Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Pony called Lightning

by Linda Benson

Ponies in general get a bad rap, don't you think? Many of them, clever and mischievous by nature and too small for an adult to ride, never receive enough training to become solid citizens.

But Laura's post about her son's pony called Toby got me to thinking about a wonderful pony who came to us by chance, when my daughter was young.



I was a single mother at the time, living on a rural property where I had a small saddle shop behind my house. I also sold a horse or two, from time to time, to help with the rent and the groceries. We always had something to ride, but my daughter did not have a horse to call her own.

A neighbor phoned, asking if I knew anyone that was missing a little silver dappled pony that had just walked up her driveway. He was visiting with her two horses out back, and so she turned him in with them, so he wouldn't run loose all over the place.

Although a horse or pony getting loose (and other horse people catching them up) is not particularly strange, what was different about this pony is that no owner was ever found. After my friend went through the appropriate channels looking for an owner (animal control, feed stores, newspaper) she finally admitted she had no use for the pony, and did my daughter want it?

So the pony was walked down the road to our house, where my daughter tied it to a tree in the backyard and began to brush the little gelding. He stood probably only 11 hands, and after passing all the tests for gentleness, we progressed to saddling him, bridling him, leading her around, and eventually, turning over the reins to her. I expected him to be a typical little balking pony, who'd amount to nothing more than a lead-line mount. Surprise, surprise. This pony was broke to death!



This little gelding walked, trotted, and even cantered at my daughter's first cue. He stopped immediately for her, neck-reined like a pro, and the huge grin on my daughter's face as she put him through these paces was priceless. Here was a broke little horse, her own size, that did exactly what she asked! She was so proud!

I can't imagine who ever took the time to train a pony like this, and why no one was missing him. A person could search and search for just such an animal, and have a desperate time finding one. To a single mother, struggling to make ends meet, this was a gift from the heavens.

To make the deal legal, I think we paid my friend $50 for this pony, which my daughter promptly named Lightning. As you can see from the pictures, we eventually trusted the little guy to ride double, bareback (no, we never had helmets back then) and my daughter gained more confidence from that priceless little pony than you can ever imagine.

Now, my daughter is a beautiful young woman, who will compete in her very first endurance ride this Saturday. But we will never forget the story of the little pony who simply walked up the driveway one day. LIGHTNING!

10 comments:

Laura Crum said...

Aww--What a great pony. And what a magical story about how he came to you!

Linda Benson said...

Yes, some things in life can never be explained. It was just meant to be, I guess. How lucky we were to get that fine pony (especially when we barely had two nickels to rub together.) :-)

Cindy Durham said...

Really makes you wonder what his story was, doesn't it? I mean before he was lucky enough to find your family.
I have a dog and a horse both who are so special in their own way. The dog is a pound rescue and the horse is a rescue from Oregon. They are the most amazing animals and every day as I interact with them I wonder who they used to be.

Linda Benson said...

I know, Cindy. I always think the same thing. If only animals could speak our language. What tales they could tell! :-)

AareneX said...

Linda, what an AWESOME story. I often consider that the folks who show up "accidentally" in our lives are a sort of postcard from God.

And good luck at the endurance ride!

Linda Benson said...

AaraenX - I love that sentiment - a postcard from God. Awesome! And I'll pass along your good wishes to my daughter. I am very excited for her, too. ;)

BeBe said...

What a great story....and such a lucky find for both! Love the name Lightening...what a cutie!

Dreaming said...

Lightning knew where he was needed! How lucky for you, and your children, to have a pony from God show up like that!
One of my friends had a very old pony - she figures he was at least 35 - who taught most of the neighborhood kids to ride. The fun thing was that Trigger would only let a child under 6 years of age catch him in pasture!

Lisa G said...

I had a little pony like that once. Her name was Spunky and she lived about two blocks from me, but only about two hundred yards through the back and side yards. She was an only pony and kept rolling under the fence to stand with my mare, also an onlt horse. Finaly her owner called me adn asked did I want to buy her-for $50.00! This little pony had raised six kids and like Lightening was broke to the heart. I didn't have any children then and only kept Spunky about two years, then I gave her to my best friend who had a little girl two. She kept her till she died. Wonderful little pony and a pearl beyond price.

Linda Benson said...

BeBe - thanks for dropping by. Yes, we all loved the name "Lightning" too. It gave us adults a good chuckle.

Dreaming - Trigger sounds like he was pretty wise. I think Lightning was a pretty old pony, too, but he always kept up with the big horses when we went for a trail ride. It was great!

Lisa G - Spunky sounds wonderful, and your comment is spot on - a good kid's pony is a pearl beyond price.