TSF Member Blog

A Day of Horse Showing: Through the Eyes of a Pony

posted March 27, 2009

srm_1945Our second contribution comes from long time student and devoted member of TSF, Nicole Wiley. Nicole has ridden with us for many years and is also a dedicated working student. She is our resident assistant at nearly every horse show, as well as a beloved counselor of pony camp each summer. She is a wonderful asset to our foundation and a great role model to the younger riders at the farm.



I hate rain.

There’s nothing worse than seeing all of the ponies covered with mud, or discovering the “lakes” that used to be our paddocks. And of course, the *joys* of riding inside. It’s one thing to ride in the indoor ring during the winter, when its cold and frozen, and it’s a wonder that you would even come to the barn at all. Its an entirely different thing when you’re stuck inside because of the soupy footing outside, but you can see the sun shining…

And then, just as the footing starts to dry up, we have more torrential downpours.

And of course, after every day of rain, it never fails that the ponies come in covered head to toe in mud. What’s so appealing about burying their faces in a mud pit is something I will never understand. I know they don’t do it for the extra attention when its time to groom them – in fact, a lot of them have no patience to be groomed anymore, or quickly lose it when they realize that they may have to stand on the crossties for over an hour. Well… we can always hose them, right?

But what if they have to be ready for a lesson in twenty minutes? Hmm… anybody want to see what this pony thinks of the vacuum? No good? Well, what if we hose your pony’s legs and just do our very best to clean the saddle and girth area – and in return, we give your pony a bath after you ride?

Unfortunately for us, our ponies are smarter than that. No matter how clean we make them during the day, as soon as they go back out for the night, its like we never tried at all. For example, Mo. Friday morning he was free of dirt and grime (with the exception of one very stubborn stain), no doubt the miracle work of Jenn. He got ridden, hosed off (with a little soap included for that stain) and was looking like a new man when he walked out to his paddock Friday evening. The first thing he does when we take his halter off? He runs over to say hello to Chuck and Spencer. The next thing he does? Continues this cruel cycle by rolling in the swampiest place he can find.

This has to be a trick. A divine plan that they’ve collaborated – to them, a genius plot to try to avoid work. To us, an annoying, exhausting and time consuming routine that quickly becomes “the usual” as more and more rain falls.

Don’t get me wrong – I love Southlands, and I love the ponies, but I hate the rain.