Quest the Pudgy Pony

24 Apr

I got a phone call from a woman that had been taking care of her niece’s pony. Her niece’s love of the pony had waned after being thrown off and now it stayed in a too small pen up to its knees in mud. Skinny, sad, and lonely the pony needed a new home.

He was cute, a blaze in the shape of a question mark led to his unique name. He had three white socks, a black mane and tail, and a honey brown body. He had a high step to his trot and it was obvious that he was part Hackney. The first time I got on him, he threw in three bucks, all of which I sat to. Mad that I had not fallen off, he leaped into the air and then landed with his shoulder twisting away as he dropped his head. To his great pleasure I flew threw the air like a super human, only to thud onto the ground emptying my lungs of air.

This pony was no stranger to expertly depositing his riders. No wonder he had been left to sit in mud. I brushed myself off and then climbed back into the saddle. This time I was ready and he would not get me off. He tried to buck, but I sat deeply and pushed my strong legs into his sides and pulsed my whip against his haunches. He knew that if he was going to lift his legs it would be met with swift punishment. He was smart and decided not to try to outwit me. I got off, satisfied with our ride.

He needed work and I knew the student that would be up for the challenge. Ali loved horses. She would kiss her lesson horse, secretly holding them in her arms. She had been bitten by the horse loving bug at six years old and now as a thirteen year old she was ready for a new challenge. Growing into her five foot five frame, her legs could easily wrap around Quest. She relished the thought of “training” our newest charge. She set upon this assignment with abandon and everyday she was here teaching Quest how to be a good pony. She would bring her lunch to the farm on Saturdays and I know for a fact that Quest ate more of her lunch then she did. She learned that he loved jelly, water ice, french fries, doritos, potato chips, fried onion chips, sticky buns, licorice, and LORD knows what else she gave him. She would take him for walks around the farm and they would be seen cantering or jumping. He grew fond of his friend, but he was not fond of doing lessons. He would act up with other riders, protesting that he was above this monotony.

Then one day, I was in a pinch. I needed a pony to do a therapeutic lesson with a fractious young woman. Though she was nearly twenty she stood at four feet and weighed less than eighty pounds. Suffering from seizures all of her life, she had sustained brain injury. Her speech was deteriorating as was her balance, posture, and ability to communicate or engage in activity with others. Armed with side walkers, Anna climbed on Quest’s back. Now Quest had blossomed into a shiny and pudgy pony that had a pep to his step, but the attitude that he was too good to teach was replaced with sympathy and love for Anna. I realized that this is why he was here at this farm, to teach my special student. He quickly learned to adjust his pace with each new special child. He would literally ignore me if he did not feel that the rider was balanced. In essence he became, what I could never become, the support that these children have never had.

He has been teaching therapy lessons for almost ten years now. He has seen his students speak for the first time to him. He has enabled children to walk unassisted, and he has given more children the ability to reach their potential. His patience is untiring, his love unfaltering, and his kindness is unwavering.

Now Quest is in his twenties and shows no sign of slowing down. He LOVES teaching now, even though my students sometimes

Quest is taking a walk down the driveway with his friend Milkshake and their riders.

drool on his beautiful mane, or grab his ears as they kiss his face. He loves the attention and the special job he has. After all, many horses are chosen to do this job, but few can rise to its challenges. Quest the Pudgy Pony has and will continue to make his student’s lives a little richer for knowing him.

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