooped after the weight loss, and if you've got an obese pony, you've probably got founder. He'd been perfectly healthy under their ownership and he is currently a perfect fit weight. He wouldn't be the first foundered pony I've had in my life.
The rest of him is so darn pretty. And I figure if he was physically perfect, he'd have been way out of my price range. I can overlook flaws. I myself am deeply flawed in many ways.
It's been a week and a half, and Parker is very much a part of my little herd. Phoenix is cool with his new little buddy and Copper looooooves him.
I love him too.
I haven't put him in lessons yet, mostly because I'm still working on rigging up a saddle for him. Those latigo straps need to be shortened. I kept most of the stuff I had for my small ponies waaaay back in my childhood, but some of it disappeared over the years. We tried the harness on him. It fits, but needs major repairs. (Well it's probably 100 years old; it was my dad's harness when he was a kid!!!) Today I put one of my smaller saddles on him, which is juuuust a little too big, and sat on my pony. Just sat there. It's been about 25 years since I sat on a pony this small. Parker pulled a small amount of ponytude on me, which I fully expected, since he's been here long enough to know it was the time of day when they go out to pasture. He stood there and flipped his cute little head around a few times, but I straightened him out, patted his neck, and stepped down. Like literally just stepped down. I won't be riding him much. I'm about 10 lbs heavier than what he can safely carry. He later walked beside me out to the field like a well behaved adult and held still for me to take off his halter.
I haven't been in great shape this year. Total honesty… the devil of depression has been stalking me, and outrunning it is very tiring. Did I need another critter here? Another horse to take care of? Worry about? No. My two Appaloosas fulfill me and give me so much joy. I can't totally explain why this teensy equine means so much to me. He's just a good soul. Business wise, yes, he's excellent for small kids. Phoenix is too. I put my smallest kids on my biggest horse. Well, now I've got two good lead line horses. This pony will work for a living and from what I can see so far, he will enjoy it too.
The evening I first met Parker, I fretted all the way home in the car. So many reasons to not get this pony. They had offered to bring him to me, no charge, the next Monday. We don't have a trailer, and besides, the Honeybadger is parked on the barn bank waiting for a brake job. Isn't that crazy - $500 for a pony instead of brakes. Stupid. But they offered to bring him to us. John reached for my hand as we drove home and said, "I'm going to the bank. You are getting a pony."
(Are you kind of misty eyed right now? It's okay, I am too.)
Welcome to the Old Homestead, Parker!
Wait… OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS I HAVE A PONY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!