That Pony: How Naughty Ponies Make Strong Kids

July 13 2016

C. D'Agostino


Every equestrian has a list of memories regarding that pony. The pony that made you wish you had taken up swimming, or golf, or anything that didn’t involve that pony, or any others like it. Though things may have been a little shaky at the time, here is why we should all go back and thank that sour, stubborn childhood pony at the end of the day.

Within the numerous equestrian sports, participants can be divided into two major groups: The strong riders, and the pretty riders. We all know of a pretty rider, as he or she is very easy to detect by the fans with gaping jaws watching along the rails. They are the rider who has picture perfect equitation, admirable enough to hush even George Morris himself. All of the photographs taken at the shows they compete at come out beautifully, with not a single angle off in their two-point or the tiniest fly away peeking out of their braids. And as for their horse? Well, he is arguably the most gorgeous animal you’ve ever laid eyes on. He is the kind of horse who people would trust their three year olds on without blinking an eye; the kind of horse who is anything but that naughty pony we all know too well. Together, they are the kind of team who leaves the other competitors running away with their tails between their legs, to go home and practice grid work from dawn to dusk.

That’s the pretty rider. But what about the oh-so- underrated strong rider? The rider who can get on any horse at the barn and have a safe and controlled ride? The rider who can sit a buck or two, or can handle a little argument with their trusty steed? Ask any strong rider how they came to be the way that they are, and their response more than 90% of the time is guaranteed to be something along the lines of: “Well, there was this pony…” How does that rider know how to sit a buck? That pony which they rode years ago could have been mistaken for a bronco by the best cowboys on the planet. How does that person know how to ride even the toughest horses? Well, no horse will take them for an adventure like that little stinker did all those years ago. Who does that rider have to thank at the end of the day? You guessed it, that little pony who taught them how to not just be a horseback rider, but how to be an equestrian.

The ideal rider obtains an even balance between strong and pretty. They are aesthetically pleasing on any and every horse that they ride, and they can make even the testiest horse look as uncomplicated as the ABC’s. At the end of the day, though those childhood lesson ponies seemed nothing but frustrating at the time, every talented equestrian owes their strength and experience to those little devils. Without them, there’d be no such thing as a strong rider. Though they make be pains, at the end of the day they are the best teachers. And for that, we’ve got to love them!


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