Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Green on Green

There is a song by Mary Ann Kennedy (http://www.maryannkennedy.com/) that honors a saying by Pat Parelli about green horses and green riders: "green on green makes black and blue." In an earlier post I said I had a story to tell about my second pony. I am hoping that writing this will be therapeutic for me as I still have some guilt resonating in my heart about that pony. When my parents decided it was time for me to pass the Shetland Black Jack to my younger sister, we purchased a new pony for me from the same woman we had gotten him from. This gelding was a Welsh/Appaloosa cross, and he was only 2 years old. Purchasing such a young pony for a young rider was the first big mistake we made. Shannon was a gorgeous creamy palomino pony. Not a spot on him, although I searched frantically for one to crop up during every grooming session. Our neighbor helped us break Shannon under saddle and it went surprisingly well. Before long we were riding the trails and doing all of the ponygirl things we preteens like to do (jumping lawn chairs in the front yard, galloping in the meadow.....) At some point we gave Black Jack to our neighbor for her young children and my sister got her second pony, Angel.
I am not sure where or why things began to go wrong. Shannon started nipping. The nipping got worse despite my attempts to stop it. Then it became biting. Before long, he began charging us when we went into the pasture. It went from bad to worse. He began rearing under saddle. We did the best we could with that pony. We had heard his sire was a nasty Appaloosa that had attacked his owner in his stall. Whether his disposition was passed down to Shannon or not, I have no doubt that it was our inexperience that contributed to his behavior. My family were animal lovers, but we were rookie horse owners. Our neighbor and horse publications offered us the only advice we used. When this pony lifted my sister off the ground by her shoulder, it had became quickly apparent that this pony was not safe for us. We put him up for sale. Selling any horse or pony with bad habits is not easy. We did not want to misrepresent Shannon, he was who he was. I just hoped he was on the best of his worst behavior when people came to try him out. We had a few interested parties....but obviously this was a pony that although gorgeous, had some serious issues and needed an experienced horse person to help him. The woman we bought him from offered us one last resort. She said she would take him to the horse auction for us. In the end, we realized it was our only option. I remember walking him to the end of the long steep hill we lived on, down to the trailer waiting at the bottom. They loaded him up and drove him away. I think I held back the tears until I got back home. I was saddened by having to get rid of my pony, despite his many issues, I was attached to him. I was just thankful that neither my sister nor myself had been injured in any of our interactions with him. I found out the next day that Shannon sold for $70. I have no idea what became of his fate and I did not want to know. I always hoped that his good looks and conformation helped him find his way into the hands of someone who could offer him a chance to be something. I was always sorry that we couldn't do that. At 12 years of age, I did not have the experience or resources to help him. But the pony I got to replace Shannon was perfect and to this day has always been one of my favorites........to be continued.


  1. I'm sorry that it didn't work out with that pony. You were not alone in the mistake of not having enough experience to deal with such a horse. I think that is the most common mistake I see with new owners.

    Horses don't come with "how to" guides or written instructions. And we humans tend to learn the best when the lessons are hard. I can tell that you learned a big lesson here at a hard price. This is a long time to be carrying guilt for an honest mistake.

  2. The important thing is that you were aware, even at 12, that that was an unacceptable and dangerous behavior. It sounds like you and your parents did your level best to rehome your pony without getting someone else hurt.
    My POA took to running off because we insisted on riding him with a halter. Even though my mom used to cuss us out for doing it. We didn't quit until we got one of the neighbor kid's arm broke. Were we in hot water then. There were several branches worn out on our butts.

    Thanks for stopping by-I am always looking for interesting blogs to read and am happy that others are interested in what I have to say. I have happily added you to my list of daily reads.

  3. good story but sorry it didnt work out.

    my shetland pony was such a jerk. I can remember all his awful dirty tricks...


I love hearing from my readers!! I truly enjoy all of your feedback, advice, helpful tips, and stories. You all make me laugh and I learn so much from you, too. I will try to post replies to your comments as often as I can.

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