Important Lesson: Always look for a good place to land

 

“I’ll take him!”Image

This is what my mom yelled out the car window – while waving a fistful of cash – as we turned in to the driveway of an Arabian breeding farm near our house in Neosho, Wisconsin. There apparently was a long line of cars in the drive and my mom assumed that it was due to the high demand for the Shetland pony advertised in the local paper for $50.

Turns out we were safe – the cars weren’t there for the pony, although that details of why have never fully been explained to me. Eh, doesn’t matter. At any rate, for the cost of my monthly gym membership, I got my first pony as a present for my birthday. I was 3.

He was a cute little chestnut, 2 or 3 inches beyond “miniature” status, but you wouldn’t dare tell him that. His name was Studbuttons, as he had been serving as a tease stud at this Arab farm. Yup, my first pony was a stud.

We brought him home. How? No idea. He was small, maybe we just put him in the back of our car, I don’t know. But he lived at a little farm that was walking distance from our yellow house.

And every single memory of this pony is of him being absolutely naughty. And teaching me very important lessons about riding and horsemanship.

He was a pony, and a little one, so it goes without saying that he had enough piss & vinegar in him for a Budweiser Clydesdale team. I remember that my dad would lead me around our little town on him, which is how I learned the importance of the quick dismount.

Studbuttons’ favorite activity was to pretend like he was a well-behaved animal, lulling you in to a false sense of security, and then all of the sudden it was STOP, DROP, and ROLL! A good way to tamp out a fire, but I promise we never set my pony ablaze.

So I’d jump to the side just in time to keep my bare legs from being pinned underneath and watch him roll on the road or in the gravel drive as my father watched flabbergasted by this creature’s attempt to kill his only child, then get back on when he was done. Rinse and repeat.

But it probably taught me my first lesson in self-preservation:  always look for a good place to land.

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