Sunday, June 21, 2009

I always wanted a pony

The only child I can ever remember envying was my cousin. She had a pony.

She not only had a pony, she had a black and white pinto pony and she got to ride it to school.
I bitterly resented the fact that all I had to ride was my mother's retired cowhorse, who was too tall for me to get on and off to open gates so I couldn't ride the 3 miles to school like Betty did. And it wasn't a PONY!

I had other horses over the years, but I never lost my desire for a pony. I was in my 50s when that dream finally came true for me ... a black Connemara Pony stallion.

Stonybrooks Curragh Kildare (Stormy) was a 4 year old when I found him, just barely started under saddle and he immediately went to a trainer in Colorado to be put in harness. From there, he went to a friend/trainer in NW Montana to go under saddle and for the next two years stayed with Pam and was shown by a young woman, Lori, in what local dressage and hunter shows were available.

He posted respectable scores at 1st level dressage in USDF shows. He even won his first open green hunter class against the "big guys", having to show against Thoroughbreds and warmbloods in the open classes. He never belived he was only 13.3 hands, he was convinced he was 10 feet tall and bulletproof.

He was one of the best trained animals I ever owned. If I wanted to ride to enjoy myself, it was Stormy that got saddled. I rode him on trails and up in the mountains, I rode him after cattle. He loved having a job and he was always ready to go to work.
He came with me from Montana to Kentucky. I didn't ride much once I got here, after thousands of unfenced acres in the Montana mountains, 17 acres on a hill was not really "riding". Stormy adjusted to the changes, like the gentleman he always was, happy to show off and pose for anyone who came to look at him and his offspring for the next 10 years. He produced a number of talented offspring and was one of the foundations of my sportpony breeding program as well as a personal companion and the "dream pony" of my life. When downsizing became a necessity due to age and old injuries, Stormy stayed. He was older, perhaps wiser, but never lost his sense of mischief.

The best photos I have of him were taken several years ago, in his "old age" ... at eighteen ... still showing the energy and charisma he displayed all of his life.

Stormy, thank you for all of the wonderful years you gave to me. You left on your journey across the for the Rainbow Bridge before I was ready for you to go. There are still times I wake at daylight, listening for you rattling your grain tub.

If there is any justice anywhere you are learning to use the wings you always believed should be there.

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