To kick things off, and to get me into the habit of blogging, I’ll be doing a post a day from a preconceived list. The first one is an introduction to the demon pony that was my first horsey love.
I have loved horses for as long as I can remember. I have a very strong memory of pestering my mum while we were in our tiny suburban backyard. She was hanging washing and I was telling her that there was definitely room for a pony.
Mum was an avid pony clubber back in her day and I suppose there was a small part of her that would have liked to see a horse in our lives. Her mistake, she couldn’t predict how horse mad I’d be, and things eventually got out of hand. Our single horse soon became two and in the coming years they just kept multiplying.
Taking a step back to my singular first pony; in order to support my addiction my mum and stepdad purchased a 20acre property, we trialled a couple of horses that were unsuitable before, on my 7th birthday a horse float arrived and my grandpa unloaded a beautiful grey pony (I was obsessed with grey horses) with a ribbon around his neck. His name was Alister and he was my unicorn!
Well, Alister was not quite the beginners’ pony we had intended him to be. He was great to handle but he was an absolute monster under saddle. He’d buck, rear and bolt at the drop of a hat. I have a vivid memory of watching the Sydney Olympics with Grandpa, Andrew Hoy had just won the gold and we were filled with inspiration. So, Grandpa and I toddled out to set up some jumps, and we set off on our own path to Olympic glory. That was until Alister (apparently showing me how high they actually jump) leapt a fence and sent me on my own, very singular trajectory. My Olympic dreams were sidelined for a few weeks with a fractured elbow.
That incident didn’t stifle my passion and I was back on my grey demon as soon as I could.
Alister became more unruly as time progressed. I’m sure our pony club instructors hated seeing my name in the group list as it usually involved moments of standing on two legs and losing me for 5 minutes as Alister took me on a self-guided, out of control, tour of the cross country course or racetrack. We’d always return. I also remember going for rides in the bush with mum. Alister would go for his bat out of hell runs and I’d return with no skin left on my hands, but usually smiling.
Alister was not an ideal first horse… or any horse actually, I’ve never had a horse more difficult since. But I adored him despite this and would always look forward to the next ride. He was the pony I’d waited 7 years for and I was just thrilled to be riding.
Alister got worse as time went on and we sought our next horse, which ended up being a freshly broken riding pony mare, she was chestnut – yeah, I had a death wish. Alister retired and lived out his days with us to the ripe old age of 35. Knowing what I do now, his behaviour was probably due to arthritis and health issues.
I’d certainly not advise such a horse for a total beginner but boy he taught me a lot! I will get on anything, I am patient and will work through issues.
Alister showed me that I really do love this and he showed me the importance of a bit of balance and modesty.