Getting your first pony probably wasn’t something that came easy, and probably entailed a lot of persuasion, promises, pleading and persistence with your parents, right? But whatever age you was when you got your first pony/horse, that deep desire and longing usually converts into an immediate and natural bond unlike anything else.
This article is dedicated to all those many ponies that have filled our hearts with so much joy, happiness and invaluable life skills we now carry with us throughout life.
1. Independence and simply… ‘getting on with it!’
Our first pony is probably our first taster of independence. Learning to do things by ourselves and simply ‘”getting on with it”. Whether that’s mucking out, tacking-up, leading your pony to and from the field or general horse-care duties. Although you may have had help with your pony from parents or fellow yard neighbours, we learnt we can’t always rely on other people and have to find that independence to do it ourselves.
2. Nothing comes easy! Patience, persistence and never giving up
When thinking back to your first pony, does the word ‘cheeky’ spring to mind? Whether your pony liked to drag you left, right and centre, dodge being caught in the field, tried their hardest to rule the roost or whatever constituted your pony as being ‘cheeky’, we can now look back and see the many lessons we have learnt from their cheeky ways.
Although at the time it may have resulted in a lot of feet stomping, tears and will-power; we can now look back and laugh and know from that we’ve learnt the art of patience, persistence and never giving up!
Compassion isn’t something that can be taught but is instead something that we’re either born with or something we’ve learnt from our surroundings and experiences. Our desire to own our very own horse is usually all down to our natural love and compassion for animals. Although the compassion trait may be with you before owning your first pony, you may have found the love and compassion you had for your first pony, only intensified your compassion for animals even more.
4. Responsibility and hard-work!
How many times did your parents or peers tell you, “owning a horse requires a lot of hard work”, or “it’s a big responsibility to own a horse!”? Probably to many times to count right? Owning a horse or pony teaches you an abundance of things, but something it teaches us from an early age is the art of taking responsibility and being utterly selfless. A lot of blood, sweat and tears come with owning a horse (not matter how old we get!), but your first pony may have taught you to put someone else’s needs before your own. And if you ask us, that’s one of the greatest life lessons our past or current horse’s constantly teach us.
5. “When you fall off the horse you get straight back up”
Literally! This quote is something both equestrians and non-equestrians use when a curve-ball is thrown our way and we have to learn to grit our teeth and get back at it! For us, this is a quote and reminder we live by everyday – whether that’s after falling off our horse or using throughout day-to-day huddles and challenges.
6. Learning to share EVERYTHING
As kids, learning to share can be a difficult skill to master. But owning your first pony may have taught you – if you have a tasty treat – you’ll have to share it with your horse too!
7. You never know what life may throw at you
Was your first pony unpredictable? Enjoyed throwing in those spontaneous and out of the blue bucks, bronks or bunny hops? Their unpredictable ways teach us a valuable life lesson… you really never know what life (or your horse) may throw at you! So you’ve got to be prepared and resilient for whatever curve-balls come your way!
8. “It’s only a bit of dirt”
There’s no hiding the fact us horse-owners aren’t fazed by a little dirt (or horse poop!) and our first pony undoubtedly desensitised us to getting our hands a little dirty!
9. Horse friends are the best type of friends
Whether you learnt to ride at a riding school, owning a horse on a livery yard or making friends at competitions or pony club – there’s truly nothing like the bond and friendship created through the shared loved and passion for horse’s.
10. The art of reading body language
Find it crazy how without speaking to your horse, you know exactly what they’re thinking? Communicating with our horse without actual words is something so unique between horse and owner, and is something many other people may not understand. Whether your pony was feeling happy, playful, feeling down or unwell – there’s nothing like horse-owner intuition and knowing exactly what your horse is thinking and feeling.
We can thank our first ponies for teaching us how to read the body language of not only people, but animals too!
11. A fear of heights? What’s that?
Remember that feeling from jumping your pony for the first time? The excitement and adrenaline that rushes through your body and we think ‘wow, I want to do that again!’ Whatever adventures you and your first pony got up to, there’s no doubt that excitement and pure joy in doing it banished those fears we may have previously had, or carried with us throughout life if we hadn’t experienced it as a child.
12. Take life by the reins… you’re in charge!
How many equestrians do you know who have the mentality off “I’m in charge!” ? This is something our first ponies tend to shape us as people into… to grab life by the reins and take charge! Because frankly if we didn’t, there’d probably be many more casualties and unwanted accidents we would have had with our cheeky ponies if we didn’t take charge.
13. Good things really do come in small packages
There will never be another horse that can replace the love and fondness you had for your first pony – whatever height or breed they were! Something they may have taught us is… never underestimate what a pony is capable off!
14. It’s not about winning, its about taking part
How many competitions have you entered and returned home without a rosette? Your first pony probably taught you joy comes from taking part, not winning. Although a rosette may be the cherry on top, the experience and fun of taking part are the memories that will stay with us for a lifetime!
15. Learning to say goodbye
When it comes to owning our first pony, learning to say goodbye is something so many of us have had to experience. When we inevitably outgrow our first pony we have to come to the decision of keeping them or letting them go to another child to teach them everything they have taught us. Although for so many of us this would have been a very hard decision, it teaches us how to be selfless and put the best interest of others above our own desires and wants.
16. Cherishing those happy times and memories
Do some of your most favourite childhood memories include your first pony or growing up at the yard? For many of us, our first ponies bring so much first experiences (good and bad!), happiness and fondness. Whether you keep those memories in your mind and heart or from photo’s captured, they’re always something we can think back on and smile. Our first ponies teach us the importance of doing the things you love, pursuing your passion and appreciating every moment.
How many of these life lessons has your beloved first pony taught you? If you have any of your own life lessons we would absolutely love to hear! Please feel free to share them below with a little insight into your first pony…